(posted Thursday, October 06, 2005)

Red Saviour, leader and champion of the CCCP, was cranky. Not only was the CCCP in a mess over the whole Kid Crisis ordeal but her bathwater grew tepid and she was out of smokes.

“MOSCA!!!” she shrieked, cooed.

Mosca entered the bathroom wearing his accustomed wife beater t-shirt, gold chains glinting in jungle most people called chest hair.

“Yes, my delicate flower?”

“Mosca, I am out of smokes! And bathwater is tepid! And CCCP is having more infants than just this one making me fat!”

Mosca smiled. These were all problems he could handle, except perhaps the last.

“Is no problem, my red rose of Russia, I fix bathwater.”

Mosca placed his hand in the water at the foot of the tub and within seconds steam began to fog the small mirror above the sink.

“Is better, si? Now, I am remembering carton of these menthols on desk in office – I will fetch for you.”

Red heaved a contented sigh and sunk into the water until just her nosed peeked above the surface. With a lazy wave of the hand she sent him off leaping through Kings Row.

Mosca entered Red’s office only to find the lights not working. They seemed to go through more bulbs than your average office building. Maybe it was the old wiring, maybe it was all the electromagnetic heroes sending out pulses in their sleep but the result was a matching pair of bruised shins as he found Red Saviour’s desk the hard way. Blindly, he patted the desk looking for the carton of cigarettes.

“Ack, perhaps comrade Bella is being helpful and has hidden them. Is obvious mi amore is cheating ration.”

Just as his left hand found the badly needed smokes, his right received a nasty paper cut.

“What is this? Saviour is forgetting paperwork.”

Feeling a bit stupid for not thinking of it before, Mosca provided his own light by starting a small fire palm of his hand. Opening the page he found a letter from Red Star – a comrade who’d been gone for many months. He leaned against the desk and began to read. Sure, one would think you wouldn’t read the commissar’s mail, but Spanish men are nosey and he should make sure this wasn’t something that needed Saviour’s immediate attention, like the stack of files awaiting her when she got out of her bath, right?

Mosca finished the letter with a heavy sigh. He grabbed the metal container Saviour used to collect shredded documents from the floor and sat it on top of the desk then dropped Red Star’s letter in with the rest of the trash. Using the light of the now flaming trashcan he sat down and began to write a letter of his own.

Comrade Red Star,

I am happy to see you have returned to our ranks after these many months absent and in total ignorance of the passing days of the CCCP. Is true, is terrible thing with Kid Crisis. Is also sad to my heart that Russian Battler has decided he has no, how you say? Stomach for duty.

Our commissars in their wisdom have labeled Kid Crisis a traitor to the people and contact with him is out of question. Surly it pains you, as it pains the rest of us, to know someone we trust as a brother can be snake to avoid. It is shocking when this happens. We cannot believe! We do not wish to be so small minded as to be fooled. But, our minds are no perhaps so big and strong as we think, thus is Kid really snake and comrade Bella will perform scans. Is American saying I think, “fool me once, shame on you.” Who better than gentle and sympathetic comrade Bella to make sure we do not shame ourselves by being fools twice? Also, am doubting Lennon feared Stalin on deathbed. Is more likely he feared Paul, or even George. But no so much Ringo who is obviously weak one in group.

There have been many times in the past that commissars have made choices for best interest of the peoples, and these choices are no always understood when first made. They always turn to be best choices when all cards they say, are played. Perhaps you are too new to remember these other times – or perhaps you have been gone too long to have smart opinion. It is our duty to trust in this – is why we call them commissars, si? Or perhaps you are no trusting, and wish to play commissar yourself? I trust comrade that this is no the case, you have a stomach for duty, and that you are no fool. Having said this, I will make sure I am also no such a thing.

Do not write letters such as this to Red Saviour, or any other commissar. Know your duty.

Your comrade in arms,

Ah, is one more thing now that I write to you as Santiago Ferrer, husband to Natalya Nikolaiovna Shostakovich.

You think I would admire that you write my wife this letter and place it in her office behind her face for her to find instead of being like rest of small people who hang stained underwear from balcony, si? But, I no admire. If you write my wife another letter fit only for tissue to wipe little girl’s ignorant tears over spoiling milk ….. be sure I deliver my next reply in the face.

Mosca read over his letter, lamenting his horrible English. It would have to do. Snuffing the trashcan fire and putting the can back on the floor (turning it to where Saviour would hopefully miss the worst of the scorch marks) he grabbed the carton of cigarettes and headed to Red Star’s bunkroom. It was empty as expected, everyone was out on patrol trying to work out the nerves the last few days had brought. He attached the sealed letter to Red Star’s pillow with a grenade clip and took a shortcut out the window, tossing the ticking grenade into a gang of thugs as he leap past them on the way to deliver Saviour’s much needed Menthols.

“I will be late – Is best I pick up pint of chocolate crème as excuse”