It was a mission if there ever was one – Part Two.
In the last installment, our hero found himself trapped in the cargo hold of a Soviet barge, with a stolen ice tube in his hand and his arch nemesis Dimitry standing between him and breaths of freedom. Can he escape, ice tube intact? Or will he find himself in a Siberian prison, dreaming longingly of his love Svetlana and those glowing Russian tubes?
It happened swift like the October Revolution, decisive like a shot czar. The barge moved with a jolt and that cold look in Dimitry’s eyes melted in a March thaw. The ship rocked again, writhing in the port like a Soviet acrobat. The crack crack crack of gunfire echoed in the cool night air. The ship turned as dark as a Yakutsk winter.
I made a break for it, pushing past Dimitry and his henchmen like I had that April morning fifteen years ago in the Iskenderun bazaar. The hallway was chaos – water spewing through creaking metal, emergency lights glittering Commie red, bodies fleeing the supposedly sinking barge like extras in an Eisenstein.
I pushed my way to the deck and climbed atop the forecastle’s funnel. The ship wasn’t sinking at all! Rather, it was turning, spinning around in the Arkhangelsk port and heaving against the waters’ borders.
I looked up at the captain’s deck. Svetlana stood at the wheel, driving the barge with the Young Pioneers. They’d shed their outfits, revealing weathered boy scout uniforms with fresh marksmanship badges shining in the winter sun. They were all firing AKs rhythmically above fleeing Spetsnaz.
Dimitry screamed my name from the port side door. He raised his fist, patch shifting with his eye’s angry twitch. “Я дам тебе в следующий раз,” he yelled, “Я дам тебе в следующий раз!!!”
It was back in the states that Svetlana finally told me what he’d said to me. “I’ll get you next time…I’ll get you next time.”
Now, it was fall in Wyoming and I’d been retired for years. The tubes were running out I’d heard, dissipating into obsolescence like that well-intentioned ideology. I still had one. Svetlana had smuggled a box from the barge when we ported in the Seychelles.
Years later, she put it in a clock that she’d found a tutorial for and set it glowing on my bedside table on the very night she left.
I looked at the clock now, thought of those times we spent together, those times on the run, those times of fleeting calm. Last I heard, she was on the coast of Micronesia, hang gliding into pirate hideouts with nothing but a pen knife, a strong constitution, and Dimitry on her tail.
Nights like this, I missed the game, still craved that glow. The clock was my only comfort.
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