Salvage

SALVAGE

A short play about the modern-world

by

Chris van Dijk

This is a modest hotel-suite somewhere in London. There’s a giant TV mounted on the wall facing the audience. The center stage has two leather chairs facing each other, in between them sits a round table. On the middle of the table stands a back teapot, next to it a hardcover book and there are two tea cups, one facing the left chair, the other the right chair. There’s a door on the right side of the room, its door slightly ajar revealing a polished fridge indicating that it’s a small kitchen room.  The closed door beside it is the entry to the bathroom. The front door is on the left side of the room, behind it we can see a dark hallway. We can’t see it. It’s too dark. A place of shadows.

A man sits on the left chair of the room, facing the television. We can only see the back of his head. He’s gulping from a vodka bottle, watching the news.

It’s the BBC. We can hear a typical English voice speaking as we see footage of the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev. This is an indication of the time period; 2008.

BBC REPORTER: …with the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev, many people are wondering whose really leading Russia? Some are speculating that Vladimir Putin, former president of Russia and now appointed prime-minster by Medvedev himself, is still secretly running the country. Others are more hopeful, saying that Medvedev will make the necessary changes to make Russia a functioning democracy…

Hearing this, the man starts bawling in laughter.

BBC REPORTER:…after the collapse of the soviet-union, there had been high-hopes that Russia would follow the example of America and Europe and become a democratic state with a market-based economy. Though communism never made a comeback, the power void that came with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, was filled by oligarchs who abused the system to their advantage, sparking massive corruption during the Yeltsin administration. When Putin took over there was hope that he would tackle corruption but many are now claiming that Putin has simply redistributed the wealth to his advantage, turning Russia into a full-fledged autocracy in the process…

The sudden sound of a teapot whistling in the kitchen. The man grabs the remote from his lap and mutes the sound of the TV, puts the vodka on the floor next to the chair. He gets up; we see a portly man, possibly in his sixties. He’s wearing a stained white tank-top with suspenders to keep his pants up high enough. His name is Dmitri.

He walks inside the kitchen and comes out holding a white teapot. Walking to the table, he opens the lid of the black teapot with one hand and pours hot water of the white teapot into the opening of the black teapot.

  There’s a sudden knock on the door. He quickly walks back in the kitchen, comes out without the white teapot and stands in front of the door. He takes a deep breath. Then he realizes he forgot something and runs to the vodka bottle next to the chair and grabs it and disappears with it inside the kitchen. When he comes out, he slowly walks to the front door. Standing in front, he takes a deep breath again, letting his nerves dissipate. Finally he opens the door.

We hear a voice in the shadows:

SASHA: It’s good to see you comrade.

DIMITRI: It’s good to see you too.

He steps back as Sasha walks in from the pitch-black hallway. He’s a man of similar age but with a sense of sophistication that Dmitri doesn’t have. It’s obvious that Sasha took better care of himself then Dimitri did. In one hand he’s holding a plastic with a brand logo unfamiliar to us all. He’s wearing a black leather jacket, the type that has little personality but indicates a certain street quality. They hug like old friends and give each other a hard slap on the back after.

DMITRI: Did you have trouble finding the place?

Sasha quickly walks past him, disappearing into the kitchen. He talks while he’s there. The TV keeps showing documentary footage of old Russia; the revolution, Lenin, Stalin, the communist era. It keeps doing this as the conversation unfolds between the two main characters. Sometimes the TV will show something that seems to perfectly resonate with the psyche of these two main characters.

SASHA: No, when you called last night, I drove around to see where it was.

He walks out and glances around the room, as if he’s checking something. A certain anxiety in his demeanor. He walks to the bathroom door and disappears inside it. Dimitri doesn’t seem fazed by his behavior at all. Sasha keeps talking as he does his search.

SASHA…Went inside, looked around the hotel a bit…. Told the lady by the desk I was the superintendent…. Case joint so to speak.

DMITRI: Checking the exits. Knowing your way out. Old habits die hard.

Sasha appears from the bathroom.

SASHA: It’s as your president says; once a KGB-agent, always a KGB agent.

DMITRI: What he’s not your president anymore?

SASHA: A president needs to be fairly elected.

DMITRI: He is.

SASHA: I’m talking about the real president.

Dmitri shrugs.

DIMITRI: You’re done searching the room? You want to check the furniture padding for some hidden weapon?

SASHA: No need for that. I’m safe here, aren’t I?

DIMITRI: You’re afraid I’m setting you up.

SASHA: Maybe I’m trying to find that out.

DIMITRI: You can ask me.

SASHA: Where’s the fun in that?

Sasha sits down on the right side leather chair, putting the plastic bag next to the chair.  Dmitri sits on the left. The two old friends face each other.

DMITRI: So what you’re not Russian anymore? You’ve renounced your Russian nationality?Now you get all teary eyed when you hear ‘God Save the Queen’?

SASHA: Fuck the queen. I’ve renounced the religion of nationality in every form possible.

DMITRI: According to your book, you did what you did for the love of your country.

SASHA: You actually read it?

DMITRI: I’ve become a ferocious reader in my old age.

SASHA: I just never thought any of you would actually read it.

DMITRI: We all did. Even the president.

SASHA: Which one?

DMITRI: The one that’s actually in charge.

SASHA: And who is that?

Dmitri winks. Sasha notices the book on the table.

SASHA: Is that my book?

DMITRI: Of course. You wouldn’t think I would meet a bestselling author without asking for his autograph.

SASHA: I’d hardly call myself a bestselling author. Besides you know I didn’t write it for the money. If I cared about the money I would have stayed in Russia.

Still sitting on his table, he reaches out to the book, opens it, digs inside his coat to retrieve a black pen and writes something on the first page. As he’s writing, he keeps talking.

DMITRI: You had more noble reasons for writing that book.

SASHA: The purpose of the book was never achieved.

DMITRI: What was your purpose?

SASHA: Stir things up. Make a change somehow.

DMITRI: A change of management in the Motherland.

SASHA: Inspire the will for change. Become one of the many intellectual forces that will accumulate into one great force called ‘revolution.’

Dmitri laughs.

DMITRI: Writers don’t change things. That’s not the point of writing. Being a writer is giving things meaning.

SASHA: To enforce any change one must create enough meaning. There’s no revolution without meaning. The proletariat is nothing without his manifesto. They wouldn’t get the courage to topple the Tsar.

DIMITRI: The Tsar is still in charge. He just has a different name.

SASHA: That’s the kind of truth that has no temperature.

DIMITRI: That’s the only truth worth telling. Besides that was a different time. That was when thinkers still had original thoughts. Now we’ve heard everything. Now we’ve reached the limits of our imagination. Those who can change history don’t, because they know how the story.

SASHA: How does the story end?

DIMITRI: I Everybody who says they know how the story ends,  are often surprised when it ends the way it does. The point is that people think they know how the story ends, that’s why nothing really changes.

SASHA: The point is that people stop caring about how the story ends, just as long as their story has the conventional three-act-structure. As long as they have their own individual happy ending, why the fuck would they care about the world around them? About the unfortunate people who don’t live in their circle of happy endings? About the future when they are long gone?

DIMITRI: You can’t change human nature. You can’t change history. Who says you can change the future?

SASHA: The future is not set.

DMITRI: Too many people are afraid about the future. They are afraid because who dreamed about the future ruined the present. The fear of the future has already created the future.

SASHA: That’s just an excuse to not fight for anything.

DMITRI: People never really needed an excuse.

Sasha chuckles.

DIMITRI: Did you give them everything?

SASHA: Whatever I could.

DIMITRI: All of them?

SASHA: All of them. The brits, Americans, European-Union.

DIMITRI: You haven’t told them everything. I’m sure of that. You haven’t even told yourself everything.

On the screen we see footage again of the 1999 Russian September bombings. 

SASHA: They turn a blind eye when you’re useful.

A glint of shame in Sasha’s eyes.

DIMITRI: Have you been useful? Well has your information changed much?

SASHA: Data is ammunition. It will make them understand the enemy.

DIMITRI: Russia is not their enemy. Especially not in London. I’ve seen more oligarchs here than in Moscow.

SASHA: Yeah I’ve seen too many familiar faces here. I’ve been trying to appeal to the government to take a closer look at the flow of money coming from Moscow. I’m sure they know where it comes from but I don’t they care enough.

DIMITRI: You ever think your sacrifice was pointless?

SASHA: I don’t think it was pointless at all. And I don’t think you do either.

DIMITRI: Maybe not in a spiritual sense. But what does that really mean anyway? In order to get things done, in order to influence the forces of the world, one must set aside conventional morality. It doesn’t matter if you feel that this morality is universally prescribed by God itself. When an agent does something unforgivable under orders of the state, the individual itself is not guilty but the state is. The state is a collective of people that becomes one whole entity, with a singular soul. When you work for the state, you become the state and you seize to be yourself.

SASHA: Befehl ist befehl.

DIMITRI: Indeed. I’m not the things I’ve done under orders of the government. That’s another me from another life.

SASHA: You don’t really believe that.

Dimitri chuckles.

DIMITRI: Of course not, I’m just fucking with you. Lighten up. You’ve become too serious in your old age.

SASHA: You really think my sacrifice was pointless?

DIMITRI: It was a nice gesture, but yeah, in the end I think you only managed to make things for yourself.

SASHA: You’ve become even more cynical than last time we spoke.

DMITRI: I don’t consider myself cynical. Cynicism has a certain melancholy attached to it, a certain resignation to the sad state of things. I admit to have been through that stage at several low-points of my life. But I’ve transcended it to a point that I haven’t only accepted the state of things but even enjoyment in the debauchery of the human species. The depraved clichés over and again, it stopped being tragic long ago. It’s just part of nature. Nature in its infinite wisdom has more moral ground. Morality is for the human animal. Nature just is.   

SASHA: That was never part of the dream.

DMITRI: We aren’t children anymore. We should stop dreaming.

Sasha is finished writing something on the first page. He slides the book towards Dmitri’s end of the table. 

SASHA: Read this when you leave, on the plane back. Then tell me what you thought.

DMITRI: Yes sir.

They say nothing for a while. It seems both have a lot to say but need time to find the words. Finally Sasha breaks the silence:

SASHA: It’s been a long time.

DMITRI: How long has it been?

SASHA: Funny you should ask. I thought about that after you had called. Or better yet, it came to me, as if the memory had always been waiting. You ever have that? You suddenly remember something so vividly? Something you hadn’t been thinking about for a long time?

DMITRI: Sometimes. Things just come at me. My brain making sense of the past. The person I was, the person I thought I was. I see old infrastructure. Old bakeries. Old smells. Schools I’ve been too. Buildings that have long been demolished. Sometimes I find myself in these old places. Looking around, wondering where to go from here. This usually happens before I fall asleep.

SASHA: Faces. Phantoms from one’s youth. Some you know are long gone, some you are not so sure. Of course these days, you don’t have to wonder anymore. You can just look them up now by typing up their name. Nobody needs to be missing. Nobody needs to live in the void anymore. We can all be connected.

DMITRI: You applaud this advent of technology?

SASHA: I applaud its possibilities; the eradicating of strangers on the streets, the loss of alienation. Whether it will work is another question. If you know the human animal as well as I do, with all its sordid ups and downs, you know this technology could easily be exploited to divide people even further. Even worse; people will use this technology to willingly alienate themselves from others.

DMITRI: You’ve become more philosophical than last we spoke. I’ve tried to abstain from philosophy but you’re pushing me back into dialectics.

SASHA: My strange place in this strange country, has made me philosophical. It has given me no choice but to think about my place and the meaning of this place.

DMITRI: You worry not so much about your future but about the future of the world?

SASHA: All this data with no control, among people who haven’t hit the proper level of maturity yet. One only wonders about the societal consequences. Will the people lose their way? Will our leaders lose their way among the people? Is this the beginning of special kind of anarchy? Or will our leaders by this advent of technology, enhance their power?

SASHA: What do you think?

DMITRI: You didn’t answer my question.

SASHA: Hm?

DMITRI: I asked how long has it been. You were on the verge of telling me but your mind got distracted along the way. You even distracted me. I almost forgot about what I was asking.

SASHA: Jesus are we that old?

DMITRI: We should be happy that we made it this far. We might bore the young by repeating the same old stories, but we should be so lucky to be able to bore them.

SASHA: We repeat these stories because they need to know, because we want them to make a better world for their children.

DMITRI: But they never fucking listen.

SASHA: They never fucking do.

Dmitri and Sasha shrug together.

SASHA: The last time we saw each other was exactly seven years and five months ago, 7th of December 1999.

DIMITRI: You know the exact date?

SASHA: I remember everything about my penultimate week in Russia. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life.

DIMITRI: You ever thought we’d see each other again?

SASHA: Well considering how we ended things last time, it didn’t seem likely. You would become just another ghost of the past, just another of many alienated friends. But I’ve lived long enough not to be surprised by anything anymore. It takes a while but eventually we all wise up to the fact that the word ‘never’, should be used in moderation.

DMITRI: You lived in Russia your entire life and you almost know me as long. We’ve met when we were children, before we ventured into adulthood. We became men together.

SASHA: Don’t make me count the years please. Once you start counting them, you know it’s business.

DIMITRI: Especially when you lose count.

SASHA: Maybe somehow, I knew a reunion would be there somewhere. Maybe not in this life perhaps, maybe in the one’s that’s waiting for us.

DIMITRI: You fear the next life?

SASHA: I fear the next life more than being nonexistent.

DIMITRI: You fear judgment.

SASHA: I fear my true painting, deep within my consciousness. I think I have an idea of how ugly it is, but I always have a feeling I’m too scared to take a closer look.

DMITRI: Just remember the way your loved ones look at you. That’s all that matters.

SASHA: I’d like to think so, but I know it doesn’t.

DMITRI: I hope  you don’t feel guilty about it anymore. We don’t need to dwell on it. There’s no need, it would be petty. We aren’t children anymore.

SASHA: You aren’t angry then?

DMITRI: I was for very a long time. I had many exciting revenge fantasies. But I wouldn’t have come here all this way to see you if I still held a grudge. We must forgive our friends. Grievances is not good for the soul.

SASHA: You believe in the soul?

DMITRI: I believe in the idea of the soul. I think pretending that it exists is better than acknowledging it doesn’t exist.

SASHA: You think the same of God? You think it’s better to pretend that he exists than acknowledging that he does exist?

DIMITRI: If it makes you sleep better.

SASHA: Well before I forget a little something that will help you sleep. Something I know you will appreciate more than I can. You could perceive it as an apology for how I acted the last time I saw you.

Sasha gets up and gives Dmitri the plastic bag. Dmitri gets up and retrieves from the plastic bag a wrapped bottle. Unwrapping it reveals an expensive Vodka bottle- its brand nonexistent, no product placement allowed.

DMITRI: You shouldn’t have!

He hugs Sasha as a thank you.

DMITRI: I’m not going to accept your apology. Time has canceled that out. Instead I will accept this as a gift to a long lost friend.

SASHA: A superior sentiment.

DMITRI: Fuck me. How can you afford this? Don’t tell me MI6 is paying you more than what they us corrupt agents of the Kremlin.

Sasha walks back to this chair and sits back down.

SASHA: I didn’t buy it. It was a gift from MI6. I did a job for them and they got some success and they all chipped in and bought me this. I guess since I was a Russian, they thought they’d given me a gift from the Gods. But when you called, it seemed like the perfect gift. I would advise you to drink it on special occasions.

DMITRI: You should sell this. This could buy an exotic holiday for you and Marina.

SASHA: You mean to a less-affluent country than England? A country that doesn’t mind political assassinations from foreign leaders as much? You know as well as I do it’s better that I don’t go on vacation.

DMITRI: I see that your little literary fame has granted you a surge of vanity. Who says he hasn’t forgotten about you already?

SASHA: He doesn’t forget. I’m sure that if he knew you were going here, he would ask you for a favor.

DMITRI: And if he did, I would tell him to go fuck himself.

SASHA: He would kill you if you did.

DMITRI: Who says I’m not dead already?

Sasha is taken aback by Dmitri’s comment.

DMITRI: Well I can’t think of no better occasion than this! I know you don’t drink vodka, but I laid out some tea for you. You still drink tea do you?

SASHA: Yeah I do, but it’s okay.

DMITRI: Oh come on, it’s Russian Tea. All the way from the Motherland. None of that faggy English Tea.

Sasha is hesitant.

DMITRI: Come on now, I have the right to slap the shit out of you for not drinking vodka with me. It’s a cardinal sin in Russia, the least you could do is ‘drink’ with me.

SASHA: So be it. You can’t meet old friends without having a drink with them.

Sasha grabs teapot and pours enough of its content into his teacup. Dmitri watches him carefully as he does this.

DMITRI: Indeed. That would be a mortal sin.

They raise their glasses.

DMITRI: To boys with hopeless dreams and to old men with broken hearts…

SASHA: To not saying goodbye. To making things right. To the soldiers we were. To the country we thought we were fighting for. To dying among friends.

Dmitri smiles passively.

DMITRI: Vashe zrodovye!

They drink. Dmitri watches Sasha closely as he gulps down the tea. When they are done,  Dmitri starts talking.

DMITRI: How are you Alex? How is Russia’s most famous dissident?

SASHA: I would feel honored if I was, but I don’t think I’m Russia’s most famous dissident.

DMITRI: Who else could it be?

SASHA: How about Anna?

Sasha gives Dmitri a stern look. Dmitri is shocked hearing her name, but keeps her cool. On the TV we see footage of Anna Politkovskaya

DMITRI: Yeah that was unfortunate. I don’t know who did it but… She deserved better.

SASHA: Yes she did.

DMITRI: I had nothing to do with it.

SASHA: But you do. You work for her murderer.

DMITRI: Listen… We don’t know for sure….

SASHA: Oh come on. She was killed on his birthday! Don’t lie to yourself. We are too old to lie to ourselves.

DMITRI: I don’t think there’s an age-limit to self-deception.

SASHA: You know she came to visit a few months before it happened. She told me she was scared. She knew that she could get killed every moment she left her apartment. I told her to quit. Told her I could get a job for her, here in London, but she loved her country too much. Despite all the warnings and threats, she went on and continued doing her job.

DMITRI: She knew the dangers.

SASHA: Doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make any of it right.

DMITRI: You’re right.

A silence. A moment of guilt on Dmitri’s part. Sasha breaks the silence then.

SASHA: Let’s leave it. Let’s talk about how I am doing.

DIMITRI: Good idea. How are you doing?

SASHA: I guess I’m good…. But I don’t know, it feels like I’m getting older and I’m not comprehending it right. Like there’s some cancer metastasizing inside me and once I become aware of it it will be too late. I went to the doctor but he says I’m fine. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.

DMITRI: At our age it’s better to not think about age unless you absolutely have to. Once you ponder your age and the little time you have left, things can get really fucking depressing.

SASHA: The days are really getting shorter you know? It’s almost like I’m fast-forwarding through my life until I get to the part that matters.

DMITRI: What part is that?

SASHA: The part where I meet my maker.

DMITRI: What are you going to do when you see him?

SASHA: I hope I can kill him before he can kill me.

Dmitri smiles. Sasha gets up and stares at the television screen. Pictures of the past appear on the screen, from its quality one could deduce that they date back from the sixties and seventies. A child playing on the grass with a big dog. A young man smiling, toasting his first vodka. A young man graduating. Two men posing in USSR uniforms. Sasha on the wedding chapel with his beloved Marina. Phantoms of the past.

SASHA: Do you sometimes think back about the boy you were? Can you still recognize him?

DMITRI: I can still recognize him. I’m not sure if I still understand him though. I don’t think the boy wanted to become the man I am now. Then again, that boy lived in a fantasy world. This is reality, where boys become bitter old men.

SASHA: You miss it?

On the screen we see black and white footage of Soviet soldiers marching.

DMITRI: Miss what?

SASHA: Believing in it. Believing in the things we fought for.

Dmitri laughs.

DMITRI: My god, you’re really asking me this?

SASHA: I’ve come at an age where I constantly ask the big questions.

DMITRI: I miss believing in it, yes. I miss having that special purpose. Being Mother’s special warrior. I miss being naive.

We see footage of the Soviet military parade of 1984.

SASHA: We all need to wake up.

DMITRI: You woke up long before I did.

SASHA: No I didn’t. You were able to accept the lie. I couldn’t.

We see footage of the September 1999 bombings in Russia. The rubble, the victims. Sasha stills keep staring at the TV screen.

DMITRI: You miss believing in the lie?

SASHA: I miss having a clean conscience.

DMITRI: I believe anyone with a clean conscience has wasted his life. Anything worth pursuing is bound to taint one’s conscience. To get the full measure of the human experience one must feel regret. The only life worth living is the one with all the hard lessons. As long as you don’t have to ponder your regrets within the confines of four walls, as long as you have the freedom to feel guilt in the wide open world, you can consider yourself a success.

Sasha turns around. Dmitri turns to him.

SASHA: You consider yourself a success?

DMITRI: Depends on your qualifications. From a societal standpoint I moved up in the world. I made more money than my father ever did. But that’s not what you care about.

SASHA: Is that what you care about?

DMITRI: What am I supposed to care about? My conscience? What difference is it going to make?

Sasha sits back down.

SASHA: You tell me.

DMITRI: There’s nothing we can do Alex. There’s nothing we can do.

SASHA: There is always something.

Dmitri pours more vodka in his teacup. Gulps it down. Looks Sasha over and changes the subject:

DMITRI: You know what I can’t fucking stand?

SASHA: I’m all ears.

DMITRI: How good you look! You’re older than I am but you look ten years younger than me.

Sasha laughs. 

SASHA: It’s Marina. Even after everything I’ve put her through she still wants me to be around her for a few more decades.

DMITRI: That poor woman loves you.

SASHA: I don’t understand it either.

DMITRI: How is she doing?

SASHA: She’s fine. But she misses Russia, she misses her parents and friends. She keeps in touch with the usual safe precautions, but I know that she wishes she could just go back. She didn’t want to leave and neither did Svetlana but as you well know, I left them no choice.

DMITRI: She could. They both could. The Kremlin won’t harm them. I can make sure of that.

SASHA: It’s best not to take the chance. She could be leverage. He knows I wouldn’t easily exchange my life for hers. We know what he’s capable off, how far he is willing to go.

Dmitri doesn’t say anything. He pours himself another shot.

SASHA: I guess it’s guilt that enforces me to watch my health. I’m trying to live as long as I can so I can do as much good as possible. I’m doing a few odd jobs now and then, save as much as possible. The book-sales admittedly aren’t great and I’ve trying to write a second book but it’s not going well. I guess I told my story.

DMITRI: Most people don’t have a story to tell.

SASHA: Well I wish I had a different story to tell.

DMITRI: The stories we are destined to tell are not up to us. If they were, the stories wouldn’t be as interesting. Everyone would be hero. It would be full of winners. And winners are boring.

SASHA: The greatest stories are the ones about losers.

Dimitri pours himself another shot. Sasha seems despondent suddenly.

DIMITR: The greatest stories end with the loser becoming a winner. The loserdom of the winner is what keeps them from being boring.

SASHA: I’m sorry, I barely asked anything about your life. How is Rada?

Dmitri laughs and gulps down a shot.

DMITRI: Oh that was over a few years after you left. Tell you the truth I saw it happening long before that. She’s a great woman, don’t get me wrong, probably the best out of all of them. It wasn’t that weren’t compatible, it was simply because I was more destined for solitude. Something I’ve come to terms with only recently since I started my retirement. I always considered myself a family man, but the attachments are too great for me. I work better being alone. Before I realized this however, I had to go through my third wife Veronika. I really thought she was the one, but after a year, less even, I realized that it wasn’t going to work. She was the shortest out of the three. As you can expect all three hate me, since I’m like most Russian male divorces; meaning that I barely pay alimony. They’ve tried to sue but it’s hard suing a man with the connections I have. No lawyer wants to cross an FSB agent, even a retired one. Russia is a patriarchal country anyway, the courts will inevitably side with its rightful owners. Ha, they whine about the corruption in Russia but if you’re part of that corruption, things are a helluva lot easier.

SASHA: So what now? You’ve abstained from women?

DMITRI: What are you crazy? No I’ve devoted myself to the best kind of women there is; the whore. And I’m talking about the good kind of whores. They call themselves escorts. As you well know, Russia has plenty of desperation or job opportunities for women to consider prostitution. They love me because I treat them good and once they realize I’m not some masochistic freak, but that you’re the genuine article with plenty of money to spend, with if they do their job right, a good chance for being a returning customer, they’ll treat you like a white knight. I’ve felt loved by women for, but never as much as when I did with all the whores of the past few years.

SASHA: You don’t find it an artificial kind of love compared to what I with Marina?

DMITRI: Don’t take this the wrong way, but for me, there’s not much difference. I guess you’re the romantic type that believes that marriage is a special bond and I was like that too. When we met in the academy, I was the the believer. The Idealist. The Marxist. The family man. But over the years, I’ve realized that there’s no better bond to have the bond you with yourself. If you spend your life trying to get close to someone else, you’re bound to be alienated with yourself. Which is what happened to me with the previous women in my life. With whores, it’s all about you. And it’s reciprocal, cos they are happy that you are treating them well and paying them plenty. Tell you the truth I’ve never been happier, or as they say; I’m the best version I could possibly be.

SASHA: As long as you pay them.

DMITRI: I’ve got enough.

SASHA: As long as you don’t fall in love with any of them?

DMITRI: Yeah one has to remember this. It’s easy to fall in love with whores. Especially old men like me who  still miss their mothers. I’ll be honest I have caught myself swooning about a few of them. But as long as I have the financial means, I can allow myself to fall for them. I have enough savings to allow myself to fall in love until I die.

Dimitri pours one and quickly gulps it down.

SASHA: You really like that vodka.

        Dimitri ignores the comment and continues the previous subject.

DMITRI: There is one though. She really drives me crazy. Her name is Malkina. I don’t know what it is. Every move she makes. The wave of her hand or hair. Her voice calms me down. I had the best sleep in my life whenever she embraces me in bed. She’s really something.

SASHA: You should ask her to marry you.

DMITRI: Even I can’t afford that.

SASHA: You should save up.

DMITRI: I’ve got something going on.

Dmitri winks at him.

SASHA: So your retired life is filled with solitude and the occasional whore.

DMITRI: And books. I’ve regained my love-affair with literature. I’ve delved into all the old classics.

SASHA: Russian literature?

DMITRI: Not so much Russian. They tend to depress me for some reason. I’m particularly prone to American Southern literature. There’s something about the coldness of the west, the viciousness of the the South that really draws me in. You ever read Cormac McCarthy?

SASHA: I did.

DMITRI: You want to know about the nature of humanity? The true nature without all the bourgeoisie nonsense? Humanity without censorship? Read the Blood Meridian. It tells you everything you need to know about the savage animal known as the Human.

SASHA: I’ll keep that in mind.

DMITRI: You should my friend. You should. There are passages of carnage that will haunt you dreams.

SASHA: I think we both seen enough of that personally.

DMITRI: I guess that’s why I feel at home reading about it. Tell you the truth I’ve felt closer to these literary characters than I do with most of the people around me.

SASHA: Sounds lonely.

DMITRI: To most people it probably does. But that’s why I’m it’s a place only reserved for me.

SASHA: Nobody’s invited?

DMITRI: Everybody is invited. Just nobody wants to stay.

Sasha drinks the tea that is lept in his cup. He makes quick expression of disgust as if there’s something wrong with the tea.

DMITRI: I’ve heard you’ve been busy.

SASHA: The fact that you’ve heard that I’m busy makes your retirement sound rather illegitimate.

DMITRI: Oh you know. I ask around now and then. I like to be in the loop. Maybe it was better to be in the loop than be part of the loop.

SASHA: Maybe you should have been a writer instead.

DIMITRI: I thought about that too. The youngsters come around now and then, wanting to hear some bad-ass story from the Soviet-Union. Even though there’s more lawlessness now then there was then. Back then the state was still maintaining the illusion that they working on a grand design. Now  it’s just a bunch of pirates playing dress-up, the dress-up being democracy.

Dimitri smiles, as if he thought of something.

DIMITRI: The young ones have this idea that was I some bad-ass assassin back in the day. They wanna hear about the blood and guts.

SASHA: Well weren’t you?

Dimitri doesn’t answer, just pours his the teacup full of vodka again.

SASHA: Do you tell them about the stuff in my book?

Dimitri seems annoyed for a bit. Suddenly transfixed with something, he gets up.

DMITRI: They don’t want to hear stuff like that. Nobody does. There’s no point.

He walks to the TV screen, holding the teacup, occasionally sipping from it. We now see new footage from the Beslan School siege on the TV screen.

DMITRI: You ever entertain the notion of forgiveness?

SASHA: I believe that once we do the unforgivable we must spend our lives trying to do the right thing. We must own up to the fact that we will never find forgiveness, that we will never earn it. Don’t even try to find absolution in church.

DMITRI: There goes my way out.

SASHA: Maybe if you try hard enough, spend your days being a good person, only then, might you find rest. Maybe then, the ghosts of your creation will one day pity you enough to leave you alone.

DMITRI: I see that you read up on your Dostoyevsky.

SASHA: No I haven’t. I just never forgotten about it.

DMITRI: You know what your problem is Alex? You live too much in the outside world. I live in the world of books and whores. You see see you constantly agonize about the outside world. Make your place in this outside world define you, like most of us do…

On the screen we see footage of the current modern world of 2008.

DMITRI: …And people think that’s where we should be living but it’s not. We should live in the world of books because that’s where every single human life and all his greatest tragedies have meaning even if they are meaningless in the outside world. Some men, living  in your average sanitized Western world, can afford to live there without losing their mind- though even there, it’s easier than you think to lose your mind. But people like you and me, people living in the East, we don’t belong there. It’s contaminated. People wither and die there. Only villains can find meaning there. And if you seek meaning there you will either die at the hands of a villain or become a villain yourself. Therefore I’ve abstained from human intimacy except from the predictable, anything affordable and detached, and the rest of my private time I devote to literature where I occasionally in my solitude, find true happiness.

Dmitri turns around.

SASHA: Maybe your form of escapism is suicidal. It’s you trying to find the courage to kill yourself because you know forgiveness is unattainable.

DMITRI: I’m not looking forgiveness Alex. I have long stopped looking for it. In the book you say it’s your sense of duty, but you hardly talk about the guilt. Maybe your act of treason was a secret wish to die. You couldn’t do it yourself, so you stir enough shit to let an assassin do the job.

Dimitri turns around facing Sasha. Gripped by the sudden paranoia, Sasha looks worried, puts his hand inside his coat…

DIMITRI: It took eight years but now he’s finally here. You finally did it.

  Suddenly Sasha pulls out a Russian revolver; the out of date Nagrant M1895 from his jacket.

SASHA: Remember what I told you about I’d do if I find my maker. I’d kill him before he’d kill me.

Sasha walks up to Dimitri, holding the revolver by his side. He gets real close to him. Dmitri  is not fazed at all.

DMITRI: Maybe it’s already late. Maybe you’re already in his spell. You can’t cheat the reaper. The reaper always has an ace up its sleeve. That’s the point of death; it’s supposed to be the end, you’re not allowed to beat it. Even those who escape death will die inside.

SASHA: Did he send you to kill me?

Dimitri doesn’t say anything for a while, just stares at him coldly.

DIMITRI: You know you can’t scare me.

SASHA: You know I can still hurt you.

DIMITRI: I knew you had a gun. I could feel it when I was embracing you.

SASHA: I wanted you to feel it. Don’t make me point it to your head.

DIMITRI: I’m not making you do anything and you know it.

SASHA: What else am I supposed to do?

DIMITRI: Sit down and accept what’s coming.

SASHA: Where you send by him?

DIMITRI: You know what you are?

SASHA: What am I?

DIMITRI: You’re a troubled old man. Your impulses have led you to your fate.

SASHA: What are you?

DIMITRI: I’m a troubled old man who makes calculated decisions. They’ve led me to this moment.

SASHA: Wouldn’t you rather be me right now?

DIMITRI: There’s no right or wrong in the business of fate and you know it. It’s all just random. But I like meeting my fate with a sense of dignity.

SASHA: Violence is about taking a man’s dignity.

DIMITRI: A man of violence has no dignity.

This comment takes Sasha aback. Dmitri winks at him and walks passed him and sits down.

DMITRI: We haven’t changed much have we?

  Sasha pauses for a bit. He looks Dimitri in the face, as if he’s reading his thoughts. Then we see his lose all intensity. Sasha puts the revolver back inside the holster under his jacket. He sits back on his chair.

SASHA: We came close. Too close.

DMITRI: We did.

Silence. Sasha seems troubled.

SASHA: I’m sorry. We’ve been getting calls. An officer from MI6 said my name up a few times. Told me to be careful.

DIMITRI: You can never be too careful.

SASHA: You can’t be a Russian without being a little paranoid.

DIMITRI: It’s no way to live but it’s only way to survive.

SASHA: I shouldn’t done what I did the last time either. It wasn’t right.

DIMITRI: I disappointed you. You disappointed me.

SASHA: Sometimes I’m not sure who was more patriotic at the time. You or me.

DIMITRI: Do you still love Russia? According to your book you still do.

SASHA: Well maybe I did love when I was writing it, but I feel like I’ve outgrown patriotism. I guess the doubt had already been there, festering, waiting to be proven false. Any meager student of history has it; reading about all the enslavements and carnage makes it easy to be skeptical about merits of serving one’s country, as each empire was always beneficial, mostly excessively so, to the ruling party instead of the laboring force.

DIMITRI: I can still see there’s still a little Marxism inside you.

SASHA: Well despite the grotesque ideology that is communism, Marx was right about the ways exploitation of laborers, but like so many other ideologues he became prone to Utopian illusion, the perfect society modeled on the perfect human specimen that can never work because the human animal is too diverse and you can’t plan everything perfectly, certainly not an economy, because it goes against the diversity of human nature. But going back to love of one’s country, the false merits of patriotism, it’s easy, despite one’s vast education to still put faith in it for the same reason people still believe in God; it gives meaning to their lives. Every logical mind knows there is no God, yet many great minds still have faith because it gives something special to their existence. And I reject both my country and God; there’s nothing out there. There’s just the enjoyment of being with the ones you love, the satisfaction of doing the right thing, seeing all the beautiful things our species is capable off.

DIMITRI: I see that your exile in merry old England has made you philosophical. I’ve long stopped dabbling in philosophical theoretics about the nature of ideology, state or even reality. I’ve culled my own reality, I’ve fortified and made it strong. No outside force can penetrate it, destroy it’s lush mental foundations.

SASHA: You’ve created your own dogma.

DIMITRI: Yes indeed. I did this to save myself from harm. Having one’s belief being constantly destroyed can destroy one’s spirit. I had to salvage what’s left to ensure some semblance of mental stability in the twilight of my years.

SASHA: Does reason factor in your reality?

DIMITRI: Only my reason. The only reason that matters.

SASHA: You’re happy then?

DIMITRI: I think I am. But asking if one’s happy is laughable at our age. We’ve had too many experiences to be ‘fully’ happy. There’s too much damage, too many regrets, too many memories to ever find nirvana. You could say that I’m the best possible version of myself.

SASHA: That’s good to hear. You always seem to have had a self-destructive streak. People like that have one bad thing happen to them and they go off the rails. The perfect excuse to destroy themselves.

DIMITRI: You thought I was that weak?

SASHA: I thought you were that human.

DIMITRI: I’m not human. I’m KGB. Or as we call ourselves now: FSB.

SASHA: I’m not KGB anymore.

DIMITRI: Once KGB always KGB.

They both smile. Then:

SASHA: You remember the woman we shared?

DIMITRI: I do. I forgot her name. But I surely remember her. It’s kinda hard to. It was my first time. My first time with you.

SASHA: Is that what makes me special to you?

DIMITRI: It makes you a big part of the story of my life.

SASHA: She’s married now. Lives in Poland of all places. I looked her up a few months ago. One of those memories that came like it never went.

DIMITRI: She was the first woman I loved. I wish she never left.

SASHA: Me neither.

Dimitri rubs his face with both hands.

SASHA: You look tired.

DIMITRI: I didn’t sleep much. I had to fly over from Hamburg. I’m just not used to flying to be honest. Didn’t sleep the whole night.

SASHA: You ever have nightmares?

DIMITRI: The place I’ve created in my head, the inside world, eradicated all nightmares. Took care of my conscience too.

SASHA: You think that’s right?

DIMITRI: Right, wrong, doesn’t matter. In modern Russia there is no such thing anymore.

SASHA: What do you mean?

DIMITRI: Something is happening in Russia. It’s been going on for some time. A new ideology. Something more powerful than Communism or capitalism, but something even far more dangerous. Something to tempting for our rulers not to abuse. We are on the verge of creating a new political ideology in which you can believe whatever you want. A descendant of Soviet propaganda. No definitive truth. Where nothing is true and everything is possible.

SASHA: To hear about this way scares the shit out of me.

DIMITRI: As it should. I think Russia will be a country that will truly grasp the power of the Internet and will use to it his advantage. There’s too much data available for the public these days. The governments don’t seem to have a handle on it. You can find any old movie on the computers. Perfect quality. No need to rent porn anymore. Any sickening desire is only a few clicks away. Soon people will be like me; they create their own dogma and build up this world with a thick wall that nobody, no fact, no reality can penetrate.

SASHA: Confirmation bias. The secret of propaganda: it’s not just that we confuse people with false data, it’s that people willingly want to be believe in a false reality.

DIMITRI: Yes. It’s already happening. People are already programmed to live in bubbles. This machine will only make it more impenetrable.

SASHA: It could go the other way.

DIMITRI: You think it will?

SASHA: I like to think so.

DIMITRI: That’s not answering the question.

SASHA: …Things could change. People could rise up.

DIMITRI: What like Medvedev?

SASHA: No, but maybe people like Nemtsov.

On the screen we see footage of future news where they talk about Boris Nemtsov’ assassination. Dimitri laughs him off.

DIMITRI: Grow up Sasha.

SASHA: Maybe political forces from the East are out. But the West is still the most dominant geopolitical force out there. They know that if they don’t stand up to him, he will become more arrogant in time. If he senses a loss of faith, he will embolden the people with nationalistic rhetoric. He might even start to invade other countries, if he feels he could…

On the screen we see future footage of the invasion of Georgia and Ukraine.

SASHA: The right people in the free world could make a difference…

DIMTRI: You think the West cares? Do you really think the West cares about democracy or human rights? Look how they talk about Medvedev! We all know who pulls the strings. And so does Europe and America. The fact that they are playing along tells you enough about how much they care. Are you really stupid enough to think the West gives a fuck? The only way they’ll start giving a shit is if we stop paying them. As long as they can buy our gas for cheap they don’t care about what we do to our country or our people. Oh sure occasionally they will be pressured to say something. After some protest or some horrific incident. They”ll want to look tough in the next election and they will say ”that they are very concerned” and that they expect ”restraint”. But in the end they’ll forget about it. They’ll forget about all the little people. They will just wait until their people forget about our people and go about their way. This is the world we live in. We have too many goodies for sale.

Sasha gets up, walks to the TV. We see old fifties American propaganda clips about the greatness of capitalism.

SASHA: It could have been a better world. There was a chance after the wall fell.

DIMITRI: Yes there was and we squandered it. We fucked it up. We let the oligarchs steal from us. It’s gone and we’ve already won. Democracy will die. Everywhere. We’ve already begun making European and American politicians hooked into our system. You’d be amazed how quickly people give away their morals for excessive comfort. We are too rich to piss off. Nothing means anything anymore. Russia will envelop the rest of the world. It will eat away its true reality and make it objectionable. They want to change Russia into the modern world, but they don’t understand that Russia today is the modern world.

Dimitri then gets up and pats Sasha on the shoulder. Now they face each other.

DIMITRI: Did you really think we doing patriotic work? Were you really that stupid? I don’t mean in the academy I mean that September day. We both knew what was going on.

SASHA: Sometimes we need to fool ourselves to survive. That’s what we’ve been trained to do.

DIMITRI: Yes we do. But why the sudden concience?

SASHA: Have you ever heard the cries of mothers seeking justice for their murdered children?

DIMITRI: Countless times.

SASHA: Have you seen the people passing them by, not even giving her a glance. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s that they’ve heard it all before.

DIMITRI: Oh please.

SASHA: Why couldn’t you come with me? We could have been stronger together.

DIMITRI: Cos it wouldn’t changed a goddamn thing and you know it.

SASHA: It was about doing the right thing.

DIMITRI: You know I think you are full of shit.

Sasha looks at him furiously.

DIMITRI: Here’s some fucking truth. Every one of our comrades hates you. Nobody out there considers you a fucking hero. They don’t hate you for betraying the country, they hate you because you’re a fucking joke. You act like you never knew you were one of the bad guys before. You act as if you uncovered some sort of conspiracy and that you were tricked into doing the dirty work. Give me a fucking break! You knew it from the moment you went into the academy. You knew exactly what you were in for. The reason why you went into the academy was not because you wanted to protect ”mother” it’s because you wanted to make money. You wanted to advance in the world and have enough clout and money so that the state would leave you alone. The same reason any of us joined the academy. I understand that maybe in the beginnings of Gorbachov that you had some semblance of faith in the system but a year of Yeltsin got in charge, it became all so clear where we were heading. Anyone who didn’t see it was just lying to themselves. The propaganda long stopped working. We weren’t children anymore. The new constitution wouldn’t last. I think deep down we all knew this, but nonetheless we had to try to believe it. We don’t hate you for writing that book, we don’t hate you for revealing state secrets, we hate you because you’re a fucking hypocrite.

  Sasha lurches at Dimitri and punches him in the face. Before Dimitri can make a counter movie, Sasha already pulled his revolver on him, pushing it against his nose, out of which come a pool of blood. Dimitri suddenly bursts into laughing.

DIMITRI: Now we are doing this again!

Sasha lifts the revolver up Dimitri’s temple.

SASHA: Maybe if I pull the trigger, the nightmares will go away this time.

DIMITRI: Good luck. We knew who we were long before you gained a conscience. And you know it. You think I am a worse person than you? You destroyed the lives of your wife and child just because you wanted to salvage some of your conscience. And for what? What difference did any of it make? You endangered their lives and made sure they could never come back to their home country again. Good fucking job. Is that what a responsible husband and father does huh? I never was a father for the exact reason because I knew I couldn’t be, cos I faced up to what I was. Something you couldn’t do…

Sasha hits him with the butt of the revolver.

SASHA: Shut the fuck up!

Dimitri spits out a tooth and laughs again.

DIMITRI: …You might say you did it all for your sense of patriotism. Well I was honest of what my country really was. You lived an illusion. Our country never had a golden age. It was always filled with the blood of the proletariat. It’s just one shitty legacy after another. One damaged generation after another. At least the president knows this and doesn’t hide it, just to the gullible west and the people stupid enough to believe his propaganda. But we know better even if you act like you don’t.

SASHA: It used to be about something! There was a time where it seemed like were getting close. Close to something special, a better world.

DIMITRI: We were dreaming. That’s all we were doing. That’s all we could do. We couldn’t allow ourselves to wake up. You broke the cardinal sin: you woke up!

SASHA: Maybe I’ll put you to sleep. Maybe you’ll dream again.

DIMITRI: I’ve escaped death countless times. The more you escape death, the smaller it gets. The more you see death, the funnier he becomes. Death by now has become a joke. And we, all of us, have become the punchline. Here comes the punchline: I’m dead and so are you.

SASHA: What?

DIMITRI: This is the part that matters.

Sasha suddenly realizes something and turns his back on the table, to the black teapot.  In the background we see the last picture of real life ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvenenko, bald and dying in the hospital of polonium. He looks back to Dimitri.

DIMITRI: We always notice it when it’s too late. Same old story.

SASHA: Why?

DIMITRI: We got wind you were doing some inquiries into some of our friends in Spain. You were going to testify. We couldn’t let that happen. You were already on our shitlist. This just made it very urgent.

SASHA: No, why did you do it?

DIMITRI: He knew you would still trust me enough so I could do this.

SASHA: No, I’m asking you; why did you do this?

DIMITRI: I’m already dying. A tumor is turning my being into mush. This was my last job. The one job before I say goodbye to it all. I choose to have it be my best friend.

SASHA: This is your way of not dying on your own.

DIMITRI: It has a certain poetic justice to it. I don’t know. Maybe it seemed more fitting at the time. I just hated you for leaving. You were only real friend I had. You fucked things up for me. Things were never quite the same.

SASHA: I thought the possibility was there when you called me. But I didn’t want to believe it.

DIMITRI: That’s what always been the difference the difference between you and me. I see things for what they are. You see how things should be. It’s your type that usually gets fucked in the end.

Sasha sits down on his chair and Dimitri sits opposite him.

SASHA: It’s polonium-210 isn’t it?

DIMITRI: Yes.

SASHA: It’s going to be painful.

DIMITRI: I’m sorry.

SASHA: Maybe I’ll shoot you in the balls and watch you bleed to death. Be a riot.

DIMITRI: You could do that.

SASHA: Then I’ll shoot myself.

DIMITRI: That’s an idea.

Sasha thinks it over.

SASHA: No. I’ll go through it. I’d like to spend some more time with Marina and Svetlana.

DIMITRI: They will like that.

SASHA: But I think I’ll still shoot you in the balls.

He points the revolver at Dimitri.

DIMITRI: Fuck it. I didn’t expect to get out of here. I have everything already lined up. My sweetheart is set for. He promised to take care of her when I died.

SASHA: Malkina?

DIMITRI: The last love of my life.

SASHA: Who says he’ll keep his promise?

DIMITRI: He kept his word with Yeltsin. Took care of him and his cronies. I think he will keep his word here.

Sasha looks at him for a while as he points his revolver. Finally he drops his hand.

SASHA: There’s no point. Your resignation is spoiling all the fun of this killing.

DIMITRI: I can try to weep if you make me.

SASHA: Here is the part that matters: I’ll let you spend your time with her before you die.

DIMITRI: Thank you.

SASHA: How long do you have?

DIMITRI: I don’t know. Maybe about as long as you. Three months maybe. Depends.

SASHA: Is it going to be a painful?

DIMITRI: Very. They expect me to hallucinate soon enough. I’m not even supposed to be flying. I might not even make it back home. I don’t think I’ll have the courage to kill myself before it gets bad.

SASHA: That honestly comforts me.

`Sasha ponders something. He sighs.

SASHA: You know what. I’m still not satisfied.

He suddenly points the revolver at Dimitri and pulls the trigger. Dimitri’s kneecap explodes in blood. Dimitri screams like a little girl and falls on the floor, writhing with pain.

DIMITRI: What the fuck!

SASHA: Getting there.

DIMITRI: Why the fuck did you do…

He points the revolver at him again and this time blows a few of right toes off. Sasha smiles as Dimitri whimpers and an excessive amount of blood sprays on the floor.

DIMITRI: You blew my toes off you fucking cunt!

SASHA: It’s the least I could do. I wish I could do more.

Dimitri pants in agony, one hand holding his kneecap. He can’t reach his mangled feet.

DIMITRI: I can’t reach my feet.

  In his despair a sudden vulnerability appears.

DIMITRI: I’m afraid…. I’m afraid of the ghosts I’ll see…. The people who aren’t really there but are there in my head somewhere. They’ve been waiting for an excuse to come out. This might just be the one they’ve been waiting for.

SASHA: You deserve their company. We both do.

DIMITRI: I know. But I’m afraid.

A silence. Both of them look on the screen. We see black and white footage George R. Romero’s classic Night of the Living dead- of zombies slowly walking passed gravestones. Dimitri slowly manages to sit back on the chair.

SASHA: I wish I hated you more. I don’t hate people as much as I used to. Tell you the truth I used to enjoy it. Seeing them go. To hate people so much and unleash all of that fury. I miss it. Maybe that’s why I left.

DIMITRI: Once a KGB… Always…

Dimitri has trouble finishing his words because of the pain.

SASHA: Shut the fuck up.

DIMITRI: Your mother’s pizda….

A pause.

SASHA: You should see what I wrote on your book.

Dimitri looks towards the book. It seems so far away.

SASHA: Could you give it to me please?

Sasha gets up and picks the book from the table and gives it Dimitri, who uses one hand to open the first page. He reads Sasha’s inscription. He smiles warmly, like a child who discovered a new toy. Chuckles like a child too…

DIMITRI: Her name…. I forgot her name… Now it’s all coming back to me… She was just waiting for me…

SASHA: I’d thought you’d appreciate it.

DIMITRI: I do. She was wonderful? It was wonderful isn’t it?

Sasha doesn’t say anything, he just smiles. There is a pause.

DIMITRI: I’ll think I’ll have some tea….

Dimitri manges to reach out to the table, the book falling to the floor. He grabs the black teapot.

DIMITRI: Little help?

Sasha gets up, grabs the teapot, pours its contents in Dimitri’s teacup and places it back. He grabs Dimitri’s teacup and hands it over to Dimitri.

DIMITRI: Thanks comrade.

He raises the teacup.

DIMITRI: To the motherland!

Sasha lifts up the teapot.

SASHA: To the fucking motherland!

Dimitri gulps down his teacup, Sasha the black teapot. it down. There’s is a pause. For a moment they don’t know what to do.

DIMITRI: I think I’ll shut my eyes a bit… I think I’m finally getting sleepy…

SASHA: I should go.

DIMITRI: You don’t need to.

Sasha yawns.

SASHA: I’m a little tired tell you the truth.

DIMITRI: Maybe… When I sleep…. I’ll dream about the motherland…. When it was still beautiful…

On the TV we see footage of the Berlin Wall breaking down.

DIMITRI: Yeah… Growing up in a better world… Becoming a young man and working for the good guys…

SASHA: Never having to need to leave the country I love. That’s all I ever wanted.

DIMITRI: Patriots never want to leave their country.

Dimitri smiles thinking about the motherland. He closes his eyes. Sasha sees it happening, he smiles a bittersweet smile.

SASHA: Yeah, I think I’ll do that too.

Sasha closes his eyes. The stage goes black except for the TV. Suddenly on the TV we see Vladimir Putin; in a gay-clown outfit (the one that’s been banned), looking straight at us. The old national anthem of the USSR starts playing in the background, as this effeminate clown and the ruler of Russia, begins to wink at us.

***

Bio:

Chris van Dijk is a human animal who likes to write. He’s mostly interested in politics, history, the rights of humans and other animals and has a particularly unhealthy but rather fun obsession with cinema. His favorite writers are prof. John Gray, James Salter and Kurt Vonnegut. There are still a great many things he wants to write: a novella, a historical novel, a screenplay which he wants to adapt on the screen himself, a play which he wants to adapt on stage himself, several books of political science and countless books dedicated to his beautiful polish woman.

© Chris van Dijk

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