Dmitry had his share of suspicious folk. They were Cold War Carebears who were far from affectionate for a tallish blanched-blonde member of the Sergei family line. Mikhails and Tsarev’s, Aleksanders and Magomedovs were buried in his lineage. He was so scrutinized as such, he tasted Soviet Union grain in his mouth. As the navigator of a plane in an American fleet, the background checks were brutal. He recalled an occasion or two where “Ruskie bastard” was used in a flight formation during a reconnaissance mission in which he was asked to simulate a mapped route over the heart of Siberia. Ze motherland. Wasn’t he from Wisconsin or something?
Some despised him, some did not. To some, he was Vladimir Putin’s right hand man who somehow squirmed his way into an Airforce flyer’s contract. To others, he was a smug yet polite man, a CPR instructor, a trainer for simulation, owner of a pearl white Buick. A plain enough man without Moscow written on his forehead, but rather painted with an invisible quill upon his back. As he walked through the corridors of a stiff-necked military industrial complex, eyes followed him like Dr. Strangelove during one of his wheelchair break dancing regiments. Words stored, heeding the next Cold War story.
Dmitry wasn’t an octave scientist or an arctic squadron leader. He wasn’t Joseph Stalin’s leather recliner couch or a Medvedev. He didn’t even wear wool socks or smoke cigarettes, as far as I knew at the time. It was one-on-one CPR class, as he taught the ‘look, listen, feel’ technique. Look at his records, and his eyes, the Ruskie, look at his eyes. Listen to his accent! Clear as day. Feel for his pulse. Americans don’t breathe like that.I couldn’t help but imagine the military review committee. Overlooking this man’s records in a courtroom. The judge and his constituents are at least 2 stories above a metal chair. A spotlight centers around it, an array of cylindrical light enclosing the Russian pilot like a force field of justice, or a fluorescent Berlin Wall reading his every move and counter-neuron. He seems to be relaxed enough, either well trained to do so, or as American as you or I, a comrade of the red, white and blue sky motto. The jury, sitting in a section above the high pillars, has mixed stares for a czar’s god son serving in “my core” or “my flight simulation team” or “our collective nationality parameters.”
He wonders if he is finally cleared from intense evaluation or if he’s doomed to represent the steel brontosaurus of Asia that is Russia. “No offense but can I ask you a question?” I ask him. “Being Russian in the American armed forces, do you get a lot of flak for it?” He answers “No, not at all,” then after seeing my surprise, he says jokingly, “Yes, all the time.” I guess I cognitively thank Dmitry for not betraying “US” when axis powers and other world players really exist in a divided grassland, so hopefully the sprinkler system doesn’t get activated by simultaneous missile strikes.
In : Poetry