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Most recent 20 results returned for keyword: Boris (Search this on MAP) Boris González :
3 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Alex Poucher : [ad_1] The favorite to replace British Prime Minister David Cameron is a mop-haired, New York City-born...
[ad_1] The favorite to replace British Prime Minister David Cameron is a mop-haired, New York City-born eccentric who was once stuck midair on a malfunctioning zip line. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, 52, is quite a character in British politics, and…

3 hours ago - Via - View - Boris Dragojević :

Watch the video: My adorable kitten ❤

3 hours ago - Via Community - View - Alexander Nolting : #mustread by Nick Cohen on #brexit and demagogues ruining our future. "I could not dig; I dared not...
#mustread by Nick Cohen on #brexit and demagogues ruining our future.

"I could not dig; I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?"

A Dead Statesman, Epitaphs of the War, Rudyard Kipling
There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian

3 hours ago - Via Reshared Post - View - Li李 : 1989 revisited. In March 1989, Boris Yeltsin was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies of the...
1989 revisited.

In March 1989, Boris Yeltsin was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union as a delegate. This congressman post is a transition between his effectively "Mayorship" of the Soviet capital and the later presidency, as well as the upcoming upheaval.

On Jan. 8th, 1989, Akihito (明仁) became the new emperor of Japan with Heisei (平成) as his reigning name. 2016 is the 28th year of Heisei Era for Japanese.

From Apr. 15th to June 4th, 1989, unrests occurred on Tiananmen Square (Square of Heavenly Rest Gate, 天安門廣場) of Chinese capital Beijing.
4 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Miguel Afonso Caetano : "The failed courtship of Corbyn was one of a number of problems Cameron’s seasoned political team faced...
"The failed courtship of Corbyn was one of a number of problems Cameron’s seasoned political team faced, culminating in Thursday’s stunning referendum defeat and the prime minister’s early retirement from public life.

More than two dozen interviews conducted over a span of months with the leaders of the Stronger In and Vote Leave campaigns, senior Downing Street officials and sources in the Conservative and Labour parties paint a picture of a Remain effort that misread the public mood and couldn’t overcome numerous campaign setbacks.

Hardened by close-run contests in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and last year’s general election, the strategists running Stronger In decided to follow the playbook that worked in those campaigns, particularly the 2015 Conservative sweep, and focus mainly on economic security.

It failed spectacularly. The depth of public anger over the influx of workers from other EU countries, and more broadly the rejection of political and business elites, was more significant than they had anticipated.

The In campaign’s warnings about the economic damage of an Out didn’t stick. A series of elaborate set pieces, of which Obama’s visit was the most extravagant, didn’t resonate with the British electorate.

Prominent defections from the Cameron inner circle to the Leave side — chiefly Boris Johnson and Michael Gove — turned Vote Leave from a ragtag group into a motivated and effective opposition. The press, as expected, was hostile and Euroskeptic. By the end Cameron appeared isolated, as Tory MPs bickered among themselves — and Corbyn kept his distance."
How David Cameron blew it
The behind-the-scenes story of a failed campaign to keep Britain in the European Union.
4 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Gertrude Perkins : David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street and makes a fortune through his memoirs, after-dinner ...
David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street and makes a fortune through his memoirs, after-dinner speaking, and consultancies and directorships.

Meanwhile, the idiots Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Ian Duncan-Smith are left to deal with the utter mess that their pro-Brexit stance is going to cause!

Well done, David! You have out-manoeuvred and out-witted Boris Johnson the Clown! 😃 
Watch the video: 13070483_699794013495739_486516494_n.mp4
David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street and makes a fortune through his memoirs, after-dinner speaking, and consultancies and directorships. Meanwhile, the idiots Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Ian Duncan-Smith are left to deal with the utter mess that their pro-Brexit stance is going to cause! Well done, David! You have out-manoeuvred and out-witted Boris Johnson the Clown! 😃 
4 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Boris Bojinov :

Watch the video: Fifa 2016 sick header blyat
putin and tight
4 hours ago - Via - View - James Finch : My family voted to remain. But now were out they don't care about it. But if we come out and we become...
My family voted to remain. But now were out they don't care about it. But if we come out and we become a better Britain then fair enough but what happens if the plan goes wrong because so far all the leave campaign has been telling us is lies. No nobody can say thats false because it all over the news. What happens if we don't get back on our feet. The pound just keeps plummeting in value. Then what happens. We have lost a great PM now and you don't want Boris or Nigel in charge. I keep my mind pretty open and as long as we are better off and the pound rises in value then i will be a very happy man!
Thank you 
4 hours ago - Via Community - View - Boris Todorov :

UMi Super International Giveaway!
Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday!A big congratulations to last week’s winner of the HTC 10: Joseph P (Canada). Enjoy your new HTC 10!This week we are giving away the hot new UMi Super!The UMi Super is the definition of value for money, offering powerful specs in a tight metallic unibody, and bells and whistles we'd normally see on expensive devices, all for under $250...
4 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - R Diary : 69 chapters work-in-progress novel. Much of the content is intended to be read as the diary of a madman...
69 chapters work-in-progress novel. Much of the content is intended to be read as the diary of a madman. Enjoy it.

Chapter 1.

Air Force One, Marine One, Navy One, Army One, Treasury One, Justice One, Interior One, Agriculture one, Commerce One, Labor One, Health and Human Services One, Education One, Housing/Urban Development One, Energy One, Transportation One, and few nondescript rendition aircrafts were circling over the DC area . They seemed to follow the same circle each time for a few hours already.

Their noise was starting to get annoying to a homeless man on the ground. It made him hard to sleep. He felt violated.

At some moment the sky clouded above his head and a booming voice said:
- If you have nothing to hide then there's nothing to worry about, citizen.

A homeless man got creeped out, nodded and squeezed back into his cardboard box.

Up in the air, all the heads of executive departments had just started the discussion of super secret announcement from Intelligence Community about an American spy satellite, abandoned in early seventies as a piece of space junk which has begun transmitting this morning.

Apparently, some sort of electrical short just happened to make it work again. No one knew what was going on, but the Secretary of Education suggested it was an emergent consciousness, and something wonderful was about to happen. The secretary of Agriculture just shrugged his shoulders and took a bite off of the USDA approved sandwich-like product, consisting of a flour tortilla, various fillings, and at least 15 percent meat. He was becoming indifferent to bread-like flour based envelopes filled with meat-like meat. He felt like he could play this game for a long time. The Head of Health and Human services department (HHH) wanted to advice the Secretary of Agriculture on healthy eating habits but then remembered how after 50 years of social engineering his department still couldn't decide if milk and eggs were bad for people or not. The Head of Environmental Protection Agency used the opportunity to discuss with the president most urgent need to spend further $300 trillion on the battle with the world's oceans, so the planet's temperature would go down 0.1 degree. He backed his words with the science, but President took it with a great deal of skepticism. When President was young boy, he was taught science in school, where he was told that skepticism is essential for science, even towards prevailing theories. For example, the prevailing theory hundreds of years ago was that the Earth was the center of the universe, and they had data that supported this theory. Copernicus begged to differ, and was branded a heretic. These days he would be called a "denier".
The President, nonetheless, granted the funds to the EPA.
By noon, NASA almost deciphered the message, however to finish the job an urgent funding bill that gives NASA $300 trillion was required. So the President had to call off the transfer to EPA. He had no choice.
The Secretary of Defense was visibly pleased. He took the EPA head by the right hand and asked:
- " Do you know what the solution is to global warming?"
EPA head spun round startled, trying to wiggle free.
- "Do you know what the solution is to global warming?", Secretary of Defense repeated. He was one of those people who thought that the secret of gaining the upper hand was to ask every question twice. But the EPA head knew that the best way of dealing with them was not to answer.
- "No? I`ll tell you. Nuclear winter!" SOD nervously laughed. He was secretly worried that the US might get attacked by aliens.
By this moment, everybody wanted to go watch new Star Wars, and signing of 3000 page document was promptly done, zero fucks given. The only comment came from the secretary of education, who found it interesting how the original idea of the Reagan administration to put this spy satellite in the sky was dubbed "Star Wars" too. Another only comment came from the Head of EPA, and it was dirty.
Finally, the job was done. In big red capital letters, the message read "Red menace!"


I've been in what I've thought was love a couple of times. But I've always effed things up. Not because I'm an asshole and no one should be saddled with me as their spouse. I just wanted to have a decent job and be in some kind of sound financial shape before doing it. At last I achieved both and even more. To the extend that my job had become real risky and I might have gotten killed any moment. I was 30. So I jumped into a a lifelong commitment based solely on emotion, and now I felt like I could use a cigarette.
I rolled over to ask Alice for a lighter but she was still asleep. We slept on a futon which was probably twin-sized by all standards. Because it's so flat and sited right on the floor, I positioned my body all the way at the edge with no risk of falling off like I would in a real bed and reached for the lighter. Successfully. I lit the cigarette, took the remote control and turned on the TV. “Truth” was airing anti smoke commercial, and their video made me want to do cocaine. I knew it was a trap. They have have gotten pretty shit, but this was beyond try-hard.
My phone whistled at me from my bag, and I had to take it. It was me mom. She did sound pissed though.
“Mom, I am Ok. I am watching TV”, I said.
“That`s why I am calling you” she said. 'Mike and Molly' Canceled at CBS”
“My mom is going to be pissed”, I thought, but then again, she already was.
“Now can we get rid of that godawful Two Broke Girls?” – I asked. “Even the commercials for that show look awful, and those are supposed to be the good parts!” She hang up on me.

So I zapped through different TV channels and found something interesting. It was some golf players playing golf. I am more of a hockey guy, so I almost skipped the channel, but then recalled one quite interesting detail about golf. In golf, if you are watching the game on your TV and observe a rules violation, you can call it in to point this violation out, so as to would have the golfer disqualified. That’s why people watch golf.
I dialed 911 but then looked at Alice and put the phone down. I didn`t want to wake her up. She was sleeping peacefully. Somehow I recalled going to the south of France once and seeing loads of topless women.
Alice was British.
- Alice! – I pocked her gently.
- What? – she moaned.
- Do you love me?
She didn`t respond immediately.
- "What if I do?", she said at last.
Women can be annoying. I think this may have to do with how parents are raising their children these days.
Our cat scratched at the bedroom door. Alice got out of bed naked and let the cat in, then came back and got into bed too late to keep the cat from getting between us. Alice tried to pull the covers up, but cat was in the way.
- “You cold?” I said.
- “I don`t like to like around naked, ” Alice said.
- “I have seen you naked zillion times,” I said.
- “That`s not the point”, she said.
She was trying to get the covers out from under the cat so that she could pull them over herself.
- “What is the point?”
- “Lying around naked is wanton,” she said.

I stood up and walked to the bathroom. I closed the door, done my thing, raised my head and saw our cat sitting in hand basin, staring straight at me with those huge eyes. “How is this possible?” I thought. Our cat was British blue kind or Blue Russian kind, so I was internationally embarrassed. “Why are you doing this?”, I asked. As there was no answer, I had to guess. My best guess was because cats enjoy having the attention be on them. I would guess that they are mildly offended at being locked out from your attention so make a habit of being in the room before the door is shut so as to be seen and get the spotlight they seem to enjoy. Same as politicians. This of course could be totally wrong, but it was my hypothesis at the time, which I thought was worth disproving. It`s important to look for hypotheses worth disproving.
“OK you little twat”, I mumbled. “May be it`s your favorite place or something” I looked at our cat once again and our eyes met. It seemed to me that the cat tried to come up with a reply how stupid I am. Because saying that hand basin is cat`s favorite place would be like saying that my favorite place is my work because I am there most of the time. “That`s an interesting theory” I thought. There is this restaurant that sits right in the middle of rush hour traffic on my commute to work. I "spend" about half an hour each morning and evening there and so Google thinks that that place is my best favorite place in the world; But obviously cats know nothing about Google. Do they?


Ten minutes later I sat at the kitchen table. My phone rang, and I saw 911 callback on the screen. Is it possible they could star sixty nine me? I switched my mobile to “silent” and gave it a thought. How would I feel if someone have called me and I would have missed their call by a mere 2 seconds, but then I`d immediately call them back and they wouldn`t answer? I`d probably felt pissed.
– Hallo?
– This 911. Please state your emergency or verify no assistance is needed.
– I`d like to report rules violations on the golf course.
– In what tournament?
– The one that has to do with building a stance.
– Will that lead to a disqualification?
– Probably.
– You sure? I could have broken a rule, not knowing I broke a rule, not even trying to break a rule, and then somebody like you could call in or say this or say that. Can you be absolutely sure?
– Well… I think if a rule is broken, no matter how you find out about it, it’s good for the game. It’s protecting the field.
– What are you, a rules guru?
I don`t think I got it right.
– Dude, calm down! I said.
Why does saying calm down always have the opposite effect?
– I’m not even calmed up! Dude became furious.
I pressed the site button to end the call.
Who was that? – asked Alice.
«Wrong number», I replied.
Covert phone calls under 911 umbrella was a relatively new invention used for intelligence communication. Besides, the dialog above couldn’t be deciphered properly, even if intercepted. Unless you knew what it was about, which no one did. But the message was the following: Russians are planning to proactively help Mexico take back Texas. The code name for the operation is Poblano Moles.
Alice started to say something and I closed my eyes to tune out. Personally I think we should have done it long time ago. And by we, I mean the US. Texans are dumbing down the texts books of our schools. We should have just gotten rid of them so we could get the education moving in a logical way. Mississippi and Alabama too. Did I say Arizona and Kansas?
But Texas is the priority. Their school board are more harmful to this country then any other state. America ranks 36th in the world in education. Once Texas has been removed the USA will rank somewhere between 12th and 14th. Russians may be doing us a favor after all.
But my mission was to stop the separation, not facilitate. I opened my eyes and said:
- “Alice, I need something”
- “Everyone says so” she replied.
I looked at her. I`d known her a long time.


Ex KGB general Petr Kotovsky stood in front of the world political map, casting a jealous eye on Alaska.
“What an irony it was, the Tsarist autocracy selling such a freaking huge state full of natural resources to the USA for only $30 million dollars, – he thought, – less than an Mig-29 fighter. How much would that be in today freedom dollars?”, he wondered.
He dedicated all his years to the Army, and WWIII, as he loved to call the Cold War, has gone by when he had been in his prime. “Cold war could have been so much interesting with our ICBM bases in Anchorage. – he continued his line of thought. – “Besides, no Sarah Palin. Win-Win for everyone”. General tried to remember the motive for the purchase. Apparently a corrupt Tsar sold Alaska to the US because he were about to lose it to the British. So it was sold to pay for the Crimean war. The first one. “Stupid Americans, – said Kotovsly. “To buy something which they could’ve easily taken for free. If things come to that, it`s Canada who should have bought Alaska”.
The end of the Cold War was the last systemic shift the world experienced. Russia`s weakness was so visible, that two erroneous conclusions was reached: Russia was permanently impotent and that its misery would cause it to evolve into a liberal democracy. All seemed right with the rest of the world.
But today General Petr Kotovsky had been appointed to conduct a covert operation aimed at Alaska`s return to homeland. Many comrades were surprised to see him starting way South, with clandestine activity for Texas reunification to Mexico. But general was hoping that so were the Americans.


I opened the door to the room used for pre-departure briefings and saw some old professor-like man sitting by the desk. On the desktop in from of him he had something that I thought was a sex toy of some sort which looked like a magic wand.
“Come in” – he said. “Are you here for a pre-visit briefing?”
I smiled happily and replied, “Yes I am! But I consider myself pretty well-travelled. I have been over most of Canada. I have never been in Europe though”
He didn`t smile back. Instead he said:
- “Don`t be an idiot. Russia doesn't count as Europe. They're in China.” Then he paused reflecting on his own words “That's one interpretation… Anyway, do I seem rude to you?”
I shook my head. He continued:
- “Good. Because many of the older people, particularly those working in government jobs like customs, police etc. would seem horrible to you. As soon as you get used to this, try and make a conscious effort to have them smile. It can be a challenge but it's worth it. If you break the cold exterior that many Russians portray, you find the warmest center imaginable”. I tried conscious effort to make sense out of what he has just said.
- “Another word of advice: No fake smiles. If you smile you need a serious reason for doing that”. I almost smiled. “In US, people are expected to be more open to strangers, but only to a certain point. But Russians are culturally much more reserved and blunt than Americans and sometimes it comes across as rude or unpleasant to someone who doesn't understand that.” I gave it a thought. Stereotypes are a bitch.
- When does your visit start? He asked..
I wondered if professor was trying to draw parallels between my trip to those of the 1812 invasion and Operation Barbarossa. But I wouldn`t plan to extend onto the winter. So I said: “Tomorrow. And to be honest, I am a bit nervous”.
He smiled and said:
- “Do not be worried. I see you have an open mind, so Russia will be a lot like a frozen Texas to you. And before you go, do some reading on Lake Baikal, please”.
He put his hand to required forms and handed the file over to me.
- “Why would I be reading on Lake Baikal?” I said. ”There is nothing similar in Texas.”
- “Exactly. So find everything you can on those mysterious stories surrounding 1981 incident involving the Russian Navy and an encounter with underwater humanoids,” he said.
I didn`t reply, so he added:
- “And if you spend more than a day in Moscow I recommend going to my favorite shawarma stand! It's in a little open market across the street from the main exit of the Universitet metro station”.
I nodded, saluted, and left the room.


Alice was wearing a Union Jack dress. She was an MI6 agent, enjoyed her Martinis shaken not stirred, and loved the Boston accent of her husband Jack, which she thought was a CIA agent. Her husband was tall and tan, his arms and legs were thickly muscled and his waist was trim. His forehead was wide, his jaw strong and square. His head was shaved, only a fuzz of blonde hair showing and his forearms were heavily tattooed with different depictions of elaborate dragons. Overall, he looked tailor made from The Man Cookbook. She found it incredibly sexy. The accents, that is. It was interesting how a lot of her female friends she has told this have said that they don't find American accents that great on guys. However that could just be them. Other than that, Alice barely knew the man. Oh yes, he liked country music. Her female friends told her that that should have been the red flag from the beginning. Silly cows.
Alice took at sip of martini and thought of Russia. Nobody was going to believe this, but Western leaders actually just tried to launch a 'limited' nuclear first strike. The plan came unstuck, thank God. Thought certain leaders could never get tired tire of saying that they are still ready to press the button.
Alice took a piece of paper and a pencil and quickly wrote: "It's not working. I can't take it anymore. I am going to my mom's place." She left a note on the fridge, and walked away.


- "Do you know that one can fit about $3 billion worth of polonium into a shoebox? Well, if one was so inclined, that is", asked Miguel.
- “Me vale madre”. answered Jose, but then added “Who told you this shit”?
They were part of a Mexican crew doing a roofing job for some rich Russian businessmen called Boris.
- “Boris told me” answered Miguel proudly and looked at Boris, who spoke on his mobile to the contractor quite a distance away from both men.
The job was almost done, and Boris would soon have the roof of 2000 sq ft colonial replaced. Mexicans tore off everything down to the wood, and put on new dimensional shingles in a little over a day. Everything went smoothly, except that contractor wanted to get paid. Although Boris seemed pleased at this crew's ability to work in near-100 degree temperatures (higher on the roof, to be sure) wearing jeans and long sleeves and hats, he was upset with the price and a series of subcontractor relationships. A few "crew chiefs" who were most likely some illegal immigrants with insurance, brought in their crews, who were even "more" illegal--meaning they didn't speak English, were younger, din't have documentation etc.
Boris has recently become the US citizen, and the first question that bothered him now was “What`s wrong with all these immigrants?”
Although Miguel was English deprived, and Jose looked similarly challenged, Boris didn`t want them to hear his conversation.
From what the Russian knew, he was looking at about a $200 difference per square between what he was paying and what the crew was getting paid. Unless they get paid in burritos and cerveza.
- I am going to call IRS! – barked Boris.
Jose and Miguel looked at each other and stood up. They`d probably will be able to find lots of cool jobs if both hit the road now.
Fortunately, the price for the roof job has just become half less, and Boris immediately became satisfied as much more. It was perfectly obvious to Jose and Miguel. They sat back down.
What had not been visible to them was much more important in terms of upcoming events. Boris has not always been an entrepreneur. On the contrary, he`s always been an employee, whose life was about a good day’s work delivered for a good day’s pay. And all he cared about as an employee was execution. Of multiple enemies. Which fact possibly attributed to him being a very happy with his progress at true employer, the KGB.
“Komitet” recently tasked Boris with annexing Texas back to Mexico. It was a smart move considering millions of unauthorized immigrants in the USA. Boris could easily have illegals to play their role in the unrest. The only obstacle was some republican candidate called Donald, who promised to rescind protections for Dreamers and deport them. Moreover, Donald wanted to redefine the constitutional definition of U.S. citizenship as codified by the 14th Amendment, which potentially could have meant the end to legal immigration as well. That`s why the time was of the essence. To Boris. He looked at the newly furnished roof of his mansion, sighed, took his cell and called 911.


General Petr Kotovsky woke up covered in sweat and with a terrible headache. He slowly sat up, massaged his temples and glanced at the clock. It was 3:00am. He`s been having these recurring dream lately, where Mexican President made it clear to him that they will not take Texas back under any circumstances.
- “Even if it means we must use Mexican forces. We do not want any part of Texas.”
- What are you talking about? – cried Petr in his dream. Think about all their good bbq!
- Some of the best Texas BBQ I've ever had was in Atlanta! Answered the President. – “Bugger off!”
Had the General been the Mexican, he`d personally prefer California too.
Now, when Petr was awake, he tried to recall what language did he speak on to the Mexican President. It wasn`t Russian, nor Mexican. Couldn`t be English either. General always wanted to learn foreign language, and may be the time has come to do so. In the morning, he`ll recruit the private English teacher.
- “May be California was the reason of Mexican leadership forfeiting rights to Texas after got their butts kicked” – he thought. “Mexican forces. Pusses.” – he mimicked his opponent. “If Mexico still had Mexican forces they would have tried again. Problem was that all the worthy members of Mexican forces were now Tejanos”. Then he realized that the problem might actually be the solution.


A note on the fridge said: "It's not working. I can't take it anymore. I am going to my mom's place." It was from Alice. I opened the fridge. The light came on. The beer was cold... What the hell did she mean? I closed the fridge and dialed my travel agent.
They say Aeroflot is fine. Isn't the best airline of course, but definitely better than Delta. So I booked the cheapest flight from JFK (I figured that flying easterly from LAX would have taken me like 2/3 around the world the wrong way) with Aeroflot, and now sat on a plane bound to SVO (Moscow, Russia).
I looked at the window. Whenever I book air travel, I always sit in a window seat, and I contend that the window seat is the far superior seat in almost every way. At 30,000ft the view were amazing. So beautiful! I knew earth was flat...
I balled up my jacket, so as to use it as a pillow against the wall, and rested my head to nap on it. Then I noticed the only drawback: no easy access to lavatory. I`d have to ask two other people to get up when I need to use the bathroom. Both were Russian sailors. Sailor at aisle seat looked at me and stretched his legs and arms into the aisle. One arm, that is. He knew his aisle seat bathroom access was great. He blockaded it to me similar to what Turkey could do with Bosphorus, should Ottoman citizens wished to negate any advantage Russia may have gained with its Crimea annexation. Most likely I`ll soon be having a conversation with my row-mates to determine who will be peeing more. I had an assumption it would be them. It was based on the fact that they hid some alcohol under their seats, 4 liters of whiskey and 4 liters of vodka. Duty free edition.
- “That`s medicinal” – said to me sailor One.
- “And our primary method of hydration” – added sailor Two, “it IS 60% water” – they both laughed heartily.
- “I have Irish genes”, I nodded and smiled.
Both looked at my trousers while their faces wore a somewhat quizzical, almost impertinent air. Before today, I thought it's easy to strike up a conversation with someone when you're traveling.

Accidentally I saw mother and daughter who sat two rows ahead of me. Personally I don`t have kids. Can`t risk their happiness. The world is in such bad shape. Folks like me, who choose not to have children because the world is in bad shape are probably thoughtful people. On the other hand, if thoughtful people don't have children, what are we left with?
An attractive stewardess down the aisle started to serve food. Child happily jumped off of her seat towards her. Watching her move, I asked myself how does she manage to keep pace with the airplane. After all, we were moving at 500 mph. However, when she jumped, she appeared to move with the plane, rather than separately from it.
- “Lucy, get back here!” Mother called her child loudly. I never thought I'd see a Supernatural reference here. Distressed, I looked around trying to estimate other passengers close to me. The resultant list included:
Some pissed off German guy who didn't get an upgrade and was forced to sit with the peasants; angry Arab passenger who didn`t have 17 seats together for him and his extended family; fat American lady who wouldn`t eat anything on board because she`s a hybrid raw vegan; a British woman with sunglasses on for the entire duration of the flight; but apparently the scum of the flying world was a few frequent fliers with silver cards already asking for a complaint form. One of them looked at me, and I shrugged. To me all was fine. Clean airplane, nice employees, decent food. But then again, I wasn’t a frequent flier.
In the next five minutes I deduced that the rest of the immediate passengers were Russians, as they tended to be distant in public, weren`t smiling and didn`t seem conversating. I recalled how professor taught me to blend in, and then tried to emulate the people around me so that I won`t stand out. Then I noticed one more thing: Russian passengers dressed more conservative and almost didn`t use colors. Which made me stood out like a sore thumb because I wear colorful clothes. Wouldn’t` t be a big deal if I wasn`t here professionally. Which I was.
At this very moment, for no reason at all, a really beautiful air hostess approached asking if I`d like to move from my perfectly fine window seat to the only free row of 3 seats. It earned me dagger looks from two sailors. Then she gave me a free cappuccino. it felt like good karma or something. Was this just a coincidence?


“We`ll treat you very well. You`ll live in your own apartment in the city center of Moscow. Should we decide to go on vacation, you`ll have to travel with us because I don`t want my son to miss out on English lessons. You`ll work 32 hours a week (even during vacation) and make $6,000 a month” – General Petr Kotovsky typed in Google translate service for this new found nanny - the private English teacher for his 15 year old boy.
What he didn`t type was that this had been a cover. The private English teacher for his 15 year old boy that is. He didn`t want anyone to know how he didn`t know English. Besides, the cover was not solely for him. Which he also didn`t know. Somehow it was a WIN-WIN. Alice pleasantly nodded.


Russian Akula submarine was a huge, lone, stealthy weapon platform, capable of mass destruction, with monolithic, black appearance. Igor Ezhov never understood why NATO named it the Typhoon. Akula means shark. Igor Ezhov was the commander of Russian submarine fleet in the Arctic. He looked out from on top of the sail, completely surrounded by ocean. Surfacing and having swim parties was one of his favorite moments serving on a submarine. Here, in the middle of nowhere, the water was crystal clear. He could say they swam above the deepest part of the ocean. When he was very young sailor, he once jumped off the submarine into that clear water. And when he could see the sub below the waterline, he had looked down below his feet and there was nothing but black. This feeling of being so very small in the world stayed with him since then.
Now swim call on a submarine was at his discretion. And he just decided to set it up.
Leutenant Comander Oleg Sukhov and Sub-lieutenant Igor Turin stood in all-electronic, nearly paperless, control room that was fully lighted, completely networked, and which displayed imagery gathered from the periscope on large, clear digital monitors.
Sukhov looked at sub-lieutenant Turin and asked:
- Have you done this before?
- Done what?
- Swimming in the open ocean?
- Once. It was fucking terrifying. Its the closest thing i can imagine to being in outer space.
- Sukhov nodded.
- Right. I think it's even worse. The ocean is full of huge whales and sharks and octopuses who could fuck with you whenever they want and you can't even see them approaching. I'd rather sit in outer space in a spacesuit for like 3 hours than in the open ocean for 15 min.
- Turin laughed:
- “You forgot about polar bears. They are super fast, I think a lot faster than most people think. Alpha predators in a food-poor environment”.
- “Speaking of food”, - agreed Oleg, “ I have always wondered why they didn't just head south, so many nice juicy critters to feast on the farther south you get, but no let's just hang out and is giant fucking Ice Cube and hope for the best”.
Both stood silent for a moment.
- “Llucky for you, I`ll be staying here as a polar bear watch today”. – said Igor Turin as he zoomed in the display picture and investigated the guys on the top of the boat. Then he got to looking at all the faces. Some happy, some almost despondent. “But do not stray from the group anyway”.


General Kotovsky stood by the window and tentatively considered fluffy snowflakes falling from the skies outside. It was snowing in Moscow as in a fairytale. Cars were passing with difficulty on slippery roads. The real winter has finally come. The typical Russian winter, when what he needed most was the Texican spring. Peaceful demonstrations, opposition movement, constitutional reforms, all that.
General looked at stack of morning`s newspapers on his table and for a moment thought that he was seeing the news headlines “Texas voted..... the people decided they did not want the violent regime of Washington forced on them”. He also thought about down the barrel of a gun manner, in which the referendum may need to be conducted should things go way south.
It was an interesting thought, because international law seemed a bit self-contradictory on this. On the one hand a people's right to self-determination was supposed to be paramount, but on the other, a country was not supposed to take territory from another without permission, even if the people of that territory were in favor.
General had only one chance to start a revolution in Texas. In case of failure his career will be canned forever. He recalled on how he tried to meddle with Scotland referendum in the UK, strong-arming Freddo's manufacturers and suppliers to increase prices. His sleeper agents across the UK infiltrated positions of power and prepared chaos, violence, sacrifices. They believed in what they did. They did it in the name of the most basic of their human rights: the 20p Freddo Frog. He proved to be utterly mistaken. The rest of the country just sat and let him do it. Nothing happened. He should have tried to sabotage weather forecasting instead.
“Let`s shut off the internet in Texas”. – his advisers told him. But how one can organize the revolution without the internet these days? They were all old men, megaphones and fire type. Younger advisers suggested to close down McDonalds and IP-ban facebook. Idiots. He liked the idea of overturning of the 2nd amendment though.
General took his burner cell phone bought in Carphonewarehouse long time ago and instinctively dialed 112. His call was immediately routed to 999 and further redirected halfway across the world to 911. No one could have traced it, even if they wanted to.


Boris stood on the pedestal, bathed in a celestial ray of light, surrounded by Miguel and Jose.
“Texas does NOT need the United States....but the United States damn well needs Texas!” – he proclaimed proudly. Part of Boris`s business was in Alabama, which is why he decided to add: “And there are more and more States that are waking up and becoming willing to join Texas in these actions”. He made a mental remark to teach both Mexicans cry out “We in Alabama are all in!” later on.
- " DON"T MESS WITH TEXAS!" he exclaimed to his audience, who met it with wild applause.
Boris started to get down off his pedestal when a car drove by. Its driver then proceeded to wave at Boris. Boris didn't wave back because he assumed the driver weren't waving at him. With his Nordic mentality he still couldn`t get use to overly friendly Texans. Boris was especially at loss of words when strangers on the street would engage in small talk. Sure enough, plenty of people wanted to know how he was doing. It really didn`t make sense in his mind. His people would all have found it rather awkward.
An old F-150 stopped. Old gentlemen stepped out of the car and said to Boris:
- “We should get back those signs along the roadways, for sure”
- “Howdy!”, Boris said. For the first time in Boris`s live, something totally involuntary on his part had just happened. And it scared him a lot.
- "Bless your heart!" replied the gentleman, touched his straw hat, and then proceeded: “Those signs, you mentioned: “DON"T MESS TEXAS”.
Two more cars with apparently three Houstonians in each slowed down. The number of meeting participants had at least quadrupled. Boris got back up onto the pedestal. Houstonians stepped out.
- Gentlemen!, said Boris loudly. “You are welcome to join us in our cause of Texas secession from Washington corrupt government!” Though Boris tried to seem confident, he wasn't. He had been parts of several protest movements before, and knew that a large part of what makes it so hard is the fact that there are so many people who eagerly cheer for your failure, or even your outright destruction, if you bother to protest anything.
Houstonians got back in the car and drove on.
“I need more Mexicans”, decided Boris. “Because these Americans are really comfortable despite a lot of the shit that goes on”.


John Williams, an active-duty submarine nuke electrician, 3rd Class (E7) United States Navy, had just spent his seventy ninth day on board USS Ohio class ballistic missile submarine. Without surfacing. Same as the Russian Navy Akula (Typhoon class) submarine they were following to the Arctic. Russians spent most of their time trying to hide from everything, which meant no active sonar. And because USS Ohio didn`t want to be found too, no one knew where the other was. But as navigators with brains usually select the same, optimal route, the captain and executive officers of USS Ohio didn`t worry much.
John started his eighties day with praying. He was asking Almighty for the Russians to ran out of their food supplies real soon. He let the heavens know how nuclear submarines are able to provide their own infinite supply of air, water and power, but not the amount of food on board. To that, however, John would add toilet paper.
- “Let das Russian Boot ran out of food, toilet paper and personal hygiene”.
That`s what John Williams, “Texas born, Texas bred” prayed for today. John wasn`t sure if he was able to bear few more weeks of this life without cracking up, and finally becoming a Texan dead. Having said all that, he did love it. Being a submariner was something to be proud of.
John knew he needed some sleep, though it was not unusual for nuke electricians to go 48 hours without a nap. But today was the longest 75 hours John ever did. That`s why he thought he had started hallucinating when he heard “rig for red” over the submarine intercom system. Apparently, someone on the Russian sub finally flashed the toilet, or dropped some deck plates, or did something else which resulted in extremely faint, small sound emissions. Keeping farting to a minimum should count for something.
John buckled his seat belt and prayed for their Captain not to run them a ground or ram a tugboat. Then he closed his eyes and imagined how he`d have a little fresh air and see the sun once he got locked out of this underwater tube. The life was becoming great again.


For the first time since his great start with peaceful demonstrations in support of Texas reunification with Mexico, Boris had been nervous. He had just watched the TV news conference, which Russian Secretary General of the ruling party gave to the world. Out of a sudden, Donald trump was publically proclaimed "a very outstanding man".
Boris couldn't agree less. Trump was a threat to the great cause of Texas reunification to Mexico.
- "Heaven help the planet and mankind if this ludicrous and dangerous man were ever elected"; mumbled Boris to himself. He poured some Tecila and added: "Trump seems to make even Bush look like a genius. Throw in Palin and it's a Triad".
He sat for a while, sipping of his drink and slowly recalling the interview with Vlad aired on Russia Today an hour ago. Tecila started to depress his frontal lobes. It just didn't add up. What makes him think that Vlad endorses Trump? The fact that he says he endorses Trump? But why, why?
-"Why would the Russian Secretary General like to negotiate with Trump? Trump would leave America bankrupt, like his business ventures. He probably end up giving Alaska back to commie's, too".
As this idea came over his mind, Boris gasped. Alaska. His Mole Poblano project is just a decoy. That would explain Kremlin's 'Manchurian Candidate' efforts to destroy the US government from within.
He turned the TV back on and switched to FOX News. It was broadcasting live on the Republican presidential candidate delivering a speech to supporters in Texas.
- "We need to get Mexico's climate OUT of this country! Make America great again, and recycle!" Trump said. The crowd applauded politely and cheered.
- Global warming is just Mexican climate hopping our border. We need to build a climate wall. With a big door for when we want summer! - he shouted. The crowd applauded in awe.

Jose and Miguel came into the lounge and looked at the TV. They didn't understand a word, but sensed how Trump had just reached Mr. Burns level evilness in his thirty-minute speech, which by the way had been twenty minutes too long.
- "I will build my wall so high that it`d block out the sun!" Trump continued. Mexicans got the gist of candidates speech, but it wasn't the first time they'd have to immigrate in the shade. Juan and Miguel were spawn of folks from Jalisco and Nuevo León, respectively, and those are states renowned for machismo.
Boris turned the TV off an admired for the Russian Secretary General strategic genius. Boris had lots of connections but never actually made it to politics himself. He never minded before how lots of the GOP seemed to wish the US president was like Vlad. They clamored over how strong Vlad is. Mostly they were complaining on "Why can't our president be more like a despotic dictator who rules with an iron fist and crushes political dissent?" Boris always wandered at that point of view. The same people accused POTUS of being a despotic dictator every time he made an executive action.
It seemed that gradually Boris was becoming accustomed to the western ideals of freedom. A man wants to be free to do what he wants to do. And he wants the government to be free to make other people do what he wants them to do.
Boris stood up and saluted to Lone Star flag, which was waving majestically over him. Jose used this rare opportunity for a selfie. He wanted to upload the picture to Facebook right away but couldn't come up with any creative title. He'll probably have to steal some good lines from the songs again. Miguel didn't do nothing. He hated the US. But he also loved it. He was really, really conflicted about this. Both Juan and Miguel thought of Boris as a man with cojonas.
In a moment Boris relaxed, stood at ease and thought about adjusting his mission for new circumstances. He didn`t want Texas to be Mexican. Equally he couldn`t really seem to find any reliable sources on why the United States didn't expand inwards into Mexico, as not being "American" enough. As such it was obvious, that nor Mexico neither the US deserve the right to possess this great State. Boris`s Motherland does. He felt proud and happy. What Vlad says and what Vlad actually thinks are two different things. And Boris just happen to figure out both.


Alice saw Petr Kotovsky was ready for his first English lesson.
"Our. Mission. Today. is .to. discover.” - Alice tried to keep her Russian student focused.
She was speaking very slowly, using simple words of one syllable when possible, trying not to exceed the speed limit at which the brain of her student might be able to comprehend.
This technic was new, but already proven effective by Hillary Clinton addressing the Republican panel members.
Soon Alice realized that compared to Republicans this Russian General was super smart, and this realization made her job way harder. She set up the projector and switched it on. Blank map of the United States, without names, abbreviations, or capitals appeared on the 67-inch Tripod Projector Screen.
The mission was to label the United States.
- “Do you live in New England?” – asked her Kotovsky.
- “Yes” , Alice replied.
- “Show me where it is” he said.
Alice looked at the outline map and froze. Something was wrong. It was all there, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, New York, but no New England. She recalled how she had had fun with some of her colleagues back in the States, who thought that Spain is a country in South America. “Wait… It's not?”- Alice thought. She needed to see a properly labeled copy.
Luckily, General wasn't interested in her answer any longer. He was staring at Texas, murmuring “ Trabajo, Trabajo“. He did seem really Tence.
- Do you wanna talk about it? – Alice asked Petr.
- “Si senora”. He replied.
It seemed strange to Alice. When anybody talks about the US outside of the US they talk about California and New York and are aware enough to have heard of Texas and know to avoid it.
She didn't know that at this very moment general Petr Kotovsky wondered how long it would be before the Texas economy disintegrated and it wound up as Mexico's 33rd state.


Sometimes during descents or landings, my ears feel different, which usually results in mild and moderate hearing loss. This means that an airplane has reached the last, straight-in segment of the landing pattern and required no additional turns or maneuvering. I prepared to pay close attention to the in-flight announcements.
- "It`s captain speaking to you. Many congratulations on final approach to Moscow, your final destination”
I was glad he started out like good ole' mother Russia. However, I was upset almost immediately when he ended up as some weirdo eastern European splinter state:
- “Thanks you for flying our airlines. Enjoy your stay in most best country!”
The Captain`s words didn`t come through clearly to me, for sure.
I looked out of the window. The landscape down below looked like screenshots of STALKER, with the remains of some plane sitting just near the same airport where I was about to land.
Some gentleman at the row in front of me noticed the remains too and said:
- Airplanes are actually pretty fucking safe.
I wasn't expecting him to have a statistic to back that up, but decided to Google it myself later on. Next time I fly, it`ll be a must to have some statistics in my carry-on.
As of now, I nodded and said:
- “Well, no shit.”
I wouldn't say it was exclusively Russian thing, as I saw something similar at least twice. First was a wrecked DC-3 sitting at the South End of the Boeing Field runway in Seattle, and the second in Australia international airport, that has had this kind of stuff off the end of the runway for many years.
Gentlemen in the row in front of me couldn’t keep it in:
- This is for tourists and Westerners. The not so subtle intimidation starts right off the bat, and doesn't end until you leave.
Apparently, it wasn`t his first time in here.
“This is where they filmed Lost” – he added.
I looked at the talking head, and then at an attractive British girl who sat next to him. He was a guy that had trouble talking to the opposite sex.
- Better to see it when you arrive than right after you take off , right? - he asked me.
I didn`t answer.
Engines roared as the captain was trying to convince several dozen tons of airplane to meet the ground softly and stop flying at the same time.
When we landed, a bunch of passengers clapped. I wandered if they were anti-Capitalists. Being an American, clapping en mass in appreciation for what the pilots were trained to do felt..odd. But hey, it was an earnest applause, and I was in Russia.


While Alice sat alone in the kitchen, she reflected on how wonderful her experience with Petr have been.
In no time General Kotovsky could read, write, spell, and carry on sophisticated conversations in English. Alice was afraid to push harder his exposure, as Petr`s cognitive development could not handle learning any further without erasing his native Russian off of his brain. Hillary.Clinton.slow. speech.manner.made.wanders. Those members of Republican panel she first tried it on were probably beyond repair anyway. But people from other countries and Canada should actually adopt HC way to learn English. When Alice started with Petr he knew around 10 words in English. And it turned out that pacing.volume.and.tone.matterred. A. lot. There was never anything she couldn't explain with this new way of teaching. And it also let her to keep his retention level always in control.
At the end she had come to love Petr, who didn`t fit the stereotype of old Russian “Apparatchik” with a supermodel-esque gold digger wife. Alice didn`t get to know them on that intimate of a level though. It's characteristically Russian to be pretty private, and they were very much private people.
Despite that Alice was very much a feminist, she`d also come to love other Russian guys. Unfortunately it didn't really sit well with those who she came across. She would say the main difference in Russian feminism stemmed from the country's experience with communism and how gender equality was handled under that system. The common idea of what a liberated woman is in Russia was almost the exact opposite of what she, as British American, thought. Russian women were given equal rights and opportunities in public space under the law, but were then still expected to go home and be wives and mothers. That way they didn't really have the choice of picking a life in the public or private sphere, they were forced to do both.
Anyway, Alice knew her hours would have been cut drastically real soon and she wouldn't have been making the same salary. $72000 a year job. In awe Alice paused her torrent of thoughts. Why was she here at the first place? Money wasn`t really that important to her. MI-6 generous pay and pension packages covered that pretty much already. So, what possessed her to move to Moscow for adventure, of all places?
And then she remembered.


A 26 year old man enjoyed the birds-eye view of the Earth. “It`s the Paradise” – he thought. In moments like this he knew the Earth was his home. A habitat for all humanity. “So very precious!” - he whispered as he has been awed into concluding that this planet below is a living being. What looked especially magnificent to him was the river, hidden among the fertile plants of the surrounding hills with poppy fields. He closed his eyes in amusement. Then he opened his eyes, looked at the dashboard in front of him and released a series of 1,000-pound bombs over the fertile plants, over the river, over the surrounding hills, over everything. Because that`s what the pilots of strike bombers do. It was his first tour in the 'Stan, and he was yet to see the difference between patrolling a poppy fields, protecting a poppy fields, and destroying a poppy fields. He looked down. Today the evidence out there favored protecting the fields. Taliban crippled the opium trade severely, but now the industry was being restored. The world needed poppy plants to make pharmaceuticals and anesthesia.
“This is what the Middle East is” – said the pilot to himself. You need a score card or some type of graph to determine who is against who and you would need to update it on the hour. Carpet bombing seemed to be an easy solution to someone, but personally he didn't believe in it.

“White, fluffy clouds in a blue sky are beautiful”, thought a middle aged peasant looking up to the sky. This morning he was so fascinated with the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, etc. that for a second it seemed to him like he speaks to the magnificent waves of the air ocean and it responds to him through the rustling of leaves and the murmuring of the wind. Being a dreamer, he was sure that contemplation of the clouds benefited his soul. He closed his eyes in a warm, happy feeling. Then he opened his eyes, elevated his SAM launcher, activated the missile, acquire a steady lock-on tone, uncaged the seeker, and fired missile. He fired it into the fluffy clouds, into a blue sky, into he magnificent waves of the air ocean, and into the murmuring wind. Because that`s what Air SAM Stinger FIM-92 operators do. He exhaled softly. The "fire and forget" system required no other guidance from him to prosecute its target. His country ravaged by war had been taken over by violent gangs... But the guy he fired his missile at thought he could fix it by ravaging it some more.
- " Yeah that's what you get... “
Basically, he was a good man, even if filled with hatred to white westerners. To black westerners too. To sum it all up, he was against Westerner imposed democracy.


The UK has 2 organizations: MI5 and MI6. MI5 deals with stuff inside of the UK and MI6 deals with stuff outside of the UK. The head of MI5 is known as K, while the head of MI6 is referred to as M.
The US has 2 organizations: FBI and CIA. FBI investigates and enforces federal crimes and CIA is basically the spy agency, which gathers intelligence and performs operations in foreign countries. The head of CIA is known as CIA chief, while the head of FBI is still referred to as the F.B.I. director.
The meeting took place in London. CIA director sat facing MI6 head across the table. Both heads just had a cup of coffee. Maybe it was not coffee; let's call it coffee. Maybe they didn't have it. It is possible that someone else had it and now was going to the cafeteria for another hypothetical coffee.
The F.B.I. director sat on the other side of the table from the head of MI5. Both have just had lamb with pasta, drank some wine and ate a delicious chocolate cake as a desert. They were filled with good food.
Yesterday the UK government received an early warning of a potential threat to its well being. Secret operation for return of Thirteen American independent states to the British crown was in danger. The Russians, whom the Brits had tenuous agreements with, suddenly went like "thanksbye" and took over the process in Trotsky style. It is true that the Kingdom used the current events in Ukraine in anti-communist propaganda a lot, but it shouldn`t have been the source for geopolitical confusion.
For security reasons all four had their iPhones on, ready to set up a a group chat. However, it was essential to keep the ritual of small talk alive.
So... We're having a lot of weather lately, said M.
He was leaving no options to the Americans, who were used to intrusive questioning, prying remarks and direct interrogations. Takes two to tango, though. And Americans didn't want to talk about the weather or how their day was or what they did this weekend. There was nothing left to say, everybody smiled and started typing:

M: Russian Orthodox Christianity will soon be imposed on us all. 8|
CIA: Sounds more as salvation and not judgment :)
M: They`re amassing tanks to invade through Mexico. :poop:
CIA: it`s probably for aesthetic purpose. <(")
M: Through Alaska too. They`re building up the logistics to pull that off. They'd get Alaska for sure. :|] Only one major city, pretty near, and understrengthed.
CIA: Sarah Palin will see 'em comin'. <3
FBI: And she won't retreat; she'll reload!
M: they`ll invade by sea. 13 original US Colonies will be lost o.O
CIA: Their navies is out matched and outgunned by the US Pacific fleet. No enemy boots touch US soil.
M: I heard a story about Russian restaurants containing sleeper cells of Russian special forces that could be used to weaken America from the inside. 8|
FBI: news to me. >:(
M: they`ll invade through Canada
CIA: Canada won`t put up with Russia just marching on through. :O
But CIA wasn’t so sure as he typed. Canada military budget would allow for a strongly worded letter and maybe a warning shot followed by an apology. They`d better provide the funding before "the red menace" was literally pounding on the door. May be issue some war bonds for people to buy at Starbucks. Freedom Flavored.
FBI: the US have the largest number of legal and illegal gun owners in the world. :v
A huge percentage of gun owners having enough weapons to supply any unarmed neighbors suddenly became an advantage.
FBI: Let those Ruski bastards come.
CIA: Who`s in charge of the invasion? :-|
M: General Kotovsky.
CIA: No worries, we`ve sent an agent to whack him.
M: What? We have sent an agent too.
CIA: what for?
M: :-/
End of transcript.
“K” made a screenshot of minutes meeting and sent a whole shitload of valuable stuff to KGB (whatever was their knew name). He did this sort of thing often, but Center ignored it because they assumed it was a counterintelligence wonk from the CIA. But today was the day that everything changed.


Lieutenant Igor Turin stood his watch in the control room of a Russian submarine. He looked very pissed. They didn`t realize how much he missed for sunlight and fresh air. If he was a torpedo men, he`d be firing torpedoes in anger.
Petr glanced at his wrist watch and then looked at a big flat-panel monitor, fed from top-side TV camera. He immediately sensed that something was not right on the stern. Sailors were jumping out of the water, screaming. His surprise was immediately followed by a sudden realization:
“Blyat! Fucking bear ate Oleg!” - he gasped and turned the general alarm handle. Exceptionally loud repeated gonging noise filled the boat.
Sound waves travel very rapidly in water - about 4800 feet per second, as compared with 1100 feet per second in air. Weak sounds and strong sounds, high frequencies and low frequencies, all travel at the same speed. In less than a few seconds the loud noise reached the USS Ohio sonar operator. “What the fuck?” - for a moment, 2nd class sonar technician thought their boats were bumped by whales. In awe, he realized what happened: “Holy crap! We have been spotted!”.

Chapter 22

Canadian prime minister was furious. How dare the Americans to lecture him, the Canadian. And at his birthday! He flipped a knife and cut birthday cake in half.
“That will teach ‘em”, he thought.
He has just received a memo from CIA about how 4 divisions, 200 battle tanks and 150 howitzers is not enough to defend Canada's Arctic sovereignty against Russia.
“When was we attacked the last time?”, he addressed defense minister.
“The last time Canada was attacked was in 1814 during the War of 1812”
“By Russians?” – prime minister pictured hordes of Cossacks moving through the north pole from Russia and almost fainted.
“No, by the United States “ said defense minister.
Prime minister tried to picture hordes of Cossacks moving in from the US and fainted.
When he opened his eyes, nothing changed, except that he laid on the coach.
So he said:” We aren't going to be fighting any wars solo and if we really had to go toe to toe against Russia without US support we'd lose”.
Everybody nodded in support, except for defense minister. “ how about defending our northern frontiers from Danes? He asked.
All present ignored him.
Prime minister stood up, took a knife and flipped it again.
“Somebody please take a picture or video ” he said and flipped a knife for the third time. He had nice hair today and pmwithknife.jpeg will definitely come out very cool. Next time he'd try to Photoshop fighting with Vladimir Putin on a grizzly bear. He hasn't decided yet. Though polar bears are vicious killers and bigger than grizzlies it was hard to say to whom would the edge go.
He looked around to make sure that everyone was filming , and made a note to upload this to YouTube later to beat Putin's record. Being anti-Putin, he dreamt how if they ever make direct contact the force of the explosion will annihilate the entire universe.
“So what should we reply to the CIA? “ prime minister asked.
“Given that our neighbor is a torturing sociopath, it's probably best we lay low”, noticed defense minister. Others nodded in support.
Obviously, nobody in this room had a vision. Except for him.
“Prepare to issue additional sanctions against Russia” he declared. “But in a way that it would not hurt Russian or Canadian financial interests”.

Chapter 23

The Junior Officer of the Deck stood atop the Russian submarine conning tower and stared at a large glow that appeared below the boat. He was thoroughly familiar with the various types of hazards his submarine might have encountered at sea, but only thing he could thought of now was maybe a whale churning up plankton.
Suddenly crewmembers rushed to below deck, yelling "cyka blyat". At the same moment loud alarm horn blasted into Junior`s ears. It took him a while to figure out what was going on. Through the windows in the conning tower he cast one more glance at the glow, which now moved to the starboard side, just aft of the stern. The Junior Officer jumped below deck, secured the upper hatch and saw the COW. He wouldn’t want to be Chief of the Watch today.
- "Last man down, hatch secure. Prepare to dive." - The Diving Officer of the Watch announced. The diving alarm sounded twice. The boat went "all ahead-full" and minutes later submerged.
- "Blyat nahui" - said the Junior Officer to the COW and opened the bottle of mineral water.
The Commander of USS Ohio class Submarine just received a report of what happened on the surface and was very curious as to where the Rusky boat disappeared so fast.
- “Where do we think it appears next?” he asked the navigator.
- “ On fucking Youtube, probably" the later suggested.
“Follow where do you think he would have followed” – he said sternly. The Commander felt like he needed more coffee. Preferably that has sat in the pot for several hours and aged into a fine viscous sludge. This was his first and foremost requirement for safe submarine operation.
Few miles away The Skipper of H.M.S. stealth nuclear submarine of the Royal Navy tried to make sense of two submarine chaotic movements he spied on for three month. He commanded Britain’s “stealthiest” submarine with 40,000 acoustic panels covered its surface to mask a sonar signature completely. This allowed him sneak up on Americans and Russians alike, and lurk unseen and unheard at depth. The only distinct operational disadvantage his enemies could have count on was his addiction to wimpy drink like tea.
- "Pardon me, old chap, he addressed a helmsman. "Would you mind change our course 15 degrees North? Ah yes. Reminds me of my days hunting the elusive white-tailed wildebeest with my old mates from Eton, always one step behind our prey. Finest lads you could ever know, those boys. Anyway, where was I... 15 degrees North. We`re getting back home before the pubs shut", he joked. Helmsman laughed and trimmed the product of 98 years of British technology slightly. He was happy, too.

Chapter 24

After landing at Moscow`s Sheremetyevo Airport I waited 50 minutes for my luggage and grabbed it as soon as it came out on the carousel. Then I headed for the exit. As I approached it, I saw a long line of people to the left, with open bags and what I assumed were customs officers going through them.
- “This is strange”, I thought. The Russian customs is generally quite relaxed, and so it is very unlikely somebody will search through your bags or try to tax everything you have on any ordinary day.
Dead ahead of me was a very wide opening with a sign over it with the words "Nothing to Declare". Without a thought other than 'fuck that', I walked into the "Nothing to Declare" portal. Doing this kind of feels like driving around without a driver's license. They probably won't randomly inspect you, but if they catch you, you are probably screwed. I hardly thought this over as I came upon a customs officer. I made an off face as it seemed strange they were inside the green corridor. This naturally made me suspicious and I was stopped. An officer had that bored-as-hell-please-kill-me look they always seem to have and I thought he needed a laugh. So I said:
"What do you need?" He didn`t smile, so I added conspiratory : "Let me quickly smoke it, officer". I was 30 years old. You'd think I'd know better by then.
Officer didn`t smile again. It`s funny how people of the same occupation are similar all over the world. The US customs officers hardly ever smile too. I experienced that many times entering USA. Probably it has something to do with the monotony of the job.
Officer kept staring through me, as though being under the presumption that I was lying in order to gain access to his country. It was his job to find liars and today he was spot on. Or perhaps it was just a random check.
- "Anything to declare?" he asked me.
I mentally itemized volume on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, cash and weapon I had on me and said “No”. May be one day I`ll write a book “How to lie your way across the Russian border”.
- "Any alcohol or cigarette?" I thought I already answered that but then I remembered that I didn’t and said “No” again. You see the main problem is the first time you lie and get caught. Then you`re fucked for life. They will search you every time forever and you become their cash cow. But this was my second lie and I still didn`t get caught.
Officer gave me some flier and waved me through with some joke like:
- If you ever bring a bottle of Dom Perignon or something just declare it as a nondescript "one bottle of wine".
I felt guilty as fuck. I almost turned back and confessed. I couldn’t imagine something like this happening when I traveled to Canada. For whatever reason, CBSA was the most aggressive and douche border service in the world. Compared to Russia, CBSA was by far the worst.
So I walked briskly through the "Nothing to Declare" portal and quickly found myself in that cold, Moscow air.

Chapter 25

Alice turned the TV on and switched to Discovery channel. There a professor of history lectured listeners on the Gettysburg address. On November 19, 1863, at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln, weak and lightheaded with an oncoming case of smallpox, made a speech.
"A government for the people, by the people and of the people", quoted him the professor. Alice turned off the TV and thought of her own nation.
- “That's fine words he's saying !” Mans voice said.
Alice turned and saw General Kotovsky, who stood quietly not far from her, about to enter into the hall room. His English improved beyond imaginable. Alice didn't know if it was her, or he was a genius.
- “What words?, asked Alice.
- “About the government for the people. Isn't it funny the United Kingdom never made such pretense?” It was a rhetorical question and Alice didn't say anything.
Petr continued:
- “You, and by you I mean Americans and British, live in surveillance states now. What you always described us to be. That's you.”
Alice smiled.
- “Are we the baddies?”, she said. “Impossible”. They both laughed. “We live in freedom, Petr”.
- “But it's a false freedom”, he objected. “. A life under constant surveillance is not a free life. You will always, on an unconscious level, be aware that someone from the government is watching you. This will influence what you do online if even you don't notice it. Tell me, how is that freedom?”
- “You tell me”
- “I am telling you. As I see it there's a countdown over you heads: the countdown is until full-blown, jackbooted authoritarian fascism arrives, and uses the archived communications of you population to purge the undesirables, and those who do not pledge adequate fealty to your leaders and their agendas”
Petr paused. He was KGB general who new all about mass surveillance.
- When a government begins tracking its citizens to the extent yours is doing now, it's usually planning to dispose of a bunch of them.

For a moment Alice almost panicked. Obviously the man had some sort of strong psychic presence over her. What if he was turning her into a double agent?
- “I am not staying in Russia, Petr.” She said. “If things go breaking bad, Canada will probably look nice”
- “You don't understand. Every English-speaking country in the world is in on it. Australia, NZ, Canada, UK, US.” Petr almost called Ireland but then didn't. Their politicians weren't competent enough to come up with such a spying program.
- Fine then. The north of Spain looks nice. But not Russia.
- Alice, there's nowhere on this planet that the NSA does not reach. Except Russia ( he almost added “and Ireland”). They can't do Russia unless I am no more KGB General (he almost added “or Irish”) .
Petr really wanted this teacher to stay with him. He's fallen in love with English.
Alice was emotional disturbed. They say it's rampant in surveillance states. Paranoia, apathy, extremism, nationalism - all expressions of a psyche damaged by the loss of freedoms. This Russian somehow made sense. Few years ago if you thought you were being watched you were emotionally disturbed. Today you are an idiot if you believe you are not being watched. Alice took her smartphone and was about to google something, when realized that all tech companies were spying on her. Orwell had it right all along: no escape.She put it back into her pocket.
“So, VPNs for all?” cheered her Petr. “ I could probably arrange one for you tomorrow with the help of local telecom company”

“It's a fascinating concept that a telecom company would want to help out its customers”, thought Alice. But then again, she probably lived in the US for too long.

“Ok” she said to Petr. “VPNs for all, and all for VPNs”.
Petr smiled, nodded, executed perfect about face and headed to the US embassy, where he was to deliver a speech at a conference entitled “Democracy or Dictatorship”. He was speaking on behalf of dictatorship. Yanks stood no chance.

Chapter 26

Boris has been awake for three hours and the thunder hasn't stopped since yesterday. Texas weather drove him nuts. Monday he was about to freeze to death at a bar, Tuesday he got dressed warmly, let the dogs out and then had to change when he realized it was going to be 75 all night. When it started to get colder again Boris chose to ignore the change hoping it`ll come back to warm in no time. He was almost right. It was cold in the morning but not too bad. Then all of sudden it got butt-clenching cold. Colder than a witches tit. It's snowed a little last night!
“I am sick of this weather. Man I want sun”, said Boris to his Golden Retriever. Which was also half pit-bull. That was a beautiful dog. True, Boris didn't know what to expect from that mix, but it looked like a sweetheart.
Boris got to walk the dog and on his way back home passed by his truck which stood unattended for some time. He tried to have his license re-newed last month and he couldn't do it online as he was required to prove his citizenship. Kind of a pain as he was a naturalized citizen, but he was able to locate all his paperwork (some was 40 years old from former Soviet Union archives). They barely looked at it.
- “Oh man that sucks”, said Boris to his Golden Retriever. Which was also half pit-bull.
The secession movement wherein millions of Americans would have responded to Boris`s hurrahs by collectively threatening to leave the US was proceeding full speed ahead. It was all in the demographics; Mexicans were the largest ethnic group in Texas, including the youngsters who was old enough to vote. The new Bolsheviks, though they have been broadly Left, was mostly angry, some crazy, but they weren’t the wealthy and powerful. Just dirt poor. So at the moment they vote for free money (Boris) but in time, when they have some money, they decide voting conservative to preserve the things they believe in. And Texas will go back to the US. This was a vicious circle that Boris didn`t know how to break.
- "I am screwed", - told Boris to no one, but his Golden Retriever., which was also half pit-bull, understood anyway.

Boris entered the house, closed the door and went to kitchen. He helped himself with a glass of water, turned on the TV and sat on a chair. Then he found his favorite show, which was Mexican tv weather channel. Needless to say that along with the return of Game of Thrones, Boris was looking forward to seeing what the weather is like in Mexico throughout the year ahead as well. One of his favorite things about Mexico was that they only cast Tv stuff to the very hottest people. With American tv there was a certain expectation of variety of body types (even if that just meant giving a hot girl glasses and pretending she was not hot). But watch Mexican soap operas and it's uberhotties all day long. As opposed to those American soap operas that are full of uggos. One couldn't lose his boner more quickly then watching the General Hospital. But absolute worst was the British TV, where they seemed to go out of their way to get ugly people. Or may be it was just how they looked.
- “Oh my! Bless this woman!” cried Boris as he watched the hottest weather girl ever. People in Mexico must have had no fucking clue what the weather was like. Cause it was always hot. Sometimes humid. With rainy days on rare occasions. Boris couldn’t take his eyes off of the girl. The full turn of her body was so deliberate. She knew what she was doing to Boris and she had no shame. Boris appreciated that. He thought of Trump:
- “That damn Trump is trying to keep her away from us!” Boris swore.
If Trump builds a wall, Boris needed to get her on the right side of the border. Suddenly Boris froze with realization. He didn't need millions of voters or infinite funding. All he needed to win was just this one weather girl. He`ll email her and ask for a visit. He`ll take her to a safari with him. He`ll play music about love as they'll be feeding giraffes. He`ll put the inspirational music in the background and tell her everything about living life to the fullest. Then they`ll go to a bar and later he`ll arrange for a drive to the airport for a flight back to the US. Half of Mexico guys will follow in no time, may be all of them. Tens of millions of free voters. Guaranteed secession. Job well done.
Boris stood up and ran out. He was ready to approach the apocalypse with a can-do attitude.

Chapter 27.

Soon as I walked out of the Moscow airport I almost fainted at cold, but then paused and tried to feel how actually cold it was. Getting used to cold temperatures is partly a mind thing.
I looked around in search of someone who'd advised me of a company with an English speaking Taxi dispatcher. I was fine with jumping in random cars but my Russian wasn’t really good enough to give directions. Naturally I didn't see anyone worth asking and for the moment I almost decided to be adventurous, stick my hand out and grab some random gypsy cab driver. Then I felt that someone touched me and a woman's voice said:
- Are you looking for a taxi?
I turned around and saw this beautiful young woman, dressed in Aeroflot new navy blue winter uniform for flight attendants. My first thought was it needs more cleavage. My second thought was the answer :
- Yes, I am! I am staying at Four seasons Moscow hotel.
I recognized her. She was a flight attendant on the plane that I flew in.
- “That’s great!” She said “ I live nearby. Let's use Uber. Some Taxi drivers in Moscow are mad at Uber cabs but I assure you they're the best.” She looked expectantly at me while I remained silent thinking over her uniform deficiencies. A good turtleneck sweater would be a great way of accentuating everything on her body.
- “Of course! Thank you.” I replied as she accessed some application on her smartphone.
While she was at it, few other cabbies attempted to trick us in. One of them actually was like a character from a Grand Theft Auto game, and it was kind of awesome, until he said:
- “ I have air conditioning and my car is very clear. You'll be riding like white people!”.
I barely had time to process what he said, as my beautiful companion swept in with her face white as chalk:
- “Please don't listen to him! I am so sorry. It's an idiom. In Russian, it's common to say "like white people" to mean "really well", "comfortably", etc. nothing to do with racial profiling or African-Americans.”.
I nodded. “Yeah, I understood that. And that's the offensive part”.
- "Oh, you're American?” , continued the driver who obviously overheard the girl. “ Tell Obama Putin's gonna win and give back Alaska." Yet he said so friendly and laughed. He took out a Snickers candy bar, which Canadians would call a chocolate bar, unwrapped it and disappeared. That was cool.
At last our car arrived and we both hopped in. I couldn't help but notice a dash cam. Here's to hoping I'm not a part of any memorable footage.
- “Here we are.” Told the flight attendant as we settled in. I was looking forward to safety instructions. But instead she said:
- “My name’s Maria”.
Maria was beautiful. I saw how the driver cast a glance or two towards her a couple of times. When he tried to look at her for the third time doing 80 miles an hour , I said:
- “Hey, dude! Watch out for meteors!” I wouldn't trust a Russian taxi driver who forgets he’s not driving a fucking rocket.
I faced my Maria and asked: "So are you Jesus' mother or Jesus' girlfriend?" For this she had no ready reply and we both laughed.
- “My names Jack” , I held out my hand. “Na zdorovie”, I added. Talking with the beautiful Russian flight attendant in Russian, cause “pochemu nyet?” It's these moments that make learning another language worth it.
The driver dialed up a car radio. So there I was, in a Russian taxi listening to Russian pop music not quite believing that I was in Russia or that I was actually quite enjoying the Russian pop! My inner voice told me the next step would be to offer to Maria a stop at an English pub to do vodka shots and eat very beautiful buffalo wings and hold hands. Or not.
So we hurtle through Moscow, talking about Rachmaninov with beautiful Russian lady, 2nd piano concerto on the stereo. I posted this on Google hangout for all my bosses in Langley to know. “ No biggie” I typed, “But don’t act like your not impressed ..!!"
Maria leaned forward and told our cab driver to step on it. I felt like I was in a Jason Statham movie.

I opened Google hangout again and added “Russians don't fear death. They've lived in Russia”. And now have I.

Finally we hit the bad traffic. Our driver knew how to stay relaxed in bad traffic. He opened the glove compartment and produced what seemed like unlimited supply of bubble wrap. I was impressed. It's a brilliant way for someone to deal with anger. Hell it would be a good idea for a lot of people. It'd love it. Seriously though, I have so much respect for people who develop ingenious, healthy coping skills like this. In psychology it's called sublimation. Which means something you do for yourself that makes you feel good but isn't productive and doesn't really fix whatever made you need the release. Which in our case was bad traffic. Speaking of psychology, I once wanted to become a shrink. I knew there was going to be a lot of depressed people pretty soon and was planning to cash in on their sorrows. I wasn’t altruistic at the time.

At last we got a ride on.
I couldn't get the dash cam out of my head. You never know what is going to happen on them.
- “Hey, body!” I asked the driver Speedy.. “What's with the dash cam? Are you without insurance or something ?
He laughed and replied with thick Russian accent:
- “OK, originally people in Russia started to use dashcams just because of scams. Imagine you are driving in your car 60-65 miles in a left lane”.
That was hard to imagine to me as we were doing at least 90. I nodded.
- OK,” he continued, “imagine you notice that someone from the far back driving very fast and signaling you with a high beams light. Like "get a fuck off my way".
I gave it a thought. In the US you never flash your high beams as a way of saying "get the fuck out of the way", especially around semis because it means "you're clear to get over [in my lane]".
I noticed that the driver was waiting for my answer expectantly looking at me through the rear view mirror. Did I say we were doing 90?
I swallowed and nodded. He continued:
“So you decide politely give this person a way but instead of going further he is getting also to the right lane and than he is hitting your car. He got a right of way and it is your fault. His car is 20-40 times more expensive than yours and there are actually 5 well build guys inside. Their damage is serious (it was serious before " accident " but they are stating opposite) Your damage is minimal. At the early ages there was no real insurance. (Nowadays is much better) So, cops on their side. And if you don't have some powerful friends from some gang or even better law enforcement - you fucked”.
I looked at Maria, who seemed to be asleep. Which was the good thing with all the f words flying around.
- “Wait a second”, I said. “Are you saying that in Russia, someone who rear-ends your car sues you?!!"
- “Yes!” He replied. “0f course there are many others scams like pedestrians falling on you hood or some crazy accidents with some people driving on red etc.”

We drove in silence for some time. It's strange but I always thought of Russia as of Brazil. Now, however, I loved Russia a lot more, because Russia had this great element of the absurd. Brazil was just people who had nothing, killing each other for no reason.

Chapter 28.

General Kotovsky sat in the armchair, just looking through today's American newspapers online. He read through some articles about the race for the White house, which in his opinion was powered by delusions. “Delusions is now the reality; and mendacity is the truth”, he murmured and laughed. He thought of himself as of a smart man.

He lighted a cigarette and poured himself some whiskey. He thought of himself as of a healthy man. He couldn't care less about doctors recommendations. Petr could be dead a few times over with the close calls he has had. He was a man of age now, and in good health except for osteoarthritis; “Fuck it” he thought, “I've had a good run”.

As he said it his attention was caught by an international activist movement, originated in the African American community , called BLM. It reminded him of his own youth, when many years ago he too was a member of VLKSM, The All-Union Leninist Young Communist League.
But unlike VLKSM, the BLM seemed somewhat different which was hard to grasp to Petr.
The first newspaper read:
“This is strange”, thought Petr. In Soviet Russia such a bold move wouldn't be attributed to some young ideologically faithful people. Only old communists could have the prerogative to redistribute capitalists property. Only the government. The government could take whatever it wanted from whoever it wanted whenever it wanted.

General Kotovsky didn't like this. As a young boy he once was, he read a lot of stories about native Americans, the Indians, who rode their wild horses day and night. The were true romantics. And wild horses were the most beautiful and symbolically poetic representation of America. Petr was pissed!
“Why are they grabbing land?” Petr thought. And then answered himself: “Fuck!”. They are doing it across the country to control the Food and Water. If things proceed at this speed, this mysterious BLM might eventually interfere with his own plans to liberate the USA. That is to take back Alaska and turn Texas into Russian enclave.
He must call Boris as soon as possible and warn him for impending problems.

Chapter 29

Some time ago Zhou Xin heard this joke about how Chinese intelligence and security services have no name. Of course they do. It's just that most of them are unknown to the public. Like Embroidered Emissaries. Or Brocade-clad Guard. Unfortunately, in an effort to keep up with the rest of the world, as well as to be more in line with all these CIAs, MI5s, KGBs and what have you, his government recently shifted from traditional colorful naming to much more utilitarian. He looked at his badge with Ministry of state security logo and yawned. “When everything is named by committee, no one gets to be the Order of the Flaming Dragon anymore” he thought regretfully.
Zhou’s task today was to provide security at a secret meeting where the Taliban members secretly met with the representatives of Afghan government for a secret talks. The meeting resulted from cooperation of the Pakistan and Afghan governments with the support of China. The fact that China agreed to host the talks was the latest sign that Beijing was encouraging peace efforts. So publicly everyone spoke of situation stabilization, future for Afghan people, enduring peace, and development at an early date.
But behind the doors everything was different. Zhou accidentally overheard a conversation between two guests, though he couldn't remember for sure which guest was talking what:
- “They say that China has a huge problem with opiate addictions” , said the guest one.
Zhou wanted to say that the drug had been present in the region since the 15th century, both home-grown and imported, but then remembered that his duties was to provide security and not small talk.
- “You gotta be kidding me”, answered the guest two, “didn’t you know this was one of the main reasons the US went into Afghanistan? To take over that industry and use it as a bargaining chip against China.”
Zhou was confused. He thought that the main reason was the CIA to export all the opium back to the US, sell it, and fund total black ops just for the fun of it.
- “No way!”, said the guest number One.”Though now when you mentioned it it makes sense”.
“There is more to that”, continued guest Two. “The whole US involvement in the middle east had an effect of slowing down China’ s ability to catch up to the US with oil refinement”.
Zhou wasn’t confused this time as he knew nothing about oil refinement.
- “Not freedom?” - Gasped the guest number one in excitement.
- “Are you kidding me? The military official name for the involvement was Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.), which was later quickly changed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom"!

Zhou loved that word. Freedom. He watched a movie about Scotland once. Brave Heart. He actually cried when Mel Gibson yelled “Freedom!” for the last time. He picked around the corner, saw two guests with their backs to him, and decided not to push his luck any further. So he walked into adjacent hall, where two individuals from Pakistan spy agency discussed the issue at hand a bit louder than was necessary with apparently someone from the US intelligence, though Zhoe didn't see how the one came to be here.
Their talk went like this:
- “Do you think Afghanistan will collapse or will this war end one day with the Taliban defeated?”said Pakistani man.
- “Well, I wouldn't expect the Irish countryside in the dessert but…”
- “Taliban cannot be defeated”, interrupted him Pakistani guy.
- Why?
- It's a matter of culture and tradition. Pashtuns are traditional people, they don't care about stuff like democracy or other left-wing ideas.
- But perhaps they would be interested in things like consumerism, hollywood, xbox, playstation4, iPhone6?; American dude stood his ground professionally.
- Why would anyone have time to think about those things when their prime concern in life was a couple acres of land, 3 heads of cattle and a 5-6 children. Plus, the people wouldn't so much as breathe without asking the elders first”
- And there is nothing better for asking the elders with but by doing it with a new iPhone6!” Laughed an American who obviously already knew the solution to all problems this region ever had.

Zhou gave it a thought. If the US and NATO finally decide to leave Afghanistan, the remains of whatever freedom and democracy they gave to the Afghan people will fall swiftly go to the Taliban. By then the northern alliance will take their territory and the Pashtuns/Taliban will take theirs; and everybody will be back to square one, and Afghanistan will effectively enter the same cycle it did after the Soviets left. Pakistan will be among the first countries to recognize the Taliban regime and send truck loads of aid there. The refugees in Pakistan will become brokers. Business will boom on the Afghan border, and China will talk to Taliban for mining rights of rare minerals. Refineries will produce batteries for the next bendable Samsung smart phones and all will be happy. Barring the US interests tied to the opium fields.
The last sentence on Zhou's thoughts seemed to be the key and made it impossible for all to be happy.
Zhou shrugged his shoulders and decided not to listen anything further. He got tired with these simple questions and complex answers. Apparently, diplomatic job was not for him. Zhou looked at his Ministry of State Security badge and smiled. Its logo seemed perfect.

Chapter 30

Russian navy Akula class nuclear submarine was going ahead at full speed. Its streamlined and carefully shaped hull minimized all the drag, noise and non-acoustic signatures completely. No one was supposed to detect its location ever. Still, someone did. And Akula had to spent six hours straight trying to loose whoever chased it. Admiral Ezhov looked around. Officers in the Control Room were pretty much like zombie. Actually the whole crew looked zombie like. All this CRAZY IVAN maneuvering didn't go well on his people. The one last roll to starboard they took was especially bad. It was so bad that Admiral was hanging from the scope handles, feet off the ground. He heard the report few minutes later about a crew member who literally fell out of his rack and into someone else’s without touching any surface.

Igor Ezhov, the Commander of the Russian submarine fleet in the Arctic, looked around once more, made sure the boat was under control, walked out of the room and went into his own quarters. Once inside, he opened a safe and took out several recently received pictures taken by a spy satellite orbiting Earth, which clearly showed a gaping hole located at the North Pole; Admiral came to the table, where in front of him he had a map used by Nazi submariners, or “Krigsmarine”, almost seventy years ago. The map depicted two secret passages where German U-Boats accessed mysterious underground regions. Enough evidence to support the hollow Earth theory. Personally Admiral Ezhov thought that the Nazis were into a whole lot of totally bullshit pseudoscience. Admiral , from his life long underwater Ocean voyages concluded that the Earth was flat . And he believed that the Arctic was Santa Claus` home. Admiral recalled his childhood, his family, his father…. His father was a very unlucky man... He always left home to buy the newspaper right before Santa was to come. However, the weirdest part was that he was starting to think that Santa had a crush on his dad, as he always said that his dad must have been a very handsome and good man.
Anyway, Ezhov’s orders was to locate the passages, and put Russian flag at the entrance of each corridor.
“Santa Claus, here we come”, said Ezhov and locked all the documents back into the safe.

Chapter 31.

A homeless man couldn't sleep since he experienced a noise exposure generated by air traffic few days ago. Actually none of his friends could sleep since that night too. So for the purpose of solving their common problem through mutual assistance, they decided to form a self help group. They soon elected a keynote speaker who begun the meeting with the words:

- There is something fundamentally wrong in our society, when so many people cannot sleep due to stress and worries!
Everyone agreed “yeah, that's a real worry”. He continued:
- I think it's time for a government to recognize the difference between waking and being awoken!
A crowd cheered, and few demonstrators took out “NO to Rage Tossing” posters.
Speaker raised his voice:
- They say we have a problem with sleep, but I say it’s a problem of those currently in power ! The near insane life we attempt to adapt to from savage government policies, can only result in the growth of sleep deprivation and ensuing mental health problems throughout society. First, the NWO government, (who doubtlessly do not suffer from insomnia) induce insomnia in the nation, later comes their master-plan, a world suffering from insanity which is easy to govern!!!
Key note speaker was on fire. He recently finished reading Fight Club and went directly to American Psycho.
- “I say we form a sleep club!”, he cried and the crowd went wild.
- The first rule of sleep club is a healthy lifestyle. The second rule of sleep club is a healthy lifestyle. Third rule of sleep club: you lay in bed, alarm goes off, the sleep is over. Forth rule: only eight hours sleep length a night. Fifth rule: eat 3 hours before bed, fellas. Sixth rule: no caffeine, no alcohol. Seventh rule: add melatonin as a supplement if you have to. And the eights and final rule of sleep club: if it's a critical issue in your live, make the government listen!
The speaker went into shamanic trance dance and reestablished full connection with the voice of his heart. Soon the demonstrators were joined by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants, until over a half of parking place in front of 7/11 was full with people.
The keynote speaker was a KGB single serving mole. His only mission was to raise the money when needs be. Of course he didn`t have a need to know what needs be about. Today it was about financing super project for dissolution of the United States, as an act of revenge for the fall of the Soviet Union. Texas and Alaska was almost a done deal, which wasn`t enough though. If stopped, it`d be just like Soviet Union loosing control of two small but troublesome regions, the Baltic and the Caucasus, but still very mush alive.

- No one is going to give us a better life! So I say we take our chances! And not like those poor commie countries with revolutions and wars, but capitalist way. We`ll buy it! For those of you not that familiar with the Powerball, it seems to cost only $2 per ticket! Poor people like us has nothing to do but play for a better life!

Many listeners looked confused. They either didn`t have $2 dollars or didn`t believe in fate.
However, the majority seemed to concur with the message and went to a local 7-11 to buy tickets.
The homeless man bought one, too. Key note speaker made sure the homeless man have gotten the right numbers.
As any of the KGB single serving moles, he was trained to memorize those numbers if for some unknown needs he was to be sent back to the past. Such needs occurred yesterday. Tomorrow the numbers will be: 8, 27, 34, 4, 19 with the Powerball 10.
“There is nothing but the ETERNAL NOW” was the motto of KGB time machines department.

Chapter 32

Boris lived in a very rich neighborhood but hardly left his house. Unlike Miguel and Juan, two temporary workers,who grew up in the ghetto and loved driving around through a bunch of multi-million dollar mansions because the architecture was like nothing they have ever seen before.

Driving around also brought a lot of questions into their mind. Like how is it that that one guy had two boats, 5 shiny new cars in the driveway of his mansion and Miguel and Juan could barely get a new set of tires. Like, how did this guy view the world and the environment around him with all he had?

So they had to be careful of those paranoid white people who would have called the police if a 95 Honda Civic was driving around their neighborhood, and who could have thought that Mexicans were scoping out houses to rob.

Suddenly a very strange bird flew over their heads. Few seconds later they realized it was the Amazon delivery drone which they heard a lot of but never actually saw. When Miguel was a young boy, he watched Terminator like million times, and today his subconscious made it all click.
- “Sky net is active”, thought Miguel.
The drone hovered above them and then proceeded to drop the products, what seemed to Juan like big black dildos, on to the customer.
“Miguel, look!”, yelled Juan as the drone finished the carpet bombing.
Miguel didn't reply. He was thinking more of the lines of a discrete drug smuggling operation. If only they could copy the looks of an Amazon Delivery drone and deliver their large quantity of drugs. No one would ever suspect a thing. Obviously a lot of effort on the front end to build a copycat copter. But with the help of Cartel the dealer could avoid revealing who they were and where they lived by using the drone's cameras to look for a safe, police-free location. Drive to meet it, load it up and send it on its way.
What Miguel didn't know was that the drone he was observing had just recorded his thought crimes for future reference and made high definition pictures of both him and Juan for their interrogation and "cleansing” later.

Boris stood on the porch in anticipation of a delivery. He couldn't wait. He just bought a $10 dollar product at Amazon for a heavily discounted $8.50. True, he then paid $149.99 for special delivery with Amazon Prime drone but they guaranteed the goods to be with him in half hour. Boris didn't know about his neighbor who purchased a lot of birdshot the day before. The neighbor saw a drone a couple of times when it flew above his property, obviously spying on his wife sunbathing in the garden. He hated this invasion of privacy. Besides, having a drone flying around his neighborhood with its little buzzing sound and red light was creepy.

Chapter 33

Management of the Wall Street investment firm, which had been intimately tight to the CIA, was located right above the investment firm with close ties to the KGB (let's call it for the sake of convenience, as the new Russian state security service has the name that shall not be named).
Extraordinary lead team meeting has just begun.
- “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out”, said the chairman of the CIA umbrella investment firm. He waited a minute , to let that idea shudder its way home. Not everyone was at home, though:
-“And who has an erection!” added the CEO. He was a Fortune 500 CEO. What he also was had been a wage slave.
Listening devices transmitted their words two floors below, to the KGB investment management. They too was having a lead team meeting.
Hired interpreter begun the translation using standard everyday English, explaining that the discussion in progress was all about China stock market crash which led to 50% loss second day straight. As he finished, Russians looked at each other quizzically and their Chairman said:
- What are they, fucking Dolphins ?
Everybody laughed. The CEO didn't get the joke, though. He was wondering why would the Dolphins be needing cloths at all. He was aroused.

CIA investment’s Chairman continued:
- The problem is much bigger than China. The shitwinds are coming. Shit tectonics. Do you know what happens when two shit plates collide? Shitquake.

The Russian interpreter finished the translation and Chairman of the KGB firm took out a pencil to make a note. The CEO cast a glance at the letters, and saw what he Chairman wrote. It was “RIP Brazil”.
The CEO took out his own pencil and made a note for himself. It said “RIP Australia”. He knew many Chinese investors who now might have want to sell property purchased in Australia.
Russian interpreter was trustworthy comrade from Canada, who understood both men writings. So he made a note of his own, which read “RIP Canadian Dollar”. It looked like he'd have to start baking his textbooks for food soon. “Fuck” he thought.

Two floors above the CIA investment chairman’ phone vibrated. He took a call, then turned back to the lead team and said:
- I have just been told the CPC allowed private citizens to use real estate as collateral for margin loans.
It sounded awfully familiar to everyone, although nobody could say for sure why except for one manager, who used to work at Lehman brothers’ farm as an analyst and devoted hi his career to understanding the effects of extending credit into places where that sun didn`t often shine.

Russians sitting two floors below lost the thought.
- CPC? Repeated the Chairman. This could meant only one thing. Canadians and their Conservative party. And he thought they was friends. From now on he’ll support the Liberals.
- “Get Justin on the phone for me please” ‘ he said to his aid and left the room.

Chapter 34

For the Administrator of NASA this past month was absolutely hectic. Somehow it all involved Russia. First he had to deal with the stray spy satellite decommissioned in 70ties as space junk which suddenly started to broadcast on Russian activity again. Then the White House put enormous pressure on him to develop U.S. commercial space taxi services to ferry American astronauts to and from the space, as to reduce reliance on Russian crew transportation services. To make things worse, he just watched the news where his rival, the Head of Russia’s space agency, was sharing plans for putting a man on the Moon by 2029.
Naturally, as soon as the Administrator had a little free time, he took a nap. He dreamt that the Russians went up to the Moon and took down the US flag. Americans responded with anger, and put up a whole moon base just for the purpose of cementing the American flag into the lunar surface.
So then the Russians made sure that their flag pole was a few feet higher than the American one.
The US took it a step further too and built a McDonald’s on the Moon.
So the Russians 3D printed their lunar bases all over the moon, established contact with Aliens on the far side, and started to use Helium3 as fuel for various engines and for military lasers.
Whatever was the US response, the NASA Administrator couldn’t remember, because in a matter of a split second he found himself on Mars where he stood face to face with Arthur C. Clark. The late science fiction author laughed at the he NASA and predicted the Russians would put first man on Mars by 2029.

The inconsistency between Roscosmos communiqué for Moon landing and science fiction author’s Mars prediction, where 2029 was set as a deadline for both projects, awoke the Administrator from his sleep.

“Is it possible the Russians can do both Moon and Mars thing?” he asked himself, took the phone and called his shrink. He always liked therapy as it used to give him an external voice in which to let all the shit out of his head.
- “How can I help you?” The voice in the phone said.
- “I need an appointment”, the Administrator told her. “Now”.
- “Please hold the line” – woman’s voice on the other end said.
While holding, he managed to have thought that considering the only way to get to the ISS was on top of a Russian rocket, sir Arthur may have turned out to have been right after all.

Chapter 35

The Russian Ambassador in Stockholm has been called in to respond to spying allegations. He was on his way over before the phone even rang. In a little time the Ambassador had had, he managed to read through all the local media reports according to which the country plunged into an exciting search for Russian submarines in the Stockholm archipelago. What he couldn't understand was why all news agencies operated with plural form of a traditionally singular noun, so that one Russian submarine became three Russian subs.
“Perhaps this had something to do with why Sweden was going all agog about such a routine business”, decided the Ambassador.
He was an old man and had seen it all. The spy submarine thing was like a recurring dream to him since 1980, when the next day after he was appointed Ambassador, the Swedish fleet mounted a huge operation to capture allegedly Russian submarine sighted near Muskö. The operation was attended by thousands of journalists from all over the world. None was found of course. He later heard rumors that it was CIA who sent an Italian submarine into Swedish waters, pretending it was Russian. The Swedish navy was "unable" to catch it either. Since then such annual event has become the ritual, and Russians used this a lot, testing how close they can get until detected.
In five minutes the Ambassador entered the Hall of the Royal Palace and was greeted by government officials.
- “We have spotted three submarines following each other in Sweden waters, and have reasons to believe they were all Russians. As such, Sweden will be rethinking neutrality amid fear of your country’s aggression”, said the prime minister. Which meant that Sweden will be joining the NATO quickly. And they already had been guaranteed full support by the US.
Ambassador replied:
- “Could it be the Loch Ness Monster out for a spin?” As no one laughed he concluded that it couldn`t. So he said: “Captain Nemo' sub? Or the Tetrapak brothers testing a new waterproof product?” Swedes stood with Nordic expressions on their faces. “With all due respect I believe Sweden can defend itself without violating principles of neutrality”, - finished the Ambassador. Which meant that in that case Russia will be rethinking its neighbor sovereignty as well. Swedish neutrality was a tribute to recognizing that the relatively huge country cannot easily defend itself anyway. Against a large determined military such as that of Russia, that is.
“There is no threat to Sweden from Russia. You drink too much”, the Ambassador ended. Having heard the Russian accusing others of not being sober was brilliantly amusing. Swedes laughed and relaxed. The decades of KGB psyops research which resulted up in the tactic to accuse someone of being crazy so that you clearly seemed the sane one worked out well for the Ambassador. In ordinary English this tactic could be described as baffling the other people with obvious bullshit. Anyway, the point that Sweden had a functional army that would work against a Russian intruder had been made, and the meeting was over.
When everybody left the Hall, the Ambassador took out his mobile phone, pressed speed dial for the Minister of Defense and when the call was answered, said:
- “You have lost three submarines, Alexey, and didn’t tell me?”
- “What are you talking about? The Minister replied. I have only lost one. And apparently it was chased by the Yanks and Brits at the time”.
The Ambassador wiped the sweat from his forehead and said:
- “Alexey, we might have a situation”.

Chapter 36

On any normal day, a Virginia-based NSA analyst would access sensitive information from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Today however, an analyst was trying to access the same information from Moscow at 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. He didn`t care if him accessing the network at a strange time and from an unusual geographic location would get spotted or not.
- "Fuck it", he thought while extracting the Democratic party's presidential candidate e-mails from an old AT&T Blackberry email account, the contents of which the presidential candidate no longer could access, but the NSA still could. - "I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public".
Unfortunately, "Pro Bono" work was going VERY.SLOWLY. The correspondence he extracted needed to be constantly decoded, as otherwise it all looked kind of like the Analyst would expect to read in his mom's email. Like "How can I get some smiley faces on this new pumpkin?", which when decoded meant: "I order you to steal DNA samples from UN diplomats". This was a masterpiece of creative writing.
Finally he found something worthy of his efforts. It started with "Good day and compliments" greeting.
It further stated:
"This letter will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carelessly. My name is H.’Rah C’in, the wife of the … (requires further decoding).
My ordeal started immediately after my husband’s … (requires further decoding) and the subsequent takeover of government by the last administration. The present (requires further decoding) government is determined to portray all the good work of my... (requires further decoding) USD ($800,000,000.00) specially preserved and well packed in trunk boxes of which only my husband and I knew about. It is packed in such a way to forestall just anybody having access to it. It is this sum that I seek your assistance to get out of ... (requires further decoding).
The Analyst exhaled. The message was a real deal, and this was Analyst`s favorite part of the day. There was nothing that he loved more in the world than smoking a calming joint.
"Now I have got all your yoga exercises!" – said the Administrator and dialed his old time foe but currently the best friend, EX KGB General Petr Kotovsky phone number.

Chapter 37

Two Chinese investors who lived in Australia has just had a business lunch and was taking a walk. As they passed by the newsstand, one of the men glanced at the headlines and read: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott vows to 'shirtfront' Russian president Vladimir Putin at Brisbane G20 summit”.

- “What's a shirt fronting?” asked Chinese to the seller.
- “Can't say I've ever used the term myself”, he replied. “It's Chinese to me”
Luckily, some old man who just bought newspapers overheard their talk and attempted to help:
- “He was actually saying he's going to jump Putin when he gets the chance”.
- “Would pay to see Tony do that”, grinned the seller.
- “But Putin would probably wipe the floor with him!”, objected the old man. “Besides, he likes to go shirtless!”.
- “That's what I'd be paying for!” .
Both the seller and the old man laughed loudly.

Two Chinese kept going in an effort to think this over. In a minute one of of them said:
- Can anybody on the G20 take on Putin mano-a-mano?

The second man shook his head but didn't say anything. They kept going in silence for a little more. Australian politicians seemed strange to Chinese. When China officials make a comment about international relations it usually sounds like "The tiger's eyes are on the bear, but the elephant is off wandering in the night".
What they witnessed in Australia was much more direct, like 'I'll fuck'n tackle you cunt'.

Not everybody knew that these two Chinese men happen to be the very wealthy investors. And it was safe to say that any Chinese citizen in Australia who was very wealthy was also a Chinese spy. As these men only got to where they were and made the money they made because they were members of the communist party. Couple of minutes later, when one of the men's phone vibrated and he reached for it, they both recognized New York City area code and the caller ID that stood for KGB investment firm. Chinese looked at each other, not particularly keen to take the call.
- “ What’s the worst that could happen”, said one of the men eventually and pressed the green button to answer.

Chapter 38

KGB general Petr Kotovsky loved TV news. He also loved a special kind of irony that comes from people who never watch TV news because it's brainwashing corporate-propaganda but who then complained about TV news not covering things. It wasn`t like him at all. So he opened up the YouTube app on the Apple TV and searched for “The Lion King”. He loved the scene where the warthog sings “Hakuna Matata”, the song about how wonderful it is to have problem free philosophers and no worries. He watched the re-run, got himself together, and then typed the “White House". As soon as he made sure that the official White House account was streaming live SOTU 2016 address , he took a pencil to make notes for the summary that he was to submit tomorrow morning for extraordinary governmental briefing at Kremlin, where ministers could hardly wait for the analysis of how many times Obama says "I".
Soon enough he was amazed at how well written and delivered the address was. Not only nobody would take away the fact that Obama is good at giving speeches, but the President seemed quite cheery. Like actually happy. “May be it`s because this is the last time he has to do this", decided Petr, and involuntarily compared Obama with Sarah Palin, who was hands down the worst public speaker Petr had ever seen. She made a bunch of crazy generalized statements and then when she got stuck she'd somehow tie it to "winning the war." Petr didn't understand how anyone would give a fuck about her opinion on anything.
- “One, two. Three…” Petr was counting I`s. By the time he was 2 minutes in, Obama said it 7 times.
- “When the Russians beat us into space, we didn't deny Sputnik was up there" POTUS said. That was his first “we”, so Petr took a break counting.
- "You're goddamned right", remarked the general, "And it's a historical fact, not an opinion". He took a glass of water and started to drink.
"... our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker", by this words Kotovsky spewed water back out of his mouth like a flood, which was accompanied by an audible gasp from the audience. For a moment it seemed to him the audience wanted to boo the President, but he somehow rope-a-doped them and they had to stand up and clap for the troops instead. "Wow" thought Kotovsky. “His tactic of public speaking is amazing”.
"We spend more on our military than all countries combined!” Obama said.
Kotovsky thought he heard how one guy in the crowd said - "YEAH!" The Joint Chiefs looked pissed. Spending 8x more than the next guy on their military was pathetic, Joint Chiefs thought. It should have been ten times 8x.
At some moment camera went to the Supreme Court Justices, who looked like 9 Emperor Palpatines. Kotovsky took his eyes off of the screen and checked Donald Trumps twitter account. Strangely, Trump wasn`t live-tweeting, so Petr returned to watching the SOTU.
- "Equal pay for equal work", said POTUS
"Amen to that" Petr said.
He didn`t see Alice standing in the far corner of the hall watching him. As soon as the address was over, he wrote a first draft of the summary, left it on the table and went to bed. It was late.
When general was gone, Alice came up to the table and read his notes. The summary said: Fuck terrorists, fuck Trump, fuck oil, fuck cancer, suck it, peace.” Another page said "Also WE DA BEST".
“Close enough”, smiled Alice. Her English student was doing great.

Chapter 39

Department of Langley Psychological Operations was headed by an old man who looked like a professor. That`s because he was a professor. Of the Darkest Arts. Today he was charged with extremely urgent business of building a defense against Russian Trolls, which Russian government was using to flood the Internet with propaganda. It seemed like Russkies have had thousands of people whose single job was to prop up Moscow. They have had dozens of IP addresses and couldn’t be stopped. Chinese internet gangs were put forever to shame. Even Professor himself entertained the idea of getting this job now and then. He hated himself in such moments. And there was only two things he hated in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch. He`d worked for anyone except the Dutch, and he wasn`t even Belgian. Actually, his hating of himself was the third thing he hated in this world, but that`s not the point. Anyway, as soon as he had a phone call with POTUS, who specifically told to Professor to come up with something, he looked to heavens and cried out loud:
"Kak zhe zaebal etot Putin!" - which in English meant that he was very upset with the Russian leader`s successful endeavors on the international arena in general, and with never ending torrents of problems CIA office had with the Russian leader`s actions in particular.
When professor entered the safe room, all of his 9 deputies were seated by the black square table waiting for him.
- “Gentlemen!”, he said. “May your shadow fall tall and your soul grow to meet it”. All rose, their knowledge of PsyOps etiquette impecable. Professor continued: “We are to deploy the weapon that will act as an invisible radiation on our enemy. The population must not feel it is being acted upon, so that the self-defense mechanisms stayed off. And by the population I mean every fucking cyberspace moron who can type”.
- What the fuck are we talking about?, asked one of the deputies. This seems like some garbled science fiction than a good ol` PSYOPS!

Professor took something out from his pocket, Everybody thought it was a sex toy of some sort but soon understood it to be a magic wand. He waived it and the deputy exploded into thousand pieces. Others had no questions.
- What I meant was the information weapon, war with which will lay not in the realm of physical contact but in what Russians described as the “psycho sphere”.
The 8 deputies looked at each other with the “Oh-my-what-are-those-Russians-up-to-again” and prepared to listen a lecture, which did always come before brainstorm.
- At information warfare we must have the enemy to keep guessing about our intentions, paralyzed by inability to formulate a response to provocations whose origins and aims are impossible to determine – whose aims, in fact, may simply be to induce an overreaction.

There was one minute pose, after which the Professor said:
- I say we create Facebook warriors and Twitter fighters!
The youngest deputy laughed and said:
- Well yeah, with the secret weapon - "Unfriend" Putin!
Professor waved his magic wand for the second time and the young man disappeared. No one smiled. Professor gave it a second thought:
- Actually, this might be a good idea. What would be even more effective is repeatedly inviting Putin to play Candy Crush and Mafia Wars, and tagging him in unflattering pictures!

Professor waved the magic wand, and 7 remaining deputies tensed, but as nothing happened, they relaxed.
- “If only we had had a stronger Face book presence last year, then maybe Russia wouldn't have acted the way it acted acted”, said one of the agents.

- That`s true”, agreed another, but we still can get a strong Face book front!

Everybody started saying:
- The Keyboard Commando!
- The Chair borne Warriors!

In five minutes deputies was scribbling at whiteboards with dry-erase markers and everybody felt as though he was contributing.

Chapter 40

A few good men got together to discuss the lottery tickets which they bought a day before. They were all homeless.
- "I WON!" cried one of them. Everybody looked at him.
- "$11... Minus $40... I WON minus $29!" As nobody cheered for his luck, a homeless man gave a return look to his friends and guiltily pronounced: “Just keeping positive...”
Another man checked his numbers and said: “Guess I'm going to stick around with guys”
Third man checked too and said: “I'm not quitting our sleep club either.”
Forth man didn`t say anything, as he spent his $2 on a cup of coffee instead. His chances of winning the powerball jackpot decreased by 0.0001%, but chances of winning a cup of coffee increased 100%. He always was good at math.
Fifth man spent all day thinking about what he would buy if he won. Then he realized he forgot to buy a ticket. On the upside, he got to dream for free. Everybody else paid $2. He was a dreamer, so he said:
- Being a billionaire ruins anyone. Obscene wealth is morally obscene by its very nature. Once you have a house and enough money wanting more is based in greed and power lust.
He was going to say something else but then caught himself in a double bind where those who had not a house and money was wanting more without being considered as greed and lusty. He was a philosopher.
- “Oh darn, I missed this by only 6 numbers”, said the sixth. “If I had won I would have invested the money in you my friends...all of you!”
Everybody was pleased. It`s the thought that counts. The sixth continued.
- “I`d set you up a trip to Nepal , where we`d worked on historic sites there, made a movie about us, and hired a cleaning lady to come in daily and clean, do laundry, cook and hang out for us. Then I would have built a state of the art homeless shelter “.
When the dream subsided, one of the men said:
- “Never tell anyone you won, otherwise say goodbye to all of your friends. On the other hand, you don't need friends when you can swim around a silo of your money like Scrooge McDuck”.
Everyone seemed surprised with childhood memories as they haven't seen a reference to Scrooge McDuck in many years. And everyone also silently agreed to disagree with approach for taking care of friends unless they were on the receiving end.
The seventh homeless man stepped up, saddened that it wasn`t him who won. But he said he was glad that it was finally over. Fantasizing was fun, but he didn`t want to spend another second of time or $2 dollars of money doing it. Luckily he wisely spent more time fantasizing than money. His grand total spent was $4. And yes, it was worth it. He seen it as a $4 dollar mental vacation.
Many other men had spoken how none of them won, and nobody noticed the absence of a homeless man who bought the ticked for the money received from the Key note speaker.

Chapter 41

The world’s major companies have way to much interests all around the globe. And the Russian defense minister always found it fascinating how the WWIII was unlikely to happen because of the said interests. Obviously it was one of the benefits of open trade agreements, which lessened the likelihood of a major conflict. It also benefited to his interests as he didn't have much of an army at the time.
His American counterpart, however, at the time had it all and as such he found multinational corporations disgusting. Every time he wanted to go on the real war they all told him to shut the fuck up.
It was like him saying “ I am gonna bomb Foreignlandia!”, and them saying “No way. That's where all our oil and gas are imported from”. Him saying: “All right I’ll bomb another Foreignlandia!” And them saying “ No way. Their central bank is holding all the money we are sheltering from onshore taxes”.
Somehow it was a stalemate for both ministers, who were desperate for a new world war but got restricted with the realities. But as they say, if there is will there is a way. So today they agreed to wage war in a player-driven, persistent-world massively multiplayer online role-playing game, where the US was vs. Russia. And it got super fucking intense.
- “Shit, we should just move all world wars online!”, ecstatically said one of the war ministers.
- “That would be so fucking glorious”, confirmed another.”Trash talk would get so much more real!”
Despite their harsh language, both got to thinking that this would actually be a really neat and tidy way to get world peace.

- “Suka blyat nahuy!”, said the Russian minister.

The American defense minister seemed confused. He has never been to Russia, he didn't know any Russians, he didn't speak Russian.

- “How the hell do I already know the word in the middle?”, he thought. What was even more strange, was that he loved the word BLYAT. He shuddered at the thought of being manipulated by the Russian minister, who apparently mastered him at propaganda and subversion. How could he possibly come to love things about Russia? Everything he ever knew about it was like a caricature land of drunk squatting rednecks and ruthless put-in-worshipping aggressors. And even if he ever read a good thing about Russia it was always clarified that the good thing was just a consequence of a much more bad thing. Like “Russian space rocket design performs better than American one at supersonic speeds? Well, it's because Russians don't give a fuck about safety at subsonic speeds!”.
The American minister of defense suddenly started to have doubts and called his joint chiefs to join him in his battle. The joint chiefs of staff were pissed. Most of their impressions of Russia were from vehicle mounted videos they watched on YouTube.

Soon the Russian called his generals too, so that one team would be from one country, and the other team would be all from the country they're at war with.

Suddenly one of the Chiefs received a critical comment on his Facebook page from Sydney friend. The comment was upside down, and the Chief had to put his tablet on auto rotate to be able to read it. After he descended into a 2 minute tablet rotating abyss which was a source of great annoyance to him he said:
- Can we go to war with Australia so we won't see their shitposting ?
He was sweating profusely.

- You can suka my blyat, said the Russian again.
- U fokin wot m8?, responded the Chief.
He made it look like he didn't know what this was without knowing anything about the Cyrillic alphabet or Russian. But somehow he knew the word too.

Few other Chiefs had some beef with Facebook friends from Sweden and Finland, and were already thinking of balkanizing the internet. They thought they were the alpha and the omega, but in reality, there were several other really, really huge parts of the internet with their own you-tubes. Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and - of course - Arab ethnicities to name a few. Europe and America however were somewhat in the same boat, with subnets for the various countries like Germany and France. That much the balkanizing could work for.
All of the Chiefs were new and inexperienced in online warfare. But the world’s major companies weren't. Microsoft, Google, Apple, watched Chiefs playing. And that was their magic. People aren't enemies, their figured. It's fucking governments that fucked everything up. So the multinational companies agreed to replace the governments as the primary actors in international peacekeeping. And Corporations have become the new government. The only thing they lacked was a uniform with a badge. As for Google it might as well be able to have been God.

Chapter 42

- “Yeehaw!”, thought the trigger-happy neighbor holding a full choke shotgun loaded with #8 birdshot. He was determined to pop Boris` drone out of the sky. When the neighbor was young, he served in an Air Defense unit, shooting planes with flak from the surface. It felt great to be back. True to his training, neighbor looked around, searching for the guy holding the box with the antennae. He didn`t see anyone, as the guy was sitting in a US base in New Mexico, inside of an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 63 Fahrenheit. For security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. The guy sat in front of 14 computer monitors with four keyboards and was called “a drone pilot”.
- “Begun, the drone war has”, mumbled the drone pilot and snorted a couple bumps of bath salts to get him through his eleven hour shift. He had to replace the Amazon delivery drone as quick as possible, while Boris didn`t get tired of waiting for the items. The Russian was to have the purchase all right. Just totally another kind.
Few minutes later, when an unidentified drone used a net gun to capture the Amazon delivery drone in mid-flight, Boris was walking up and down the street in anticipation of a miracle. He couldn`t stand motionless on the porch any longer and was absolutely stunned when he saw two drones instead of one. He looked even more stunned after the bigger drone caught the smaller with a net. It didn`t only threw the net, but held on to it, true to robot wars style capture.
“Fucking fuck!” Boris gasped, at the same time noticing the barrel of a scatter gun appearing from above the wooden fence, where someone was taking aim. “Fucking fuck!”, he said again, much more louder. His killer instincts were already on a short fuse and now got finally ignited. He reached for his 0.45 Colt and realized the piece was already in his hand.
The bigger drone proceeded to Boris direction over the backyard, where neighbor’s wife was sunbathing in the garden.

Chapter 43

Two hundred people rallied outside the Russian Embassy in Anchorage. One hundred belonged to the Green Peace Movement, and another one hundred to the First Feminist Movement. Both movements protested against the Russian Federal Space Agency plans to send 4 monkeys to the Mars and 6 women to the Moon.
The Russians were up to something, and it wasn’t no good.
Demonstrators were guarded by two policemen who sat in the cruiser parked nearby, observing the law and order.
- "Stop animal cruelty!" yelled the Green Peace member. He held the monkey as he waved the banner that read "I want to go to space'!' NOT!!!" The guy next to him held a megaphone. He said to the crowd:
- "This is incredibly cruel; they should not be allowed to do this! Let them use robots, volunteers, or prisoners! Anyone or anything else than these poor innocent animals!"
As the crowd cheered, he continued "Send the Russian scientists up there instead. And leave them there!". Everyone yelled in support.
- “Stop abusing animals! Cruel and... Well it's just cruel. If you want to see how people react to deep space just shoot some of them out there and see what happens. It's not like there's a shortage!".
Two policemen step out of their cruiser, and the guy with a megaphone understood he may have crossed the line. Almost.
He dialed it down and pointed a megaphone to the monkey:
- "Look at this little guy!" he said “His predecessors watched our fathers evolved!"
Demonstrators let out orgasmic cry and roared at their loudest.
Policemen got back in their vehicle . It was the feminists turn to protest. Feminists just recently stopped criticizing Russia for failing to select any women in an entirely male group on a pretend voyage to 'Mars' and back, that was to last 519 days. After the Russians have done a u-turn, it was hard to be against sending women to space, so feminists had to come up with something else. Luckily, it seemed that unlike the male volunteers in the Mars experiment, the Mars women were not be paid, undergoing the tests because of a sense of patriotism.
- "Equal pay for equal work" - they chanted the line from the resent SOTU address, which was handy but not related.
Two Russian embassy workers watched the demonstrators through the window.
- "What is cruel is to live in ignorance", one said. "Forward I say. Some experiments are vital for the advancement of science. Sad but true".
- "What do you think of the women thing?", asked the second.
- "Equal pay for equal work? Yeah, I am all for it. It`s just that first I thought they were going to protest against Roscosmos sending women to the Moon".
- "No need! - smiled his colleague. "Women are already on the moon!"
- "Speaking of which, 6 women and 400 pairs of shoes how big is this space capsule?" - both laughed.
Soon they were joined by third man, who overheard their space in space joke and decided to make it even funnier:
- "If there is room for one more, I am sure I can persuade my mother in law to go"
Lots of other guys were entering the room with the windows overlooking the protests, joking all around: "So who's going to read the map..?" - "God help 'em if their cycles sync" - "In space, no one can hear you nag!"
It was a great guys'-day-out activity for the diplomats.

Chapter 44

Soon the demonstration ended. The protest took almost 6 hours. It was getting late. Two police officers who guarded the protest started their cruiser and took off , when they noticed a little hedgehog trying to cross the road. Officers pulled off, turned their hazards on and stepped out of the vehicle. Some woman from the feminists’ movement saw the whole thing. She ran over, picked the hog up, took him over to the other side and let him get on the way. She made sure she took the hog where he wanted to go , said goodbye to the officers and walked away.
- “That’s a cute ass hedgehog” said one of the officers. His eyes followed the woman.
- “I agree!” said another. His eyes followed the woman too.
Then they both looked at the direction the hog had gone.
- “I wonder if you could keep them as pets? Are they much maintenance? You know, like more or less than a cat?”
Few Green Peace activists who didn`t yet leave the scene heard the conversation.
- “A lot more than a cat”, said the tall, chubby activist to the officers. “And they're nocturnal so they're only up at night. And by 'up' I mean running in their wheel like a goddamn madman”.
Everyone laughed.
- “ They need a special wheel that's really more of a bowl turned on its side since they can get their legs caught and break them in regular hamster wheels due to bad vision, you see?” said the chubby man. “So lots of nighttime noises from the water bottle and running in the wheel, plus you gotta clean all the poop off the wheel every other day bare minimum”.
- “So they are high-maintenance”, giggled the officer who asked the question. “I mean not as much as my girlfriend but still fairly high!” he turned to the tall man and asked:
- “How come you know so much about hedgehogs?”
- “ I've had a hedgehog since my third year”, man replied, “ They make great pets if you have a lot of patience and are careful. Not for their sake but for your sake. They love to go poof if you don't pay attention to them and holding one that's upset is the equivalent of holding a cactus”.
Everybody laughed again, said goodbye to each other and parted ways.
The hedgehog, which was the latest Russian robotic reconnaissance platform, proceeded to the direction of Fort Richardson.

Chapter 45

A successful businessmen sat next to the director of CIA. They were friends and sat very close to each other. Actually, CIA director liked to keep his wealthy friends close. The closer the better. Like keep your friends close and your wealthier friends closer thing. Be them from China, Russia, the Sinaloa Drug cartel or just a bejillionaire from Texas.
On the table in front of them they had to-do list. Or maybe it wasn’t to-do list. Let's call a list. Maybe they didn't have it. It is possible that someone else had it and now was going to discuss where to concentrate the efforts of their non-governmental organization assets for a year ahead.
Director`s secretary brought them some coffee. When she left, businessmen asked:
- "You`ve new executive assistant?"
- "A trainee, yes”. said Director. “ The current assistant is leaving because she is pregnant".
Businessman nodded. He was blessed with billions of dollars, but his success was very much like secretary`s pregnancy. No one knew how many times he got screwed in order to get it.
- "Shall we proceed?" he said. So they discussed migrants, revolutions, presidential run-offs, regular and irregular military forces, diplomatic recognitions, support for secessionists, right-wingers, same-sex marriages, constitutional amendments and civilian casualties. It was all about politics. What other lunacy can rich guys engage in for sport?

Chapter 46

I opened my Facebook page and informed my friends about my latest news and activities, changing status to "I am at a baseball game right now, and my favorite team is winning". That was a code message telling my employer, which happened to be the acronym agency whose first letter was C and whose last letter was A, that I am in Moscow and so far my mission has been successful. By the way, the letter in between stood for intelligence, which I sometimes think is seriously lacking there.
I looked at my updated page and gave it a thought. Not so long ago my FB news feed was filled with utter crap like selfies, memes and celebrity gossips. I used to spend hours mindlessly looking at shit. Couldn't break it. So then I literally went through every single friend and unfollowed everyone. Surprisingly enough it took me a long time because when I started unfollowing things en masse, Facebook sent me the error message which was a code for "please stop, you are doing it too much”.
Anyway, I only have one friend now, and to make my page even more productive I recently set it up with all forms of “positive thinking”. Then strange things happened to me. When I fantasized about an idealized future I felt better, but once that future had come, I felt more depressed. Serenity today, stupor tomorrow. Same as with LSD. Not that I tried any.
So I called my corporate shrink who`s always online, and explained the problem.
“I have a friend”, I said, “who suffers from positive fantasies about the future. “So that when future eventually arrives, he`s facing more depressive symptoms than before. It`s a trap”.
He listened and then said:
“It`s a trap”.
“What?” I asked him.
“It`s a wishful thinking with an avoidant coping mechanism.” the shrink said. “I think the problem with your friend is that he`s confusing positive fantasies about the future with a positive outlook in the present concerning reality”.
I hate shrinks. So I said:
“I cannot agree with your more”.
He continued:
“When your friend fantasizes about an event he`s having the same neurological effect as actually experiencing it. And to that end, once the brain thinks it has had the experience, your friend loses motivation to actually see it through”.
I already mentioned that I hate shrinks. So I said:
“Your words completely describe how he feels”.
He continued:
“The cause of suffering is about the amount of emotional attachment your friend makes to his fantasies, and not so much the fantasies themselves. When things don't turn out the way he thinks they should, he get suffering. He needs to be conscious of the emotional intensity he places on certain events happening in his live.”
He paused and for a moment I thought I lost him. So I said:
“Buddha are you there?”
He laughed:
“Honestly, Buddha and Buddhism are right in a lot of ways”, the voice on the other end started to say when I hang up.
The session was over. I started daydreaming about a better life, where I am whacking Kotovsky. Coming home to reality will be a huge bummer.

Chapter 47

Russian government meeting started at 0900. In the morning. The business to be considered was POTUS SOTU address, and at the last moment it was announced that the meeting will be run in a democratic manner. General Kotovsly was nervous. He didn`t understand the concept of democracy, believing it was a possible form of Monarchy and a hoax. Long time ago his commanding officer explained it to him.
- “It's a one party state, Comrade Kotovsky. You wouldn't want to betray the party by voting for someone else, would you?”
Petr recalled how he had nodded, and his commanding officer clicked back the hammer of the Makarov pistol. It was a day to remember.
The meeting commenced, and members of the government in attendance had been given the opportunity to read the transcript. The wording was short and sweet in terms of the matter being discussed. Page one of SOTU summary, prepared by Kotovsky, read: “Fuck terrorists, fuck Trump, fuck oil, fuck national debt, fuck cancer, suck it, peace. We da best"
Page two had the abbreviated word cloud which helped ministers to draw connections, see commonalities, and in other way identify patterns that would otherwise be unclear or difficult to see on page one. The connections, commonalities and patterns added up into: MAKE AMERICAN PEOPLE WORK YEARS WORLD JUST NOW NEED NEW ECONOMY BETTER TIME.
Most ministers didn`t understand it and went back to page one. They liked it better. After the short discussion, the prime minister said:
- “Good job, Comrad Kotovsky. Will there be any questions?”
The minister of defense raised his hand:
- “I have just been informed that the US is planning to substantially increase the deployment of heavy weapons in Central and Eastern Europe. But let me remind you how Western European countries already have a military aged population exceeding ours, plus an industrial capacity much greater than ours, plus the UK and France also have nukes. Why then is the defense of Europe is considered a US responsibility? Being an expert on the US affairs, would you care to explain the reasons, Comrade Kotovsky?”
The defense minister was a long time foe of Petr. His questions was always tricky.
- “Good question, comrade Minister of Defence”, began Kotovsky. “I got news for you. But may be you want to sit for it”.
Defence Minister nodded and took a seat.
- “I have managed to conduct clandestine operation which resulted in the US spending $100 billions on seemingly aggressive, but practically useless policy to surround us with hostile forces, so that Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, looked anything but an agent of peace. And while he was at it, we have practically finished preparations for return of Alaska and secession of Texas. Besides, our forces are ready to storm the beaches of New Jersey and take over Atlantic City. Some even say we may be able to turn that bankrupt city around”.
Everybody laughed. Kotovsly added:
- “Influential political forces are willing to give us Detroit, too.

Everybody stopped laughing. Kotovsky proceeded:
- “And, Puerto Rico. Point being maybe America cannot afford any more wars.
It got absolutely quiet.
- “Comrade Kotovsky”, said the prime minister, “I am petitioning the president to promote you for the position of Defense Minister. Effective immediately”.
Petr looked at his downed peer, who didn`t seem upset at all. He was totally into computer gaming. Gaming was the thing that he kept falling back into more than anything. Relapses happened in seconds, often on an impulse with no time to stop and think. If he wanted alcohol he had to go shopping; if he wanted drugs he had to make calls around town. Video games were literally just a click away at all times. Defense minister leaned to Petr`s ear and said quietly, so that no one heard: “Thank you, Petr. Let me show you around”.

Chapter 48

A professional Dota2 player had just lost the major eSports tournament, where his Mexican team played against the Russian one.
- "Cuka blyat", he said angrily. And then typed it in chat window. He was currently learning himself Russian. Both for the fun of it and as to annoy English speaking players, who believed that if you don't speak English you just don't type. Yeah, Russians didn`t think so. The first thing you would see in game chats was lots of Russians typing in Cyrillic.
- "mi proebali" he typed. It was all he knew. The phrase was a rough equivalent of what English would mean in "we fucking lost".
He tried to recall whatever Russian words he knew else, typed "nakhuy" and read the multiple replies that appeared in no time. On the forth one he stopped reading, reached for the power button and quickly switched off the computer. His face was blushing. True, he spoke some Russian but sometime he wished he didn't understand what they were saying. Besides Russian, the Norwegian was tend to be the worst. With the French being dicks; until you tell them you understand. Then French would become lovely.
He stood up and went to the coffeepot, poured himself a cup, added sugar and condensed milk, and took a seat in front of PC again. He felt tired. The game seemed less enjoyable since the day he stopped playing for fun and turned for the money. First it was like, follow your dream. And now it felt like he was looking for a backup plan, which was like planning for failure. There is always a catch...

He sipped some coffee.
- “More sugar” – he said. He went to the coffeemaker on the file cabinet and got some, and stirred it in, and sat back down. He took another sip and nodded. Then he spent some time editing a video of the tournament and when he was almost done his phone vibrated signaling him of a new text message. He looked at the sender ID. It was from his girlfriend. She worked as weather girl with Telemundo. All his friends enviously confined to him that she was hot. Some of his friends told him openly that he was hotter than her. And those were the straight ones. Anyway, the message said she had received an invitation for a safari with (go figure) a Russian businessmen who was considering to significantly invest into Telemundo stock options.
- "He estado pensando en ti. Would you like me to teach you Russian?" – he typed.
- "Tú eres chistoso! Si! P.S. We may read Tolstoy together someday", she replied.
"Youb vashu" he said to himself. "I wonder if Dota2 could really inspire her to learn Russian. What if she`s natural?”.
He turned the computer back on. It was high time for another tournament.

Chapter 49

Russian`s Gazprom Chief was having dinner with the Germany's Energy Minister. The restaurant they were at was located inside the old Westminster Library in London and scored high nigh on perfect service and the quality of the food. The establishment offered adventurous menu ideal for a business meeting, so the first thing both men made sure of was to make sure it goes on the expense account. Other than that and despite the global economic downturn, there was nothing wrong with business deal taken place over delicious meals.
In between sequences (their meal was served in “à la russe” style, where courses are brought to the table in sequence), the German was trying to nonchalantly accentuate the Russian`s attention on today`s newspaper. It took all his origami skills to arrange the pages in a manner where Russian couldn`t miss on photos showing the first plasma generated at the "Wendelstein 7-X" nuclear fusion research centre in Germany.
The Russian of course noticed it from the very beginning but as the photos were black and white he thought it was ultrasound pregnancy scan images. He also thought the German was weird today.
Finally Hans-the-German said:
- “Mikhail, have you heard about our magnetic fusion experiment? Die Menschheit ist dem Wunder der Kernfusion ein Stück näher gekommen!”.
Hans switched to his native language. He had been excited by his country finally making progress of fixing energy shortages. Getting rid of them all. And of Gazprom.

Michael (that was the Russian`s name) didn`t reply immediately. Not only had he heard about bizarre reactor, but he did study every bit of information on the subject. Add insult to injury, many years ago when Mikhail was a young KGB officer his job was to spy on scientists working with the first stellerator, the name of this type of reactors, which was built at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. “Great news, he thought. It's only been 50 years since I was first told fusion was only 20 years away. “ Then he said:
- “News to me!” He was being sarcastic.
The German laughed. The Russian didn`t know a thing. More than that, because of this successful experiment many in Germany believed they will soon be able to teleport enough atoms to make a human. Nobody in the world knew of the Russian Time Machine. On the second thought, one man knew. He was sent from the future loaded with Powerball winning numbers needed to finance $1.5 bn project in the US. But then again nobody knew of this man, did they?
- “Many in Western Europe believe you`ll loose 2017 market share in gas import” Hans paused.
As the Russian didn’t` reply, Hans continued:
- “Does it scare you?”

Mickael chewd on it for a minute. Then he finished his Scotch eggs and said:

- “You know what really scares me Hans? About 2017 that is? “ Said Mikhail. “2+0+1+7=10, which is exactly the number of nipples Hitler would have had if he had 8 more”.

The German computed the numbers. The math checked out. This Russian was very canny.
The math was indeed Mikhael`s strongest suit. The investment costs for Wendelstein 7-X amounted to 370 million euros for he Germany, with the $15bn been spent on nuclear fusion research in European Union overall. For the sake of the argument he took the $2 trillion cost of Iraqy war across the globe, with the governments subsidizes of oil and exploration to the tune of $90 billion a year. Western priorities in fixing energy shortage seemed royally screwed up.
At this moment they were approached by the tall and chubby waiter, who seemed to know who they were. The waiter said:
- “I'm a member of the Green Party and it's difficult to get this message across. I understand why but radical change and innovative solutions are absolutely crucial now”.
Both men looked confused. The waiter was the native English speaker and his sentence was difficult to process for the aliens. “It is no wonder that you find your message difficult to get across” eventually said the Russian. “I had to replay your words in my head quite a few times, and the only conclusion I can draw is that you don't have any message at all.”
He stood up and looked and gave the waiter closer look. Face seemed familiar.
- “Aren`t you the fellow that protested against space monkey being sent to Space last week?” he asked. “I saw you on the TV news”
Something didn`t add up here. And he was the one good with math.

Chapter 50

Alice took the tablet that Petr watched POTUS SOTU address with, sat on the couch, and switched the power on. As screen fired up, she launched YOUTUBE app and prepared to listen her favorite "Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles. It was the only way she could relax.
At the last moment she noticed that Petr was still logged in with his “KGB RULES. Petr Kotovsky” Google profile. Though they have almost become friends, Alice felt the urgent need to replace it with her own “SEMBER OCCULTUS. Alice Bond” sharpish. She tapped here and there but surprisingly couldn`t find the logout button. This seemed to be the latest update for mobile devices.
“Oh my God, Petr was right” she thought . With the latest update, YouTube had become a sneaky bastard and made it harder for users to figure out how to leave profile. Now YOUTUBE wanted to track everything you do, which if you signed out would have prevented it from doing that.
After few hours of fighting with the application Alice at last succeeded. It took her all she had. The thing was that instead of just calling it a "Sign out" button, not only did they name it very dull, but YOUTUBE also gone to such an extreme as to change the “Sign out” option to not even look like a button. Camouflaged exit located at the bottom of the pop up panel was now called “'Use YouTube without a Google Account'' and looked like if you tapped on it you would be reading some instructions or a boring EULA text. It was a deliberate attempt to subvert users' efforts by making them confused and frustrated enough to give up and let YOUTUBE continue tracking every video you watched.
Feeling tired, she looked up “Yellow Submarine” only to see that all the studio versions have been removed on copyright grounds. She couldn`t fight it any longer, so instead of just listening to one song and moving on, she established VPN connection Petr set up for her earlier and downloaded Beatles entire discography. She didn`t do that to be anarchistic, it was just the simplest way to listen to the song she wanted. Alice knew she stole the content. And to her credit, she didn`t try to jazz it up as a moral crusade.

Chapter 51

There were two men sitting in patio chairs. One held the lottery ticket, another kept a Smartphone with a browser opened on the Powerball web site. They were waiting for the Lottery officials to announce the numbers drawn for tonight's record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot.
- "I'm not going to win the Powerball" said one of the men. He looked homeless. But secretly he was hoping he would win and this trick was meant to be a masterpiece of reverse psychology.
He looked at his partner, and asked: "Would you keep working after winning 1.5B?"
- "As a key note speaker?" asked the second man. "Definitely not. I would stay busy with something, but you probably couldn't call it work". He didn`t want to talk about the time-machine.
- "Gotta do something man", noted homeless one.
- “You ever worked?” – asked keynote speaker.
- “Of course. But I've been laid off twice in the past few years, each time I had zero notice. And both times were broad cutbacks, i.e. no fault of mine. I was notified on my drive home that day it was my last one. Impersonal and incredibly rude. Still sick to my stomach.
- “Really says something about the management, huh?” said the speaker.” “How about your finances?”
- This was the exact reason why I started putting small amounts of money from each paycheck into an emergency fund. I think they call that a savings account. You see, if unexpectedly laid off, at least I hope to have enough money saved up to help get me by until I find another job. I would not touch the money from this fund unless I desperately needed it.
Keynotespeaker liked how a homeless man explained it like nobody understands the concept or reason of saving money.
- “You`re smart”, he said to homeless. “You would be surprised how most people handle their finances. Anyway, welcome to capitalism, where the only thing that matters is the bottom line. People like to act nice, but when it comes to making decisions, morality flies out the window”.
Homeless man felt confused for a second because with this words his partner did sound like he was a little bit of a communist, whom all Americans always hated. But he had to agree with capitalism part.
" Anyway, since I got fired my personal calendar is in a terrible mess. Sometimes life seems really short, and other times it seems impossibly long” – said a homeless.
His partner looked at calendar app and said:
- "You have no idea". With the time machine, a calendar was the thing of the past. "What would you do if you hit the jackpot? he asked the homeless.
- "I`d pay 335 million in taxes and change my phone number".
Both laughed. For the keynote speaker it was the seventh or eighth assisted win, when he was sent back in time with the purpose of legally obtain the money no one could say they have been laundered. Time machine was justifying its cost of production with the speed of light.
- "I have a sense you will win". He said to homeless man. He liked the guy. "Let me give you a word of advice". You will be encouraged to hire an investment manager. Considerable pressure will be applied. Don't. You should smile, thank them for their time, and then tell them you will get back to them next week. Don't sign anything. Don't write it on a cocktail napkin. Never call them back. Trust me. You will thank me later. This tactic, smiling, thanking people for their time, and promising to get back to people, is going to have to become familiar. You will have to learn to say no gently, without saying the word "no." It sounds underhanded. Sneaky. It is. And its part of your new survival strategy. I mean the word "survival" quite literally.

Homeless man looked surprised. He thought he picked up a bit of the Russian accent for a moment.
- How do you know that?, he asked.
- I am an attorney with national law firm. Senior partner, actually. Which you may want to retain.
- Well.....I am still poor as balls. At least $2 more poor. Just a regular Joe.

Both didn`t speak for a few minutes, watching the screen. Powerball website was freaking out showing the old numbers. At last the phone dinged.
- "The winning numbers are in", said the man who called himself an attorney.
- "I'm just glad someone won. So I can stop thinking about this bullshit pipedream", said the homeless. His voice was uncharacteristically upbeat.

Chapter 52

The phone call between CIA director and MI6 head took place in the morning. Maybe it was not the morning, but let's call it morning. Maybe it wasn`t a phone call, and maybe they didn`t have it. It is possible that someone else had it on another hypothetical day. Anyway, it seemed like a conversation between two old friends speaking about their mutual friends and about friends of their friends.
- "Our friends continue massive retreat" said CIA guy.
- "That wouldn`t be ours. Just yours. But this would explain why the friend of your friends is getting ready for ground operations, with 'Lion must go' motto", answered MI6 guy. "It will be serious comedy."
- "That was my initial thought, too; however, they have a shitload of money. They can always hire mercenaries."
- "You are right. The third party already trains their military and has pledged to support them in case they are ever involved in active combat".
- "I have looked at it, and there seemed to be a legal issue here. The third party pledged support if the friend of our friends get invaded - not if he decides to invade someone else - though I'm sure there will be support in some form, but then I'm guessing we will have to support them in any event. And let`s not forget how the friend of our friends is also trained by us.
- Still, the Russians and their lot are about to chase your friends all the way back to the friend of your friends domain.
CIA guy didn`t want to talk about it. So he asked:
- How about the forth party?
MI6 guy replied:
- “The forth party it is a growing concern. They are openly shelling those who shall not be shelled in other circumstances. It`s bad for your and our PR. But I'm sure it was an accident and they are a faithful NATO ally. Pro-democracy and pro-free-speech. Still, maybe they need a reevaluation. And notice of one now. If they don't behave, they're out. Or at least suspend their active roll”.
CIA guy understood the reference and said:
- “Yeah, no. The forth party is exceptionally important to our strategic interests. They know it. Which is why they can act like this. Let`s just remind them that they're 0-17 against the Russians on their own”.
- “ This is an unfortunate fact” agreed MI6.” May be we just need to give up on the whole region - it's unwinnable at this point. Just let Russia do their thing, let them fight it out themselves. It's turning into a Shia-Sunni civil war. We don't need to get further in the middle of that”.
Both thought for a minute.
- “So did we still want to toss the lion?”
- “Yeah, we still want to toss him off. But as I said, it doesn't seems possible given Russian support. He's a terrible dude, but sometimes you have to leave a terrible dude alone to avoid a conflict that's even worse. It can easily become another Iraq”.
- “Don`t forget Libya. They had the highest per capita GDP of all of Africa before we freed them”.
MI6 guy didn`t want to talk about it. So he asked:
- “Do you think the average American would have no problems paying $3.00 for gas if your government promised to totally cut the friend of your friends off completely ?”
- “Average person prioritizing geopolitics over cheap gas? I don't think so. Depends on where you at, though. It hasn't been $3 here in LA for a while. It's been around $2.50-$2.80 for months. That is thanks to our ~60 cents of state taxes which keeps it so high. On the other hand, I literally paid $0.99 for gas in Missouri this weekend. There are other costs hidden in that price. The main one is living in Missouri”.
- “$6 here in the UK”
- “Yeah but that gallon of gas gets you so much further than it does here”.
- “True. Also the tendency to drive smaller, efficient cars helps. 15mpg would give people a stroke here”.
- “Anyway, where were we? Oh yes. Let`s hope the right guys kill the wrong guys”
- “And that the wrong guys don't have families who love them”.

Chapter 53

The conversation with corporate shrink got me tired. I couldn't find myself until I saw a remote control for the TV set. Apparently, Russian hotels was providing very reasonable satellite TV services with lots of good movies and shows. The trailer I saw for the first one made it look like a fun comedy. At least I thought it was supposed to be a comedy, but when I finally saw it, I was like, "What the fuck?". It started with an inspirational monologue though:

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgagee repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future.
Choose life.
But why do i want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose something else.
And the reasons?
There are no reasons!

I sat motionless for a minute. At some point I even decided to frame this and put it on my wall, it was just too inspirational. I pressed fast forward to the end of the movie.
The closing monologue sounded like requiem for a dream:

So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers - all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die." It was a good movie.

The next movie was American History X. The end of that movie makes you realize everyone is wrong (or right). So I’d say it was good movie too (or bad).

Then I watched the Return to Oz. it was totally fucked up movie. I loved it as a kid. Now I'm kind of wondering why it didn't freak me out. It definitely has plenty of creepy and downright terrifying scenes.

Then there was some movie called Old Boy. It was an excellent film. I'm really glad I saw it. I will NEVER watch it again. Never never never. When it was over, I just walked around my hotel room going, "DUDE WTF! DUUUDE WHAT THE FUCK!? FUCKING?!? DUDE!?" to myself.

Number fifth was Dear Zachary. I curled up in a ball and just cried for a half an hour. It broke my fucking heart. I'll probably never want to see it again too. Unless I ever want to get that "People can be SO horrible" feeling.

By the end of the fifth movie I was going crazy. So I walked up to a table with a courtesy food from the hotel and took a strawberry. Strawberries. It used to be possible to tell the ripeness and sweetness by the color but then they figured out how to make them all red, even the flavorless underripe ones. This has happened with basically every agricultural product. They breed for size and attractiveness, and the taste just disappears.
I bought some peanuts the other day from a local producer and they were those tiny kind that often come four to a shell. I thought "I haven't seen peanuts this small since I was a kid." And they tasted so much better than the stuff in grocery stores. I'm not blaming anybody. It's a product of ignorant consumers and global commerce. I just think we should start swinging the other way now. We as consumers should demand more ugly, delicious, un-exportable produce.
I chew on it for a while and went back to where TV was. Sole pose ion of remote control is a great thing. I was switching channels like crazy.
Discovery channel. Some of us like to learn about stuff via television. Instead now we are watching men look for gold or freeze to death looking for crabs. Next.
TLC. That used to be badass science and history documentaries. Now its about midgets. Next.
Mythbusters. They had me mixing shit together like a scientist when I was little. And I don't mean chemicals, I mean stirring up ice cream saying it was chemicals, or mixing several nearly empty shampoos in the shower and calling it a new formula I made up. I fucking loved that show, it made me feel like I could grow up and be a super cool scientist. Now it's shit. Basically all of those "educational" channels are trash now. Animal Planet, History Channel, they're all just shameless TLC ripoffs now, which sucks so much because Animal Planet used to be one of my favorite channels.
I couldn't do that any longer. It felt like I was about to collapse. Tiredly, I pressed the off button. But instead of going to sleep, the TV screen blinked and switched to some RT channel. “Russia Today” , I read their logo in surprise. Could this be a coincidence?

Chapter 54

Executives of Microsoft and Google was watching the news report on Apple’s decision to resist a court order to unlock a password-protected iPhone at FBI request. What surprised them was the apparent concern of Apple lawyers that authoritarian governments i.e. Russia and China will demand greater access to mobile data should Apple lose a watershed encryption case brought by the FBI. Any other day they would have ignored it but this morning the news might have signaled a political wind change. Something just didn't add up. Apple was always in compliance since pre-Snowden times, voluntarily cooperating with NSA and the rest. So why suddenly stand up for the privacy of millions in the wake of adversity by his own government? So it probably wasn't about Apple. It was more about Russia and China.
- “Speaking of which, what makes Russia more authoritarian than the United States?” One man told to another.
- “Everything.” another man answered. “and Fox news”.
They shook hands.
- “Or may be Apple does things that it would rather the US government not know about”. They thought.
News report showed Apple CEO saying “I'll give up my encryption when they pry it from my cold dead phone”
- “I really love when he speaks his mind, “said the Microsoft man. “ For so many years he was just the quiet, mysterious COO, but now we get to see him as an intensely passionate advocate for social progress.”
- “Yeah. But the government…. They are requesting a backdoor in to one mobile, which means they want something that would enable them to hack all iPhones, not just the one recovered. Who do they think they are?” asked the Google man.
- Agreed. There's no world where this door would only be opened once. I want the bad guys caught as much as anyone, but protecting the 4th Amendment supersedes that for me.
- So, do we side with Apple on this encryption debate?
- Indeed we do.
They shook hands. The time to speak up has finally come.

Chapter 55

Petr and Alice were having a dinner celebrating general’s promotion to the Minister of Defense (and Offence). The subject matter of the discussion they were evidently engaged in was cultural differences (and similarities) between well, the cultures.
- “I always wanted to know” Petr said, “How is your relationship with the Irish? I mean, you being English…” Petr paused. All he knew about English and Irish was from “Brave Heart” movie he once saw. However, his need to practice foreign language led him to this controversial topic and he didn’t know how to reverse it without loosing his face.
- “That’s OK” smiled Alice. “Let`s just pretend like I am still your English teacher and we’re about to learn the art of small talk” As Petr thankfully nodded, she continued: “The English like the Irish a lot more than the Irish like the English. I'm English but I spent most of my childhood in Ireland. I got a lot of flak for the 600 years I had spent oppressing them.”
Alice laughed.
- “I am kidding, Petr! Who actually brings up past oppression in regular conversation like it's your fault?” Seeing how Petr didn’t understand the sublime message, Alice decided to simplify her response and accentuated her words in 'Queen's English': “I've lived in England and Ireland and I'd say the relationship is better than ever. Most Irish and English get on very well and while there may still be some residual resentment toward England, the most you usually see is a bit of banter at the rugby or football”.

- “Good to hear that”, said Petr.

- “Are you interested in our culture?”- said Alice.

- “Yes, totally. And I like British accents a lot. Is it true that each city or county has its own accent?”

Alice took a glass of wine and replied:
- “I would say so. I like the fact that we can tell each one apart as well. What's also cool is that even villages have slight variants of accents. When I was a young girl I had a boyfriend, we grew up around 12 miles away and people could tell us apart from our accents... Which is probably due to we live across a country border”
- “I thought you were gonna say that people could tell you apart because what gave you away was that you are a female, while he is not” said Petr.
Both laughed.
- “You focghen whot maeht?” , said Alice. Petr didn’t understand. Alice burst into a loud laugh.
- “Tell me about tea” , asked Petr. Is tea really that big a thing there?”
- “It is, but it's probably different than what you think” she said, “When something important happens, I still instinctively put the kettle on to make tea. Tea is a thing to do, a thing to share a thing to have when stuff is going on, or you just need a little mild happiness. Most people drink tea. But most people aren't hung up on what kind or how exactly the leaves were cut, or how many degrees the water is, etc. Yes, you have some of 'those' people, but for normal people it's just tea. It`s funny how people expect us British to be very knowledgeable and discerning about tea, and while most people have a favorite brand, we're not very adventurous with it as a whole. It's just a thing that happens.”
Alice didn`t tell Petr how she, having lived in the US for a while, had an unpleasant encounter with one of her coworkers who was British too. He was super friendly at first and then he asked Alice if she'd like him to make her a cup of tea. Alice politely declined, and he has been cold and stand-offish with her ever since. It was like she violated some sort of sacred rite or something by refusing this man's tea. “You know what you did wrong” he said when Alice tried to soften things up. “I guess you could say the war is brewing” he said

- “Lets talk about weather”, Petr said. “I hear it`s always foggy and rainy in England, with the Sun coming out of clouds once a year How do you spend your one day of sunshine?
Alice smiled and said:
- “Go outside, fall asleep, get burned, regret. And if you have three types of crisps with you it turns in to a classy picnic too. Whine about rain the next day anyway. Or you don't whine. You just take it with dignity and silent hatred. We're British, we moan about everything, I'm struggling to think of anything that could happen to us that we wouldn't complain about in one way or another. Just kidding!”
Petr started to laugh again when Alice suddenly said:
“Petr, I am a double agent. Seriously.”

Chapter 56

Few minutes prior to Amazon drone delivery that Boris so eagerly expected, a woman in the neighbor`s backyard got the most comfortable chair she could find to lay down on, set it up, and prepared to celebrate her birthday. She took a big bowl of ice cold watermelon and undressed. It was her backyard. So she was laying there eating watermelon in her birthday suit with everything on display in her backyard when the delivery drone appeared over the tree tops.
She stopped eating, looked up, down and around and suddenly noticed her husband hiding behind the wooden fence with his fixed choke 28" barrel semi-auto Remington 1100 shotgun which to his taste was just about in the middle of the road for everything. The light recoil of the 1100 allowed its owner to shoot trap, skeet, sporting clays, duck, pheasant, geese, turkey and delivery drones all day without shoulder bruising. He looked very powerful and as such dangerous, for power is a rush, rushes are addictive, and addicts have to satisfy their craving for a rush. Woman found herself uncontrollably drawn to him. There he stood, an alpha male, the real man. She forgot about the drawn for a moment, it was unmanned after all.
Suddenly the second, bigger and more muscular drone appeared as thought out of nowhere. It was similar to the ones she saw on Discovery channel in a program about drones that the CIA uses in Pakistan except this one seemed even more advanced and equipped with manipulators, not unlike she saw in "Transformers" movie.
- "Oh my!" she uttered aloud with surprise. She always thought it would be cool to own one, so she was thinking of just ordering something too and then when the drone lands to drop off her package she`ll catch it with a laundry basket or something.
- -"Oh my!" she uttered aloud again, when the bigger drone attacked, captured and downed the smaller one Before proceeding further.

The distance where people can hear a 12 gauge shotgun blast depends greatly on humidity, wind direction, earth elevation, landscape cover and other such things that have a big part in sound travel. But basically a 12 ga can be easily heard over a mile radius at any time. The day was the warm and sunny with very calm wind and a 65 degree temp. The home sat on a 7500 sq. ft. lot.

Chapter 57

The Captain of the Ohio class submarine has just received the top secret message. The encrypted text on his corporately tailored Iphone6 said that Russian Acula class sub is headed out to the North Pole in order to get to, he couldn`t believe his eyes, to the entrance of the inner Earth. Like it was hollow.
The idea tortured the Captain since childhood, when one of his uncles disappeared during what later had become known as Operation High Jump.
“Too much strangeness in it”, thought Captain. “Why going North, when it`s supposed to be South?”
- “Lieutenant!” he addressed an officer next to him. “Have you ever heard of Operation High Jump?”
- “Sure, my granddad was a member of aircraft carrier crew, and he gone mad soon after. Couldn`t stop speaking about hollow earth all the time”, answered the young man, “I remember him saying that there are two hollow earth theories. According to the first one we live on the crust, but there is another world on the inside. The second theory has it that while we think we live on the outer crust, we actually live in the interior. But what bothered him most seemed to be the idea about Earth having underground ocean three times that on surface filled with fresh water!”.
- “Is that right?” Asked Captain, “And what`s your opinion?”
- “Mine?” lieutenant smiled. “I think if that`s true we'll be drilling the shit out of the surface in the hope of bottling the purest water money can buy real soon”.
- “Unless Russians will be drilling first”, mumbled Captain. “Oil means shit these days. Water is the new oil. But do Russians not yet realize there are places man was not meant to go?”
- “They will doom us all, I tell you, doom us all!!” nodded lieutenant in accord.
Chapter 58

CIA Moscow station chief pressed speed-dial button for the Director of the CIA.
“- Yes?
- They are withdrowing! It seems like they got the job done and now decided GTFO!
- What do you mean?
- Vladimir just exposed that ISIS and NATO are one in the same! Mission accomplished!
- Fuck! Wish we had him here.
- Me too. But instead he had us. You see, now he`s avoiding a planned war with Russia. Unlike you know who, he is no brainless moronic superficial clown.
- Yeah. Him withdrawing fucks up all out plans. Moreover, to the world he now looks like a real peacemaker because he`s saying "We tried, and you sabotaged all our actions against IS-US, al-nUSra and such, so Syria's your problem now and we're not cleaning it up."
- Or, he`s afraid of Iran and Israel to go nuclear and he wouldn’t want to be in the middle of things.
- That could be...Israel asked for the world's help on Iran...if they don't Israel is on their own and we know what that means.
- But what if Russia is playing a ruse? What if they have no intention of leaving their warm water port to waste and ruin?
- Fuck if I know.
- Vladimir the Unpredictable.
- I know, right?
- So lemme get this straight. The Russians showed up with troops, air assets, and naval assets, bombed the living crap out of the enemy regardless of where they were hiding, and are leaving again? That's how you win a war? Huh. Imagine that. Who knew?”
Five minutes later full transcript of their phone call was given to general Kotovsky.

Chapter 59
Canadian prime minister was enjoying his vacation in Cuba.
Now and then he got the suprised look from bypassing locals but at moment like this he just smiled and nodded. As such, locals had gotten even more confused but prime minister just thought:
- "I am Canadian. It`s just what we do"
In fact, he was right. Canadians do vacation in Cuba. It is their last refuge from American tourists. Some yanks knew that and threatened with retaliation something like "You'll be begging for us once you meet your first Chinese tour group". But that was what they do. They threaten:
- "You think you can keep us out of Cuba? We're moving in lock, stock and barrel. We're going to be in the pool. We're going to be in the clubhouse. We're going to be all over that shuffleboard court. And I dare you to keep us out!"
Prime minister closed his Face book page. Yanks stayed digital. Whereas he was back to analog. To analog Cuba. And he liked it.
Internet was very recently allowed here, and $1/half hour was way too much for the locals to be spending on the service. So like everything else, it was a luxury for the tourists. Things were looking up overall though and if they go in this pace, soon Cubans won`t have to get their Face book carted in via usb stick, twice a day.
Anyway, being Prime Minister, he had to take care for his duties whether on vacation or not. Today it was all about Obama visit. Personally, Canadian was a little bit skeptical of his visit. He'll try to negotiate with Castro, but Canadian just don't see Cuba being willing to take Rubio and Cruz back. So Obama will probably come here to talk to him, right? Knowing how Trudeau likes vacationing and all. He might talk to him about taking Cruz back. But fuck no. "Canada doesn't want Cruz" - thought Prime minister. However, Obama might pressure him on the basis American took Bieber, Bryan Adams and Celine Dion.
Prime minister pictured Obama saying:
- "And I haven't heard an apology for any of them!"
Yeah. Is it too late now to say sorry? Almost against his will, mental Obama reappeared in his mind and said:
"No, it's not, well if you take Cruz back it isn't."
Prime minister felt getting nervous. May be he`s overreacting. It was time to stop thinking. After all, Obama might have been going on a quest to find himself whilst in Cuba.
PM`s phone rang. Caller ID read nothing. It was always the case when Chairman of an investment firm with close ties to the KGB called him. Which meant one thing. Canadian Dollar was in danger. Or not. Subject to their phone conversation.

Chapter 60

NASA administrator liked his psychiatrist. Psychiatrist name was Sheila. She was very open-minded, didn`t mind been called a shrink and had positive opinion on legalizing marijuana. Speaking of which, if it is used recreationally and just for occasional fun. Personally, administrator used marijuana just for that. To fall asleep and calm down.
Since recently both shared special connection, almost in the context of relationships. Like it was a good thing. Sheila believed that there was no magic in psychotherapy. She believed the magic was in relationships. It was her experience.
Administrator laid down on the couch, and prepared to open himself up. Then he stood. Then he sat opposite Sheila. After he sat down there was silence until he started to talk:
- "I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe” - he said. " I know we've discussed this before - but I'm still not convinced that working with Russians was a good idea. Especially now, when I think Russians don`t understand us... And it`s not just me who thinks that, it`s the whole government...”
He wanted to continue but Sheila quickly pressed her fingers against his open lips:
- "I see.” She said. They sat in silence for the long ten minutes. Then she said: “May be Russians not understanding you is not your main problem. May be the problem is that yourselves do not understand yourselves. You do not even know what you are, what drives you, what is this system you exist in, why you keep running into dead ends, crisis situations, why you repeatedly and increasingly threaten your own survival with you actions? May be you are very afraid from these questions so you make a lot of noise, create dreams and illusions, a "circus and bread" industry, jump on all kinds of space age bandwagons like space colonization, searching for ET or building AI. I do not think you can escape much longer you true questions about yourselves and about the true purpose of you lives..."
- "What?" said Administrator. It`s true that usually they started with just chit chat or talk about a particular issue but they always normally get down to talking about something meaningful.
- "Perhaps the insistence on finding life in the universe", continued Sheila, "is partly a wish to escape your multiplying problems with Russians here on this planet..."
Administrator couldn`t believe his ears. It was so true. And films like "Interstellar" or "Tomorrowland" seemed to represent exactly that train of thought.
Sheila continued:
- "Your desire to escape your "playground" in order to find a new one could be called the "Ancient Babylonian solution". When the first great human civilization in Mesopotamia started running into problems with Russians, the solution was to scatter around the globe probably using the "kicking the can" principle for the first time in history".
Administrator couldn’t grasp a woman's mood, but had a strange feeling that it was neither here nor there.
- "What the..." he mumbled, but Sheila again interrupted him:
- "And how does that make you feel?" she said.
Administrator looked at a fireplace and a nice carpet with a leather love seat and said:
- “I am scared. But I am also hopeful”.
- Sheila nodded approvingly and asked him to give out more details, to create a picture out of his feelings. So he continued:
- I am having this recurring dream…'re on another world. A world with another sky, a different landscape, fantastical buildings. But this world is falling apart. These wondrous buildings are toppling, the fantastical landscape collapsing in on itself.
- “That`s very interesting!” said Sheila. “Your dream is falling apart... but it's only a dream. So here is what we do. Place yourself into a rocket ship as this world falls apart around you. Feel how your fear transforms into something else entirely ... how it's becoming a hope. Now close the hatch to the rocket, and as the ship takes off, enjoy your escape from the planet's atmosphere. Imagine that this is your ticket to a better world!”
- “I do feel that!” said Administrator.
- Very good!” Sheila said. Then she looked at the clock, closed her notepad and stood up. The session was over.


Air Force One, Marine One, Navy One, Army One, Treasury One, Justice One, Interior One, Agriculture one, Commerce One, Labor One, Health and Human Services One, Education One, Housing/Urban Development One, Energy One, Transportation One, and few nondescript rendition aircrafts were circling over the DC area . All heads of executive departments were discussing the super-secret announcement from Intelligence Community about Japan newest space telescope, which have been just lost. It was carrying some instruments from NASA, officially to study the high-energy universe in X-rays.
- "The US Joint Space Operations Center claims that their radar observations indicated Hitomi satellite is in at least five pieces". said the Secretary of Defense.
- "That does not sound good...", said POTUS. "Never good when a space mission for science fails. Sucks man. He paused. "But what the hell happened? Did a hydrazine tank blow up?” He asked to SOD. His experience with hydrazine consisted of reading and watching that scene in The Martian.
- "Apparently, some kind of “energetic event” has occurred"— continued the Secretary of Defense. He was no fool.
- "So I guess the Japanese didn't use enough duct tape then?" proposed Secretary of Education. He loved The Martian, too.
- "Let`s not worry ahead of time", suggested NASA administrator. He was still under therapeutic effect from his meeting with Sheila. "Hubble was a shitshow when it launched, too. Didn't get it totally right for the first 3 years it floated around up there".
The Secretary of Treasury was thinking about money. As such, he was worried.
"- Aliens." he thought. "Should the aliens be involved, the satellite insurance would not need to cover NASA equipment lost with it. "We won`t get our money back" he said aloud and imagined how negotiations with insurance company would be like: - "I'm sorry to hear that you have run into this piece of bad luck, it's so very sad." They will have told him. "Space is very unforgiving. The space aliens don't want us seeing so clearly into the cosmos. They wish to remain elusive. Anyway, your policy didn't cover space based laser attacks. Your claim has been denied. Also, your premium is due..." He tuned out for a moment.
"- How come such an extremely developed country like Japan can’t achieve this kind of thing?" said NASA administrator.
"-Because doing shit in space is really fucking difficult, as it turns out. Well it's not like it's" - said SOD.
- "There is no one better in it than Russians". said POTUS. It was hard to admit they were back to square one.
- "We had Shuttle". POTUS said in silence. "But we don`t have any manned spacecraft currently, we rely on Russia for ISS missions even. Congress refuses to fully fund the relatively small cost of Commercial Crew so it keeps getting pushed back years. Most people now think Shuttle wasn't a good idea because the cost of each mission was astronomical, it was only useful for low earth orbit, and it was dangerous for there was no launch escape mechanism, but it was nice that congress at least gave the slightest shit about space". Congress certainly seemed like a fair place to place the blame today.

Chapter 62

Key note speaker and homeless millioner were looking at each other.
- are you really from the Future?, asked homeless.
- I am. And I am also from Russia. said KGB time traveler agent.
- But you look like David Tenant... That explains the time travelling though. And the winning numbers...
- Oh, you mean the way I dress? That`s because my target year is 1981, you see. 2016 is just a stop-by. But thanks for the David Tenant thing. I was thinking more Tommy Lee! - he laughed.
- Can I travel with you? We`d make a perfect Zaphod Beeblebrox. I was a teenager and lived two blocks from Hollywood & Vine when the whole Heavy Metal / Glam Rock thing stormed Hollywood. Big hair, trench coat or leather jacket, spiked leather wrist cuffs, bandanas down the leg, battle axe earring, ghetto-blaster on the shoulder, a skateboard plus a German Shepard on a leash that understood "Mush" and "Stop". It was a seriously bad-ass time. Don`t leave me here.
- You have just won tons of money! Why go back?
- Can`t buy you love, man. Seriously, we`d be the coolest fuckers on Earth right there.
Damn I miss the 80s!
Russian looked at the homeless and laughed again:
- Hell yeah dude nothing says "badass" like tight pants and long hair with a perm!
- You forgot fingerless gloves!!!
- God damn! Motley Crue at the Whiskey . . . .
- "Miami Vice number one new show!"
- Take me with you. We`ll look like villains from Regular Show.
- No can do, pal. Unless you want to end up like Ed Snowden. He`d tell you lot of things you wouldn’t believe. We first met in 1555 by the way. Yep, we might as well be frozen in time.
Russian finished his speech, and homeless American mumbled in a moment:
- Speaking of what`s frozen, I feel like parts of Russia are always frozen in a time bubble and randomly pop up in today's environment like nothing has changed.
- This has a bit of truth to it. Parts of Russia are extremely remote and isolated. You might remember reading about a family way out in the middle of nowhere that still thought the Russian Empire was alive in like the 80's.
- Oh I do! I was a sad story. Damn, the father lost 3 out of 4 kids all in one year (1981). I wonder what happened.
- No immunity to modern diseases, no medical care. They died when contacts with geologists became more frequent.
- I think I read an article about the last remaining family member that she didn't regret meeting the geologists because they were on the verge of starvation anyways. Their last metal pot broke and became unable to cook anything.
- Why do you think I am going to 1981 today? Two times. First in the US, because Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost is release in theaters. Then in USSR, to visit Lykov family. It`a near lake Baikal.
- No way!
- Way!

Both stared at each other for a while. Time travel was not a joke.

Chapter 63

Ed Snowden couldn’t believe his eyes: "And I thought the Unaoil 100,000+ email leak was huge. Holy fuck 2.6 terabytes?? That's absolutely nuts. And look at their own shiny new website! Panama papers dot com!"
Once again he felt like he was a hacker in the late-90s movie, roller blading with Matthew Lillard and swimming in Olympic-size rooftop pools with Angelina Jolie. He wished he`d have any time for the simple things in life like that in 2016, instead of manipulating 3D holograms of his system structure.
"I need to torrent it!" - he whispered and did some math: "2.6 TiB = 2.6 × 240 bytes. (2.6 × 240 bytes) / (11.5 × 106 documents) ≈ 243 KiB / document. 11.5+ million documents, so...sizable! E Mails, databaseformats, PDFs, pictures, texts... Dios mio!"

What surprised him most was he didn`t see any leads to who leaked it.
"This crew is good".- he quoted Vincent Hanna`s words from 1995 Heat blockbuster. "They're doing it in massive co-operation to avoid any single one of them being assassinated, or Snowdened like me. Or Assanged like Julian”.
To Edward it was ironic to think that whistle blowers 45 years ago, during the Cold War, got treated in a much better way than today. It was also surprising that only 5 years ago were the Pentagon Papers declassified and publicly released. Most stuff in the US is twenty years after classification. Unless it's copyrighted by Disney. Or has anything to do with the Kennedy assassination. These two are sealed permanently.

He kept surfing through the data:
"This crew is good" he couldn’t stop repeating. They said their cooperation was mostly because there is too much material for any individual to handle it on his own. Of course, that's the public explanation. Who would really think they are going to publicly say, "Because we're avoiding being killed by some dirty government"? Still, the risk was as great as ever, and instead of one mysterious car crash the world might have heard of dozens of them. Unless they`ll happen to travel by bus.

- "Even China got in on the action". He exclaimed. "I'm really interested to see what happens to those eight high-ranking Communist party members".
He kept reading.
- "And FIFA! Though it`s probably the public version of it. And Iceland PM? Fucking cunt avoided taxes!”

Strangely on first look Edward didn`t see much in the way of US citizens in the lists. Presumably, if the corruption were so widespread, some of the rich and powerful of the US would be in there too... Only they weren`t. Perhaps the people from the US use different shell companies. From this great place called Delaware, no need to go too far.
- "Who Watches the Watchmen?" suddenly a voice behind Ed`s back said.
- "The Swiss?" added another voice.
Edward turned back, where Alice and general Kotovsky stared at him.
- "Have any Canadian connections come to light so far?" asked Kotovsky."I'm willing to be that the Maple Leafs are just an elaborate money laundering scheme"
- "Only Tim Horton", replied Edward.
- "Guys, why can’t I see any American news covering it yet?" asked Alice, pointing to the flat screen satellite TV mounted on the wall. "The top two stories on CNN right now were "Before She Was Gaga" and "To White People With Dreadlocks."
- "Because American media does not cover real news," replied General Kotovsky.
And as it turns out, he was right.

Chapter 64

John was looking at Donald and Ted. Donald and Ted was staring back at John. All three men just had a cup of coffee. Maybe it was not coffee; let's call it coffee. Maybe they didn't have it. It is possible that someone else had it and now was going to the cafeteria for another hypothetical coffee. And it`s highly possible this meeting never took place, and no one had a coffee at all.
- I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure! said John. - I believe 10 hours of non-stop Bieber songs would have a bigger impact on terrorists than waterboarding! he added.
- "But John, we must use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe! And obviously waterboarding cannot be considered to be torture!" said Ted. Waterboarding and snowboarding sounded like very similar activities to him.
- "That`s right. We must keep our prisoners hydrated, even if they are lying down with towels on their faces!" said Donald.
John was confused. Why these two advocated waterboarding, when should any of them happen to win, living under the dictatorship of either der comb-over or canadian Ted would be torture enough anyway? Or was it Cuban Ted?
- “No way!" John stood his ground. "I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again!" He knew what he was talking about. The solution has long been to have the inmates transferred to a country where such practices are normal and have them carried out by third parties. That way John had plausible deniability. But so as not to look rude he added: "Extra-judicial killing still okay, though."
Both GOP candidates nodded. It was a compromise they sought.
John paused and suggested: "If you could volunteer to be water boarded then the one who lasts longest gets the nomination... "
- "How about we discuss Putin's Russia now?" stopped him Donald.
- "What?" asked John.
- "Do you know that when asked to name their country’s greatest writers in a new survey, Russians stick with the classics?" asked Ted.
John looked quizzically. He didn`t know what to expect.
- "So Russians are to be criticized for liking Pushkin now?" he prompted. The Bronze Horseman was the first work he ever read in Russian, and it was still one of the most perfect works of literature he knew. Then you have The Gypsies, Yevgeniy Onegin, the fairy tales, the satires, the exquisite lyrical poems...
- "Point being they don`t read Panama Papers!"
- "But Putin’s name wasn't even in the leaked files..." John attempted a defense.
- "Exactly!" said Donald. "However, his image features everyone - across the media here, but not in Russia - as the key image associated with this leak! Russians need to read about it too! They won`t get to know it from some classic literature."
John was morally destroyed. They made him look insanely pro-Putin. The whole waterboarding issue seemed a sure thing from now on.

Chapter 65

Russian Akula submarine was a huge, lone, stealthy weapon platform, capable of mass destruction. Its Captain, Igor Ezhov, never understood why NATO named it the Typhoon. Akula means shark. The Russian sub was on a mission to find entrance to the hollow Earth. Which, apparently, was a deal of great interest to the US and the UK too, whose subs chased Igor all over the Atlantic. Luckily, Akula just managed to dump them both in shallow waters near Sweden a day ago, where both got stuck to the joy of myriads of news reporters. Now, far away from any shore line, Akula finally was free. To further cover its identity, Akula surfaced, cut a screw, raised the periscope with a beacon duct taped to it, and started singing Louie, Louie. The goal was to look like a fishing trawler while giving sub`s crew a breath of fresh air.
The U.S. Navy’s new Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer was so covert that Russain Akula`s radar indicated only a 40-foot fishing vessel approaching it.
- "Comrades, we have a single in-bound target" - said Russian radar operator.
The US spent $22.5 billion researching this ship class. Each cost an additional $4 billion. And they were only building three after cancelling 29. That's $34.5 billion, or over $100 for every man, woman, and child in America, mostly borrowed with interest. So for $11.5 billion each, this ships was real stealthy. No one saw that money ever again. The Zumwalt DDG 1000 was on a mission to test its rail guns and laser weapons.
Russian Acula class was also a masterpiece of military industrial complex. No one knew how much it cost or how many were manufactured. The distinctive feature of this class subs was that they were absorbing all of the acoustic waves, so that it was basically a sonar black spot. So when a fishing trawler appeared out of nowhere right in front of Zumwalt and happen to be a navy submarine, well... the Zumwalt’s commanding officer Capt. James Kirk was surprised. And so was Igor Ezhov, because a 40-foot fishing vessel turned out to be the hulking 610-foot warship. It was the day when birds of a feather flock together proverb come true. Like attracts like after all.

Chapter 66

Alice really enjoyed watching funny movies together with her husband. Her husband is me. If we can find something we both laugh our tails off at, then that is a romantic movie in our house.
Today, after some herbal relaxation, I felt very Call of Duty-esque so we decided to check out London Has Fallen.
- “I can't believe you have done this!” said Alice to me when we finished watching.
- “Why? Wh… What do you mean dear? What got you upset?”
- Oh you don`t know? Once again; a few brave American's save London and the world single handed. Whilst our incompetent secret service/police are unable to do anything. Is this not enough? Democracy has been sodomized, that what`s wrong!”
This didn't seem wrong to me. I kept rerunning the movie in my memory and what did seem wrong was the usual Hollywood mistake when filming the collapsing bridge. If you break a suspension bridge in the middle, the pillars fall outwards, not inwards. But of course I didn`t say that. Instead I said:
- “Yes but... honey, let`s look at the bright side: remember a hilariously awful TV news bulletin where the newsreader announces that terrorists have decimated most of London's known landmarks? And they didn't even touch the Shard, or the ugly Mobile Phone building! You get it? Ran out of pixels!”
Alice smiled a bit.
- They probably thought that terrorists couldn't cause any more destruction than the architects did.
- Yeah and who makes Aaron Eckhart President when Morgan Freeman is only VP? This is grievously ill-advised.
- No, actually it`s not. Last time Freeman was President the whole planet was nearly destroyed.
- How about the weird part when all of the good guys used Dell and the bad guys used Apple?
- So true there may be tears!

So we spoke and cuddled and spoke again. It was a good evening after all. And not a bad movie. On the second thought, the movie began with a drone strike killing dozens of civilians to get to one bad guy, but he got away and so did a few of the other important members. So the United States seemed really unjust there and naturally the bad guy was angry. I figured this subject would somehow come up later and main characters will talk about how they shouldn’t do that anymore or will at least say how they were wrong. And did they? No. Freeman gave a speech about how the US should keep doing what it wants, and then they did another drone strike at the end. It felt skeezy to me. Like are we supposed to cheer for Morgan Freeman for using drones because a lot of innocent civilians probably just died right then.
Good thing was that Alice didn`t understand this because she missed some critical turning point by falling asleep. I'm often irritated at this, but I wasn't that day because it was something we both should have enjoyed. And enjoy we did. And while we were at it, I was thinking about a movie plot again, and about the Russian president not attending the funeral of deceased British Prime Minister, whose preliminary end called for a grand gathering in London where heads of state (except for Russia’s) were invited to attend. There was a line about no love been missed there. Apparently, for no apparent reason at all, no one loved Russian president. It was a pity this line didn`t develop into anything in the script. So in my dream the Russian President suddenly showed up with an AK to safe the day and everyone else with it. It would have been so much better and fun. I should become a producer.

Chapter 67

Rear Admiral Fedor Krupeev held the office of governor of Russian-America for five years when a person known to him as a Keynote speaker (aka deputy head of department 404 of KGB time travel directorate) finally arrived from 2016.
1867 wasn`t exactly the best time (or space) to be for any of them. Alaska`s population at the time (and space) consisted of six thousand Russians and fifty thousand Indians and Esquimaux. The Esquimaux were happy people, inhabited the coast on the Northern sea, and were industrious, peaceable and teachable. They lived by hunting and fishing. The Indians were happy people, inhabited the interior, was also peaceable and lived by hunting, fishing and trapping. The six thousand Russians were all from St. Petersburg, separated by vast distances from their managers in the capital. As such, the Russians were happy people, too. And so, everybody were happy, except for these two very wise men.
- “Comrade Speaker!” – saluted rear Admiral, “Long time no see”
- “At ease my friend” – smiled the agent. At his words rear Admiral Fedor Krupeev relaxed a bit. He still felt nervous, though. Both sat on the couch.
- “To what do I honor your visit, comrade?” admiral said.
- “Bring me up to speed with the situation you`re having here first, admiral”
- “Well, it`s no good. Our naval presence in the Pacific is miniscule, and the defenses of Russian America are pitiful. At any time, the British or French might successfully attack New Archangel and seize the colony outright, or at least damage it so greatly as to make it worthless. We need tanks, strategic bombers, and nuclear submarines”.
Speaker looked him in the eyes and said:
- “Are you out of your mind, Admiral? It`s 1867. Five years you spent here didn`t do any good to you. We should have sent you further back”.
- “I am sorry, comrade Speaker.” said the governor and stood up. “Last few years year wasn`t easy, true.”
The speaker nodded, had a cigarette, and then said:
- “Don`t worry about British attackers here. We negotiated in London with officials from the Hudson Bay Company and came up with an informal truce. What we have to worry about is Alaska getting sold to the US. Funny enough, we`re on the same side with British right now”.
- “Go figure!” exclaimed admiral.
- “I know”, said the speaker. “However, Grand Duke Constantine is advocating the sale. He thinks we would do well to take advantage of the excess of money in the treasury of the United States. A sale to America, he says, would put pressure on British Oregon and avoid a confrontation with the United States.
- “Is the Texas ours in 2016?” asked the admiral.
- “Still work in progress”, answered the speaker. “Funny you mentioned this”, he continued. “More than direct military conquest and takeover, Grand Duke Constantine fears a Texas-like scenario, whereby settlers arriving in Russian America would grow to outnumber our own, then wrest control of Alaska from us.”
Both stood in silence.
- “What are we going to do?” asked the admiral.
- “The question is, what are we not going to do, Comrade”, answered the time traveler quietly.

Chapter 68

Seeing the Zumvalt so close felt unreal. It looked like a development failure, but the fact that it looked like a metal box with no weapons made it more terrifying.
- "How does the Zumwalt-class appear to be a fishing boat on radar?" said the first officer to no one in particular.
- "Kirov reporting!" yelled Akula`s Captain to the intercom. He always wanted to say that. When he was young cadet, he loved Red Alert 2 and had played it a lot. He cast a glance around in sudden silence. Everybody looked astonished.
- "Comrade Captain?" asked the first officer.
- "Belay that! Evasive maneuver now! Prepare to dive! Unleash the tactical dolphins!" Captain finally gave the set of reasonable commands.
- "Deploy bottlenose Dolphins! Prepare to dive!" the first officer relayed the commands immediately. –
- "Holy shit Dolphins are badass", said the officer of the watch to the helmsman.
- "They are. Still, they are nowhere near the anti-zeppelin lobsters and giant anti-sub squids. " agreed the former. He spoke with a degree of knowledge. His wife worked with lobsters and squids in Sevastopol. She used to tell him that they train really well and when they were not training they hanged out in the ocean and do whatever it is lobsters and squids do. You don't even want to know about their sexual deviance.
- “And dolphins are smart as fuck. From what I've read they are a few above chimps”
Ship Mission Center aboard Zumwalt sounded a lot like the Combat Information Center aboard Battlestar Galactica.
- Goddamnit. Who drank the last of the coffee and didn't make more?
- I don't have time for this... Red October is right in front of us!
- We got ten minutes before war, just enough time to remove the reflectors and a cup of coffee. Better yet, stop unbolting the reflectors and put some coffee on!
- Yes sir!
- Good. Where is my coffee?!
- Mud's not done yet, Chief. I can't stand your spoon up in it.
- I`ll have it as is. Thank you.
- Reflectors unbolted, sir!
- Prepare laser weapons and railguns! Wait, stew your weapon, they`re lunching dolphins! Silly Russkies.

In the meantime while support dolphins drew the Zumwalt attention , another , much larger group of well trained dolphins started to push a huge naval mines in front of them. Towards Zumwalt.

Chapter 69

A young woman that was sunbathing at backyard held a morning newspaper in her hands, reading about brexit. She was attracted to unusual term similar to breakfast which she liked having a lot. Article turned out to be about some referendum in Britain, but she kept reading, because it claimed that “Voter turnout was 70% both sides got the vote out”.
- “Holy shit, 70% would NEVER happen in the US!” She exclaimed in fascination.” Unless it was something important to Americans where the ending wasn't clear.” She mumbled to herself.
She put the newspaper aside and gave it a thought. Should she contact her broker? Fear for the global economy might be an opportunity to make a lot of money shorting stock.
Woman picked up newspaper again. As she read on, she was shocked that it was a 51/49% split than anything else. “Stupid red coats”, she thought. To her it was obvious that something this momentum should be based on was to be a supermajority vote, because otherwise half of the country would be unhappy with the results voted for by the other half. Still, she smiled. Red coats? Where did that come from? It wasn’t like when Brits get out of the EU they would get back to fighting the French!
“Those were the days! “ she thought. In her previous reincarnation she had been a knight.

The article went on about 2nd vote on Brexit referendum. She put newspaper aside again and closed her eyes. It seemed like there was some serious five-stages-of-grief going on there, and many anti-Brexit people were in the denial phase. She as an American thought the vote would go down as a historic mistake, but the way out wasn't to pretend that Leave didn't win by 4%, roughly the same margin Obama was reelected by. To be fair Obama was elected only for 4 years, Brexit was potentially for life and had more far-reaching impact.
She frowned. “Large constitutional changes should not be decided in this way” she said out loud. She suddenly felt like she was a male in female meatsuit,, supernaturally speaking.
At this moment her attention was attracted by the notice up in the air. She looked up and saw a large aerial drone, heading towards her.
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