If I had any words to describe my few days in Russia, it would be “Why did I wake up in Romania?”
For those who aren’t aware, Russia is huge and Vladivostok is on the Pacific ocean. Imagine my surprise when I woke up in Romania, which doesn’t actually share a border with Russia. The Ukraine is between Russia and Romania. If that’s enough to make your head hurt, you wouldn’t be alone. I’ve felt this bad before, but I think it involved a power hammer to my head and memory loss. I’m beginning to see a pattern.
When I awoke today, it was in this central square type of place. I found myself being poked by an old man. “Son, you should wear some pants if you’re going to sleep outside in this weather.” My translator program pegged the language as Romanian.
The only response I could muster was a curious, “Ow.”
It took me ten minutes of being poked before I peeled myself off the ground and looked around. The fellow was right. I needed clothes. I wore nothing but a bunch of ashes that had piled up on my belly, sticking to the occasional wound. I had scrapes, cuts, and even punctures for the ashes to settle in, not counting the bruises.
Which would be easily accounted for if only I had money. After stumbling around a few minutes, I spotted a pharmacy next to a bank. It wasn’t my lucky day, but it was getting luckier every second. Even better, I found a coat much like the one I normally wear in the bushes in front of the bank. And when the bank teller threatened to call the police on me for entering pantless, I slipped and spotted a pair of pants hanging from the balcony. They fit me perfectly, and even had my fake ID.
It’s a good thing I decided to strip late in whatever trip I was on. I wasn’t in any mood to shove my brain down the internet enough to transfer stuff on my own, so I went inside and arranged a transfer of funds from the Double Cross corporate accounts. Double Cross: when you don’t have your wallet, trust us to have it.
Global positioning put me in Targu Secuiesc, a town in the Carpathian mountain range. It also put my travel crate in and Moai in Omsk. I poked my finger to my ear as if I had a bluetooth phone earpiece on and gave him a call.
“Oww…fucking dial tone. Moai! Are you fine? Speak to me Moai!”
“Dammit, Moai, this is no time for cuss words.”
“Moai, this is no time to discuss the idiocy of the Kalam Cosmological argument. I just woke up in Romania. Get here with my crate. It has all my first edition Harry Potters in it. And…hold on a moment.”
I looked up to a pleasant man in a suit offering me a complementary mug of their finest coffee. “To help with your hangover. We are always ready to help our valued members.” I’m sure. It’d be bad business if they got a reputation for jerking their members around. Then again, maybe they could help me after all.
“Excuse me, my good fellow, but perhaps you can get some money to a friend of mine in Omsk. He’s a mobile Moai statue, and I’d like him to bring me a rather large package.”
“In Omsk? There’s been quite a commotion over the news about everything that happened over there. But you said he had a package. If you want, I can help arrange travel for him?”
That got me curious. I took a sip of my coffee, the heat from it weighing down my eyelids and making me long for more sleep. “It’s a large package. A crate big enough to hold a few people.”
Despite the sound of that, he kept right on smiling. “I can ask for people who have experience with that sort of thing.”
“There aren’t any people in it right now, so I don’t need the human traffickers.”
He waved his hands. “That’s good. I meant truckers who are used to that load.”
I squinted one eye as if in a bit of pain. “I’ve seen some of the dash camera videos. I want it here in one piece. Maybe by plane?”
He shook his head enthusiastically. “If you think the drivers in Russia are bad, you don’t want to try the pilots.”
I looked at him, then spoke to Moai again. “Moai, I’m going to send over some money. Use your best judgment on whether you bring the crate by land or air. You’re looking for Targu Secuiesc, Romania. I’ll make sure to give you enough to be generous with the bribes. Hope to see you soon, ok?”
“Beep you too, buddy. And beep yo quarry.” That’s the statue equivalent of Yo Momma. You know, like “Yo quarry so big, it’s been worked by a hundred men at one time.” Moai should know I mean it affectionately. I’m unsure how emotionally attached he is to his quarry, but I do know he’s a chip off the old block.
I glanced up at the waiting bank manager. “I think I’ve had an interesting few days. Is there any place around here I could grab a bite to eat and try to figure out what I’ve been doing the last few days?”
He showed me to a restaurant nearby where I chowed down on some kebabs and pulled up my memories starting when I arrived in Vladivostok.
All was well until I got off the ship with a bunch of naked sailors and a got into a fight with them over their mistaken belief that I cheated at cards. They clearly didn’t understand that when I cheat at cards, it means killing the other players and stealing their money.
The brawl soon led to the bunch of us heading to the nearest bar, where I proceeded to get us all kicked out when, in an attempt to show solidarity with my new nude pals, I attempted to undress while dancing on a table. On the plus side, I made 500 rubles and stole six wallets. I still remember that part somewhat in the regular portion of my brain.
Feeling flush with cash, I took the nude sailors to a club instead and that’s where I have nothing to go on but the recordings. There, I tried some new type of vodka derived from old Soviet-era rocket fuel and started dancing with a woman in a Chinese-style dress. She looked Asian, but spoke flawless English. I was too enthralled by my belly feeling on fire from the vodka to think much about that. Aside from idle chit chat, one phrase in particular stood out to me. “I would love to tell you more about why you are needed, but it’s about time you go where you’re needed.”
The vodka left me spasming on the dance floor, at which point my dance partner and the sailors heroically abandoned me. Moai carried me out of there and to a waiting ambulance that waited outside, presumably for anyone who drank Soviet rocket fuel.
I then woke up and hijacked the ambulance. I drove west through China and broke down in Mongolia, where I was rescued by a peaceful Mongolian cable guy. I spent the night on his couch. I awoke the next morning and noticed a bunch of horse herders nearby.
At this point, I apparently stole all their horses and convinced several youths to join me in rebuilding Genghis Khan’s empire. We even attacked a Russian military base just north of Kazakhstan. There, I gave several of the Mongolians and some new Russian recruits a crash course in helicopters, with something of an emphasis on crash. I may have also launched artillery on Omsk. That’s probably why Moai went there. When in doubt, follow the explosions.
I raided Omsk and captured a lubricant factory, converting an old cannon at the military base to fire a huge globule with me in the middle. I aimed for Moscow, but given my incapacitated state it’s lucky that I even went westward at all. Instead, I finally stopped sliding around Volgograd. You’d think I’d have hit a tree or two along the way, and I did, but it was a lot of lubricant. I mean a lot. That place is on the other side of Kazakhstan. I flew through the air, got the air knocked out of my while deflecting off a few trees, and skidded along to Volgograd where I landed in a train car full of teddy bears. I emerged wearing teddy bear armor, but got caught in a train door while beginning my reign of fluffy terror.
The train dragged me all the way to the Ukraine. Funny thing. It appears I was regaining some of my cleverness at this point, though bio data shows my blood alcohol level still looked pretty damn drunk. I should have been dead a few times over at this point, and not just from all the crazy stuff I did. I kept the fluffy suit of teddy bears on and knocked on a random door, announcing myself to be the husband from America there to move in with my mail order bride. She dumped me on the spot, told me she wanted a divorce. I suggested an annulment. I’d even let her keep the house if I could have the car.
I stole the car.
The next few hours were a blur of racing from one car to the next, jumping out and stealing the next car, then doing the whole thing over again. I believe I kept introducing myself as Jason Statham to the unfortunate drivers I encountered along the way, and told them I needed their car to look for Liam Neeson’s daughter. I would watch that fucking movie.
I stopped when something tackled me off the roof of a moving car in Targu Secuiesc. He looked pale, with a bald head and big, untamed eyebrows. I could see the vein popping out on his forehead. Motherfucker bit me with those messed up teeth of his, so I’m guessing it’s one of the older European vampires.
I started hitting him before he could drink me dry. Vampires may be immortal undead creatures with a variety of supernatural powers, but even they don’t like it when you kick them in the balls repeatedly. Very few creatures do. It’s a handy tip to remember if you ever find yourself facing a supernatural undead killing machine. Or superheroes. Or your boss when he annoys you.
Double Cross is not legally liable for what you do to your boss when he annoys you.
The vamp tried to fight but just stumbled around a bit. We both did. It was Mortal Kombat on rocket fuel vodka, and it ended in a Friendship when we couldn’t remember why we were fighting and started singing in Romanian. Things got maudlin. I streaked. As the morning sun rose, I fell asleep with him laying on my chest.
Which explains the ashes.
My apologies for not having anything interesting to report this time around, but it’s only today I woke up like that, and now I think I’ve got a few days’ worth of being the personal bitch of the Oh God of Hangovers.
In the meantime, it’s probably best if everyone stays away from the new Mongol invasion of Russia. The news is reporting that their leader is either a sociopath or drunk off his ass. That sounds familiar.