So this is a continuation of the exercise I posted about last week. I took a word from column A and one from column B and came up with “Depressed Hitman”. This is a scene about how he came to be in the hitman business. For all of you out there that speak Russian, please forgive the translations if they are incorrect or don’t make sense. I don’t speak Russian and was using Google Translate. Leave me a comment if I said anything wrong and I’ll correct it. And leave your comments on what you think about this post. Ideas, critiques, questions, praise…it’s all welcome here.
Brooklyn – 1986
Yuri stood on the corner of 4th Street and the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, New York on a late summer evening. He had been a soldier for Russkiy Medved’, the Russian Bear, since he was twelve years old running errands for the mob boss. Now, on the eve of his eighteenth birthday, he would be initiated into the circle known as the medvedya lapu, The Bear’s Paw, or just the lapu. The youngest ever.
He stood there trying to hold his emotions in, but the nervous energy leaked out in the form of pacing up and down the boardwalk in front of the little cafe waiting for The Bear and his lapu and chain smoking Marlboro reds. He started smoking them because the Marlboro man reminded him of John Wayne and loved to watch John Wayne movies. Cowboy was a nickname he had gotten recently and he like it.
Yuri checked his watch again for the fourth time in as many minutes, impatiently waiting and wishing he was in the cafe. But the boss told him to wait outside and wait outside he did.
“Hey Cowboy!” Yuri turned and in a flash a black hood had been thrown over his head and he was being manhandled somewhere. He hadn’t heard a car or van pull up though. He fought his assailants and cursed them in Russian. One of his kicks landed, somewhere, and he heard a deep guttural groan. He must have gotten one in the nuts he thought triumphantly. He doubled his efforts to get free, but his leg was caught by someone else. Yuri used the leverage and landed another kick to what he thought was the guys face. Despite these minor victories, he was losing the battle and the kidnappers managed to force him into a van.
“Leave them,” he heard someone say in Russian as the van peeled out. He felt a massive blow to his head that sent shock waves through his body. He saw stars despite the bag over his head and fought for consciousness. He barely felt the second blow before he lost his battle. The last thought he had was that this was death and he would never wake up.
Yuri woke up with a splitting headache. “Where am I?” he thought. “I’m alive, but, Oh God my head.” He looked around, everything was fuzzy. Slowly, as his eyes adjusted to the light from a single light bulb hanging over him, he realized he must be in a warehouse of some kind. He could see rusty metal shelves on his left with old moldy boxes on them. An abandoned warehouse. He had no idea how long he’d been out so he could be anywhere. Boston, Pittsburgh, maybe they drugged him too and he was back in Russia.
Panic started to take over his body. His slow, strung out breathing became rapid and jagged as the thought of the KGB crept in his mind. He had heard stories about the KGB and that was probably the one thing that scared him the most.
“But why would they want me? I’m in America. I was six years old the last time I was in Russia. They couldn’t possibly be after me.” He relaxed a little bit with this thought and and tried to move his arms. They were tied behind his back to the wooden chair. He struggled vainly and realized his legs were tied to the chair too.
The struggling made his head pound harder, if that was even possible, and he stopped to gather his strength and thoughts. “Ok, I’m tied up to a chair in an abandoned warehouse probably in America somewhere. I was waiting for The Bear because he was going to make me the newest guy in his lapu. Did I do something wrong? Is it the Medved’ that had him kidnapped? Was he being framed for something? Was it the FBI? The CIA? Did they want him to rat on his family? Not a chance of that happening. Sviney.” With that last word, pig, he spat. His head didn’t hurt as much now. He tried turning to look around.
Everywhere he looked was dark except in under his light bulb. Shadows mostly. He cleared his throat and heard it echo. A big room. Maybe the main warehouse. Was he being watched right now? He struggled again, lightly at first, and when there was no additional pain, he struggled a little harder.
Whenever Yuri was in trouble, he would always think, “What would John Wayne do?”. It seemed silly sometimes, but it served him well so far. So he thought, what would John Wayne do? He would try to get free first of all. But he was tied to the chair. Could he maybe cut the rope with one of the support beams on the metal shelving? He stood up as best he could, bent over at the hips, and hobbled inch by inch over to the nearest shelf. The strain was beginning to cloud his eyes as the pain of his head intensified again.
He managed to get to the shelf, turn around and start running his hands up and down on the edge of the metal support beam. It wasn’t cutting. He pushed harder. He thought he could feel the rope being cut a little. He doubled his efforts and pushed harder still. He began to see stars and knew that he wouldn’t do himself any good if he passed out again so he backed off. But it was too late. The beam he was using failed and the shelf and all it’s contents came crashing down.
Yuri froze and listened after the last of the boxes of ball bearings had scattered into the darkness. Surely someone must have heard that. They’d be here soon and he still wasn’t free. He had to get out of this before they came or he would die. He knew it.
He went further down the isle to another support beam and could just make out a wall at the other end of the room. Maybe he could smash the chair. He stumbled to the wall and weakly tried to smash the chair. He felt weak. Stars were getting brighter and his head was getting lighter. He stopped to catch his breath and try to gain his strength. He tried one last time, mustering all his energy and threw himself at the wall. The chair crumpled and he managed his way out of the tangled mess.
He picked up a broken, jagged chair leg and leaned up against the wall trying to shake the cobwebs out of his head. His head pounded and fought to stay conscious. He thought he heard a door open, but couldn’t be sure if it was really a door or just the pounding and ringing in his ears. He controlled his breathing and the stars went away and throbbing pain gradually went down to a dull roar.
He heard footsteps. He was sure of it. He held the chair leg like a sword and backed away against the wall. How could he get out of here alive? They knew where they were, he did not. They didn’t have knots the size of Moscow on their heads and shoulders, he did. He saw a man stop under the same light bulb he had woken up under. Yuri didn’t know the man, but knew he was dangerous just by his presence. Yuri fought to control his bladder as the man turned and seemed to look through the darkness that separated them right into his eyes.
And then it happened. He heard a noise to his right and instinctively swung the chair leg. It connected and he heard fabric tear. Another man tackled Yuri from behind and with all his might, Yuri swung the chair leg back like he was paddling in a canoe. The jagged end lodged into something and a split second later the man released him and howled in pain.
Adrenaline coursed through Yuri and motion caught his eye through the tunnel vision. It was the man from under the light. Yuri froze. He felt the cold barrel of a gun pressed up to his forehead.
“In the time it takes you to try and hit me, I can pull the trigger,” the man said in a New York accent which stunned Yuri just as much as having a gun pointed at his head. The overhead lights turned on in pairs down the long warehouse floor bathing the space in a weak fluorescent light.
As the lights warmed up and filled the warehouse, he heard someone clapping above him and looked up to see The Bear watching and smiling from a balcony.
“Yuri!” Ivan Koliansk said in his thick Russian accent. “Yuri my boy! You have done well.” He disappeared over the railing and Yuri heard footsteps coming down the metal staircase. He looked at the light bulb man with the gun still pointed to his head and turned back to where The Bear was coming down.
“What is this?” Yuri asked weakly.
The Bear walked up to Yuri and smiled, “This is your initiation into the lapu. We had to see how you would react and how tough you are. It is also a very small taste of the pain you will suffer if you rat on us.” Ivan looked around Yuri and saw one of the guys leaning up against the wall, the chair leg embedded in his side. His breathing was staggered. He would probably bleed to death in a few more minutes. “He knew the risks,” he said more to himself than to anyone in particular.
“Yuri, you have done very well. In case you are wondering, you decommissioned Gregor by kicking him in his petukh. He swears he will never have children now. You shattered Little Ivan’s jaw. He will be eating out of a straw for a few weeks. And over there,” he said, pointing to the half dead man on ground, “is Dimitri Andreyev from Los Angeles. They were going to try to get you to rat on me. But you didn’t!” He patted Yuri’s cheek as a father would to his son. “Good boy.”
Yuri stood there, bloodied and exhausted, not believing what had just happened. He thought he was going to die, but it was only a test. A test he seemed to have passed with flying colors as he was now the youngest ever allowed to be in the inner circle of The Bear. At least now he can approach every situation he will encounter knowing he has faced death and lived to tell about it. He has no fear.