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  • Аннотация:
    Lady History has a pretty weird sense of humor, doesn't she?


Lady History has a pretty weird sense of humor, doesn't she?

Chapter One

I think I was twelve, so it must have been around 1980 or so. Our parents were late coming back from our dacha and we went to the bed without waiting for them. We fell asleep and then the phone rang, and I got up to take the call. For some reason I still vividly remember how I stand there, half-sleeping, leaning against the wall and how cold the floor was. It was my parents' friend (we called her “aunt Vera”). She cried a lot and couldn't really talk and it took me a while to understand what she wanted. Finally, I made out that her husband, who served with my Dad, died somewhere near Bagram. He was there teaching the locals to fight Taliban. Next day I talked to my Mom about it and she told me about Afghanistan.

Chapter Two

1996. A state where it's almost always hot. A bar not far from a big U.S. Air Force base.

- Have you fucked Jenny yet?

I make, hopefully, negative enough sound, a piece of a rib liberally covered with “BBQ – extra spicy” sauce still in my mouth. The only way to correctly answer certain questions is to answer without thinking. Like when your girlfriend asks you if this dress makes her fat. Or when a 6' 4” certified nut-case of an Airborne drill sergeant asks you if you slept with his wife. I drop the completely cleaned of any meat rib on the plate and attempt to quench fire in my mouth with Dos Equis – it's at least 120F outside and the list of drinks that my body accepts without objections is pretty short. We sit in a shade of a makeshift tarp roof but all around us the sun is beating down on everything mercilessly and I think I can see faraway mountains on the horizon. Or may be it's just hot air. Sergeant Smith follows my example and grabs a rib (man, those were damn good ribs right there) and from now on his speech is a bit muffled.

- Cause if you have, it’s OK, you know. It’s called an open marriage. It means I don’t give shit. Cheers! – we touch our mugs. The beer is cold and the mugs are sweating. – Andrey, you’re a good guy. Better you than those apes from the FSS. I know she likes that other guy… Michael. Tell him to fuck her. - I seriously suspect this is exactly what Michael is doing right now but I don't see anything good possibly coming out of this discussion so I change the topic and we spend the rest of the lunch break talking about Cuban prostitutes. Sergeant Smith has a snowball's chance in hell to visit Cuba but he's very interested in this aspect of life on the Island of Liberty. He's a good guy generally and I willingly provide enough information to satisfy his curiosity. To tell you the truth, I've never been to Cuba but my imagination is more than able to make this little factoid irrelevant.

According to my (admittedly, very limited) research, the morals, or general slutiness level, in the U.S. Armed Forces are pretty similar to those observed on a remote Soviet Navy base. Sure, there are many exceptions but sergeant Smith and his wife, first lieutenant Jennifer Smith, were not one of them. As we were informed soon after arrival, the sergeant periodically caused a mini-scandal by screwing students of the officers' school where he was teaching something or other. Jenny had already slept with every male on the base in the alphabet order and by the age and now turned her attention to us, humble civilian contractors. But the contract was up pretty soon. Jenny and Michael saw each other every once in a while for a few more months and on Christmas that year she even took us to California and back for free on a huge military cargo plane.

Chapter Three

Today I got a call from Michael. He said that Jenny called in the beginning of the summer. She cried a lot and couldn't really talk. Sergeant Smith died somewhere near Bagram, He was there teaching the locals to fight Taliban.


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