The dogs were barking, I was trying to get home a new way, and I really had to pee. I stopped into a happening steak house, and asked where the bathroom was. “Miss,” I said, “where is the bathroom?” She told me the way to get there, and two guys asked me if I was an American. I wanted to answer them, they were so friendly, but I really had to pee. It
was such a relief to go.. Had I already been drinking? It wouldn’t be surprising. The guys asking about me were new Russians by the looks of their leather coats and pants. Do you want to drink with us? they asked. Nothing much was happening that night, so I said sure. I didn’t want to miss
drinking with strangers in Russia . In a way
it was stupid, and I was scared, which they knew by the way my hands trembled. They asked to see my passport, I understood it was just curiosity. They told me I looked like an Arab. Miss, a vodka for our new young friend. Then we drank to our new friendship. How exotic is this really? I figure this must happen in America too, just not to me. I’ve known so many people who want
this sort of thing to happen, who’ve studied Russian because they wanted to drink with strangers, and they all spoke better than I did. Maybe this way will work for me I thought. After four vodkas I said, “I happen to be drunk. I believe I must stop to drink.” The one in charge said, Quit now? You must learn to drink like a Russian. Try a new drink. A porcupine for our friend, Miss. Miss, a pocupine, Miss!
A porcupine is half vodka and half beer. I start missing pieces of my memory here. I knew from the beginning that they wanted something. It finally came up. They wanted me to drive new cars from Germany to Russia . $1000 for me on each way. I kept drinking, because a drunk’s word isn’t worth shit.
They called a friend to open a banya for us. What happens
next is embarrassing. I barely knew what was happening. I threw myself on the mercy of the waitress. I said, “Miss? very drunk I am. I do not know these men, and I trust it to you do right. Please direction give.” She said she didn’t want to get involved, but she pushed me out into the snow, set me on my way home. I woke up with a hangover?that was new.
I lied to them a lot that night. I knew what was happening, and I only pretended to misunderstand. Try it this way: I wanted the danger, but I wanted it safe.