To Russia, with Love

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden press conference taken by @HRW's @TanyaLokshina in Moscow airport July 12, 2013. | Photo: Tanya Lokshina, HRW | Link | Edward Snowden, Cia, Press, Russia, Press Conference, Leak, Secret, Whistleblower,

In which Edward S(n)ows his oat(h)s

In our last installment, 'A Day in the Life of..Amerika, or, Just Another Snow(den) Day, you'll recall that you were instructed by a certain S.W.A.T. vehicle's bumper to: Report Suspicious Behavior, Have a Nice Day'.

We now join the James Bond B movie you know as your life, already in regress:

You arrive home, at last, the place equipped with the wall screens everywhere, on which you hear the news of today, oh boy; yes, you know, you tell the inert screen with the man wearing too much makeup who's just repeated that the six hour old news is 'breaking'. You wonder, smirking, if it ever gets to the point that it's 'broken', then you remember this screen's tuned to Creepy News Notwork, your secret name for the channel that channels that white-haired Vanderbilt dude and the doctor they ask about everything. Must be a shortage of anchors in this 'see' of cacophony. You think how smart you are, and how you'd use lots of puns if you were a newsreader. Of course, they wouldn't let you, although they would like for you to smile into the camera, even you're talking about some tragic event; you suppose they think it's alright to smile during a sad report because they're playing theme music the sound editor has in stock with masking tape labels on them like 'Horrible Train Wreck' or 'Mass School Shooting'.

You think of the Dire Straits song about wanting your MTV, 'money for nothing' formed by your tongue and lips, softly. This one sounds like that, only it's about that Edward guy with the mole sitting in some Russian airport in limbo. You imagine Vladimir Putin holding a stick with a carrot tied to it, and that Edward guy doing that party dance, a Russian mariachi band assuring him that 'no one limbo, limbo like him.'

An actor in a white coat reminds you to 'ask your doctor' blah, blah, blah, which reminds you that you already did, and you reach for your purse containing the resulting purple pill you ingest without water. The pill sticks in your throat for a moment, and you think about what if you have to call 9-1-1. It finally slides down your stiff neck, and you remember that your child is at his friend's house, where he's probably experimenting with marijuana. The parents are very liberal, and favor decriminalizing it. You think about when you were young, protesting something at college, while you experimented with weed. You wonder if there's any in your son's room.

The phone vibrates, which makes you think about that song 'Good Vibrations'.

You answer, it's your son. He asks you if you think the call is tapped. You doubt it, he doesn't. He tells you that he wants to spend the night; you agree, but tell him he needs to come get his toothbrush; he already has it, you learn.

"Breaking News: A British newspaper has reported that the American expatriate Edward Snowden has provided evidence that virtually everything done on line is known to the government..."

'They'll probably ask that doctor about this, too' you think, trying to remember if you've done anything on the internet that might..

The doorbell rings, you freak out, realizing it sounds like your new ringtone; you think it's probably your son, probably forgot his weed.

You peek through the peephole of your double doors. The chime, again, insisting that you make a decision; two men, they look official.

"Ms. Jones, we're with the Bureau" flipping gold-plated ID just like in real movies.

That Bob Dylan song turns on in your head: 'Something is happening, but you don't know what it is, Mr. Jones..'

"May we come in?" You can only nod your head up and down, and they do.

"It's about your broker" they inform you, Mrs. Jones.

"Yes? I spoke with her, yesterday; what's going on?" you find yourself role-playing the sheltered though college-educated suburbanite they talk about on talk shows.

"We've had her under surveillance for some time, and, well, she's..gone" they download Joe Friday in well-rehearsed monotone.

You offer them something to drink, hospitably, hoping they like Scotch as much as you would, now.

"What was the subject of your last contact with her?" their insistence wrapped in a routine-sounding question.

"Um, let me see..this is all so..surprising, you know? Um, yes, home security stocks, and, er, a pharmaceutical stock, I think." Your fluttering eyelashes must be having a butterfly effect somewhere in China, you think, nervously.

"Well, what about Russia, anything about that?"

They must know, the British guy, on CNN, did he mention phone conversations?

"I..think so, yes, she said something about turning me on..weird language for a broker, don't you think?..turn me on to a real estate thing, in Russia, I think" you get to the point, a point they already know about.

"Ms. Jones, your account, it's been cleaned out; it seems that she's flown to Russia, for a liaison with her lover, a Mr. Snowden, Edward Snowden" they scoop the pants off CNN with this heart-breaking news.

Your smartphone rings like a doorbell, and you and the agents share furtive glances.

You smile-cry, reading aloud the text: "Hello, Mrs. J, and goodbye from Russia, with love! .>))". They see this as suspicious behavior, and, no, you're not having a nice day.

The agents, spying the emoticon, reluctantly ask if you wouldn't mind answering some questions.

You heard the news today, oh boy.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 12:08 PM EDT | More details


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