Irfan and I had to the best of our ability barricaded and taped up the windows of the safe house which overlooked the parking lot and street. We had dropped the Haitian and Israeli flags off the balcony ledge which was a flag signal on our part that all positions were to be hardened and the volunteers were to be called up. There were only four roads of approach into Camp Shrakasa Waltham, and the safe house was amid a large cooperative housing development on the Western upper most slope of the great hill the whole camp and village rested upon. Thus, a spotter could see the flags drop, confirm via radio it was an activation, and then, climb one of the three massive radio towers called the three Eiffel’s of Waltham; and hang the flag of Zimbabwe; which was the signal for ‘get to your position, mine the roads, this is a call up’.
And it was just after high noon when we dropped out flags, and 12:15pm when the flag of Zimbabwe went up the tallest structure in town, and then it was no going back.
Saadiya calls me on the land line, “We are at Malcolm’s, are you all safe?”
“I know Roj called, you should get in your car and get down here to the hatch, I’d estimate we have 55 minutes,” the Sheikha Saadiya Usmani has a British accident.
“She won’t leave,” I tell her.
In the next room Adelina was taking a shower.
“Sebastian, we don’t have a lot of time. Tiputti, Ricardo, Botchello and I are almost done moving the files onto the inter-web and into the drive, when that’s done we’re heading down the hatch and heading to Hartford or Dover, the couriers won’t tell us.”
“I realize that. You may have to leave without us. She’s very stubborn.”
“Sebastian, I realize that you are sleep deprived, and may not be able to hear me. But I order you to get in the car with Irfan, and make the rendezvous. Or, as you know Ilya’s men will burn this whole place down and many of our supporters will die for nothing defending you and her, when we could make this painless.”
“Sheikha, what would you have me do?” he mutters.
“They’re coming with many violent men. We need to get all the delegates out of Waltham, we need to put all the supporters back to sleep. If you can extricate yourself in a timely fashion it could save many lives.”
“Sheikha, I’m trying. She’s in the shower right now.”
And Saadiya Usmani the prophetess knows that perhaps this the last time she will hear him alive.
“Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes,” she says and puts down the phone.
I put on tea. Irfan comes up the stairwell; the safe house is a rather large two bedroom apartment with a now heavily barricade balcony overlooking the parking lot and main road called Kings Way. I can see the flag of Zim still fluttering, Kudzai the biochemist sure got that fast. The enormous IED’s that will take apart the two largest bridges into town were his doing; cooked up under Ricardo Veshanit’s home. If it comes to that.
I hand Irfan a mug of black tea. He’s of medium build, an older man who ages well, classy with thinning hair a heavy drinker and analytically minded. He’s former Pakistani military, before he was sent to the camp used to provide security for the present there. Alongside Saadiya he makes up the other half of the Pakistani delegation.
Where he had acquired a fully loaded AK-47, in this camp, at this time of the year under this state of affairs, who knew. Such a thing from Irfan Khan was not hard to believe, he had connections for worse things. Getting them and moving them for sport and for fun or for the welfare of country, his country of origin.
He sips the tea and slings the rifle over his shoulder. He too has a British accent.
“I have three clip and four hand grenades. I have placed an IED near the entrance to the house and on the first approach to the road. We can set them off by remote. Where is she?”
“She’s taking a shower.”
“A long shower.”
“She’s a dirty girl,” I tell him.
He winks, he has a good old boy sense of humor.
“Saadiya told me that I am to again order you to pull out of this position and head to the hatch immediately. She said if you refuse because you think you’re protecting the girl; I am to pull out,” he checks his gold watch, “in ten minutes.”
“You know I’m not going to leave her side.”
“I anticipated that you would say that.”
“She’s my wife and the mother of two of my kids.”
“Yes, I anticipated that you’d claim that.”
“I’m a Captain too, Saadidya can’t order me to do anything.”
“Look it’s a fully volunteer outfit, no one can enforce any of these orders. It’s about respect. Respect for the total fubar mess you’ve landed us in less than just two days out of Congress. Two days! I thought we had more time to run and hide.”
“I’m sorry, she came back.”
“You’re the fucking general man, you’re the chief. The top most leader really! You fucked up. You’re not allowed to play with other’s lives like you have, with hope like you have. They trusted you, I trusted you. In forty five minutes a private army will over run our position and obliterate this camp. Burn down every structure, kill anything with a pulse. I estimate that this entire encampment might, might be lightly defended by forty students with small arms.”
“Are those real bullets in you AK?”
“Do I strike you as man who would have not real bullets in my AK?” Irfan asks.
“No. I didn’t think you in the peace camp of the union.”
“And I am not.”
“And your gun, are those real bullets in your gun.”
“It’s not my gun. I took it from Ilya after I broke his jaw with it.”
“Your commitments to non-violence are thin, eh comrade captain Adon.”
Irfan grins, he grins a lot when he’s nervous or drunk.
“Is she really your wife?” he asks.
“In a very biblical sense.”
“I thought more like a mu’tah marriage.”
“Well it began like that. Then certain things were made clear.”
“Is it true she has two children by you squirrelled away, hidden in a fortress deep in the Urals, somewhere between Yechateranisbourg and Che?”
“The ISI doesn’t fuck around, do you?”
“I don’t know anything about that Captain Adon. I just know that if you reported to anyone besides yourself, and your idea of your God, well; you’d be shot.”
“Can I smoke?” he asks.
“Yes, but on the balcony, she can’t stand it.”
“Who pays the rent here eh?”
“The US Federal government is paying the rent, and they don’t like the smell of smoke either.”
They go out on the terrace into the freezing cold of June, it wasn’t almost ever cold in June here. Winter has carried on in the Northwest for three consecutive years now. Allegedly it has something to do with ‘climate change.’ In reality, there have been three years of non-stop snow because Ilya Lubov and Dmitry Khulushin, the two major lesser oligarchs of the Northeast sector lost a bet to the Koch Brothers; the two lesser Oligarchs of the Midland sectors; and the brothers shut off the heat, quite literally. Full climate control has been a technological reality for many hundred years.
I ask him for a smoke with my hands and my face.
“Well, what now?” he asks.
“You finish your smoke, I finish my smoke when she gets out of the shower we clorophorm her, roll her in a sleeping bag, booby-trap the house with a hand grenade and get in my car and we drive fast down the hill on the rum roads, we get to Ricardo’s we all go down the hatch and Kudzai orders a stand down, and the camp goes back to sleep, and we end up in Dover or Hartford, eventually ensheallah Breuklyn Soviet.”
“I like when you’re rational mind kicks in. I thought you completely whipped.”
“I just needed some smoke.”
“She’s a wonderful woman. A fierce, indomitable warrior.”
“That thing she stole, you stole; that information will blow a hole in the side of their system. Names, places, pass codes, license plates, and bank account numbers. Anarchy.”
“I had no idea she’d come back with his head on a platter like that.”
“Well he’s gonna to terrible things to you both if he catches you, and he may.”
Irfan looks at his watch.
“Who’s left,” I ask.
“Virtually all of the leadership has escaped. Jefferson, Refilwe, and Saif Khan left last. Only Sultan plans to hold his ground here with the supporters. Ah, and the Afghans of course will not retreat.”
“So it wasn’t always snow in June,” he asks.
“There was never snow in June.”
“As we have perhaps a minute more before we take care of the businesses of rapid egress, as of course all three of us might be killed just getting to the hatchway; would you mind paraphrasing, what exactly the fuck happened between the day after Congress, and this morning.”
“The short version?”
“We don’t have time for a soliloquy.”
“My unit stole a list of names and bank account numbers of the fourth richest American oligarch. He was fucking my ex, who is also my wife, things flew off the handle in a violent rampage, and here we are,” I say.
“My wife infiltrated the close company of one of the richest men in the American lesser oligarchy then living in Moscow. He fucked her into a million pieces, god knows what else; he made her his concubine. She copied his hard drives, she identified where his data cache was in Charlestown. They went to Spain, my brother took procession of half of the data, but the rest was secured in Charlestown. They flew back, Ilya and Adelina the day Congress ended. He flipped on her and locked her in a room in his facility there. I raided it yesterday morning with forty volunteers. I broke his face with the barrel of a gun, I stole back my wife, I also stole his Russian and America hard drives. We got pinned down by his enforcers and private army. So I called in an airstrike and that sort of changed the color of the sky above Boston.”
“How much of this did you pre-meditate?”
Irfan asks knowing exactly how much of that story was in Adon’s head space, and how much was real.
“Very little. I hadn’t heard anything until she popped up in Barcelona a couple weeks ago. All I got next was a call from her friend Lana telling me she was in trouble, early yesterday.”
“Did anyone in the union know you were going to conduct a military raid, supported by bombers and artillery from Boston Soviet?”
“Of course he did,” Irfan smirks. That sneaky Kurdish plotter/ patriot always does.
“So look,” I say and toss the butt over the barricade, “I don’t know where her head is at. She’s been through, well sinister shit. She’ll get out of the shower and sort of pretend everything is cool and Lana is gonna meet in Cambridge for dinner, and she’ll just kinda mentally detach herself from realty.”
As we’re all trained to do, Irfan thinks.
“And that’s when you grab her, drug her, wrap her in a sleeping bag and we carry her to the car?”
“It’s just a fifteen minutes’ drive down the Rum Road down to the home of Ricardo Veshanti; then we stick to the plan.”
“You realize this realty you and her have created are both deviant and unstable, you realize that if anything other than that; you, me she and the rest going out of this camp and the hatch closing behind us, you realize he will skin her alive in front of you and keep you alive for a thousand years for torture, for this set up. For this epic mess.”
“Listen, if I wasn’t afraid for her and these children I allegedly have I’d be less inclined to believe in her magic.”
“Brother, listen. All of us were brought to this place to report back to where we are from. You have orders, I have orders, we were sent here to network, and that we did.”
“Irfan, things happened very quickly. And got a little out of control.”
“You burned down half of the towns between here and Cambridge in the largest mechanized artillery battle anyone has ever seen since maybe the Battle of Brooklyn. You stole a list of lesser and upper oligarchs. You pistol whipped American Capitalisms equivalent of a duke. You made off with his property. You did all of that 24 hours after the single largest coordinated meeting of rebel fighters in the last 100 years met four hours from here. They’re going to kill us all Sebastian Adon, there is not going to be anywhere left to hide.”
“Well we can get as far as the hatch for now.”
Adelina Blazhennaya comes out of the shower in bathrobe, ignores us both and heads to my bedroom to change.
“What’s that beeping?” Irfan asks pointing to my open black Lenovo computer.
“Drones,” I mutter and look over the terminal.
“Lots and lots of incoming terra drones.”