Written by Danny Tanner
The first campaign video went viral two hours after being posted in ‘Saratov Daily.’ At the end of the video, Alyona reminded the country that it was ruled by either stuffy old white men with Dry Pants or snivelly young white men with Wet Pants and that it was time for someone new, someone fresh, cool and different – with both Wet and Dry Pants to bring change and prosperity to Mother Russia.
By the end of the week, everyone was talking about the United Pants of Growth Party. Usually, Alyona wore a pair of unique pants – with a chunky, jovial brown bear stitched across her behind – for her public video and speeches. The pants and loose-fitting matching blouse with Russian dancers, arms linked up the sleeves, were gifts from an anonymous admirer who had done his homework – they fit perfectly.
The dresses helped Alyona advance to the PMF (Person Most Fashionable) on the Russian Internet. Within a week, Russians on every social media platform referred to the woman as Catherine the III. Alyona was on everyone’s lips, though that was only half-true because she campaigned under another name – Kira Zylofonya (a name possibly generated while she was under the alcoholic influence). Interestingly, the name “Kira” meant “one the people looked to” and was derived from the Hindi/Sanskrit tongue, where it meant “beam of light.” She truly personified both ideas in the spotlight of the cameras, which loved her – a fact not lost upon media outlets.
The video of her circulated constantly on the news and online, which was great for the United Pants of Growth Party. Kira also meant “mistress” and “ruler,” titles Alonya seemed only too happy to live out. At every gathering in every town she visited, behind the stage, under the stage, or on the scene (but behind the curtains, thankfully), she attempted to become someone’s mistress, male or female, in… quite an aggressive manner. During the day, she was democratic in her pursuits, indeed a woman of the people, and shunned neither aristocrat nor security guard nor janitor nor even, on one occasion, two adventuresome girls – hopefully, eighteen – from a school field trip. They were allowed to meet the candidate very up close and personal.
Samson Samsonov tried to help in his own peculiar way, too. The crowds of his relatives popped up like moles to offer venues for United Pants Party rallies – in any location from Smolensk to Vladivostok. Sometimes they took cash for their efforts, but often they were happy with the possibility of selling the snazzy rat fur coats Samson wore, or “white smelling salts,” at many venues from backstage.
Behind the cameras, however, where Bobby “Nikolai” Petrov was, things progressed less swimmingly (the last time Bobby felt so awful was at Mardi Gras, 1998, where after three days of sleepless nights, he decided to “show his friends who is the boss” and drink a gallon of peppermint schnapps). Bobby weaned a lifetime long on American sensibilities and social norms and started taking sleeping pills to calm his permanently upset stomach and moods. He especially loved vodka mixed with the white salts: it helped to stop the headaches that Alyona’s escapades on TV were causing. Knowing what was at stake, how close they all were to reaching such optimistic goals, and also remembering what the press would do to someone like Alyona in America did little to calm his nerves.
One more problem – Bobby was not eating well. They traveled the campaign trail at breakneck speeds and had little time for adequately cooked meals or nutritional options. A pyshki here, a shaverma wrap there, maybe a bowl of borscht at a train station, or a chebureki from a street vendor; none of these meals spurned optimal gut health. The spicy ingredients in borscht, the sugar in the pyshki “donut,” or the alcohol in the chebureki that gave its dough the signature crispy bubbles all combined with singing hallelujah in his mouth and drastically decreasing his ability to make wiser food choices.
Where’s Obe Dreipantz when you need her? Bobby thought one rainy afternoon in St. Petersburg, where two developments somewhat altered the mental picture of his future hanging in his head. The first was the news that Kira would be attending and speaking at a conference in Brussels. The second development occurred after his stomach pains grew intolerable, and a visit to a local doctor confirmed the ulcer in his stomach lining.
“You drink too much cheap vodka,” the doctor told him, puffing on a cigarette. “Not good for the stomach. You must make better life choices. Try whiskey as I do….”
The campaign itself took such a toll on Bobby that he began to look forward to Brussels as a respite from its demands. But, after exiting the airport into a steady Belgian rain, his joy exploded like a volcano. Who stood leaning on a limo but Obe Dreipanz herself?
After a brief but passionate hug on the sidewalk, they dove into the car and raised the tinted glass partition behind the driver. Bobby had never been to Brussels before, but he saw more of Obe’s inner thighs than he did of the city driving over to the hotel.
Later, in their room, after another grappling session, Obe Dreipantz revealed the purpose of her visit. Bobby sat on the bed and listened while Obe poured them another glass of champagne. He did not respond for a full three minutes before finally mumbling a puzzled question: “Whaaa?”
“I said it’s over,” Obe answered, handing him the drink. “We got what we wanted. And Kira, I’m guessing, is going to be only too happy with the life she led before, out of the spotlight.”
“Whattaya mean, ‘got what we wanted?’” An uncomprehending Bobby spoke, forgetting about the champagne.
“I rebranded DryPants Inc. We’re now United Pants Worldwide,” Obe explained, hopping onto his lap. “All the exposure we got from the campaign not only drew recognition, but it also gave us the means never to have to work again if we don’t want to.”
“Okay. Now what?” Bobby wanted to know.
“I bought Belize for me and a piece of land in Sosnovka for you,” answered Obe, taking a sip and passing her champagne into Bobby’s open mouth. Bobby sputtered and leaped up, sending Obe rolling onto the floor. Then, after a coughing jag, he stood above her with his hands on his hips, shaking his head.
“Every time I think I understand how your brain works, you stupefy me again. Where’s that Sosnovka land?” Bobby said, smiling.
“A small village in Russia, in Markovsky district, 14 houses, 2 pigs, and 1 bull,” Obe answered.
“Please, listen… Samson Samsonov and his relatives started a martial arts company there. The rules are simple: all the fighters can only use pillows and sexy underwear in the matches. His concept is a huge hit in Sosnovka village already.” Obe Dreipantz explained.
“But why? Why in Sosnovka? Why not in Panama?” Bobby cried.
“This is where I discovered him. He loves the place….” Obe paused. “Well, I believe if you two unite your energy, the company can become the UPF (United Pillow Fighter) capital of the world. You might get into the Book of Guinness one day, and then….”
“I don’t want Sosnovka! I want to go to Belize with you.” Bobby sobbed.
“I want this… I want that… Bobby, dear, drop this self-centered attitude right now! Unrealistic dreams only bring more disaster and anxiety. Your flight is tomorrow morning.” Obe Dreipantz gave Bobby a crumpled ticket to Sosnovka with a self-transfer in Sankt Petersburg.
To be continued
Part 4 – here