Written by Danny Tanner
After a wild night in Brussels, Obe Dreipantz followed Bobby to Russia. There, while sitting in a quiet café called “Jolly Days” located in Pulkovo Airport (St. Petersburg, Russia, Earth, Milky Way), she explained to Bobby that she has a twin sister who is currently living in Saint Petersburg. Obe was too cheerful — almost to a fault — and Bobby knew her well enough to know she had something up her sleeve.
“You’re planning something with your sister, right?” he whispered.
“Don’t busy your empty head,” Obe replied, sipping her Feng Huang Lao Cong Zhi Lan Dancong Oolong tea.
“Please, Obe…” Bobby begged, widening his eyes. “Come on, what are you planning, you evil woman? Tell me…”
“ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS!” Boomed over the intercom.
“Shh, shut up!” hissed Obe, touching Bobby’s hand. “I need to hear this!”
“DUE TO THE MILITARY ACTION COMMENCING IN UKRAINE, ALL FLIGHTS IN AND OUT OF PULKOVO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. WE’RE SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.”
“What?!” wondered Bobby. “Now, where?”
Obe Dreipantz was already talking on her phone. Her father, on the other end (once a diplomat serving in Russia), informed her about Pushkin Airport to the South of the city, which usually allowed smaller airlines (i.e., private jets) to take off and land during political crises.
“Great!” shouted Obe, jumping up. “Thanks, Daddy!”
“Huh?” wondered Bobby. “Where are you going? What should I do?”
“Hang tight,” answered Obe, planting a tongue-filled kiss on his shaking lips. “I need you here. I’ll get back to you ASAP.”
“But… what about your sister?”
No answer. Bobby watched as Obe Dreipantz disappeared behind the door, then hung his head. After finishing his ninth espresso, he stood and went to the bathroom. He moved very slowly because he was dressed in a new, sleek swamp rat fur coat gifted to him by Samson Samsonov, who refused Bobby’s “I-can’t-accept-this-awesomeness,” explaining: “It fell off the back of a truck anyway. I found it on the road to Sosnovka…”
Inside the bathroom, Bobby wondered what to do next when a gargantuan human being with an earpiece in his ear opened the door, glanced in, and closed it again. Bobby sighed and returned to relieving himself, then noticed that the door opened again. This time, a gargantuan human entered the room with a different, round colossus. They both stared at Bobby, then backed out of the threshold, bumping and cursing at each other.
What an odd couple! Bobby thought. When the door swung open a third time, a familiar, normal-sized person entered. Bobby’s mouth hung open, and he turned his pale face to the wall scared to death.
“You are staining my wall,” said the Russian President and star ice hockey player. Bobby caught himself in action, shook his child maker 33 times, and carefully hid it behind the zip.
“How did you know I spoke English?” Bobby asked.
Putin stopped whatever he was doing, eyed Bobby’s figure coldly, and said, “I know everything, Petrov.”
At first, Bobby was petrified, but then he grabbed his child maker tighter and suddenly asked, “Then how ‘bout playing a game? Hide and seek? Kick the can? Penny in the hole?”
Putin had been moving away but stopped and laughed aloud.
“I like this idea… You are well-informed, Petrov,” he said. “But I am a master of all the games you have mentioned. You would certainly lose.”
Bobby waited for the Russian President to finish his speech, then squatted down in the middle of the room with a coin to flip in his hand. Putin washed his hands thoroughly and watched him, eyes narrow, one corner of his mouth propped in a mischievous smile. Then he squatted on the floor near Bobby and removed a gold flipping coin from his pocket. Bobby laughed, rubbing his hands.
“Do you think I was born yesterday?” Putin said. “My country, my game, my rules. Give me your coin… now!”
Putin inspected each groove of the opponent’s coin, then shook his head and grunted, giving back the coin.
Bobby Petrov announced: “Wager is 10,000 rubles, ante up.”
“That ain’t even €200. Are you a player or not?” said Bobby.
Putin buffed himself up and dug out his wallet, laying a 100,000₽ note on the floor.
“Da,” he spoke. “You’ll see now what kind of player I am…”
The first flip of the coin was heads, and President Putin smiled, content with taking 200,000₽. The second was tails, and Bobby laughed out loud — or at least until he saw Putin’s face: the Russian leader’s expression changed and he snapped up his 100,000₽ note and hid it in his pocket. Then he stood up and said: “You owe me €200 million, Petrov. I told you I am good at this game.”
Bobby was shocked — he didn’t have any money. Of course, if he’d sell his part of Sosnovka…
“You amuse me, American,” the narrow-eyed President laid an arm over Bobby’s shoulders. “I invite you to join me at my personal retreat in Balycha. It’s very nice there. We talk business and life.”
“What about the war?” Bobby shattered. “The one outside…”
“This is about war,” Putin answered, peeping back with shrew eyes. “You know what? I call you BOCH rLP 81088. I don’t know if anyone ever told you that, but you look like one.”
Bobby nodded; he was sorry he asked.
“Well, we rest, play hockey, maybe go hunting or play Tomb Raider game. You’ll play as Lara Croft, who climbs walls and defies gravity… Fun?” the President went on and on, leading Bobby from the bathroom.
Later, Bobby found out that the BOCH rLP 81088 name meant “Biological Human Object born to the Lee-Petrovs on October 8th, 1988.” Putin knew who Bobby Petrov was, who his parents were, and when his birthday was.
* * *
The landscape in the tiny Altai Republic was magnificent. Looking down from the plane over Lake Teletskoye, Bobby saw lush, green-covered hills and dark mountains stretching from horizon to horizon. He had to squeeze his eyes to see signs of humanity.
“Beautiful country… To die for, da?” asked Putin.
“Absolutely!” said Bobby, gulping, trying to get his heart back into his chest.
They landed in Gorno-Altaysk and took a massive Mi-8 helicopter from there.
“I hope you are comfortable, BOCH,” said Putin, sitting above Bobby and apparently liking it. “We have a luxury Leonardo AW139 helicopter in the fleet, but I always let Medvedev have it. Great rulers of the world always loathe extravagance, don’t you think?”
Bobby silently agreed, not wanting to say anything that could send angry Putin’s bodyguards his way.
To be continued…