Chet Brinker, still suffering from his Israeli sunburn, lands safely in Moscow. Comments are welcome.
Chet Brinker, flight bag in hand, approaches the curb outside of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to hail a taxi. His Jerry Garcia tie stands out from his otherwise drab wardrobe choice of a short sleeve white shirt and khaki slacks. A taxi pulls up and its trunk pops open. The cabbie hops out. He is about to ask Brinker where he wants to go when a black Mercedes pulls up alongside the cab and comes to a screeching halt. Druzhnikov jumps out of the front passenger seat of the Benz, opens the back door and directs Brinker into the rear of the sedan. Brinker gets in, followed by Druzhnikov who closes the door before the sedan speeds off with Ludmilla Chebushova at the wheel.
Brinker decides introductions might be in order, so he breaks the ice.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Your only friend in Moscow.”
“I have many friends in Moscow.”
“You had one. He’s dead, and you are too unless you stay close to me.”
Brinker pulls out his smart phone, surfs to a number, and dials it. He listens to it ring before being redirected to voice mail.
“Stash. It’s Chet. Where are you? I thought you were going to pick me up. Call me.”
He ends the call and puts the phone away.
“Don’t count on a call back. He was pulled out of the Moscow River this morning. His body got snagged on the Borodinsky Bridge.”
“You still haven’t told me who you are.”
“FSB. So is our driver.”
Chet isn’t buying.
“You’re not FSB.”
“I’d already be dead. FSB tried to kill me in Tel Aviv.”
“Whatever you’re on to is making someone very uncomfortable.”
“Is this official?”
Druzhinikov pauses for a moment before answering.
“Where are we going?”
“That depends. Why are you here?”
“You’re kidding, right? You want me to tell the outfit that just tried to kill me what it is I’m doing?”
“Efraim. Your friend in Tel Aviv. Didn’t he tell you about me? We’ve worked together for 15 years, and he wants me to help you. He worries about you. Maybe I can help. Maybe we can help each other. He got lucky and called the right man.”
“Nice sun burn, by the way. Goes nicely with your tie.”
“Jet lag and a day on the beach. A bad combo.”
Druzhnikov laughs before continuing.
“Your priest, the one Shin Bet found for you, was a member of a secret society known then and now as the Sons of Peter. FSB doesn’t want you dead; a cell operating independently inside of FSB does.”