I am playing with some of my near final chapters with the input of “editors” before I monetize the book into the first edition. It has 23 chapters. Thanks to the ongoing suggestions of my “team”.
Golden Bear: May 1, 2016 copyright Peter Dash. All rights reserved.
By Peter Dash
May Day, 2025
“Moscow is boiling over with hate and hot weather. It could explode – anytime.” reported the outgoing US ambassador, Samuel S. Sewell.
He had enough of the place and hoped he would survive it. “The city has never seen such total chaos and calamity since the days of the bloody Russian Revolution. The Communists could be getting ready to retake it,” he added.
Besides receiving the disdain of the Kremlin and Moscow Main Street, he felt “spit upon” by too many of his superiors back in Washington. It was as if they all blamed him for the mess in Russia, making him a kind of superman of destruction.
It was always that way either with the politicians or mobs. They wanted a scapegoat for their own failures and felt that he was largely it.
He had had enough of protesters getting too close for comfort to his limousine in their fury. He had enough of the rotten eggs and pig manure. He had enough of the nasty, anti-US, laser-light shows projected on front of the Bolshoi theatre.
One show had made the US president look like a monkey eating a banana and him picking up the peel. “You should have sent in the marines and shot those lights out,” was the response of the chair of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services.
Sewell could not forget that senator’s, wild flashing eyes that day. He was a big shot, Washington insider who had demanded his recall.
Worse than the crazed senator reflected the ambassador, but not by so much are the rioters. They are everywhere even down Tverskaya, the so-called empress of boulevards.
There, the ambassador’s chauffeur turns the car hard to avoid hitting a desperate, well-dressed female shopper. She is instead being run down by a half-naked man with a hatchet. And a socialist slogan.
Sewell “rolls down” the window, gets half out of his seat and yells at the madman. But his primal instinct to go out and clobber the lunatic is restrained. After all, the doors are locked and the car is moving too fast. And oh yes, the president still wants his ambassador back in one piece. That is even if Sewell seems on a confused, one man suicide mission to push Russia to love America.
He sits down, calms down and tries to just think of the better sights. Like Tverskaya, that still remains an impressive artery ending in a spectacular mystical view of the Kremlin. What started as an ancient timber fort has now the most incredible defenses with red stone high towers connected to tall, ancient and impenetrable thick walls. They seem to go for miles.
Somehow in his mind the red structure seemingly dominates and increasingly bears down on the people. This reflects the ambassador’s additional problem. His doctor tells him he is becoming a manic depressive given his compulsive recall of such a vision.
“Sewell , you’ve been in too many “hardship” posts for so many years,” his psychiatrist adds. “Just go home’ enjoy your family before you start feeling like you’re a totally unloved loser. And you should go to a retreat and dry out from your drinking problem before it’s too late.”
Thinking of quiet places, Sewell could not help wondering about his new posting in Ottawa, Canada. It was considered the graveyard of western postings, a no happening place.
Yes, given what had happened that year, Sewell considered that even becoming a Buddhist monk would not be so bad of a career change.
The ambassador with that thought started to break out in uncontrolled laughter. He was so loud, he caught the attention of his driver despite the glass barrier.
Monastic life, humorously reflected Sewell, might have its virtues but he was not quite ready in seeking nirvana.
He was instead still too caught up with just surviving the petty politics of his bosses at Foggy Bottom, State Department HQ than worrying about going to a heaven. But with the news he had received from the CIA that day, he had second thoughts about not concerning himself with where his soul was going.
As his car, a Hummer extended limousine version proceeded further down Tverskaya, he thought, indeed that the neighborhood was bordered by the best luxury hotels and eateries.
In them his immediate staff would meet the very top business grandees of Moscow otherwise referred to as oligarchs or what he called 3Ms. They stood for Moscow Murder Mafia Inc in his telexes to Washington. His abbreviated writing was appreciated at State on such matters if not his overall efficiency.
He preferred to think further about the Tverskaya as his limousine continued down it for miles. It was like immense Russia – seemingly hard to measure, wide and practically without end.
His journey to bring the Russian people and even some of the elites on side with America, also seemed without end- and with few or no victories. He still could not get used to or break through enough of the very unsmiling and instinctually suspicious Russian people.
He paused looking at his mobile phone for messages. None. It was as if nobody anymore thought that he mattered.
The ambassador then returned to his nostalgic thoughts of the old classy service, which was still in vogue in the dim but quaint, well preserved, historic Pushkin cafe. It was named after the great popular Russian poet who had died in a pistol duel. Tragedy too, he thought was no stranger to Russia, nor fighting to death over pride.
The ambassador then tries to think of something positive he can put in his final report. He sees that the McDonald’s, as well as the Starbucks are still full enough despite how many Muscovites seem to be so peeved with his country or going totally broke. Even the hatchet carrying man seemed to be wearing American designer jeans.
He types it in as an annotation to placate his superiors in Foggey Bottom. He wants to help convince them that all is not lost. It is like throwing a few bacon bits to hungry sharks who really are seeking him as the main course.
On the other side of town, three kilometres westward to where some of the mobs moved on, they join others, already in the thousands. They threaten to pour into what they call the Russian “White House”.
it is now the so-called bureaucratic brain centre of the new authoritarian Russia through which he must pass on exit as a matter of protocol.
The building, with multi-layers full of apparatchiks, overshadows drowning rioters in the very nearby Moscow River. “What a double tragedy!” the ambassador says as he shakes his head while reviewing the shapes of both the building and the beaten-up.
The ambassador tries to turn away from seeing all the violence – and disgusted his government has no will even to lessen the street brutality. “What’s wrong with us?” he says as he bangs down his fist on the mini-bar. As a follow-up, he takes another shot but this time at a 40 year old, Wild Turkey whisky.
He then worries about the protesters surrounding his car as he looks up from his mini-bar. But the boys in blue – and red, white too, Russia’s national colours which are flagged onto the police uniforms are keeping protesters off his car. Their patches can be vividly seen on their shoulders that are being pushed into his window.
For these melees, thev oligarchs promise total revenge against these protesters but tomorrow. It will be the appetizer to their dinner the next day in the form of a full-scale assault throughout the city. “Purges will follow and increasingly brutal,” Sewell will be told at his next meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister.He does not care a “fig” about Sewell’s humanitarian sensitivities.
The ambassador had been warned in more detail by the CIA that it is best to get out of town almost immediately, if he values his life.
The street agitators, his greatest worry now are described by government controlled media as being alien to popular order and security. And if not labelled foreign, then they will be widely proclaimed as fifth columnist saboteurs acting for foreign agents.
The ambassador knows this too well as he has been labelled the ring leader of it by too many Russian parliamentarians.
Sewell is drained, tired of the whole “Russian propaganda circus” he calls it. And now his life is in jeopardy and those around him to top the madness off.
The lucky rioters he sees by the White House who did not drown are swimmingly doing much better than the others beaten to a pulp and whizzed off to Lubyanka torture jail if they still had a pulse. With windows with quite the view.
That depressing view for the inmates is of the deluxe St. Regis Hotel. Because it is a reminder of the much better life they will likely never see.
Across from it, is Lubyanka square, big enough to show off several advanced ballistic missiles. Or a full parading Russian circus with a dozen golden bears.
As an added injury, the bears rise up on their hind legs and seem to growl insults in the direction of the prisoners. There indeed is nothing like a Russian circus. Fortunately, the accompanying mobile missiles are not looking up nor ready to give off their own insults to a wider audience – for now
The Regis is well known for their apple strudel flown in week,y from Vienna. The ambassador though likes his own dessert better; cookies with red, white and blue colored chocolate chips. Because they are the same colors as the Russian flag, he thinks it’s is why some of the demonstrators throw them away after he hands them out. It is his best solid gesture of solidarity these days to the downtrodden.
Yet, some protesters even throw them back at him rather than eat them. Or spit the cookie pieces out at police in a rat-tat-tat machine gun bullet succession. How bizarre, he thinks?
Sewell has been warned by both the Kremlin and Washington to avoid such cookie stunts anymore. And to stop overly preaching US virtues. That is except maybe in a few bars he likes to frequent to feel the night pulse of the city. The Hudson Club is his favorite, named after an explorer kicked off his ship and abandoned on an Arctic ice flow. Sewell empathizes.
Mother Russia, indeed confuses him more than even his Russian mistress, Tatiana. Both so complicated and unpredictable at times and moody, he adds to his departing reflections.
He feels he fed her too well, too and without receiving any appreciation for his deep efforts. That is disinformation when he found out she was a spy and not to mention in his report, a high class hooker. The part about the mistress stays out of the report as well.
Thinking of potential blockages, the ambassador’s chauffeur along with Sewell wonder what chances they have to get to the executive type jet. A concerned President Peters has personally requested it for the ambassador so as to ensure his safe extraction. The pilot will not wait forever. Possibly it is because a mob is approaching the airport, too. Or because he is one of millions who cannot stand Sewell’s guts.
If their vehicle can get to Moscow’s outer edges, past the town’s tank trap memorial to victorious Russian troops of 1943, and without incident then they are likely to get to the airport. If not, he risks getting pulled out of their Hummer and murdered by skin headed motor cycle gangs –no doubt, after a huge battle with Sewell’s security detail. Or by murderous thieves posing as wealth redistribution, new Stalinists. It is another form of Byzantine modern and chaotic Russia.
Sewell certainly does not put it past some oligarchs to give him the “big finger” on the way out. They have even avoided meeting Sewell who they consider a fool of what they describe as a “minion of an enemy decadent nation with no spine.” They are as mad as a hatter,” says ex-CEO Sewell, to himself, “and as brutal as modern Hydes with little evidence of a thumbnail of Jekyll.”
The ambassador knows he is constrained about how much he can do in Russia without causing a major diplomatic incident. He kicks the inside of the door in added frustration as he sees a sad faced, helpless dying protester sliding off the side of his car. All after leaving a bloody handprint on his window.
The car finally stops. He then gets out. The ambassador climbs over bodies with his security detail. And with a shrug, climbs up the long stairs to the White House for another meeting with Russian officials. So as to get scorned again.
* * *
Meanwhile, in Washington, the real White House has been closed again for extensive repairs, well after suffering firebombs from a “kamikaze” drone, unknown as to its origins.
The new US President, Rodney Peters, a Texan, is a religious type; fiscal, law and order conservative who is proud of being called “Iron Rod, the tight wad.”
He has sold off the Federal Reserve, the US central bank that “prints” money, mostly to a libertarian order of Jesuit monks sponsored by the Vatican. They are auditing it and looking for tonnes of gold that have mysteriously disappeared.
Peters is occupied with his own mobs on Pennsylvania Avenue and on Wall Street. The Great Depression of the century is finally declared and unemployment shoots through the roof and the police begin to shoot – anyone they like to from any roof. It seems like the world is increasingly at war between the have nots and the well-to-do establishments.
Peters is America’s libertarian Christian response to the Russians, Iranians, and Saudi Arabians who have raised their religious and propaganda public tones and global game against what they increasingly refer to as the crumbling Godless West.
They have infiltrated America in the minds of many of Peters’ followers – be it through mosques, political parties, free trade lobbyists, as new huge investors and with their own kind of bankers. Peters’ people want to kick them all out –of America.
Rodney Peters worries that the West will be soon done, spiritually and maybe materially and more likely politically. So does the new pope and certainly so does the Russian patriarch whatever the major mess Russia finds itself in.
For the moment, the president has only temporary shelter. The White House remains inhabitable.
* * *
Samuel S. Sewell is back in his limousine after a necessary meeting to close the last chapter of his posting in Moscow. It was brutal with the Deputy Prime Minister giving him a noodle of a departing hand shake and a letter of protest for him to give to the president. That is after a good harangue.
How could he have described the atmosphere? If he had been murdered right there and then, the Russians might have worried more about the inconvenient mess for their janitors and their own staff.
There was no love lost between him and the anti-American, Deputy PM Gruboff. The Russians had been loud and clear by sending only their third in command to say good bye to him.
Ambassador Stephen S. Sewell, now having finished his last meeting in his Moscow posting takes a last look at the historic quarter of Moscow where czars for a thousand years were seated. All as the car pulled onto the expressway bordering the Moscow River and in the immediate shadows of the dominant giant, high walled, Kremlin.
He writes his letter of resignation to the president as he checks his small TV with news stories about the incinerated home of Rodney Peters. One restored but a White House that is still mysteriously unoccupied. The world is too crazy for him anymore and certainly Russia.
His thoughts turn to his own homeland, his family of a good wife and two well behaved teenager girls, dedicated and so loving of him. But he also has concerns about how the new ambassador will survive it all.
Will she even come, he wonders and will the president get the Senate to approve her nomination? She is a famous celebrity after all, not a seasoned bipartisan official, nor certainly a diplomat.
Sewell is somewhat sweating and thinking that he never was this way. Even with his former posting in Saudi Arabia. That one was no easy job. In fact, it came with an embassy with a high voltage, electrified fence. He still wonders why his hands feel so damp.
“Everything okay?” he says through the intercom to his driver who has been also concerned with the snail pace of the car’s movement. There is after all the deadline to get to the airport before the mobs arrive and try to butcher them.
“All looks well, Mr. Ambassador. The congestion is now clearing.”
The chauffeur turns off the intercom and presses the pedal down to make up for lost time.
It is the last thing he does before there is an earth-shattering explosion.
Sewell’s car swerves away madly. He has just missed being too close to an improvised explosive device on his supposedly confidential route and schedule to the airport.
The car is still upright after looking like it was going to turn over. It is though dented badly on one side. In fact Sewell’s door has been impacted but is still connected.
Sewell grabs the car phone to see if his full security detail are okay after asking his chauffeur whether he is all right and whether the car is properly functioning. He is shaking so much that he even drops the phone.
His security detail tells his chauffeur that everyone is okay and to “Fuck the Russian cops, who are in the lead. And to gun for the private jet terminal while staying in the middle of their small convoy.
He then tries to pour out another whisky but would have preferred one of his tranquilizers. Sewell wants to shut his eyes given how weary he is. Given how he wants to forget it all as if a bad nightmare.
The airport and the private jet awaiting him are his dream. And his soft quiet bed in his quiet Georgetown house. Ottawa, even now looks really good.
As a last act of major accomplishment, rare that they might be, he knows he needs to escape. He fears the potential final concluding mess-up to his Moscow years of frustration and failure. And the terrible image it would give his country.
Simply speaking, Sewell needs to ensure that he does no get murdered. “Can I manage that?” he says to himself with a kind of self-disdain.
A bullet cracks through his supposedly bulletproof car window.
The ambassador has his answer.