It was late in the day when the ship finally pulled up into the cluttered and dirty industrialized town of Vladivostok. A short young man with brilliant red hair peaking out of his newspaper cap peered over the edge of the ship as the crew dropped the gate and slid up the metal planking. He would have surprised the most agile of men by his dexterity as he flew onto the planking in his tattered black suit. His single undone white button on his once white shirt flashed as he seemed to float down to shore.
When his feet landed on the shore he looked around hesitantly. He looked frightened, and yet he appeared confident. His beady eyes flashed as if looking for someone. Without a backwards glance, he straightened up and walked securely up the street, only to be waylaid by another shifty man in a black uniform. It was the crossing guard.
“Identification and papers.” The man yelled hastily as he rushed to grab the smaller but extraordinarily quick young man. The young man looked up courteously.
“Oh, of course, my good comrade. I hadn’t noticed you there. I was on my way to the station itself for disembarking procedures.”
“I’m sure you were.” The guard looked unconvinced. He took the badly beaten papers the young man handed him.
“Ah, yes, you’re the one they was looking for. Bukharin is it? Those party blokes’ll love ta have a talk with you.” Kolya shrugged his shoulders. After years of detainment and imprisonment and having even been detained in Japan en route, he did not expect preferential treatment from the new government.
“Did they happen to say what they wanted me for?” The guard shuffled through some pockets in his uniform.
“Awww, yes here it is.” He said whipping out a folded paper. Kolya unfolded it and smiled.
“Yep, sounds about right.”
“Well good then I have the right man; you’ll come with me, yes?” Kolya shrugged.
“Well, that depends on if you believe there shouldn’t be internationalist agitation among the soldiers.”
“Ha, not gonna drag me into no political debate. No siree. But I bet them party folks’ll love to have a chat with you about it.” Kolya smiled again.
“I’m sure they will.”
© A River Runs Through It Photography