by Miles Rost
“She has taken over your life, Stu.”
The light conversation between Anatoly Churkhin and Stuart “Stu” Yorkszin took a dark turn with the phrase that Stu just heard from his longtime colleague.
The sounds of the diner were drowned out by the silence between the two men, two veterans of the 70’s KGB corps. Since retired to rural Kentucky, both men plied their trades in different fashions: Stu was a law clerk with expertise in international business in Lexington, while Anatoly involved himself as a hostage negotiator for the Covington Police Department. The diner, an old-style luncheonette just off the interstate, was a convenient meeting place for both of them. It was in the middle of nowhere, and they could keep their conversation between them and no one else.
“Anny, how do you figure that Chelsea has taken over my life?”
“She found you 6 months ago. Within that amount of time, she has your schedule wrapped around hers. Do you remember what Yuri Andropov told us back in the day?”
“I don’t know, but I wish he would have Androppedov the earth earlier than he did. He caused more trouble than he was worth. He becomes leader, we become nothing.”
Anatoly looked at him crossly and sighed.
“You are not listening, Stu.”
“I am not listening because she is not taking over my life. She is sweet and kind, and she loves me for all my faults.”
“But, do you really know her? Do you know what is in her past? You don’t seem to know. I do.”
Stu looked at him, as he was pleading his case. He chuckled, knowing that his one-time partner in spying was about to pull out his “I Spy” card.
“Darkness falls and she will take me by the hand. She will take me to some twilight land, and she’ll give me what I need. Which doesn’t involve sex.”
“Are you hearing yourself speak? You don’t know her that much! I know this because you don’t talk about her history!”
“I know her history.”
Anatoly bore his eyes into Stu’s, and gave him a deep warning. Stu just looked back at him, a reassuring smile on his face.
“Then tell me, Mr. KGB Agent of the Year 1973: What do you know about her history as a “historian”?”
“She wasn’t a historian. She was an agent for the FBI, an analyst for the area we called Kazahk. She retired from that job in 1996.”
“You already knew this?”
“I wouldn’t have started dating her if I didn’t. Come on, Anny, do I look like Konstantin Chernenko?”
“More like a Ukrainian Orson Welles.”
The guffaw coming from Stu brought all eyes in the diner onto him. He sheepishly looked around, and smiled as his portly frame did the rest. To those in the diner that day, he was merely imitating Santa Claus. And that perception was good enough for Stu.
“Anny, you need to understand that we’re no longer KGB, FSB, or whatever acronym they’re calling themselves today. We are not allied with Putin. We are retired, with no more running and hiding.”
“My friend, Chelsea is a mystery to me. It’s a mystery how a 50 year old woman can deal with a 70 year old warhorse like me. It’s a mystery how she can do so many things for me, and yet love me without reservation regardless of my past.”
“This woman, this Chelsea, she really must be something special.”
Stu just looked out the window as he took another sip of his borscht.
“She’s a mystery girl. She’s my mystery girl. And I love her for it.”