a new book on hybrid war by Alex Alvarova
Chapter Twenty Five— Samples
“What are you listening to?” Maria leaned over and as if jokingly, touched his ears and forehead with two fingers. Scott began to feel dizzy. “Jesus Alone by Nice Cave,” he said, looking at her with the look he had hoped for. “With my voice, I am calling you, You’re a young man walking. Covered in blood that is not yours… do you know it? ”
But she no longer listened. She walked over to Charlie, the second editor, and jerked him by the collar. Scott realized that she would touch him, even if he were a rubber doll, it was just her warm-up conversation wheel so she wouldn’t be so ashamed. The place where she had touched him on her forehead radiated as if she had burned his mark with a hot pickaxe. He reached with his palm and imagined her hand pressing her fingertips against the same spot over and over again.
They discussed the headlines for the primaries and the composition of comments and reports. Some seemed too harsh to the ladies. “Scott, you can’t be serious about this! KEMP DOES NOT MAKE POLICY FOR EUNUCHES. This title? Or this one: “Let´s flood small towns with migrants!” Says Kemp’s opponent Ruiz.“ Really? Leave this headline? ”
The War Project had been running for three years, and Scott felt a bit of a wrong that he had to explain everything over and over again.
“From the beginning, when I took over this newsroom and started building its style, I am convinced that we have fulfilled our mission. We want to talk to the working core of America, which will become the new constituency of Republicans. How many times do I have to repeat it here? Overton’s window, damn it! There is a need to expand the publicly acceptable debate towards what the streets say! What was unthinkable yesterday will be a small talk tomorrow. Do you want to speak to them in the university language?
Those Republicans who have voted so far will spit. We don’t want you in the election. There is no room for intellectual crap here, for gloves with laces. This is America and its working-class — and it wants to be seen in the mirror. We want someone to finally listen to her views. We want you upstairs to hear the language spoken down here. I’m not going to operate a perfume sprayer on anyone here, is that clear? ”
“Sure,” Jean muttered, the loudest one before. She looked at the toe of her shoe and furiously kicked the foot of the table with it.
“We dedicated three years of our lives to the War project. Every day we got angry here for the Americans, whom the government let live. All the poorly paid bastards behind the cash register, all the unemployed boys from the countryside, all the moms who don’t get money from their husbands, all the white kids who didn’t get to college because of the fucking affirmative action of all those crooked-legged trans people, all the guys who are bullied by black women at work, we will have all these forgotten, angry and lost people in one row. They are our warriors!
So put everything into it. If you don’t like it, you can drop out. Damn. ”
The people were already very tired. Scott didn’t care. He thought of the one spot on his forehead. It burned.
He was sitting in the car and suddenly noticed that he was driving almost eighty miles an hour in the middle of the city. He slowed down. The wipers threw the water like crazy, and the night lights created strangely scattered patterns.
He couldn’t forget the touch. He reached where he could feel her two fingers. There was a small trickle of sweat running down him. He licked it and tried to smell it, but he could only feel himself. He’d rather have her shot him in the leg. He stopped and got out of the car.
He turned off the engine and walked on, didn’t know where. It was raining a little, which did him well. He set his face in the rain and swallowed the drops. The rain was getting heavier. He felt cold water flow through his hair to his skin. It cooled his neck and his face. That’s exactly what he needed. He smeared the water that ran into his eyes and across his face. But apart from the cold, he felt no other effect. He sank under the roof of a closed fruit and vegetable store and pulled out his phone. He dialled her number.
“Scott?“ a cheerful voice called, as tall and thin as a crack in the Chinese porcelain.
“I’m on the street,” he suddenly didn’t know what to say. He just wanted to hear her.
“Is there something wrong? Do you need anything? ”She sounded so carefree, optimistic.
She still has no idea, Scott thought. She knows nothing about his sleepless nights. Nothing about why he walks an hour early in the morning to see her coming and bring her coffee. Nothing about having a bigger glass window made for the studio just to see her through it. Nothing about unzipping her dress at night in dreams and touching the pink mouth, which looks like she has just stopped eating raspberries. He loved her gray, never-tanned skin with a freckle in the neckline.
“No, nothing, I’m sorry. It occurred to me that you could give an even sharper headline to the commentary on Muslim migrants. Something explosive. “
It was still raining down Scott’s face. He wished this moment would never end.
“You mean maybe, the man who impregnates America with Islam?”
He moaned softly. He was so aroused that he felt his pants choking.
“Yeah, that would work. You’re my best gunslinger, girl. “
She laughed. “I would say that. I’m sorry, I promised to have a family dinner today, I have to fly. “
“Sure, I get it,” Scott said, wanting to lie down on the sidewalk and die.
She hung up.
Scott walked for a moment, and when he felt he was wet through and through, he returned to the car. He leaned his head against the steering wheel and felt his eyes salty. He banged his head on the steering wheel. Once, twice, five times. Then he remembered one bulging mouth this afternoon. He dialled the number. She was on her way home from the newsroom.
“Feel a little lonely. Darling, would you have time for an old panther tonight? ”
Joan was otherwise on her way home from the newsroom and didn’t want to go anywhere anymore, but Grigori paid her for exactly that, and she knew that it probably wouldn’t be best if Scott complained; or, unfortunately, he began to suspect that her name was not Joan, but Irina and her job was to look after Scott.
Her parents emigrated from Moscow in the 1980s, and little Irina was born to them ten years later in Philadelphia. She made a name for herself as a local radio journalist, where Grigori discovered her and gave her this chance. She didn’t mean to miss it; she knew the opportunity of a lifetime was around only once. Occasional sex wasn’t a problem for her. She took it as a use of all her talents.
She turned her car and headed for West Beverly Hills.
When she rang, he opened the door in his bathrobe and a glass in his hand. Surprisingly, he had even shaved, which was not often. She came in and had her coat hung up. He closed the door and the smell of whiskey mixed with the musty apartment hit her in the nose uncomfortably.
“Jeeze, you probably never ventilate,” she said instead of greeting and opened the balcony in the lobby. She turned. She saw his strange, seemingly absent gaze. She stepped forward to the kitchen and asked, “Do you have anything to drink?”
He poured her without a word. He was silent, just watching her. It seemed comical to her. She laughed and ran her fingers awkwardly into her hair. “Shall we keep quiet, or do you want to talk about work?”
Not about work,” Scott said in a completely different tone than she was used to. He motioned to help her to take off her sweater. He took a step behind her to hold it gallantly. She could feel his breath on the back of her neck. Somehow she subconsciously waited for him to kiss her neck from behind. He did it. His tongue twitched behind her ears, her arms wrapped around her shoulders from behind, and slid down to her forearms. Finally, she had reason to report to Grigori the completed task. Although she wasn’t particularly comfortable, she stood patiently, letting Scott do what he saw fit.
“What kind of music is that?” She asked.
”Nick Cave. Red Right Hand.“
“It sounds familiar to me.”
“Shut up.” He was breathing much faster now.
She pulled away and looked at him reproachfully. He had those absent eyes again. As if he were somewhere else. She told herself it would be best to get it over with. She began to unbutton her white blouse and then her bra. He devoured her with the eyes of an animal that didn’t know exactly what was happening to him.
“Shall we go to the bedroom?” She suggested.
He winced as if he had woken up. “Yeah, I’ve already thought about it. I prepared something, “he said, putting on a fox smile. It was old Scott again. She was relieved. She was just unnecessarily paranoid, that’s it.
There was a bottle of champagne and metal handcuffs in the bedroom.
“Do you like it that way?” She asked in astonishment, running her finger affectionately inside the steel rings.
“It’s about whether you like it like that,” Scott said, turning the corner of his mouth slightly.
“No biggie” she shrugged her shoulders.
He grabbed her chin and began kissing her. His eyes were closed. She slowly unbuttoned his shirt. Then he sat on the bed and took off the rest of his clothes. He dimmed the lights so that only the outlines were visible. Sure, he’s ashamed of what he looks like, she thought. She kissed him and ran her hand through his hair to help him out of the awkward situation. Then she felt a sharp movement. She felt him lift her by the wrist and push his right hand into her bracelet. It clicked. The strange expression returned to him. He was smiling this time. As if he still didn’t recognize her.
She controlled her panic and said, “The big boy wants to play, huh? Can you open it again? ”The handcuffs twitched impatiently, ringing against the metal slats of the bed.
“I say, shut the fuck up.”
He lay down on her with all the force of his body and put his other hand on the metal bar. The second click. She was really scared now. But she just said, “Well, if you like it harshly…”
He stepped back. Suddenly he was completely relaxed. He poured himself another glass and drank it quickly enough. He didn’t mind her seeing him anymore. He devoured her naked body with his eyes. Excited to see her panic, his eyes were narrowed again. He no longer knew what reality was and what the game was. My God, maybe he’s not high, she thought, and she said cautiously, “Scott, unlock it. I am scared. I want go home.”
He leaned against her, and in a deep voice she had never heard from him before, said breathlessly, “That’s good because barracudas sometimes have to be afraid, too.”
“Scott, stop it. Stop it. It’s fun, isn’t it? Please stop! ”
Of course, it’s fun, dear,” Scott said, looking at her. He had one corner lower in a smile, which changed his expression into a slight grin. A small drop of blood gushed from his mouth as he accidentally bit his lip. He looked like a vampire of cheap horror movies. She could see the brown circles under his eyes and the bloody veins in his yellowed eyes.
She started screaming. “Enough! Game Over! Unlock it!“
“Never,” he growled, licking her face. She could feel his blood on her tongue. He slowly covered her mouth with his hand. He thrusted into her. She screamed. It thrilled him to madness. He stopped hearing other sounds, soaked in her cry like the gateway to other worlds and swam in as if he had already handed the coin to Charon. He lost sight of time, it was as if old Scott had died and a new one had been born in his place. He had never experienced anything like this in his life. As if he hadn’t lived until now, only making his time.
She started kicking.
He got up, took more handcuffs, and tied her legs. Then he gave her a few slaps. Once again. And again. And again. Soon he was out of breath just by beating her. Her face swelled from blows. She no longer screamed, just whimpered softly.
He closed his eyes and enjoyed himself for a while. He felt the power that women have, and he saw, again and again, the lips with raspberries he was conquering right now. When he was finished, he slowly got to his knees and looked at her. His red veins in his face and nose protruded even more. His nostrils dilated like a wild horse, breathing intermittently. Then he unbuckled her cuffs. She kept sobbing. She was shaking like a leaf. He sat down in his chair and just watched as convulsive twitches passed through her legs.
An excess of alcohol must have started getting to his knees. He drank too much. The world swayed at him. He sat in his chair for about ten minutes, feeling the spirit of someone else, someone stronger, take over. He felt incredible, deep, grounding satisfaction. Then he got up and played his movie. His favorite movie. The Triumph of the Will. He stared for a moment but didn’t pay attention, his eyes drawn to the body on the bed. He looked at the meat in front of him as if it were a picture from Twombly. As if he had created it himself. The mystical art of the moment.
It was as quiet as foam. She was afraid to move. When the music of the old film was over, he got up with all his might, unlocked her handcuffs, and said in a heavy tongue, “Get dressed and get out.” She sobbed as dressed. She couldn’t hit her fingers in the buttonholes. Her blouse slowly soaked her sweat and the blood from his cracked lip. She tripped in the hall and scattered the contents of her purse. She picked up only what was necessary, even didn’t put on her shoes. He heard her stumble on the steps. He stood and listened.
Then shouted in an unnaturally deep voice behind her, “Say a word and I’ll find you.”
It seemed like a good end to this incredible, wonderful night.
Chapter Twenty Six
Everything flourished in Central Park. Every spring is a source of new hope and confidence in life. People walk faster, smile more, and many stop and nostalgically watch the freshly sprouting flowers of the trees and shrubs around them. Spring is simply spring. Across the street at Café Sabarsky, Viennese-style coffee was served, and the waiter left the door open to let the heavy scent inside mix into the fresh scent of the park. Blooming cherries blew through the air.
Irina arrived on time. He was almost horrified. She looked weird. Unfilled. Black glasses, scarf. She sat up differently than usual. Body tense, hands clasped. When they brought them coffee, her mug clicked her staccato slightly and quickly on the saucer, she couldn’t keep her fingers still. Her chin extended, straight as a candle, her head on her stiff neck barely turning at all. She flicked a spoon to shake the rest of the coffee cream so hard it almost broke the cup. In fact, he wondered if she hadn’t crushed the tiny cup in her fingers before, so much tension radiated from her.
She spoke in a much higher voice than usual. She was smiling.
Grigori knew there was a serious mistake in the plan. He knew these symptoms. Post traumatic syndrome. Before she said anything, he waved at the waiter and paid. He got up, held her chair, and said only, “I see. We will not deal with this here. “
When they reached his apartment, he let her speak. She was basically in a state of absolute mental collapse. He agreed to talk to the therapist about it and consider filing a criminal complaint. He praised her for keeping it to herself for now. These things need a wise approach. He turned her glass of water, then sat with her for another fifteen minutes until she calmed down. When she saw that she had Grigori’s support, she relaxed a little and stopped crying. She was almost glad she was following him because she had to tell someone. She was quite relieved, blew her nose one last time and looked noticeably better.
“I think, girl, you should take a week off in the newsroom and take care of yourself a little. You don’t even know how sorry I am. Scott and I have to deal with this, he just can’t do this. The man is crazy! This is where the fun ends. “
She smiled gratefully at him. As he helped her into his coat, he paused for a moment and took a breath. Then, with a sure and precise movement of both hands, he grabbed the top of her head and chin and jerked her hard. There was only a faint crunch.
She died immediately. She slid to the ground in the hallway and Grigori went to make tea. He needed some time to think.
Further improvisation without thinking threatened to trigger a chain of errors that could completely destroy the entire Russian operation. Headquarters had been working on the plan for almost twenty years, and Grigori knew what to expect. The plan was then named BB. An acronym for the two seas that form the border of Russian interests in the West and East: Barents and Beaufort. If Grigori caused a mistake leading to the fall of BB’s plan, he could expect his own fall. No, he couldn’t afford that.
He, therefore, had to regret the beautiful opportunity to obtain another insurance policy for Scott in the form of a rape accusation, which was offered directly on a silver platter.
For tactical reasons, it was out of the question to involve one’s own people in the removal of the body. He could call both a reliable “clean-up” from SVR and Borya’s two Ukrainian cleaners; even Zhenya employed a man of this profession if something went wrong with girls or kids. But that’s not what he was allowed to do right now. His people won’t know.
He picked up the phone and called David Gaetz, who was delivering his services to the Gambino family in Manhattan.
“David, buddy. We haven’t seen each other in so long! “
“Do you offer something or do you need it?”
“Second one. You owe me that. ”
“Send the address.”
Grigori wrote the address and waited. In two hours, a small man arrived in overalls, with a tool case and a larger box on wheels. In a cap with ear flaps. He did not like the spring wind, he suffered from otitis media. He didn’t give a shit what he looked like.
Grigori nodded at the door and opened the bathroom. It took exactly an hour and a half for David to come out with his luggage. He turned to Grigori and said only, “We’re even.” He put on his cap and called the elevator.
He left the bathroom spotlessly clean.