November 7th, 1985
Grigory kept the window rolled down because he was fighting the Sandman. A cold Siberian gale whipped through thin strands of brown hair which stretched from the top of his forehead to just below his bald crown, like long clumps of seaweed reaching out over an empty seabed.
A contraband copy of Born in the USA blared through the speakers. Grigory knew every word and when the chorus came, he belted it out the window at the passing Angara River. He laughed to himself, knowing that wherever Comrade Springsteen was, he had no clue that Grigory Sokolov was about to save his life.
As Grigory maneuvered the rusted yellow Lada over a pocked road, the steering wheel rubbed against his borscht-built belly. The third car he had driven in as many days had a kink in its alignment. In the distance, Boguchany Dam stood tall–a gray shadow against an even grayer sky. One more industrial indication of the Soviet Union’s might.
He cursed himself as he looked down at the empty bottles of Pepzi Cola laying on the passenger seat. Goddamn it if he didn’t have to pee, but he didn’t dare pull over when he was this close.
He stared into the rearview mirror, observing the backseat. It was empty with only cotton batting poking out of holes worn into the vinyl, but it wasn’t the seat himself that concerned him.
It was the girl in the trunk.
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