The voice boomed like thunder – over Eastern Europe.
I looked up from the Bell Desk where I was
scanning the web working to cast my weary, bloodshot eyes over them: Boris and Natasha… if Boris and Natasha stopped trying.
He was a man-mountain with deep set eyes and a few wisps of hair remaining upon his egg-like head. She was smaller in stature but not personality. Her hear was crimson red and as thick as Kris Jenner. No surprise, she remained in the background while he took center-stage.
“I NEED BAGS FROM ROOM! YOU BRING DOWN, YES?”
I certainly couldn’t argue with Boris, now could I?
ME: I can certainly take care of that, sir –
BORIS: YOU DO NOW! YES?
ME: Against my better judgement… yes.
But I wasn’t out of the Black Forest yet.
BORIS: I NEED CAR! YOU GET CAR FOR ME!
That did it. The Cold War may have be over but it was time to have some fun.
ME: Will any car do, sir, or would you like an import?
Needless to say, they… were… not… amused.
BORIS: WE… NEED… CAR… NOW! YOU… GET… FOR… US?
They shared the same blank, yet increasingly-angry-expression. Playtime was over.
ME: Yes… I… will… folks.
Okay, so playtime wasn’t quite over. Come on, you wouldn’t respect me anymore if I gave up too easily, right?
And so my new best friends headed back to their room while I shuddered at the revelries to come. Ten minutes (Canadian time, ‘natch), later, I found myself still shuddering as I knocked on their door.
(Why did I do that?)
The pressboard door opened quickly, the stale air within forced back by the cool hallway air. There he stood: Boris. Shirtless.
His sweaty, ridiculously-hairy Eastern European gut hung over his belt (I can only assume he was wearing a belt), and his chest heaved as though he was plowing a field by hand rather than simply changing his shirt.
BORIS: (His voice still booming.) OH, IT IS YOU!
ME: Yes! Aren’t I lucky?
BORIS: BAGS ARE HERE! AND HERE! AND HERE!
Yes, he pointed to each bag individually. Eleven bags later, he was done.
BORIS: CAR IS DOWNSTAIRS?
ME: Yes, sir, I couldn’t get it in the elevator.
Another comedic failure. I headed back downstairs while Boris and Natasha finished readying themselves for the trip back to the Fatherland. I genuinely had to resist the urge to vomit in the service elevator, that’s how powerful the memory of Shirtless Boris was. I met up with my new friends downstairs where Natasha took center-stage.
NATASHA: (In a voice that no doubt made Boris proud.) WHERE IS CAR? DID YOU BRING CAR?
I considered poking the bear and setting off an international incident, but I just didn’t have the energy.
ME: YES! CAR IS HERE!
Obviously I had a little smartass power to spare.
Natasha actually swooned and wiped her brow in relief. (I guess she assumed the KGB would confiscate the vehicle.)
In the end, Boris not only complimented me on my packing skills, he even tipped me. In rubles.
Well, okay, not quite. He did tip me though. Then he and his partner-in-
espionage marriage drove off in search of Moose and Squirrel.
See you in the lobby, comrades…