Grandpa Zhenya is worried. Ivan, in his mind might be betraying the Motherland. He gets no sympathy from his wife, Natasha. Grandma responds to Zhenya by taking his bottle of vodka away, muttering “Stupid old fool.” Ivan’s parents also worry that Grandpa is filling Ivan’s head full of all sorts of things. Galina, Zhenya and Natasha’s daughter came to the house one day, angry, with tears of rage.
“I know sweetheart, I know, I know,” Natasha said as she poured Galina a cut of tea.
“Do you know what dad did?!” Galina was so enraged she shouted.
“Yes,” Natasha said in a world weary voice. “He was proud of himself and wore all his damn medals to go see Mrs. Ivanova. He was even prouder, when he called the Uzbek child in the class an Afghan terrorist and tried to strip search him for bombs.
“That child is Ivan’s best friend. Anton and I adore him. We are also mortified. We’re friends with his parents. Sergei’s father is Russian, his mother Uzbek. If they press charges, I won’t blame them I may even help!”
At that point, the front door was flung open, as Grandpa Zhenya tried to march without stumbling into the living room singing the duet of the two army deserters from Prince Igor.
“There will be no more vodka for you, you old fool,” Grandma Natasha shouted.
“Woman, I’ve done my patriotic duty and shown what a real Russian is.”
“Yeah, a stupid Russian. Dad you need to get sober,” Galina said between sobs. “The boy you tried to strip search is Ivan’s best friend. Anton and I are friends with his parents. This cannot continue and won’t continue, if I have anything to say about it.
Grandpa belched. “You are doing a poor job raising him. I saw the picture of the black from Los Angeles on Ivan’s computer. Computers are bad for young boys, who need to be out in nature hunting and joining the army.
“To get killed? This makes Russia great?” Galina said her tone between sadness and rage.
Just then, Ivan came home and greeted his mother and grandmother, glaring at his grandfather.
“What no hug for grandpa?”
“Maybe to strangle you, you old fool. That’s right, you humiliate him in front of his friends and teacher and then you try to take the clothes from his best friend, plus you smell like a goddamn distillery!
Go get changed take a shower, if you’re nice, you might even get dinner.”
Grandma’s tirade made Ivan and Galina smile. Grandpa went into the bedroom. To sulk or obey Grandma’s instructions, no one knew.
“OK, Mom. How are we gonna clean up the mess he made?” Galina asked quizzically.
“Simple. We are going to see Mrs. Ivanova and save Ivan’s reputation.