Chapter Four: Grandpa Takes Ivan on a Walk.
Ivan is being well treated by Grandpa on their walk. Ice cream, a walk in the woods. Ivan still respects Grandpa as an elder, but is beginning to wonder about him. He wonders if he’s learning what not to do.
They come to a building. The writing says Veterans Club. Ivan is curious, but wonders what Grandpa is up to.
Both Grandpa and Ivan are greeted warmly. It’s a large room full of cigarette smoke, sweat, and vodka.
The veterans rarely have young people in their midst. Ivan has his cheek pinched and is picked up and carried about the room.
Ivan asks Grandpa for a Coke. “We don’t have that American swill here, you will get juice and vodka”
Ivan has never had vodka, but is curious. He is given juice then shots of vodka. Ivan feels important with the old men. He’s feeling the warmth of the vodka, when Grandpa takes Ivan over to an older man seated in the corner.
“Boy this is Mr. Kirilenko. He’s ninety-four years old and fought in the Great Patriotic War. Like your great-grandpa he went all the way to Germany. Sasha, we need to make sure Ivan grows up a strong Russian. There are some bad influences.”
“Come, boy,” Sasha said. Ivan sat next to him and began his story.
“I’d just graduated from secondary school, and was about to start a factory job, when the Germans crossed into Russia. They were just one of many. Germans have been trying to conquer and undermine us for eight hundred years!
Well, as with Napoleon, we left him an empty Moscow, plus we of course can handle winter better. So arrogant, those Germans. They thought they were going to wipe us out and settle in our Motherland! More fools they!
I fought in all the major battles. Stalingrad was the hardest. Once the cowards surrendered there, we were on our way. There was much hardship, but General Zhukov and Stalin led us to victory!”
Ivan had questions. “Why didn’t the Red Army save Warsaw from the Germans blowing it up?”
“So the Poles would be demoralized. The Poles need to be kept in place! Always making trouble. They think they’re better than us. So do the damn Czechs! Russia is the protector of all Slavs.”
Ivan laughed. “We hear the Czechs are rich.”
“Because they sold their souls to that bum Vaclav Havel. Poland had that Catholic, they called him John Paul, who helped the Poles be rebellious again. All those centuries, they never stop and they look down on us? Anyway, before you so rudely interrupted, we liberated concentration camps and arrived in the heart of darkness, Berlin! We got our revenge, and taught those nasty Germans what real Russians were like!”
Like Grandpa, he busily got himself all worked up. Ivan wondered if he would do that, when he was their age. Ivan wondered if men’s intelligence declined with age. Mom and Grandma kept their intelligence. Then he made the connection. The vodka. The shots were already getting to him. So that’s where old men got their courage and bravado.
Mr. Kirilenko snapped Ivan back to reality. “Boy this is why, Russia lives! We are strong, and President Putin will keep us that way! Now go home, stop the foolishness your Grandpa Zhenya has told us about, and be a real Russian man!
Grandpa was happier than he’d been in a long time. He held Ivan’s hand and sang as they walked back. Galina greeted him at the door. No amount of juice could cover the vodka.
“YOU GOT MY SON DRUNK!” Galina’s open mouth showed such rage, she looked as though she could swallow Grandpa whole. Her eyes narrowed to slits and her contorted face looked as though it would get stuck.
Galina’s yelling brought Grandma to the front door from the kitchen. She smelled the vodka. “You old fool, have you finally gone mad? Where did you take him?”
“To my veterans club! They enjoyed meeting Ivan. Mr. Kirilenko enforced my Russian history lesson.”
“That fool?!” He’s worse than you are! I’ll make sure to kill you, long before you make ninety years old, if the booze doesn’t do it first.”
“Dad, Anton is already angry about what you did to Sergei. Only some fast talking on his part kept Sergei’s parents from pressing charges. Any more bad attitude toward Sergei, we will press charges with them. Understand?”
All Grandpa could manage was a belch. “A belch works, you old fool. You took my grandson to be with those morons. I’d like to say I don’t believe it, but I do. What’s to be done with you. I know, another night in your room.”
Chapter Five: A Call from Mrs. Ivanova
Galina’s phone rang. “Mrs. Ivanova, always a pleasure. A debate? The students and the veterans? Sounds interesting. Let me know. Thank you, bye.”
“What was Mrs. Ivanova saying about a debate?”
“She wants the children to debate the veterans.”
Grandma responded with a sly smile. “The kids will win.”
Chapter Six: The Twitter Affair.
Galina taught her mother how to use Facebook and Twitter on her phone. Grandma decided to have the moniker Mrd2oldfool Galina created a monster. Grandma has joined the high tech age and is having too much fun with it.
Tweeting two hundred and eighty characters is becoming great fun. Grandpa is at the Veterans Club, the only place where everyone agrees with him, although today people are chuckling at him.
“What’s so damn funny?” He snarled.
One of the younger members smiled. “You might want to spend more time at home with your wife, than coming here.”
“Why is that? Who are you, young brat to comment on your betters’ home life. I’ll be where I want to be!”
“Let me show you.” The man took out his phone. Grandpa was bewildered. He might be one of the few people left in Russia, without a cell phone. “Why is this man showing me his cell phone?”
Grandpa saw the Twitter feed. “What am I supposed to be seeing?” Only then, did Grandpa see the moniker, Mrd2oldfool. He read on. My idiot husband got my nine year old grandson drunk at his veterans club. He humiliated the boy in front of his teacher and friends. He thought an Uzbek child was a terrorist. Oh God, what else?
It took a moment for it to immediately dawn on Grandpa. When it did, all Grandpa could do was croak. “How many people know about this?”
“People all over the world. I translated this response, it’s from New York City.”
“You don’t speak English.”
“No, the translator is on my phone.”
Grandpa read the response: You go girl! Maybe you can hit him over the head with a vodka bottle!
Grandpa then saw the poster’s profile. It was that of a beautiful black high school student, called BronxSassy16. The steam built up in Grandpa.
“You mean, this black brat is talking to my wife? How does she know Russian?”
“She may have seen your wife’s Twitter handle and translated it, as I did for her tweet”
“What is Bronx?”
“A part of New York City.”
“So, you’re telling me, that some black in New York is cheering my wife on for her comments? Does the CIA know about this? Are they spying on Russians this way?”
The young man laughed. “Zhenya, I don’t think they care that much. “
“Well, I have something to say to this wayward girl.” Grandpa said.
“OK, I’ll use my Twitter feed. What do you want to say to her?”
“Tell her this. I expect no respect from a young black bitch in America to one’s elders. Calling my wife girl. How rude!”
The young man translated the tweet into English and sent it.
A response came back within a minute. “Yeah, I’m a bitch. I stand up for my sisters who are older, and treat them as honored aunts! Giving a little boy vodka. Your wife deserves sainthood!”
Grandpa was so angry, he went beyond shots and drank out of the bottle. “I need to go home, and put my foot down.”
Grandpa stumbled toward home. He made it home, opened the door and walked gingerly to the kitchen. Natasha was showing Galina her twitter posts. Galina could read English and was laughing uproariously.
“Woman, I’m putting my foot down!”
Grandpa stamped his foot, then dropped to the floor, like a boxer, who’d been knocked out.
“Should we call an ambulance?” Galina asked.
“No, he’s fine, he’s snoring. Leave him there, the old fool!”
Ivan came home, saw Grandpa, and looked at the two women. “OK, who knocked him out?”
Anton came home looked and asked? “Do I need to call friends to dump him in the forest.?”
Grandma muttered. “He’s not dead yet, though at this rate he should be. Let’s have dinner and walk around him. He’s hibernating. “
With that, Grandpa woke up confused. “Why am I on the floor?”
“Are you sure you want me to answer that, you old fool?”
“Who hit me?” Grandpa muttered.
“Who else you old fool, but your mistress Miss Vodka. Isn’t she a beauty?”
Grandpa doesn’t get sarcasm, especially through the bleariness of a hangover. He looked at Grandma confused. He saw Ivan staring at him. He then realized his humiliation, especially when Galina used her phone to take a photograph.
“What will you do with a photograph?” Grandpa muttered, barely able to speak.
“Mom & I may send it to BronxSassy16, who we both started following on Twitter. She may be sixteen, but mentally, she’s smarter than many we know. She should see what someone, who gives a nine year old vodka looks like.”
Grandpa tried with all his might to respond, but all he could do was fall back to the floor.
“Out!” Grandma shouted with a laugh. “Let’s have dinner, seeing as we were so rudely interrupted.
The family ate dinner, while Grandpa snored away on the floor. Moving him was too much work, and Grandma is running out of ways to teach Grandpa lessons.
Meanwhile, Galina sent the picture to BronxSassy16, as well as pictures of the rest of the family. BronxSassy16 wrote back: “How could someone get such a beautiful boy drunk like that? He needs help. You seem like a nice family. Others on Twitter are picking up on it. The family, except for Grandpa now had a fan club. Grandpa would like to think the Veterans Club is his fan club, but now they make fun of him there. They have seen more of the Twitter posts. Grandpa in his more lucid moments tries to figure out how he can save his reputation. Then, the Jewish teacher he so hates, may have thrown him a lifeline. Well, maybe, but Grandpa thinks, “Beware of Jews and Tatars bearing gifts.”