(Last Sunday: Chartan, deep in thought, reacts to a forest fire outside of his apartment building while Brazil questions his decision to do battle in Ukraine.)
Chartan, seated behind the wheel of his limousine with Gina by the passenger door, stares at the thick smoke 100 drifting slowly towards the parking lot.
“I’m glad you called the fire department when I was trying to wake up—we didn’t even have to drive away,” said Gina.
“It could have been worse—we’re lucky the fire crews got here so fast,” answered Chartan.
“You’re my hero,”said Gina. “I like watching the sunrise with you in a limousine.”
“Thankfully, I was awake in the middle of the night.”
“Why were you up?”
Chartan was about to answer when a TV news crew approached the limo. He lowered the window.
“Mr. Chartan, we meet again,” said the woman who had interviewed him about the window bandit over a year ago. “The chief says you called in the fire…”
A few minutes later Chartan and Gina, wrapped in a blanket, stood in front of the limo after listening to the reporter explain how Chartan had been the first person to alert the fire department about the blaze. The wannabe guru shivered with what he believed was contrived heroism by the media. They should be interviewing my friend in Ukraine—he’s a hero.
Brazil and his American partner Zeke walk close to a tall building on a major street in Kyiv. They didn’t expect to meet any opposition and that was dangerous to Brazil because expectations didn’t keep the combat mind sharp. Worse, he had begun to think of Julie and why he hadn’t thought of her much since leaving California. Their instant marriage had been a mistake like whiskey going down the wrong way. I better snap out of this or I’ll get killed.
“Over there,” said Zeke, pointing at a building across the street. “Someone behind that first floor window just ducked out of sight.”
“Let’s cross over to that alley, ” yelled Brazil.
The two men ran safely to the alleyway.
“Maybe it’s nothing,” said Zeke.
“Your instincts are sharp,” offered Brazil. “I’d trust them.”
Zeke peered around the corner towards the window in question. “There’s a woman and a child coming out of the building—must have been them I saw.”
“Yeah. In Iraq that woman might be carrying a bomb under her clothing with a kid as a shield, but here the people are genuine.”
A few seconds later the woman and the boy walked by holding hands—they didn’t notice the two armed men watching them pass.
(Continued next Sunday)