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Unfiled March 20, 2003
Escape from Tynda
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email
Page 4 of 6
When the younger Fil claims he can't remember the last time he saw his mother sober, he's not exaggerating. It's been years. In my experience, she's usually spewing mat at no one in particular or in a fitful, nightmare-ridden sleep. I've never been able to figure out people like her; they don't work, yet they always have enough money to stay drunk.

The older Fil was also a drunk. He started hitting the bottle heavily after serving a three and a half year sentence in the zone. He was released about a year ago. He's got the leathery malnourished look that all Russian ex-cons have in common, but he hasn't lost his charisma. That means there's always a crowd of 15-year-old girls hanging around the apartment hoping to get picked by him. When I first met him, during my Spartan phase, he asked me, "What do you think of our sluts? Fuck whichever ones you want; they all love dick." He was referring to the two tenth-graders whose asses and tits he was juggling at the time. They both slapped him, but in the same way that American middle school girls suggestively deflect jocks' attention. Only he was a 26-year-old ex-con.

His current 16-year-old girlfriend, Vika, has a nice girl look that clashes with the crudeness of Fil's language, apartment and lifestyle. He'll spend days on a drinking binge, talk about fucking other girls in front of her and paw her roughly, all of which just reinforces her obsession with him. On her birthday, he took a break from boning her to show everyone in the other room his blood-covered hand.

Three of Fil's friends showed up with two bottles before his mom returned. Vanya, an older guy with no front teeth who's spent 17 years in the zone, Vasya, a young, perpetually stoned Caucasian, and Ilya, a lanky Russian who would always tell me that he wants to be a writer and ask me how to do it. Vasya and Ilya were at least as drunk as I was.

I'm not sure how long we were drinking before the conversation turned to zhargon, but it was long enough to finish one of the bottles. I was completely sloppy. And then things get real clear:

Ilya said something in Azerbaijani, which he later told me was just some phrase he'd memorized about a black tree. I told him that I didn't understand a fucking thing and he leapt up and punched me in the face. Just like that.

He's standing across the table shouting that he's going to fucking kill me, who the fuck do I think I am anyways, while my mind is reeling through all the low yield DP stories, as if to confirm that, yes, he really might try. Fil, who's pretty sober, starts yelling something about how dare Ilya fuck with his guests and decks him, sending him right into a pail of white paint. Vasya tries to intervene and Fil sends him flying in the other direction.

Soon after, when things have calmed down a bit, Fil said to Ilya that, if he wasn't justified in hitting him, he's welcome to strike him back. Ilya didn't think twice before punching Fil in the eye. Luckily his aim hadn't been so sure when he hit me, and his fist had landed on my forehead. Everyone else had pretty large black eyes, Fil's knuckles were swelling, and Ilya's clothes ruined, while I got away with a small bump.

Ilya and Vasya grabbed the remaining bottle and stumbled away. Two days later, while walking home, I chanced upon Vasya outside a bar getting a boot to the head that sent a mouthful of blood all over the snow. That was only a sideshow compared with the beating his friend would receive a few minutes later. The next day, I hung out with Ilya for a bit, which was when he translated the Azerbaijani phrase.

An eX-con with black lips, Fil

An eX-con with black lips, Fil's mom in good form, and her loving

Back at Fil's,the rest of us kept drinking. The mother came back with a woman ex-con with the blackest lips I'd ever seen. We kept drinking. It couldn't have been past 9 when I passed out drunk on someone's bed.

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