Corporate Dispute

Location: Homeland
Date: 06/03/1999
Time: 9:44pm
Music: Bad Samaritans "Ouch"/none

I sat in front of my computer going through the Punk/Hardcore section of the web site '' looking for tracks to download. I had just finished writing a mindless article about "the development of the infrastructure," so that the next issue of the paper could be laid out on Monday. An evening concert at Zona was to begin in little over an hour. Outside someone began yelling so I moved my armchair to the window and looked out. Guys sporting military dress were getting out of a bus, some wearing masks. Beside the bus two older guys stood at a Mercedes. One of them wore an unbuttoned coat over his suit and tie. The other had a pair of jeans and a jacket on, and held a walkie-talkie.

I ran out of my office. The corridor was empty. I went down the stairs and there was no one in the first floor either. I went out to the porch and found the masked guys tying up two security guards.

"What the fuck are you doing jerks?" yelled the older one, a former paratrooper.

"What is going on?" I asked.

"Who are you to ask questions?" replied one of the other men, looking at me through the slits in his mask.

"I'm the editor of the plant's newspaper!"

"Then get the fuck out of here, okay? That's my best advice to you."

"But what is happening here?"

"Nothing. None of your business. Didn't you understand me?"
What should I have understood? Some strange people show up, beat up the plant's security guards and…

"We're doing what we're told to. If you want, go talk to the bosses."

He pointed to the Mercedes outside the plant's fence. I went through the gate and approached the car. The guy with the walkie-talkie was yelling into it, "Are you fucking out of your mind? You were told to tie up only the security guards, and the night shift should have continued to work… What did you tell them? Why did they fight back? And what did you do to him? What do you mean - you don't know? Is he at least breathing? You fucking idiot…

"Hello," I said. "Would you, please, tell me what is going on here?"

"Who are you?" asked the guy with the walkie-talkie and grabbed my jacket. "Get the fuck out of here, now…"

"I'm the editor…"

"So what? Come on…"

"Hold on," the other guy said and looked at me,"I can explain everything to you, since you are the editor. What is happening is the plant is changing hands. It has been sold. But, for some reason the security guards didn't know about it and tried to resist… Don't worry, editor, nothing is going to change at the plant. At least for the worse, you see?"

I went back to the office building. Everything was quiet there just as before. I returned to my office, picked up the phone, found the director's home number and dialled it. He wouldn't pick up. I dialed his mobile phone. "The subscriber is out of coverage." The first deputy general director didn't answer either. I dialled the police.
"Hello, police? I'm calling from the metals plant. There has been a raid! Masked people have trespassed and are beating up the security guards…"

The door opened. Two fatigue-clad masked imbeciles ran into the office. One of them tore the phone socket off the wall. The other jumped towards me.

"Hey, fucking split!"

"What's the matter guys?"

Hi hit me in the jaw. I fell down between the desk and the bookshelves. The shelves trembled. Old copies of the paper fell down. He kicked me. His boot made it to my chest. I bent down, covered my head with the hands. The hands met the next blow. The other imbecile heaved the computer monitor and threw it on the floor. The screen clinked and broke. The music was still playing in the speakers.

"Get out now!" the first one said.

I got up, picked up my backpack, went down the stairs, out of the building and across the street. A police Lada pulled up, two cops got out of it. The guys at the Mercedes began telling them something, showed them some papers. A tram turned the corner.


"Everything Goes As Planned"

Location: Homeland
Date: 29/09/2001
Time: 12:31pm
Music: none

I stepped onto the balcony of Pinski's dacha. The courtyard was circled by a three-meter tall brick wall with barbed wire on top. In the courtyard Sanchez was rehearsing 'The Rally.' A couple dozen pensioners crowded at the fountain.

"So, what are you gonna shout?" asked Sanchez.

"Filatov is a bloodsucker!" The old people mumbled. "He reduced us to poverty."

"No, this is not gonna work," Sanchez frowned. "Once again - nice and loud!"

"Filatov is a bloodsucker! He reduced us to poverty! Filatov is a bloodsucker! He reduced us to poverty!" the pensioners yelled.

"This is much better. Okay, we'll get back to it later. And now you guys," Sanchez turned towards the hoodlums smoking at the other side of the fountain. There were about a dozen of them, all dressed in 'bombers' or short leather jackets and had crew-cuts.
"You enter after the shouts, jump at the pensioners and imitate beating them up. Did you hear well - IMITATE! No injuries, or you won't get paid. Understood?"

"Understood," glumly muttered one of them, probably the leader. "But who can we beat the shit out of?"

"At this rally - no one! But if you implement this task well then you'll get another one, and that one will involve some fighting."
Sergei stepped onto the balcony, made a sign towards Sanchez.
"Wrap it up," he said, "we're about to have a meeting. And you Lyosha, join us too."

I followed him into the living room designed "in a Byzantine style" - with gilded chairs, a gilded chandelier, gilded mantelpiece, red carpets, red ceiling and an ugly cumbersome mahogany sideboard.
Anton already sat at the desk, holding some printed out photos. Pinski was coming up the stairs, followed by a bodyguard and Sanchez. Pinski sat down into a broad armchair, and all of us squeezed on a sofa beside a low table.

"Well, give me a report," Pinski said.

"Everything goes as planned," Sergei said and paused. Pinski nodded. He probably didn't know it was a quote.

"Preparations for the rally are in full swing," Sergei continued. "People have been recruited and rehearsals are in progress." He motioned towards the balcony. "Your speech is.… ready?" He looked at me, I nodded. "Anton has also come up with some materials," he added.

Anton handed Pinski several printed photos. In Photoshop he had added Filatov's face to the photographs of some man lying in bed with two whorish-looking babes. Pinski looked at the photos, smiled, looked back at us and winked.

"Pretty good," he said. "And what about videos? Anything coming along?"

"No, that's a problem," Anton replied. "We would need to involve too many people, and the probability of a leak is too high. And for us that would be fatal. Besides, federal channels have shown a few videos of that kind, and audiences no longer look at that stuff as something fresh and interesting. But a spread in a local paper - that should work."

"By the way, stop by Omega some day to pick up the certificates of your stock," Pinski said. "I always keep my word, but you should do so too. Keep working…"