Imagine this cell, but much smaller and pitch-black.
Finally got another missive from Nothing Is Sacred Field Correspondent Fabio Sandrelli, currently stationed in Minsk, Belarus for 2011. For those of you that missed his first dispatch, check it out here.
04.02.2011 - OPERATION MINSK - DISPATCH 0002
My most sincere apologies for the delay in my second dispatch from this frozen hellhole, but I spent the last three weeks in a damp prison cell only slightly larger than my body and darker than a black steer's tuchus on a moonless prairie night.
As it turns out, Dictator Lukashenko has very little patience for people who write things down or have opinions on things. The trial was brief and consisted of little more than a billy-club blow to the head, but my guilt was never in question.
Did I learn my lesson? No. I don't learn lessons. That is why I had to volunteer for this unpaid internship that puts my life in danger every second. Let this be a warning to all of you out there in the ether--learn how to learn lessons and learn them well. Get a job as a pencil pusher in the back office of some corporate laundromat empire based in Omaha, Nebraska.
It may sound boring, but at least you can go home to your rented trailer after work and watch reality TV while getting fat on deep-fried Doritos-flavored donuts. That sounds fairly heavenly right now, in fact; save me some.
Instead of living the dream--getting fat, masturbating obsessively, making excuses for myself, and taxing the bloated US health care system with my diabetes-ridden walking corpse--here I sit under a camouflaged blanket in Chelyuskinites Park, burning stacks of Communist propaganda to stay warm, hoping the wind doesn't blow away the pile of leaves hiding my satellite dish, wishing I had purchased a round-trip ticket, regretting the fact that I agreed to surrender my passport at immigration.
But, as it is with most people who have no other option, I grin and bear it. I persevere. I am young and strong and smart and fortunate my assignment here is as vague as one could imagine and I can write almost anything.
Earlier today, tasting my first moments of freedom, I watched two old women wrapped in wolfskins play chess on a blanket under a nearby tree for over four hours. By the time I realized my eyelids had frozen in place and I had an alogical erection that would not go away, it was too late--they decided to pack up and head back to the brothel to catch the lucrative rush that always happens when there's a shift-change at the neighborhood police station. When you live on $0.85 a day, after all, a Zip Loc™ bag full of leftover chili tossed in your swollen face can mean the difference between survival and a life of (relative) luxury.But it's not all loneliness and poverty here in Europe's last Cold War outpost. There seem to be a number of trendy vodka bars, dumpling houses, limbless street vendors spooning stew into unwashed plastic bags in the alley, discothèques full of lusciously-emaciated prostitutes, rich corrupt assholes in furs, persecuted collegiate intellectuals, etc. I occasionally hear laughter, even, although I never know for sure if it's just in my head.
I wish I had enough money to join the party but, alas, I blew most of my graduation money on the decommissioned Soviet icebreaker to which I'm now too afraid to return. I really hope I don't have to wear the same pair of underwear for the next eleven months, but a guy's got to do what a guy's gotta do, right? Right?
Anyway, I'm going to roll up some of these dead weeds I found buried under the snow, have a smoke, and think about what sort of black-market activity I can engage in to make my time here more comfortable.
Until next time,
FABIO SANDRELLI - FIELD CORRESPONDENT - NOTHING IS SACRED