Swan Dive! Ch. 18: From RayRay’s With Love

Bleary-eyed as a potato liquor-loaded gulag guard, Russian bruiser Ivan Popov opened his Spyglass Apartment door and stared through red glassy eyes at the woman who had come knocking.

“Nostovia,” the woman said in an Irish accent. “Let’s get drunk!”

One half of Kim Phillips’ breakaway split personality, Tara pushed her way into the room that smelled of hard boiled red beet egg gas and sour fried cabbage. As she passed Ivan she caught a whiff of body odor that smelled like a cross between goat cheese and Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov’s feet after a rough night teaching pirouettes at the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

“Ooh, yum, you smell like homemade turnip cologne,” Tara said.

Sensing passion in the air, Ivan smiled.

Now the other half of Kim’s great big psychic divide kicked in.

“You reek worse than a stuffed up Kremlin commode,” Shannon said.

Poor Kim and her dueling Irish personalities boomed babble like Boss car stereo speakers blaring from the open door of a Dublin docks automotive store as they bantered back and forth.

“Cool man cave, Ivan,” Tara said.

“Stinky Neanderthal pothole,” Shannon said.

Backing up and losing his balance, Ivan tripped over the heavy Cossack hat with earflaps he threw on the floor two weeks ago and never got to wear in Florida. His mother Raisa brought back the ushanka headgear from one of her many successful hunting trips to the Russian Arctic Islands before the KGB terminated her with a tainted toothpick for selling black market lingerie.

Tara clapped her hands when she spotted the soft clump of thick white fur.

“Oh, Ivan, poopskie,” she said. “You have a kitty.”

Even Shannon expressed appreciation for the unexpected softness in Ivan’s cold black heart.

“Awww, look, a fluffy Persian cat,” Shannon said.

“Hairball not cat,” Ivan said. “Ivan hate cat except in pot pie. Thick fluff is authentic Russian polar bear fur.”

Ivan’s hysterical laugh bounced off the walls like a straitjacketed patient in a St. Petersburg hospital for the criminally insane, his maniacal tones resounding as loud as a Politburo commissar’s caviar belch at a Defender of the Motherland holiday lunch.

Kim, Tara and Shannon loved animals – except for Ivan, who defined the word beast in anybody’s book.

Tara screeched.

“You eat cats?”

Shannon roared.

“Polar bear fur!”

Predators can go too far.

Tara’s left hook caught Ivan upside his head so hard he saw hammers and sickles dancing before his lizard-lidded eyes. Shannon’s right cross knocked him out on his feet, staggering him as he fell face forward into a half-eaten pierogi pile stacked in thick dill cream sauce on the small table that held a cheap imitation ivory bust of Joseph Stalin.

Talking the tough talk and walking the tough walk are as different as a team of East German shot putters and a set of Matryoshka stacking dolls. Ivan did not lead the pack in matters of brute strength bravado and injured easily as Kim and company laid waste to his soft bloated body curled into a fetal position on the floor.

Where Kim got the strength to drag Ivan Popov to the parking lot is anybody’s guess, but as soon as she bound and gagged her prisoner with duct tape and slammed the trunk of her car she forgot all about what and who she had just locked inside.

Doing her due diligence as they say in shallow American society, the next morning Kim greeted a couple of recently retired financial advisors from the Gold Coast who wanted to invest in two beachfront condos – one in which to live, the other to sell. Gleeful over the potential sale, Kim raced from one condo to the other and back to her car to grab brochures from the trunk when she got a bigger surprise than the U.S. hockey team did when they performed the miracle on ice and beat the Russians in 1980. She screamed as soon as she flipped up the trunk.


Ivan screamed, too, reversing his duct tape muffled howls back into his big mouth and down his throat.


Kim slammed the lid.

Two hours later she mustered the courage to drive to a $384,999 townhouse with an attached garage built in 2007 she was handling on Colony Reed Lane. Once inside the garage with the door closed behind her, she again opened the trunk. Pulling the Smith &Wesson Bodyguard 380 handgun from her bag and pointing the barrel at Ivan’s bulbous nose, she tore the tape from her prisoner’s mouth. Ivan did his best to remain calm and in control even though he could barely control his urine flow.

“Hello pretty lady,” he said.

Kim hissed with the pent-up mean contempt of a black diamond reticular python, a sound you’d recognize in any snake pit.

“Shut up you slithering slug,” she said. “What are you doing in there?”

Ivan tried to be brave.

“Looking for a date?”

Flustered yet agitated, Kim’s emotions ran amok.

“I’ll give you a date,” she said.

In a flash Kim’s face transformed into the menacing face of evil as her split personalities rushed into the fray like methamphetamine-crazed outlaw motorcycle gang enforcers getting their kicks at a group stomping.

“Shoot him,” Tara said.

“Empty the magazine, reload and shoot him again,” Shannon said.

Freaked out with frenzy, Kim struggled to maintain control as Ivan whimpered like a lost Borzoi (wolfhound) puppy in a cage.

 “No, no, please wait, let me live. I help you put end to bad for environment super condo tower,” Ivan said.

Tara and Shannon stopped issuing threats.

“What’s in it for us?”

Ivan smiled his best imitation Omar Sharif smile he practiced for weeks after seeing Dr. Zhivago on the Turner Classic Movies channel after hacking into the cable when he first got to Florida.

“You get to spend weekend with me in hot tub,” he said.

Kim pounced, punching Ivan and screaming in three distinct accents, lambasting this despicable degenerate gangster who thought he could buy his way out of any uncomfortable situation. Feeling more powerful and bolder than ever, Kim jeered and mocked, taunting her captive as she demanded compliance.

“One last chance, you commie scum,” she said. “What exactly will you do for me?”

“Borys must go,” Ivan said. “No super condo gets built on beach without super real estate mogul around to build tower.”

Flabbergasted with Ivan’s deadly deceit, Kim proceeded with caution.

“Go where?”

“Back to the USSR,” Ivan said, starting to giggle. “Haha. I almost make Beatles joke. Get it?”

“You’ll arrange to get Borys deported?”

“I arrange to get Borys reported – as in documented dead.”

“You’ll kill him?”

“I make Borys disappear,” Ivan said. “Still have poison toothpick KGB used to whack Mother with enough toxin germs left over on tip to kill bad man strongman brother.”

“The KGB gave you the murder weapon?”

“I give it to them first,” Ivan said. “Mother was no good capitalist spy.”

Kim’s thoughts whirled.

When Ivan grinned, sunshine filtering through the dirty window gleamed off his gold teeth.

“I also sweeten pot by making you beneficiary of Borys’ new life insurance policy,” he said. “I sell insurance part time for Prudential.”

Tara and Shannon could no longer contain their zeal for anarchy.

They wanted in.

“But first a full pardon from your little dictator governor for our friend Sam Bennett,” Tara said.

“Yeah,” Shannon said. “I think crazy birdman as you call him is really cute.”