Carmichael stood over Kuznetsof’s shoulder and peered at the mass of banking records that were laid out across the coffee table.
“Here,” the defector said as he circled a dollar amount in red pen – $101,034.38. “You can see this same exact figure in American dollars is wired on a series of dates, supposedly stock dividends from vast holdings in K and D Corporation, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that on every one of these dates, one of President Popov’s critics died under mysterious circumstances.”
“That’s uncanny,” Carmichael said. “And what does the K and D Corporation do?”
“Other than launder the cash of Popov and his oligarch friends, absolutely nothing,” Kuznetsof replied. “Moving on, if we turn to…”
Once again, Kuznetsof farted. This time, the fart lasted several seconds. When it was over, the interviewee clutched his stomach. “Mr. Carmichael, I…something is wrong. Perhaps…”
Carmichael strolled to the mini bar. He poked around inside until he pulled out a nip sized bottle. He poured it into a plastic cup, then returned to his subject. “Something amiss, Mr. Kuznetsof?”
Kuznetsof’s face turned white and clammy. His hair grew thick with sweat. “I am sorry. I am not well. Perhaps we can reschedule?”
“Oh, pish posh,” Carmichael said, leaning into his British accent. “You’ve already spent so much time selling out the man who made you, why give up now over a little flatulence?”
Pbbht! The farts raged on as Kuznetsof keeled over, falling off the couch and onto the floor.
Carmichael laughed. He sipped the remainder of his drink, then tossed the empty cup at Kuznetsof’s head. Eerily, the reporter swapped his British accent for a Russian one. “Chertovski mudak! I knew you were a lousy excuse for a Russian citizen when you accepted Scottish swill when perfectly good vodka was available!”
Kuznetsof flipped over on his back. He panicked and began to hyperventilate. “What is this? What have you done?”
Carmichael reached into his pocket and pulled out an over the counter bottle that could have been purchased at any pharmacy. “Mighty Lax. For that deep-down bowel relief.”
Kuznetsof shouted loudly, as if he were trying to rattle the heavens. “Damn you, Popov! Is there no place on earth where your tentacles can’t grasp?!”
“It would seem not, comrade,” Carmichael said. “I can tell you I have cashed many of those $101,034.38 checks you spoke of, but this time, it will be so much sweeter.”
Kuznetsof let out a series of machine gun style toots. “And why is that?”
“Because, my new friend,” Carmichael said. “You are a hypocrite.”
The defector snickered. “That’s rich….coming from the likes of you.”
Carmichael clicked his tongue in the negative. “Tsk, tsk, you don’t think so?”
Kuznetsof coughed…and coughed…and coughed….then released a wet fart that soiled his underwear. “I know I am not.”
“Tell me, Dmitri,” Carmichael said. “What rank did you hold in the Russian Army when you served in the 1980s in Afghanistan?”
Kuznetsof let out a squeaker. “Pah…pah…private.”
“And after then General Popov took notice of you?” Carmichael asked.
A powerful stench filled the room. Carmichael waved the scent away from his nose. “And when Popov became the Minister of Defense?”
“Oh,” Kuznetsof said as he held his stomach. “That smell. It is making me even more sick.”
Carmichael leaned over the defector. “Don’t change the subject!”
“I was…oh…oh God….BLEAH!”
Without warning, Kuznetsof projectile vomited directly into his torturer’s face. Carmichael stepped back, pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed away at the sticky green goo. “You disgust me.”
Kuznetsof expelled a sigh of relief. “Likewise.”
Once Carmichael cleaned his face, he began again. “It isn’t just your puke that disgusts me, it’s what you are doing.”
“What I am doing?” Kuznetsof asked.
“You benefitted from Popov’s rise to power just as much as the next man in his inner circle,” Carmichael said. “Each time Popov moved up, he brought you with him and you reaped the rewards. The money, the power, the women you never told your wife about…”
“Fuck you, pig!” Kuznetsof said. “May your mother be fucked to death by a syphilitic goat with priapism!”
“Charming,” Carmichael said. “The bottom line, Dmitri, is you were compensated handsomely for your role in our supreme leader’s reign and now…what? You’ve just become a sad, old man looking to buy his way into heaven with a confession that our enemies will use to club our country to death with.”
“If there’s even a country left when Popov is done with it,” Kuznetsof said as he evacuated his bowels. “Excuse me.”
“Get up,” Carmichael said.
“I’m fine right here,” Kuznetsof replied.
“You’re obviously not,” Carmichael said.
“I need to rest,” Kuznetsof said. “Who trained you? Your English is impeccable. You had me convinced you were a fancy London fop.”
“That’s neither here nor there,” Carmichael said. “Go to the bathroom, Dmitiri.”
Kuznetsof shook his head. “No.”
“Get on the toilet,” Carmichael said.
“Never!” Kuznetsof said. “I will never shit in that toilet!”
“You are a proud man, Dmitri,” Carmichael said. “You don’t want to shit all over this nice hotel rug.”
“I don’t care,” Kuznetsof said. “I will shit all over this rug and I will enjoy every moment of it!”
“No, you won’t,” Carmichael said. “You don’t want the cleaning ladies laughing at the old man who made his doodies all over the place. You’re too proud for that. Come along now. It’s time to meet Ivan.”
The defector closed his eyes. “No. I don’t want to meet Ivan! Please, don’t make me. Please, I beg of you.”
When Kuznetsof finally opened his eyes, he found himself staring down the barrel of a semi-automatic Makarov pistol. Carmichael cocked the hammer. “To the toilet. Now!”
Kuznetsof nodded. He rose to his feet and trudged to the bathroom. Carmichael followed, revolted by the brown trail that trickled out of his captive’s pants leg.
The bathroom was clean. Immaculate. Enormous. It had a glass shower that could easily fit two people, a jacuzzi and an ivory white toilet with a pearl handle.
“Sit,” Carmichael said.
“Da,” Kuznetsof replied. He dropped his pants and did as he was told.
A few seconds passed until the defector’s gas echoed throughout the bowl.
Carmichael used his free hand to pinch his nostrils shut. “Any last requests?”
“Yes,” Kuznetsof said. “Sing with me.”
“Oh,” Carmichael said. “No…I don’t know.”
“We are both Russians,” Kuznetsof said. “We both disagree when it comes to how best to protect Mother Russia, but there’s no doubt that we both love her.”
Carmichael looked down. “I’d rather…”
Kuznetsof reached out, took his captor’s hand and squeezed it. “Please. Be my comrade in this moment.”
Carmichael grinned. “Very well.”
A moment passed. The duo began to sing. “Mother Russia! Mother Russia! Where you start chain smoking at the age of five! Where you should shut up and just be glad that you’re alive! Where fat, middle-aged American losers wants to make your daughters their mail-order wives!”
The duo’s voices grew louder and livelier. “Mother Russia! Mother Russia! All capitalist pigs should rot in hell and die! Over their graves their whorish mothers will cry! And if you stop by Chernobyl, your asshole will grow an eye!”
The men laughed and cried and sang several more verses of Mother Russia until the pipe underneath the toilet rumbled.
“Dosvedanya,” Kuznetsof said. “Perhaps in another life we could have been friends.”
“Perhaps in this life, for a very brief moment, we were?” Carmichael asked.
The pipe rumbled again.
“No,” Kuznetsof said. “I hate you for doing this to me. I pray that all of your children will be so ugly that it will be impossible to distinguish their faces from the rotten, distended anus of a pack mule.”
Carmichael nodded. “I understand. Goodbye, Dmitri.”
“Goodbye,” Kuznetsof said. “Whoever you are.”
The fake Brit exited the bathroom. There, on the bowl, Kuznetsof proceeded to hum the tune to Mother Russia until… “RAAARG!”
The toilet exploded into thousands of tiny little shards. The defector’s body was consumed, grounded, mashed, and liquefied by hundreds of sharp teeth.
Out in the sitting room, Carmichael calmly collected the documents and loaded them into the briefcase. When he was finished, he snapped to attention and waited until the massive head of a 17-foot great white shark pounded through the wall. The creature then slid into the room on a blast of toilet water before it came to a full stop at Carmichael’s feet.
Carmichael tossed the briefcase into the shark’s mouth. The shark, in turn, swallowed the evidence of countless international misdeeds with a single gulp.
“Good boy,” Carmichael said as he patted the shark’s head.
The Russian agent pulled out his cellphone, dialed a number, then held the mobile device up to his ear. “Dragunovich? Da. It is done. Ivan is ready for pick up.”