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interrogationLights glared as I woke from a groggy sleep. Man, what did I drink last night? I know I’m lying in my bed but it feels like I’m sitting up. Maybe it’s a dream.

Privet, Jonathan.”

Wait, what?

Privet? Wait, that sounds Russian. Like the woman…argh, like the woman I met in the bar last night. What was her name? Wait, why can’t I move my arms. Where the hell am I? Seriously, this has to be the worst hangover ever.

“Ah, you seem a bit disoriented, Jonathan. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Boris. Just Boris. You need not know any more. Perhaps you remember Natasha? You met last night.”

Natasha, yes, that was her name. And now we have Boris. Boris and Natasha…why does that sound familiar?

“Now, Jonathan. Perhaps we can start by you telling us about your work in the Department of Justice? I understand you were involved in the recent investigations that resulted in the indictments of two Republican congressmen.”

What? Well, yes, I work for the U.S. Justice Department but…wait, you’re Russian? Why are you asking me these questions? Where are we?

“Ah, my poor, poor Jonathan. You really have been out of the loop, haven’t you? No matter, I have a sense that you really didn’t get the memo on these matters.”

Memo? What memo? Wait, this is the 4th of July. That’s it, I was drinking with some buddies last night on Capitol Hill. Where am I? This doesn’t look like Russia. This looks like…

“Jonathan. Pay attention, Jonathan. You are to stop investigating Republican congressmen, at least until after the mid-term elections. After all, we can’t have the House taken over by the Democrats, can we? I think you can understand why.”

This is not happening. I’m in Washington, D.C., I think. This room is…this room is…

“You will be brought back to your apartment, Jonathan. You will not speak of this meeting, not to anyone. Not your girlfriend – yes, we know all about the lovely Diane. Not your family, not your colleagues, not your roommates, and most certainly not the press. We’ll be keeping a close eye on you, Jonathan. Very close. Closer than you can even imagine. It would be a shame should something happen to your, well, let’s not be cliché shall we. You understand me completely, I’m sure. Spasibo. Do svidaniya, Jonathan.”

“Natasha, please show Jonathan back to his home in Georgetown. Once you exit the Situation Room, take him out the West Wing entrance so as not to draw too much attention. I’ll be upstairs in the residence with the, well, with him. The boss will want to tell him what to do next.”

“Sure thing, Boris. Put in a good word for me with President Pu…I mean, the boss.”

Dumbstruck, Jonathan was escorted out of the building, driven up Pennsylvania Avenue and deposited at his shared home on M Street. No one was home. They were all still out celebrating the 4th, no doubt. Later the fireworks would flash over the Washington Monument. It’s probably good that no one is here. “Closer than you can even imagine,” Boris had said. Weren’t these the same people who had hacked the elect…no, try not to think about it.

Please tell me this is a dream, thought Jonathan.

When he awoke the next morning he knew it wasn’t. It was real. Way too real.

[Also see “Waiting at the Free State of Arizona”]

David J. Kent is an avid science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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