The Politician (Story by Risa Peris)

You see the thing about Yuri was that he was not a high-ranking or particularly effective KGB officer. Back in his day he was sent to West Berlin. Changes were rumbling throughout the USSR. Glasnost. Perestroika. It scared the KGB. It scared the establishment. It probably scared the USA. What would the world be like without clear polarization? I admit I was afraid to let go. 

Yuri and I pushed papers. We got senseless reports about inconsequential people. 

We had many field agents and the reports landed on our desks. 



-Von Hammersmith ate a Turkish restaurant for lunch. 

-Von Hammersmith spent exactly an hour. 

-He met with four clients at the bank. He granted two loans and denied two loans. 

-Von Hammersmith went home. He played Beethoven loudly. 

-He drank red wine with sausages. 

-He drank vodka and watched a football match. 

-He went to bed at 9:30 PM.


The reports, day after day, were exactly the same. 

After two months , Yuri  exclaimed. 

“He eats at the same Turkish restaurant every day. He must be making contact. He must be making a drop.”

I informed him that Von Hammersmith was only flagged by granting a loan to two married defectors. He was not a priority.

“I’ll get them.” Yuri left his desk. With clearance, he staged a kidnapping and transferred Von Hammersmith to a Detention Center in East Berlin. 

Yuri tortured and interrogated the poor man for two weeks. Even the official interrogators shook their heads and walked away. The poor man cried everyday  and was turning gray from fright and deprivation. He had not a millimeter of useful information. 

“Yuri! Come,” I insisted. 

Yuri quit out of exhaustion.  Did I mention that he was not an effective KGB officer? Yuri left and I continued to push paper. 

A year later I heard Yuri was a politician in Moscow and rising in the ranks. That’s where all ineffective people end up. Politics.