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Russian for "Goodbye, Motherland!"

The Tu-95 Bear-D electronic reconnaissance plane is a huge, lumbering, unarmed, turboprop bomber conversion, whose mission (not unlike that of the EP-3 Aries) is to find and track enemy ships at sea-- for example, American carrier battle groups defended by E-2 Hawkeye and F-14 Tomcat aircraft. At the outbreak of hostilities, the Bears would signal the position of the carrier groups to strike aircraft such as the Tu-22M Backfire and then try to stay alive as long as possible.

According to the Tom Clancy novel Red Storm Rising, the Bear crews, not expecting that last part to go very well, had a grim running joke: "We have located the enemy fleet. Dosvidanya, Rodina!"

Hit me
Going, going, gone
Now I dialed 911 a long time ago
Don't you see how late they're reactin'


That fucking kid's eyes, man. They shook something loose. The Sadist was eyeballing me while we sat and talked to Officer Fingers. I could feel the machinegun twitter of my eyelid rev higher and higher. I was burning up all the extra psychotic shit wasn't letting into my memory, pumping the toxic sights and sounds of the night out into the dimly lit breakroom. The holding pen for cops and ambulance drivers is a Limbo, the siding in the railroad of human misery we ride every night. You can sit for a few minutes and cool your screeching brakes before you get shot out of the cannon again. Our nap earlier had us in the hot seat. Dispatch rides your ass on principle after a stunt like that. Lead though intimidation. Very passive aggressive. 10 minutes is 10 seconds and a lifetime in that room, with all your nerves screaming to stop or start, not to sit and wait. Objects at rest or in motion hate half measures. The radio is calling for blood as soon as we open the door. The dynamo fires itself for destruction.

You better wake up and smell the real flavor
Cause 911 is a fake life saver


Uzbeki. Sonya, from Uzbekistan. I don't know why I was thinking about it on the way there. We had been to call on Mrs. Rashidova before. She is pushing 86, widowed for more than half of her life, a classic babushka. I wonder about her a lot, and my heart sinks when ever we get a call. Mrs. R is getting a touch demented in her isolation. She buried her last son a year ago and the gray has spread from her royal mane of hair to her tired old eyes. She is giving up, despite herself. And she hurts herself now, subconsciously I think. We got her when she broke her hip six months ago. The day crew got her when she burned herself with hot oil. She's done something again. Dispatch says trauma. Details would be nice. The night blurs past. My watch says 2:45. I played the million conversations we had in my head. How her son was a good boy but lazy, how her husband saved her from Stalin but got himself killed in Korea fighting for Uncle Sam. How her cat Chernozhopyi was the smartest cat she had ever seen. It was a joke, you see. Cherno was a Russian insult, black-assed southerner it meant, a term they lavished on Uzbeks like her. "They are all bastards. Govn'uk" she told me. What a life she's lived.

You better wake up and smell the real flavor
Cause 911 is a fake life saver


I dash up the stairs and pound on the door. I call coyly and hear her old grey Persian hiss like a demon. She is deaf as a post. Her old weathered door is peeling like blistered skin. Third degree burns, bubbled to the grey wood underneath. The shuffle is there. The brass monster of a knob turns slowly, glacier strength tweezing it open. She is pale and squinting and alive. I breathe a sigh of relief before I see the dishtowel wrapped around her hand.

Arterial red. Dammit.

"I know you. You late. Sit."

I smell onions and ammonia.

The cat is burning a hole in my skull with his eyes.

So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town


She sits in her bathrobe, crook legged in her chair. Her bloody rag is held with disdain as she works the thick black coffee from a chipped china teacup in her good hand. Pale and pissed off. I start to unwrap it to have a look. The kitchen knife wrests on a scrap of wood that could have once been called a cutting board. Blood has been cleaned off the floor. She probably tidied up before she called. Looking back, I shouldn't have listened to her. We should have been miles away belting down the blacktop toward salvation. Instead, she pinned me with her cool widow's will and told me to look.

"It not bad. You stitch."

The rag was dripping. She was ashen and reedy. The last fold slid free of it's own accord. Her heart gave a hefty pump. The wall caught the spray.

"Oh." said Mrs. Sonya Rashidova, bleeding out patient.
"Oh." said Sydney Baumann, idiot paramedic.

We made a hasty dash for the ambulance. Mrs. R had nothing to say. Her eyes welled up with tears. "Forgive me, Ja soshiol s uma, am crazy". I wanted to say it was ok, but I couldn't. No lies for Sonya. I lay her down on the stretcher and spurred the Sadist into action. Fly you motherfucker. I went into full automatic. SAVE SAVE SAVE blinked in my vision.

We met the train at the crossing.

She smiled when she heard the crossing bells chime. "Ni za khuy sobachy" she said. "For nothing we go". Tired icy blue eyes searched my face. Then she smiled and went under. I worked the paddles with tears in my eyes. The blood clot nestled deep in her brain. It was hopeless. 3:05 am cross-country freight-train was 3 miles long.

Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown


continued in Standin' in a pool of cop blood with a shotgun you can't stop



In which the mountains are old and I am the ghost on the battlements - Kid Eternity - Do svidanya, Rodina! - Standin' in a pool of cop blood with a shotgun you can't stop - Street Meat - Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar

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