In May of 2009 Johnnie Z asked if I wanted to go to Russia.
It wasn't for a tour of l'Hermitage Palace.
The Palm Beach millionaire financed cell phone towers in other countries. His off-shore partners were stiffing him.
"They owe me $500,000."
It was a lot of money. I had $10 in my pocket.
"Why me?" The previous summer I had taken care of his crazy Airedale. Pom Pom was a refugee from a Riviera Beach crack house. The local police force said she was a danger to the community. They weren't wrong, but that summer thunderstorms cured her madness.
"I send my people." His company was filled with young go-getters. "And they came up with nothing."
"Russia?" My voice was filled with hesitation.
"You worked with them at nightclubs."
"That was a long time ago."
"$5000 and expenses."
"Count me in." I rented easy.
My New York friends thought that I would get killed by the zeks.
"No one is killing me."
"How can you be sure?" AP, my good friend and landlord drove me to JFK.
"Because I have a plan." I had a family in Thailand, They needed the money.
I flew to Kiev. No one was there.
I left for Petersburg and was met by a friend.
Sev had played in AQUARIUM. They were huge in 80s. I loved THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR GLASS.
We showed up at the internet companies.
The bodyguards had Uzis. The owner asked, "Where your bodyguards?"
"Yes, him." I pointed to Sev. He had a long white beard.
I told him.
"Sev?" His bodyguards repeated the question. I shrugged, because a nod would have given them too much information.
Sev wasn't the leader of the band.
But he was part of its soul.
"Vodka." The owner called out to his staff.
He led Sev into the garden. He was purer than me. I drank a lot. The owner wired Johnnie Z his money.
"How you do it?"
"Friends know friends." I didn't bother to explain. >p> Sev and I went back to his place in then old city. He played cello for me. One song from MUSIC OF PUBLIC TOILETS.
It was worth the entire trip.
I didn't tell Johnnie Z that.
Like all rich people he was only after money.