"Ararat Speech" by Slovakian Knight, July 2012
Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of fiction. Any resemblances to real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.
AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one should attempt to act in the same manner as described.
Summary: The Eurobarometer has for the past nine years regularly measured public opinion relating to support for the European Union. This support has been measured by a number of "standard" indicators including support for efforts to unify Western Europe, the level of support for membership, perceived benefits from membership, speed of integration and attitudes to the Single European Market.
As they watched young girls swim in the swimming pool underneath, John Kruk and Patrick Reddington enjoyed pleasant afternoon on their hotel balcony.
"The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact?", John grinned as if in disbelief, "… also known as the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact …", Patrick felt as if he "had" him in his hand finally. John grit with his teeth watching a large cruise vessel sail away. "… and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact …", Patrick pushed on.
"What about it? It was signed between Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotovand and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on … I believe August the 23rd, 1939."
"Indeed." Patrick sipped more of his cocktail, measuring John in secret.
"But … publicly …", they listened to the splashing of water as girls learned how to swim properly, "… this agreement stated that the two countries would not attack each other, nor would they interfere with each other in case of war." Patrick made some affirmative nods, letting John continue. "However …", John stirred in his seat, feeling uneasy a bit, "… the treaty also included a Secret Protocol, which divided Poland in two, and both countries are granted the right to seize their respective half." He tried to have a firmer grip but failed. "All right. I admit. He was bribed."
"Your grandfather was … bribed?"
"That's right." John emptied his glass and poured some plain whiskey in it.
"How?" Patrick lit a cigarette, watching water skiing in the distance.
"There was this Soviet spy … Alexander Radon … or something like that …" John added some ice cubes, his hand shaking a bit. "He … he … look …" He stared at Patrick for a moment. "It was difficult times … people wanted to enjoy life, you understand …"
"I understand …" Patrick smiled, blowing smoke through his nostrils.
"It was a very good Russian brandy. One that is kept for years and years in some monasteries or something …"
"And your grandfather took it?"
"But who wouldn't?" John suddenly realized it sounded a bit sleazy. "C'mon … during the time of the economic crisis ... it is almost like gold!"
Patrick chuckled silently, still looking at John. Some wooden yacht was gliding on almost dead calm sea.
"So … did it work out?"
"You mean … service?"
"Yes. Service." Patrick repeated and took some smoke from his cigarette, still watching John as if he was on some kind of an interview, not relaxing on a business trip.
"Well …" John stared at the shimmering sea, "… After six years of preparations, Hitler was finally ready to go to war in 1939." He sipped his whiskey, feeling cold and weak. "However …", he poured some more into his glass, offering to Patrick some by reflex. Patrick made a "no" sign with his index finger, pointing at his half-full cocktail high ball glass. "He …", John swallowed hard, "… he still had one issue that has not been resolved yet …"
"And that would be? …" Patrick took another inhale.
"The possibility of a two-front war." John felt as if his life energy was suddenly leaving him. He remembered his childhood and the hardships he endured. "During World War I …", he held his glass tighter, looking at the melting ice cubes in it, "... Germany was faced with the same problem, and the inability to resolve that problem drastically weaken the German forces." He finished his drink in one gulp and then leaned back. "This would also later contribute to German losses in the end."
Patrick extinguished his cigarette, letting John recuperate from whatever he was feeling at the moment. Some speedboat was going towards the open sea.
"Hitler was determined not to repeat the same mistakes his ancestors did." John continued in a lower tone. "Thus, on August the 23rd, 1939, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was signed between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia." John exhaled, feeling tired. "To Hitler …", he tried to smile feebly at Patrick, "… the main goal of the Pact was to prevent the Soviets from interfering when he attacked Poland." Patrick started to play with his pack of cigarettes. "On the other hand …", girls finished with their daily lesson and were retreating towards the showers inside. Other hotel guests probably welcomed it as well. "The Secret Protocol was meant to prevent the Soviets from ever joining the war, … period." Patrick was still smiling at John. "In essence …", John swallowed hard and took some water, "… Hitler 'bribed' Russia with half of Poland for their neutrality, a bribe which he will take back two years later with Operation Barbarossa."
They listened to someone playing a guitar on one of the balconies above them.
"The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was a win-win situation, as both Germany and Russia gained from the agreement. Germany now won't have to worry about a two front war …"
"But not at least until … what? Two years later, correct?"
"That's right." John looked at Patrick, trying to look more powerful. "And the Soviet Union in the mean time gained precious time to rebuild after the famines and Purges in Russia."
"So …", Patrick leaned forward a bit, looking John straight into the eyes now. "How does your grandfather fit into it?"
John swallowed in some bitter way, realizing sun was going towards the horizon no matter how he felt about it.
"By August the 1st, 1944 …", he drank more water, "… the Soviet armies had reached the Vistula on a broad front and the reconnaissance detachments were already in the Warsaw suburb of Praga west of the river." John kept silent for a while as if meditating. Patrick retreated back in a more comfortable position. "Thus encouraged, General Bor-Kondorowski, the Polish insurgent leader, called his 35,000 partisans on to the Warsaw streets to fight the Germans." John looked at Patrick. "By that time my grandfather already felt that his still untouched Russian brandy had much stronger importance." Patrick smiled. "The Revolt in Warsaw was a major threat since it cut communications to 9th Army, still fighting farther east. The city had not been declared part of the Army operations zone and so Generaloberst Guderian, the Army Chief-of-Staff, applied to Hitler to have Warsaw placed under the Wehrmacht so that Heer …", someone dropped an item and it splashed in the swimming pool underneath, service crew staring above to see if someone dropped in on purpose, "… might put down the revolt." John suddenly felt guilty for no reason. He hated that feeling but couldn't do much about it. "Hitler refused." Patrick noticed some secret glare in John's eyes. "The task was allotted to Himmler as Commander-in-Chief of the Ersatzheer."
He stared at Patrick and Patrick lit another cigarette.
"So … when the Soviets invaded Berlin … did they enter your family apartment as well?"
John grit with his teeth, covering his face with hands. A propeller airplane was flying above them, dragging some commercial banner behind.
"It was … humiliating …" John began in some guttural speech. "Very same soldiers that were supposed to protect my family …" He looked at Patrick. "My grandfather and his offspring …" Patrick made some circles from the smoke, wind blowing it instantly away. "They …" John stared sideways. "They behaved like … like pigs!"
Patrick emptied ash over the balcony.
"There were four of them. From different part of Soviet Union. All smelly and greasy … seasoned partisans …" John wished he could spit but opted for a dry swallow instead. "After realizing that my grandfather wasn't really any 'important' man, they started to abuse the situation and then … one summer night …" John noticed a couple kissing on the white yacht. "After fortifying the balcony for sniper action …" John drank more water. "They finally tried to rape my aunt …" John's voice broke and Patrick tapped him on the shoulder, still smiling in some fatherly way.
"That's right!" John's wilder stare surprised Patrick. "My father's sister."
"And …?" Patrick took another slow smoke, still measuring John.
"My grandfather, … after he almost had a nervous breakdown … he …", John stood up and held onto the balcony railing, Patrick monitoring him, ready to spring up should he top over by chance. "He offered them that very same Russian brandy he was bribed years ago!" John snake-eyed Patrick and he felt some distant hate in that stare. "That very same, good old brandy had to be sacrificed in order to protect my family from further embarrassment …"
"Couldn't your grandfather leave the apartment?"
"NO!" John stared almost furiously at Patrick and then apologized immediately, realizing some elderly lady twisted her neck to see him better from the nearby balcony. "I mean … they were kept hostage ..."
"Like in the modern terrorist-hostage situations?"
"EXACTLY!" John moved hair from his forehead, watching glistening sea that had some golden color. "They even had to ask for permission to use their own bathroom!" John looked crushed and Patrick extinguished his cigarette, standing up and joining him sideways.
"So … who saved them then? I mean … that bottle … it couldn't last more than a night, correct?"
"Correct." John stared down, his lips tight. He was now almost visibly shaking from distress and powerlessness. "They moved on the following day as the fighting went on."
"And your grandfather never saw them again."
John threw one challenging stare at Patrick's smiling face, then softened, noticing a dog that danced on two hind legs for some cookies that his master offered.
"No. They never saw each other again …"
They listened to the guitar music and some announcement coming from the dancing hall underneath. An applause followed.