Bucharest, Romania: Between Assignments

Top Secret. Oil on Canvas. German Expressionism. Rainer Magold, Artist

by Andrea Brandt


Morning espresso at AM. Social Space café on Strada Bosianu Constantin.

There are those that prefer Richard Wagner’s Tristan un Isolde, whereas, I prefer the seductive sax of Peter Lehel’s Sea of Love. It has nothing to do with historical associations or the disguise of Gruppa Vagnera (Wagner Group) and its twisted and dark hintergasse with the Russian intelligence.

Intelligence agencies and militaries world-wide have their contractors.  Sadistic pleasure is a character flaw in a contractor’s personality. Espionage sounds glamourous. It’s not. It’s nerds sitting at a computer. Contractors on the other hand are paramilitary and individual mercenary sadists and soldiers of fortune fighting other’s battles and conducting interrogations. Torture is modisch during war. From Ukraine to Mozambique there’s little constraint. There are no rules. The Geneva Conventions and the legal foundation for humanitarian treatment in war? And is torture fashionable during peace?

I spoke with a deserter of the Wagner group yesterday. He likes Richard Wagner, not Yevgeny Prigozhin (street rumor – to be the Wagner Group’s ex- CEO). He never met him. The fucked generally don’t. The deserter, now a free man, is still fucked. Does it matter who fucked him? He departed eastern Ukraine. How? He’s paranoid and didn’t elaborate. Deserters have been known to be tortured and hacked to death if caught. He was an ex-convict before being conscripted. I don’t know what his crime was. It didn’t matter.

I look outside. Another temporary break in the clouds. I search for the poetic in a world that feels unpoetic…even when there are flowers in a vase on the table with the sun shining through the windows and laughter in the background. I do like poetry. I don’t sing in the shower. I do like a man or woman who has rhythm and likes how I taste. I like touching without needless superlative adjectives. I smile, frown, gasp and grin.

My phone buzzes. Next assignment. Time to return to the hotel and pack my bag.

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