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Where were you?

“Where were you?”

“Who? Me?”

“Yes… yes, you! Where were you?”

“Where was I?”

ComDiv-One – commander of the first division – is questioning Kolya Mitrofanov, the group commander. “I was at my post.”

“You weren’t at your post. Where were you?”

The ship had just arrived from a practice outing for nuclear warfare and dear Kolya had jumped off the vessel in his quilted jacket and marked boots.

“Where were you?”

“Who? Me?”

“No, I mean just look at this vagabond… yes, yes, I mean you, where were you?”

“Where was I?”

It took Kolya three hours to hitch-hike his way to Murmansk. The pale lad was lucky. He was at the airport one hour after that. He got on a plane and flew off to St Petersburg. At exactly seven in the morning, he was in there.

“Where were you?”

“Who? Me?”

“Yes, yes! You, you, sonny, you – my precious, where were you?”

“I was where everyone else was.”

“And where was everyone else?”

Kolya’s overcoat was hanging in his cabin; with his boots and military cap. They noticed he was missing after about four hours. Everyone said he was somewhere around the place or maybe sleeping somewhere.

“Where were you?!!”

“Who? Me?”

“YES! YES! YOU! You bastard, where were you?!”

“Well, really, Vladimir Semyonovich, I mean really, where could I have been?”

“That’s what I’m asking, where were you?!”

During the ten hours in St Petersburg, Kolya managed (a) to meet an unknown girl (b) to do a whole load of interesting things with her and (c) to fly back to Murmansk.

He was absent, all in all, for twenty hours.

“I’m asking you again, where were you?!”

“WHO? ME?”

“Yes, you bastard, you! You… go stick a clarinet up your arse! Where were you?”

“I was in my cabin.”

The ComDiv all but choked.

“In your cabin?! In your cabin?! Where were you?!!!”

I left the compartment so as not to hear this wailing of the Viennese woods.

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