Putin Plays Russian Roulette
They don’t call it Russian roulette for nothing. Get a six-shooter, load it with a single bullet called Destiny, spin the chamber, point the barrel an inch above your ear, any ear – now wait or don’t wait – now squint or don’t squint – think or don’t think – now flashback or don’t – now weep or unweep – now breathe and don’t breathe now laugh and don’t laugh so dammit what the heck you waiting for – pull the goddamn trigger!
Pot luck, you’re still alive.
You lost five pounds of sweat in just under a minute. But you’re alive.
Now it’s Putin’s turn. Shootin’ hootin’ tootin Putin – it’s his turn.
You hand him the gun. He takes it. He looks down at you even though he’s shorter than you. How the hell does he do that, you wonder?
“Where I come from, we only play this game after a good lunch and a nice afternoon nap in the buff, if you know what I mean”, he tells you without blinking. You argue over whether you need nerves of steel or nerves of cloud to play Russian roulette – Putin says you need neither. “When there’s a gun to you head, the process of thinking is too slow – you must therefore act out of instant instinct”. You argue some more about whether instinct is faster than thought – and again Putin wins that argument. He feels sorry for you so he shares a few secrets with you, telling you that you must handle the bullet like you would a wild bull before you insert it into the gun’s chamber. “You bully the bullet into submission and force it to forget that it has horns”, he adds. “Right before you insert the bullet into the hole, you must instruct it to sleep long and dream of gun-less orgies. You must also tell yourself in no uncertain terms that you are the sole god of this bullet, that you control its movements and final destination”.
Listening to him, all you can do is nod at his metaphoric deconstructionism. He tells you that your will to live must be multiplied by infinity to win at Russian roulette. You measure his words with utter care and quietly marvel at his Napoleonic guru-ism. Yet still, there’s something about him that bothers you and you want to know what it is so you start another argument about mind over matter until you hit a massive self-made scatological wall. He cracks a barely perceptible grin at your stained and smashed argument; all the while, his blue lentil eyes are fixed on yours.
Nothing that you say can beat down Putin’s sobriety – nothing distracts his focus from your eyes and all his words to you come with a certificate, a calculator and a map. You will see things his way whether you like it or not. Because he has seen the shortest distance between two points while you were still scanning the horizon.
But will his mental powers serve him in your dual? You’ve already pulled the trigger and you lived. Now it’s his turn – and he knows it.
You watch him with fiendish interest as he holds a single bullet in his palm. “Never kiss a bullet before using it”, he says. “Never romanticize death. Challenge it”.
Swiftly and with no further ceremonials, you watch him inset the pacified bullet into an empty chamber. A perfect snug fit and a perfect little gun hum issues. You expect him to spin and close the chamber and point the gun, but he surprises you with pulling out four more bullets from his pocket. He squeezes a firm fist around them and turns silent towards you, watches your mouth caught between dropping to the floor and gasping as he rapidly places all four bullets inside empty chamber pods, spinning the chamber with flare, spinning it close to his ear as if waiting for the right musical note to hit first before he expertly, precisely stops the spinning. Which he does in a heartbeat.
You watch him put the loaded gun to his head.
Now his lean finger is on the swooning trigger.
Now his eyes are looking at you and looking through you to the great unfathomable beyond – possibly beckoning the empty gun tunnel to harmoniously meet his architectural brain. Possibly wedding his soul to nothingness. Possibly folding the white handkerchief of time with his thoughts.
You look at him in devastated amazement as he stands there present yet not – stands there pointing gun at his own head and looking at you looking at him and nothing but him.
It’s a five-bullet Russian roulette game that only the cultivated Merlin and Lao Tzu did one time ever play. It’s the five-pointed star of war that Putin is silently devouring. Five bullets in a six-shooter – five tunnels stuffed with death and one vacant birthing canal . Studying him, you can tell that working the five-to-one odds is not an oddity in Putin’s world. This is not the first time he’s performed the five-bullet routine. He is not showing you reckless bravado, he is showing you pure unadulterated confidence. Cold, quiet confidence. Extremely comfortable confidence.
You experience time passing slow as your agonized eyes are glued to his finger on the trigger. Your nerves are rattled. Putin’s suspended non-action simply devastates you. You want to throw yourself at his feet and implore him to stop tormenting your bated breath. He can see a terror in your eyes and he is disgusted by your weakness. By your lack of faith in life; in human potentialism. And as your lips are about to open in pleading speech, his finger pulls the trigger and his head in slo-mo ducks right before the spark of gunpowder flashes the barrel and a whistling bullet comes speeding an inch over his bent head and right over the bridge of your own nose – disappearing silently into the empty distance…
And not by fickle chance.
“There’s always a rogue bullet”, he calmly says to you as you stand there shaking in palpitating misery. “Always account for that when you spin the chamber”, he says poker-faced. You look at him and you hate his guts and all you can do is start another argument with him about whether ducking is cowardice or intelligence, knowing very well that any second now, he will be winning yet another argument.