The early summer sun still hangs well above the horizon. It is, Andre realizes, the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. He snakes his arm between two crates and pulls out the half full bottle of vodka. A long and hellish day even without the extra daylight. Besides all the tension involved in offloading the illegal container, the time it had taken to manage it had set him behind the dock schedule for the rest of the afternoon. Boris, the dock manager, had been insufferable all day.
Lifting the bottle to his lips he takes a long draught and, with his head tilted back, he studies the black plume of smoke rising over the city center. Now this. The rash of country wide terrorism has finally come to Moscow. He should go home to his family. He walks to his car and gets in, setting the bottle on the front seat next to him. As he clears the dockyard’s security, instead of heading for the highway, impulsively he takes a right onto a side road. It is too nice out to hurry home, looking again at the sky ahead of him, the sun just beginning to turn the streaking clouds light shades of gold. As he turns his head to blink the glare from his eyes, he sees the truck abandoned in the dusty parking lot of a junkyard. On the flatbed sits the container. #CSQU5789997. It is unmistakably THE container he’d offloaded, and there is no one around. He can’t help himself. He parks the car, takes another long drink, and hops onto the flatbed.
The heavy metal door, to his great surprise, is ajar. It creaks as he cautiously pushes it open and steps in knowing, as he does so, that this is stupidity and that only the alcohol is the source of this small bit of courage. What meets his eyes is not empty space nor an empty and broken crate labeled with nuclear material warnings, which he had sort of expected. Instead he finds himself standing in a tiny apartment. Bed, water, toilet, food, and an air supply all in perfect and efficient place. The container had not contained something. It had contained someone.