One In 300 Million Out Of Seven Billion

April 5, 2008

in Airport Stories

Moscow, Russia

The narrow corridors of shops within the transit area offers thousands of copper cylinders on the ceiling peering down with constant video surveillance – the bustling and shuffling of designer footwear resurrects cigarette ashes into the air from the concrete surface. A twelve-hour layover in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo transit area has few advantages. You may choose to make your way to the Irish Bar for draft stouts or to the upstairs cafes where they serve the original Czech Budweis Budvar.

Shopping for perfumes, doing lines of Nescafe, chewing salmon caviar – trims fragments off the layover. On this day, en route to Bishkek on Aeroflot Russian Airlines, time seemed to slip away. Tourists usually stretch their legs or nervously smoke openly throughout this vast transit area. The stress of potentially lost passports creep into the tourist’s psyche; border agents hold passports until two hours from departure.

On this day, I noticed a young American couple arguing with a pear shaped female border guard – in an olive green uniform. They argued back and forth as they had done for hours; these two Americans chose not to enjoy the beer served on a faucet.

Neither American trusted their passports in the hands of the Russian. Their disgust for the Russian system and the childish squabbling is combating my boredom. The two Americans didn’t have a visa to enter Russia. They were en route back to America, but timing or weather held them in transit for two days straight. Another problem for them – their e-ticket wasn’t in the system. The Americans had no proof of a reservation and were facing another night in transit.

“No photo,” the border agent kept ordering. I’d heard this order to the young American couple as I passed by the station a few times. By the tone of their voices, I felt the show would soon be underway.

I just finished Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” so I chose to drop my bags and exercise. Nine hours into my layover I needed a little action. “No photo;” silence overcame the bustling transit area as I heard the click of a camera phone.

As I glance over, the bullfaced border guard charged from behind the enclosed space to grab the American woman. “Now, you go to police,” as she snatched the camera and the American by her forearm.

A slight struggle ensued as the young American woman belts out this faux pas, “Don’t touch me, I’m American.” “You’re not in America, you’re in Russia now” snapped the border guard.

The American man came running to the woman’s defense. This hero tried to diffuse the situation as the Russian border guard hooked them both in a sumo wrestler style then pulled them both off their feet. All three heads hit the concrete floor; all I could hear was screaming and…“you crazy —– (well, it rhymes with witch).”

The border guard released the woman and latched onto the man’s throat with both hands while simultaneously scissor holding the man’s flailing arms between her thick thighs. The American woman slowly took to her feet and pleaded for the onlooker’s help. Gurgling and wheezing from the man didn’t seem to alarm the bystanders. The hold was effective – the female border guard disabled the man from moving.

The struggle continued as a few minutes passed then a short stocky policeman ran over to the scene. “Ought pusti te yevo,” the policeman ordered. The border guard released her grip and rolled off the American man.

The American woman continued to walk around frantically asking the bystanders for help. The man eventually took to his knees – coughed. He wobbled to his feet – like he just stepped off a rollercoaster. The glaze cleared from behind the man’s eyes, when the policeman approached with his club drawn “problem, problem…!”

“No, no problem,” the American man replied. Two more Russians approached in navy business suits, first speaking with the border agent and then with the two Americans. All four Russians shot looks around the area; like the other bystanders, I didn’t keep eye contact. I continued my exercise stretches as both well dressed worldly men consoled the hysterical American couple.

The American woman kept looking at me while pointing in my direction and mentioning “he saw everything.” I was completely unfazed by her claims that I would come to her defense. I didn’t even have my own passport in my possession.

After almost ten hours of transit in Sheremetyevo, I had endangered the phony ideal of an American. I’m only one in three-hundred million out of seven billion. Simply being born in America doesn’t automatically make me a hero. My only goal was to get the hell out of Moscow.

DING-DING THRONGUE – “Ladies and Gentlemen Aeroflot flight 182 Moscow to Bishkek is now boarding at gate number seven.”

Signed, RIG

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

paul July 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

i an american living in moscow. i am pretty surprized by this story, but then there is a surprize in everybox, right?

i am surprized by two things.

one. i am shocked to see that there are still idiot americans who shout 'i am an american' in a foreign country as if that would give them a key to the city and red carpet.. this type of behavior makes me sick in the stomach.

two.. i am surprized that the border guard actually tried to stop them from taking photos. i think somehow, the americans must have pissed the agent as most russians don't give a rat's ass about things like that. Russians pride in the fact that their rules are made to be broken.. and for me to imagine a border agent doing something about a couple taking photos.. it's shocking.. god forbid they actually do something they are supposed to do..

all that aside.

russia is a very corrupt country, top to bottom, but people are not mean or violent. they are pretty ease going people who love to celebrate life, friends, and family. i have little reason to fear the authorities in RUssia. only thing i have to fear is how much money they want to take from me by offering something that i have done illegal, in which case, i only tell them, 'oh, let me call the american embassy and inquire about this'.. at which point they back off 99% of the time..


John July 15, 2008 at 9:29 am

Isn't this website for nightmare plane experiences caused by mechanical issues, bad service or air-rage? Your mini-novels of corruption and spies are So boring, i skip through them looking for something interesting…and nothing. Just personal experiences that only you find interesting, like the retarded kid a few stories ago who wrote about how he couldn't take pictures of clouds out his window because of a smudge on the glass.


Anne July 16, 2008 at 8:40 am

stop writing your stupid comments. if you want to write a book, do so on your own site, not this one.


S.Merkin September 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm




Not-A-Vajajay-Wig April 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Sure he can write whatever he wants – but i suspect he has to post here because his friends find him as boring as I do!


Vandelay April 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm



jag April 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm

hey SMerkin.Paul & anne just called him out cause he was a boring asso and I agree. Get off your fuckin white horse, and stop pissing on the parade, shithead.


jag April 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Oops, that was John and anne. My mistake.I'm sure he has no friends, like you SMerkin.


jag April 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm

hey RIG, the lame story previous was also posted by you. Too bad you didn't read the comments before wasting more of your time on your James Bond wannabe shit. Now go fuck your sister and make your parents' proud


mercutio April 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

This story is so asinine as to be almost beyond description, but let me try anyway. This reads like the most boring spy novel ever. The author seems to intend to make himself out as a shady character, man of mystery type. Then slowly turns into a loser suffering from acid flashbacks. I say slowly because these posts are perhaps the most agonizing I have seen in months.

As sad as it is to say this story made me wistful for the last one which included a plane in it somewhere. There was also something about Putin and a goat (his wife?). I guess the most unbelievable thing is that the first commentator, Paul, actually believed this blowhards story.


kevin April 3, 2009 at 3:04 am

RIG should be banned from posting. His stories are fictional and rarely include and airplane or airport.



HRH Lizzie April 3, 2009 at 8:07 am

Good lord, this person needs to start taking his meds again…


last boyscout April 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm

RIG is one of the better bullshitters on this site.You can see he's so full of himself.Don't change asso!


Pygmalion April 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I rather enjoyed this. I suspect fiction based on a shred of truth, and done so brilliantly. I hope it is the author's profession.

Comment-Nazi Anne needs to shut right the bloody hell up.


peter griffin April 4, 2009 at 8:53 am

Want to stop over my house for a cup of coffee RIG? we can discuss your musings before I dismember your carcass and place it in plastic bags. Rubbish day is Monday


Private Porksword April 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Anne and John should go stuff it.


n April 5, 2009 at 10:54 am



Curtis April 9, 2009 at 7:40 am


Keep on posting, the bafoons up above are just bitching because no one will listen to them at home.


RIG April 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm


I just checked back on this site a year after posting this story (creative nonfiction) a year ago to find it struck chords, many of which seem to be off key.

Thank you for your comments. I did find the one threat of dismemberment a little troubling and may need to check with FFH's Creator, Gregg, to see if we can obtain an IP address for this user.

I have no problem with criticism. To those who try to tear others apart in their poorly mannered and boorish criticism: when you cross the line, it motivates many of us and this is most likely unintended but thank you anyway.

Yea – I should probably stick to poetry, especially since my poem just won the university contest and placed as a finalist statewide.

By the way, I try not to spend too much time on the internet because I have a life, I work and am far from boring. This is my first response. I'll check back in a year.

Thank you.



Sarah April 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Way to go RIG! Well said!


mercutio May 7, 2009 at 12:08 am

Wow, RIG has a life that is a shocker! After reading the posts I concluded he had nothing better to do than to post long boring stories on random websites. Additionally the name dropping and nonsensical side trips into irrelevant information continues. I am rather fond of poetry myself, but if your poetry is anything like your stories then I can't imagine how you ever won anything. Obvious conclusion here is that you are full of it.


Tom December 3, 2009 at 5:27 am

good tale, ignore the bitter commentors. I also currently live in Moscow. From you words "border guard charged from behind the enclosed space to grab the American woman", it seems to be the passport control booth.

I like to point out that you can't take pictures of employee's in the passport control area. Just like most countries. In the US you can't walk up to the international passport control in JFK and directly point a camera and take picture of the custums officers. That would piss anyone off and is illegal. Especially after arguring and stating you from a foreign country like you deserve special privelges.

Anyway there was no point in arguring since without a visa you can't walk into the country, like if you came to the US without a visa you wouldn't be able to leave and would most likly be put into a controlled and confined area.


College Kid November 4, 2010 at 11:43 am



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