Surprise, surprise, Yuri. It’s me, Mishka. My dear friend Yuri, I miss your borscht, turnip pies and vodka-filled chocolates. Are you surprised?

Remember when we were young and in the mail room on level 29 at the KGB on Broznia Street? Those were the days, with coding, decoding, hacking, learning to collude with the best of them.

I wish I could see your face as you watch and listen to this video. “Who the hell is this?” you’re saying. That’s right, I’ve lost my Russian accent. Surprised? OK, not entirely. For your comfort, I’ll loosen up a bit.

Let me catch up. Remember when Central assigned us in 2016 to various posts in America to insure a “happy” outcome in certain elections? Collusion 101?

I remember how happy you were to collude in California, with all those movie stars, pool parties and girls. Dobovitch got Florida. Bialystock got Arizona.

I, of course, messed up with that girl on Druseky Street, Putin’s niece. Who knew? So I got Maine. Well, it’s more like home here than Hollywood must be for you.

Now the others are all back in Moscow except for you and me, Yuri.

I’m here in Maine, and there you are still in Hollywood in your new job colluding in the Foreign Press Association.

Fancy you. I saw you last night at the Golden Globes, looking so cool. Who was the young lady? I know, I know, what happens at the Golden Globes stays at the Golden Globes, right? I’m sorry, I slipped back into English.

At first I was disappointed because it was such a boring village, but since then, it has grown to be much larger, with two colleges.

Imagine me, a dairy farmer’s son from Krasnaya Gorka colluding in a big American election, even on such a small scale. My grandfather, the pickle merchant in Chekmagush, would be so proud.

OK, so it was only a mayoral election, but the Republican won just as Central wanted. He’s a nice little Italian fellow who had no idea how I “rigged” the voting machines.

And maybe in 2018 I will move up to colluding in the governor’s race. I have my eye on a local candidate. He sells insurance now, but he has picture of the Trump Lump on his wall. Oh boy! Is he ambitious.

So much has changed since I arrived. I found the perfect cover. With Central’s allotment, I opened a small coffee shop, what they call here a franchise. I have six what they call “baristas.” I tell you, Yuri, I’ve never had so much fun.

And this is the best part. Lorette, my oldest barista, a local French girl, and I have fallen in love. She has lots of money. She’s the daughter of Achille Joly, the sardine king of Maine.

Lorette thinks I was beet farmer in Minsk before coming here. This is biggest surprise, Yuri. For the past year, Lorette has been giving me dialect and voice lessons, and she says I have a natural ear for local dialect. It’s not easy. Believe me, it was no piece of Korolevsky cake.

Each night for two years, she tutored me so that I would sound like a “Mainuh.” Listen to this, Yuri.

“Hiya, Joe. Got yur deeah yet?”

Is that cool or what? Do I sound local?

Here’s another I’m better at.

“Cold enuf for ya, Barney?”

Is that awesome cool or what? My customers think I’m from the North of here in what they call “the County.” It’s where they grow potatoes and don’t even make good vodka with them.

And the happiest part is that I have been accepted into the community, Yuri. Lorette and I have been cast as chorus members in local theater production of musical called “The Producers.” It’s all about American corruption, cheating and lying. Vladimir would love it.

Last year, some local fathers inducted me into a big Republican capitalist group called “Rotary.” I’m making great connections.

Such fun, Yuri. You can see why I don’t want to go back to the mail room on Broznia Street. I know you won’t, Mister “Foreign Press party boy.” I’ll bet you got the iPod X. What a cool dude.

The food here is so fun. Even the McDonald’s are more fun. Here, you speak into the box and then drive around to window where cute young girl, not fat old babushkas like in Moscow, hand you your food, smile and say, “Come back McSoon.” Isn’t that awesome? Oh God, there I go again. I’ve become so American.

Yuri, if you are ever in Maine, drop by and say hi. Your turnip pie will be a big hit here. Dasvidaniya, comrade.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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