Digitally transcribed for the Gardner Francis Fox Adventure Library
Next morning, I woke up to the warm coziness of a naked body cuddling my own. I blinked and turned around. Magda Kallay was curled up beside me, sleeping. She didn’t snore—I give her that much.
The doorbell rang again. I reached for a wrapper and toddled out to answer it. David Anderjanian stood there, a big grin on his face.
I said, “Get lost.”
His foot blocked the closing door. “Come on, Eve. We have no time for games. Akonov’s leaving on the three o’clock flight from Kennedy. We want you in the air by that time.”
“You do, do you? Well, it may just interest you to know that I don’t intend to pack and—”
His forearm brushed me aside. Two women in uniforms came marching in. David waved a hand at them. “Your packers. You just tell them what you want to take with you. All you have to do is get dressed. Oh, yes and listen to me while you’re doing it.”
His helpers swung into action like the well-trained members of L.U.S.T. that they were. I admired their deft handling of my precious Van Raalte slips and Olga brassieres, Scandale corselette and Taffreda panties. They held up dresses for my nod, they had my Wings luggage opened all over the damn suite.
Once Magda wailed that she could not sleep with all the commotion going on. It made my day for me. I even hummed while slithering my curves into a pair of Sapphire panties.
David was yakking all the time. It was like pulling on your unmentionables in the middle of Grand Central Station, with the movers walking here and there, packing my frillies.
“If you get to Moscow before Akonov,” David was saying, “you’ll have the jump on him. No need to tell you what that means. What do you know about geometric art? Structural repetition? Arithmetical symmetry? No matter. You can read up on it, on the flight. It’s modern art forms, you know: minimal art and algebraic permutations, modular composition, that sort of thing.”
“You’ve blown your mind,” I sighed, rolling my eyes. “No, no. Listen, Eve. This is urgent.”
I was standing in the doorway of the bedroom in my Cantrece liquid stockings, garter-belt, Pappagallo shoes and mini-slip I had my forearms crossed before my number 38s, nipples and all. When David gestured, I reached for my Olga and strapped it on so the lady movers shouldn’t be too shocked.
I sat down beside David. He lowered his voice so only I could hear him. “You will be a girl guide for an exhibition of modern American art. Big cubes and geometrical forms, all that sort of thing. It’s already in Moscow, for a display in one of their museums. All you have to do is pretend you know all about it.
“The catch is this: there are weapons hidden inside some of those art objects. I’ll give you a run-down on them as fast as I can, but in case I can’t cover it all, there are blank pieces of paper as bookmarks in the books you’re taking with you to read on your flight.”
“Heat those bookmarks. You’ll see hidden writing. Memorize what you see. Those bookmarks will tell you what weapons are hidden in which art forms, and how you can open them to get what you need. You may not have to use a single weapon, I don’t know. It’s just in case you do.”
“Yeah, hey,” I nodded obediently, taking the books he handed me. Mod weapons in a mod linear vet!
Then he was lifting a dress I’d laid out, tossing it through the air at me. Automatically I caught it and slipped it over my head. David was smiling at a pouting Magda, covered up to her eyeballs in warm covers. I wondered how long it would take him to crawl between the sheets with her after I was gone.
“Okay, coach,” I said, turning my back so he could zip me up. The girl movers were on their way out with my luggage. They would turn it over to a L.U.S.T. chauffeur downstairs who would carry it to the limousine taking me to Kennedy.
The zipper ran up its teeth. I grabbed my Coblentz handbag. “I’m ready.” David bent and kissed Magda on her nose. Then he caught me by the elbow and muttered, “You don’t mind if I don’t come out to the airport with you, do you, honey? I really do have other business to keep me busy.”
“Don’t give it a second thought,” I caroled. And kicked him in the shins.
I left him bent over, hopping on one foot and howlin in pain. I slammed the outer door and marched down the corridor, feeling that I had avenged my honor. To some extent, at least. The rest would have to wait until I hit Moscow.
The limousine whirled me through city traffic and out toward the airport. I used these more or less private moments to heat the four bookmarks with the flame of my gold Ronson lighter. I studied the art works, I noted what weapons were to be found in each one.
I opened my eyes pretty wide when I came to the bookmark that told me about the big geometrical metal pieces called primary structures. Inside one of these anti-art forms was a flying rocket belt. You know, the straps with the jet tanks like the kind Buck Rogers used to use in the comic strips. The rocket belt is a reality today. It is manufactured by Textron’s Bell Aerosystems Incorporated, and has a range of about nine hundred feet.
After memorizing their contents, I burned the bookmarks with my cigarette lighter and deposited the ashes in the car tray.
When the limousine pulled up at the Pan Am terminal, I got out and walked into the main waiting room, leaving the chauffeur to attend to my luggage. I gave the clerk my ticket and watched him go through those mysterious motions of weighing baggage and stamping papers by which I would be permitted to board the Boeing 707. I was handed a blue and white bag, the kind awarded to all first-class passengers.
This direct-to-Moscow flight has only recently been instituted by Pan Am. I felt that it had been put into operation just for me as I strolled across the field toward the big jet. In less than ten hours, I would be walking across Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.
I found my seat, settled myself comfortably, and got ready to be fed. Having worked for the League of Underground Spies and Terrorists long enough now to know when I am well off, I really enjoyed these flights, dull as they might be. The excitement would begin soon enough.
After finishing a martini and a steak-and-salad dinner with coffee, I thought about Russia and its tourist trade. Ten years acre, less than half a million foreigners visited the Soviet Union. Today, more than a million and a half visitors offer their passports for approval, and twenty-five thousand and more of these are Americans. As a result, every hotel in Moscow is booked to capacity, and new hotels are being built all the time. I was checked into the Rossiya, the newest hotel of them all. It is a step and a jump from St. Basil’s Cathedral, so I would be right in the middle of the action.
There is not the go-go action in Moscow that you can find in London or Paris or Rome. The big things to a Muscovite are his circus, his ballet, and his opera. The Moscow Art Theater is reputedly the finest of its kind in the world. If you like flowers, there are five botanical gardens to visit. There are more than a hundred museums for the culture vulture. And the Moscow subway, with its mosaic tile-work and marble sculpture, is in itself a work of art.
More than five million people live in Moscow. Two million more commute from its suburbs to jobs within the city proper. The girls wear their version of our miniskirt, the mini-yubki. Some of these femmes are very glamorous, but the great majority are rather beefy, according to western standards. The men—well, they are no fashion plates, except for a very few.
However, in the past couple of years, the Soviet Union has turned its attention to pleasing its people, to giving them the modish clothes, the cars, the refrigerators, all the things in life that we Americans take for granted. As a result, the people are emerging from a gray cocoon of bland living into the brightly tinted world of competitive enterprise.
Reflections for a rainy day, I thought. As the Boeing jet emerged through the low clouds above the airport, the rain beat down with liquid fury. In the black sky to the west, I saw a yellow vein work of brilliant lightning, as if I were being welcomed to this city on the Moskva river.
The Rossiya is the largest hotel in the world, with accommodations for over three thousand people. My own suite was pleasant, airy and light, with an attached bath and a roomy bed. I began unpacking as soon as my luggage arrived.
My instructions were to contact Serge Akonov upon his arrival, but frankly, I had no way of doing this at the moment. In the Tretyakov Gallery, the mod art display was being set up. I was the guide for the display. I had to be on hand to try and explain abstract impressionism and non-self patterns. As I draped a sheath dress over a hanger, I told myself that maybe the mountain could bring Mahomet to it, instead of vice versa.
Akonov had a weakness for women. If he heard about the new girl guide at the Amerikanski art display, he might be intrigued enough to come and see her. Once he did that, the rest would be up to me.
I decided to wear my mod-mod clothes, micro-skirt and all, plus a stitched fedora. The micro-skirt showed off my legs right up to my upper thighs. They would be a sensation in Moscow, where even the most daring girls wear the comparatively modest mini-yubki. The only thing I had to fear was arrest for indecent exposure, but I figured maybe the fact that I was a visiting American would let me get away with it.
In this get-up, I went down the elevator to the main lobby. I drew eyes like mad, eyes that ran up and down the Drum gams to the hem of the short-short skirt as I waggled hips for the front door. I heard a few gasps, a couple of admiring words from a man, then I was out on the wet-slick sidewalk. The rain had stopped by this time, so I decided to walk.
I went three blocks before I discovered that I was the head of a parade extending from my heels for about fifty yards behind me. Men and women were staring at my get-up, but mostly at my legs. I have great legs. I like to show them off.
I heard feet beating my way. A Moscow cop. He drew up, huffing and puffing. His face scanned my attire, and he tried not to grin as he took in my legs.
“Miss,” he began in halting English. In perfect Russian, I asked, “Yes? Is there something wrong?”
His face beamed. He could make himself understood. “Your clothes are very indecent,” he confided, making a vague gesture at my curving upper thighs.
“Indecent? I beg your pardon! This is my uniform.” He seemed stunned. “Uniform?”
“I am the hostess for the American mod art display at the Tretyakov Gallery. Naturally, with mod art I must wear a mod dress. Da?”
The man blinked and looked around him at the faces of his fellow countrymen, at the beaming features of the men and the disapproving looks of the older women. The young women, those of my own age, were openly delighted, both with my clothes and with my courage in wearing them.
Seeing that the officer did not want to mar international relations by arresting me, I eased him out of his dilemma.
“Perhaps I should wear the uniform only when I am in the gallery?” I asked, making my eyes big and my voice wistful. “Perhaps I should wear a coat, back and forth?”
“Da, da!” he exclaimed. He was thinking, let the art gallery police worry about this mad Amerikanski, at least it will be out of my hands.
I hooked my arm in his, Smiling up at him. “Would you escort me to back to my hotel, please? That way, it will seem you are doing your duty, making me get off the street in this uniform which you consider so indecent.”
He radiated happiness. We turned around and side by side, led the parade back the other way. I kept looking around, hoping to see—ah, there a young man with a camera. He was wearing out shoe leather racing toward U.S.
He was from Pravda, he panted, showing his credentials to the officer. He would like to take a picture of the American girl in her American mini-skirt.
“Micro-skirt,” I corrected. “A mini-skirt is longer.”
He wrote words in a small notebook. Then the officer and I posed for several shots. Between takes I explained I was wearing this mod dress because of the type of art exhibit that was being held at the Tretyakov Gallery. It was to be considered a kind of uniform.
Then the parade went on, to the Hotel Rossiya. I sat back then, and awaited developments. Actually, I went to bed and slept for about eight hours. When I woke up, I got dressed in an evening gown the skirt of which swept my shoes, and dined in solitary luxury.
I also bought a copy of Pravda. My picture was splashed across the third page, shapely gams and all. There was a write-up that told the Muscovites that this would be my uniform at the art gallery. Dryly, the writer added that there might be as many people going to see the girl guide as there would be to see the abstract impressionistic paintings and the cubist carvings.
How right he was! Next morning I wore a trench-coat that came an inch above my knees as I made my way to the gallery. I attracted stares—my Vaumon beret and my Highlander chamois—colored coat were modish enough to do that, without the sight of my micro-skirt beneath the Highlander hem—as I sauntered along Gorki Street. When I got to the Tretyakov Gallery, I was happy to see lines of people waiting to be admitted.
The people burst into speech as I approached. They can spot a foreigner in Moscow without much trouble. If they are at all in doubt, they look at your shoes. My Papagallos told them all they needed to know.
“The girl guide—the American woman.”
“You’ll see more of them inside. Be patient.” I flashed them a smile and waved. They all waved back, laughing. I guess it was to be a kind of holiday for them.
I asked the doorman where the American display was, and followed his directions until I came to the wing assigned to me. I must admit the art display company had done it up brown. Big blocks of stone and metal called primary structures—were cube by hectagon alongside painted plywood “presences.” On the wall were those big-eyed, lonely children made famous by Walter Keane, while below a giant Calder mobile stood flanking graphics in varying colors, the abstract calligraphy of Pollack, and new realisms by Thiebaud, Segal and Porter. It was a mass of art and anti-art.
My job was to explain it all. Fortunately, I dig this kind of thing. I understand that these modern-day artists reach deep into the soul and delve within the mind for their inspirations. To them, tradition is passed off and scorned as tedious before the splash and fury of pop and op art. Still, to understand it is one thing; to explain it, quite another.
The people began filing in, finding me in my micro-skirted uniform, eager and ready to dissertate on a Calder mobile or the expressionist bent of a Whitelay. I discussed the interplay of images of a David Hockney and the projecting planes of Charles Biedermann. The blank faces before me told me better than words that I wasn’t getting through to them.
They were very polite. They listened. They even asked a few questions, and were obviously delighted that I could answer them in their own language. Once an Army officer shook his head and sneered derisively.
“It is ridiculous,” he told me. “Utterly nonsensical.” I smiled politely. “It is a revolution.” I told him. “Like your own. You changed a way of life, so are these artists. It is all a part of the wild new wave. It is a breaking with tradition and habit.”
He blinked at that, looking thoughtful. He said, “It could be. I have not thought of it in that regard. A revolution, yes. Something completely different from what we have known.”
Serge Akonov came after lunch, alone, and striding like the vibrant animal he was, into the wing which the gallery officials had so kindly loaned for this American art display. His eyes were all over my legs, and his face was mildly flushed—I supposed, with vodka fumes. He came to a halt before me and a bit of madcap optical art by Robert Hudson.
“So,” he nodded. “You are the girl guide all Moscow is talking about.” His eyes danced with glee. “You are not wearing any uniform. It is the way the chic girls dress back in your United States.”
He spoke English so the other visitors could not understand him. I folded my hands and asked plaintively, “You aren’t going to give me away? I thought it might be a good publicity gimmick.”
“Give you away? Don’t be silly. I admire you.”
“Thank you,” I answered demurely. “I admire you so much, I would like to see more of you.”
“There isn’t too much left to see,” I giggled.
“The most important—ah—parts,” he admitted, “are covered.”
He was a Swinger, this boy. He was no stodgy Marxist. He had been around the world, in all its great capitals, and he ran with all of them.
“I haven’t been to the Kremlin’s Armory Museum, nor even to the Metro, your subway. To say nothing of the Bolshoi Ballet,” I announced. “I’d like to see them.” People were clearing their throats impatiently about us, Serge Akonov looked down his nose at them, sighed, and turned back to me.
“I shall send a car for you. What time are you off duty?”
“It shall be then. The car—a red Moskvich—will be outside the main entrance. The driver will be at your command. The only limitation I ask is that you dine with me.”
“At eight? In the Rossiya dining room?” He made a little bow. I watched him walk off with a faint frown. I had made the first step, I had a date with my quarry. My next task was to get him to defect. I began to think about that even as I resumed talking to the visitors about a sculpture in motion by William Kluver.
Serge Akonov held a high position in the Soviet hierarchy. He would never defect for a roll in the hay, even with little old me. There had to be another way, a way I had not thought of, as yet. But I would, I told myself, moving around the wing of the Tretyakov Gallery. My Uncle Sam wanted me to, and that was enough for me. At five o’clock I slid into the red Moskvich with a display of thighs under my pulled-back trench-coat that made the driver blink before he closed the door. Like master, like servant?
“Is Comrade Akonov a great patriot of Russia?” I asked, settling back and crossing my stockinged legs.
“Da, da,” the driver murmured. “He would take me to the museums? To St. Basil’s Cathedral? I ask because I am not accustomed to standing in line, and I notice that Comrade Akonov ignores these lines of patient, waiting people as if they do not exist.”
A thick chuckle was my answer. Then: “He is an important man, Comrade Akonov. Though he is a little too frivolous at times.” He gasped as if he had said too much, but I reassured him.
“I was wondering what to wear tonight. If he is not such a serious man, perhaps I can wear a rather daring evening gown.”
“He likes pretty women in evening gowns. Modest ones—in public.”
By the time the red Moskvich pulled up in front of the hotel, I felt that the driver and I were good friends. I cemented our friendship with a tip of ten rubles, which amounts to a little more than an American dollar. And I’d changed my mind about my gown.
I dressed for my dinner date in a ruffled white organza by Donald Brooks, with Hanes pantyhose and white Joyce pumps. I figured I would be as demure as the most prudish Russian would want, in this outfit. Of course, the dress was short by Moscow Standards, but you can’t have everything. You see, I can take a hint. Serge was quite prompt. At exactly eight, the doorbell rang. I rustled to answer it, and found my date in evening clothes. He beamed at the sight of me, so I suspected he had thought I might embarrass him with a mod-mod outfit. Chalk one up for my side! I held out my hand for his.
“We shall feast on suckling pig and then stroll about Red Square,” he told me, advancing into the room, study it and nodding his approval. “I want you to see the red stars light up on the Kremlin Towers and listen to the kremlyevskiye kuranty, the clock chimes.”
“I’d adore to,” I breathed. He held my velvet evening cloak for me to slip into, then escorted me down the hall. When the elevator operator bowed his head to him, I decided Serge Akonov was quite an important personage in Moscow—a fact, which would make my task all the harder. No man gives up power such as he had. Not willingly, anyhow. We ate a dinner fit for a czar. We began with sturgeon garnished with slices of lemon and gelatin, and continued with a salad of vegetables and cold meats. Our main course was roast suckling pig served on a bed of boiled buckwheat groats. I was all but bursting when they brought in the crepes suzettes. There had been a dry white Tsinandali wine to go with the fish, and later, the pig, and a bottle of vodka.
I was almost looped by the time it came to stand up, so I clung with a little more than normal force to Sergy-boy He was big and strong. Up this close and in more or less direct contact with his muscles, I could sense how solid and hard they were.
“You do lift weights, don’t you?” I asked as he practically carried me along the floor with him.
His laughter boomed out. “When I was young and stupid—da, da! Weights. Big iron things. When I grew older and got some sense, I substituted soft weights for those.”
I smiled to his Gargantuan guffaw. He lived good, this Comrade Akonov. He liked rich food, fine wines, strong vodka, and weak women. His hand patted my behind as he urged me toward the lobby doors.
“We shall walk for a while. It is good for the digestion. As we stroll, I shall tell you all about Moscow. It was founded in the twelfth century by Yuri Dolgoruki as a trading post. For about a hundred years it was a village of log huts surrounded by a wooden wall. Then Alexander Nevsky’s son united the duchy of Moscow, and began to modernize the city. The red brick wall was put up two hundred years later. This is the same wall you see today surrounding the Kremlin, which means a walled fortress in our language.”
He spoke of the Cossacks, who had won Siberia for Russia and then defied the Turks in Constantinople. He explained how the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his successors had taxed all the Russians and how, later, the Russians had united under Ivan the Great—not Ivan the Terrible, mind-to defeat and cast them out. It was the Cossacks again, in the Ukraine, who defeated the Poles at the battle of Piliava, and pushed them out of what is now Russia.
He was an engaging speaker, and held me spellbound. I oohed at the red stars on the Kremlin towers when they lighted up, and aahed at the sound of the clock chimes. Serge Akonov must have practiced this speech a long time ago. He was able to get a good idea of my behind, my breasts and my belly by gentle little pats and touches while spouting on about Peter the Great and how he modernized his country, turning it westward instead of to the East and China.
I guess he liked what his fingertips and his palms told him about the Drum body. He began to get restless after a while, and history soured on him.
“There are no nightclubs in Moscow, or anywhere else in Russia, for that matter,” he informed me. “It is a very prudish country, you know.”
“So I’ve been told.” He coughed behind an upraised hand. “However, there are ways and means, even in such an old-fashioned land, to have a good time.”
“Oh! How is that?”
“We have parties, we officials. To these little orgies, we invite pretty girls. Such a girl as you would raise a lot of excitement. You would like to attend such a party, da?”
“Indeed I would—I think.” I touched his face with my eyes, hoping for a reaction to my next words. “Aren’t you officials supposed to be above-board and models for the people? What I mean is, won’t you get in trouble if you have these orgies?”
He laughed nervously and I decided maybe I had something. If I could get Serge Akonov into enough hot water, he might be willing to defect of his own free will. I could not rat on him; he might find out. I would have to put on my thinking cap and work something out in detail.
So I hugged his arm and whispered, “Come on, tell me a little something about these orgies. Vodka and girls, I’ll bet. Do the girls take off their clothes? Do you enjoy them in front of everybody else? Do they get very drunk and do really naughty things?”
“Come back to my apartment with me this night, and I will tell you all about them,” he chuckled, squeezing my arm and using his bulk to turn me and walk me away from Red Square.
I played coy. “I really shouldn’t, you know. I’m just a girl guide who has a job to do tomorrow. I don’t want to give a bad impression.”
The hand on my elbow was a very powerful one. The voice in my ear cajoled and coddled. “Just a drink, no more. Nothing naughty. Not tonight. A drink and a little talk. What could be more innocent?”
“Plenty of things, lover boy,” I giggled. “I really would like to take in that party. But not tonight. Day after tomorrow, the art exhibit will be closed, so I have a free day. If you could work up an orgy for tomorrow night, I’d be happy to attend.”
He nodded soberly. “I shall have to be satisfied with that, I suppose. Tomorrow night is such a long time away! You are sure you will not relent about this evening?”
“Sorry, I just can’t. I’m a working girl.” And I was working right at the moment, though Serge Akonov did not know it. I was playing him as Isaak Walton might have played a fish. I was displaying the proper shyness while at the same time admitting that I wanted to be in on the orgy kick. His face was ludicrous in its disappointment.
So I gave the line a little tug. I said, “Why don’t you come up to my room long enough to sip a vodka while I get into something comfy?”
Enthusiasm erupted in his voice as he murmured, “I would enjoy that very much. But we would be ever so much more private in my room. Nyet? There would be no curious eyes to see us, no gossiping tongues to waggle.”
“Oh, if you’re worried,” I said hurriedly, “we can have our nightcap some other time.”
His deep chest puffed out. “What, me worried?”
“In that case, come along,” I cajoled. The Hotel Rossiya is not far from Red Square. We made it in about twenty minutes. Holding hands, we walked into the lobby, which was so crowded that nobody really paid us any mind. We took the elevator to my floor.
Once inside my little suite, I filled two glasses with vodka and ice. To mine, I added a little canned lime juice and soda for a vodka rickey. Serge took his liquor straight.
I went into the bedroom and shut the door. I had a special camera with me that could be operated by an electronic impulse. I propped it up on the dressing table so it would face the opened door. After I had rejoined my Russian boy friend, it would snap our picture when I pressed the special ring I would be wearing which emitted the electronic impulse.
There was no harm in jumping the gun, I figured. If I could catch Sergy-boy in a compromising pose with me here in my room, I would be one up on the game. Tomorrow night there would be a chance to snap more films.
I got the camera in place, covering it with a pair of filmy panties so that the lens poked out of the left leg-hole. I was wearing a simple diamond solitaire; more jewels than this would not have been appropriate with my white organza dress. I would need a covering disguise for the electronic ring, so I got out my jewel case and browsed through it.
When I was wearing four rings and several bracelets, I slipped off my dress and walked across my bedroom clad only in a bra, my Cantrece stockings, Joyce shoes and a black and red garter-belt. I lifted out a transparent length of harem pajamas from a hanger in the clothes closet. To wear these properly, I had to remove my bra. I lifted off the brassiere so my breasts jutted naked, then slipped the thin harem pajamas over my near—nakedness. I twined a couple of big-headed necklaces around my throat. I added lipstick to my mouth and stared at my reflection. You could see the inner sides of my jiggling breasts under the sheer pajama panels.
I looked like a floozy. Maybe Serge Akonov liked floozies, I sure hoped so, because I was counting on him to get his big animal body in a couple of poses with Eve Drum that would not only raise a few eyebrows in the Kremlin, but would cost Akonov his job.
I switched off the lights in the bedroom and opened the door. The camera lens was aimed at my behind. I walked out into the living room.
Lights! Camera! Action!