Status Not Available
Tropical butterfly wings
What does the comprehensive failure of western media to report about what is obviously the deadliest war crime committed by Russia against Ukraine tell us?
—It’s saying ‘Status Not Available’
—Yes, I know.
For the betterment of peckerwood jornoists everywhere:
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Approaching Friendship of Peoples (Дружба Народов), I stopped so I could try to get some.
It was at a stage in life when going out for the evening meant heading home no earlier than an hour before curfew, and it was a stage in time when it, — the holy grail, unavailable in Kyiv for reasons rumored to involve Russia’s attempt to decapitate the capital — would occasionally be available under the counter at small venues near the metro station.
When they could be found, it was almost freakishly desirable. It was one: romantically-dangerously illegal, having fallen off a truck somewhere east of the border; two: far better than Ukrainе-sourced stuff (which is awful – all packaged up and disappointing); three: far, far better than the Moldovan crap one imagines to be found from whatever is swept up off the floor of an abandoned rural hut; and four: despite the markup, they were relatively cheap.
On that night I remember anticipating something memorable. I’d had five glasses of white beer and listened to hours of complaints about the international legion without much enthusiasm before riding up the hill on my bicycle.
At Friendship of Peoples, I dismounted, hitting the ground with a purposeful if half-drunk stride and, like any good Irishman, avoided eye contact with passer-by patrols. This being my early sixties, I was almost certainly engaged in an inner dialogue about the status of my relationships with everything.
Two stores down. No luck here, no luck there.
Passing just in front of the Crime, Coffee & Cocktails (a ‘self-defense’ club), its doors burst open and in a blur I was surrounded by what seemed like a dozen jock-kegger types with tattoos piling onto the sidewalk, whaling on each other. It went from an empty street to a foam of testosterone in about three quarters of a second.
What registered in my mind – what I remember today, sitting here this morning – was not surprise, or danger, or even annoyance at being delayed, at having to hop over some crew-cut head as it hit the pavement. What registered in my mind was the whiteness, in the blacklight that leaked from the venue, of their Nikes. They glowed, each and every pair.