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It was nearly midnight, and Nikolai was in the later stages of getting smashed on cheap vodka with his best buddy, Alexei. They were in a blue-collar pub called Matrosskaya Tishina, in a rough part of town, the notorious Troeschina. That’s when an old, gnawing feeling began to haunt him again. Staring into space, Nikolai said longingly with tears in his voice, “she’s somewhere out there. So what am I doing here? Hell, what are we both doing in life, besides getting pissed drunk after work, night after night?”

Why do you always have to start with that old same shit?” Alexei replied, slurring his words. “You’ve got to learn to look at life realistically. She’s way over there and you’re right here.” Alexei pointed in opposite directions and slowly finished his thought, “so let’s just order another round and leave it at that.” Even when tipsy, Alexei was the more reasonable of the two.

But we built her from scratch with our own two hands,” Nikolai sobbed quietly, so that the other patrons would not hear him. They could be a violent lot once everyone got truly loaded. “God damn it, Alyosha, she’s ours by all logic and reason!” Nikolai pleaded hoarsely. “You’ve got to admit that much…”

But Alexei knew better than to give his buddy even an inch in this increasingly dangerous argument. With each passing month it was getting more difficult to persuade Nikolai to stay put. “Look, she’s somewhere on the other side of the world,” Alexei tried to reason with his old friend once again, “and we have no money to get there. Even if we did, how would we ever bring her home? We don’t even have the title documents!”

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