In a station of the Metro. That’s where I was the first time I saw a semi-automatic.

It happened when the damn show was sold out. I plodded back through the slick streets to the station, bought a Sprite there, and made my way to the train. But I didn’t get there.

Well, I guess it really started when I saw the Godfather’s face. I really should have coughed or something so that he would know I was there. How was I supposed to know he would turn to the exact corner that I just happened to be in to take off his mask? Yeah, I ran. Survival instinct-check. I burst out of the store onto Tverskaya Street and believe me, there was no stopping me there. I, a running fool by then, sprinted to the post office, a supermarket, and that kiosk where they have those excellent little poppy seed pastries I love so much-they’re so good, they do something to the poppy seeds before the put them in the rolls; they’re really sweet, but I digress-before reaching my hotel.

I’m sorry. I’m leaving something out. I should probably tell you that the Mafia doesn’t like me very much to begin with. That’s because I’m a hardcore Communist. But don’t let that fool you, I’m a California girl. Possibly I should have thought twice (or maybe even more times than that) before I busted the biggest food export in Russia in August of 1998. Yes, it was illegal; yes, I put bread on the tables of starving families nationwide, but I love my vital organs very much and my superobjective is to keep them. Sometimes I think how tan I’d be if I just stayed in La Mesa, waiting tables. But then I remember how skin cancer runs in my family and the story of my mother’s childhood in Florida where she’d burn for the first 20 minutes and be sick and stay inside for the next three months. But again, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. So here’s me in Moscow, saving millions.

Nice, huh? Good for me? Well, take off the halo, it was an accident. I work in the post office. Postcards are good reading material. Yes, I know. Why would the Mafia be so stupid as to send a postcard with major info on it? Well they didn’t. Somebody else did. Don’t ask. Yes. She’s dead. How do I know. Probably because she was my sister. Needless to say, the postcard reached its destination an hour later.

And that is why I’m looking at my first semi-automatic.

And my last.