A History of The 21st Century

A Memoir By Major Alexander Pushkin Litvinova, U.S. Army, ret.

A Novella by Fred Beauford

Chapter two

Ok, where was I? Bear with me, Father. Ok, I was talking about the bomb. Or Mother? Or Nicky? Or was it Brighton Beach? No, it was the bomb! The Bomb. The famous Bomb!

That beautiful day in October, everyone’s favorite nightmare came true: someone detonated a portable nuclear bomb right in the center of Manhattan. Movies, television dramas and novels have long tried to portray such an event, almost as if everyone knew it was inevitable. But this was no movie, or novel. This was cold-blooded reality.

I could have been there, Father, with me now nothing but a whiff of ash.

My office was near ground zero. But this was a rare, beautiful fall day, and I was thinking about Mother. For some reason, a strong, overwhelming urge to talk to her came over me, an aching almost.

I walked the near empty Brighton Beach all morning, thinking of her, thinking of the California I remembered before the rains came, thinking that a blue ocean was better than a gray one, thinking about how much I had meant to her. I would occasionally nod to a passerby as I walked all the way to Coney Island, and stared once again at the rusted parachute drop, left by a world long, long gone.

I slowly headed back to Brighton Beach. I couldn’t bring myself to get on the D train, or one of the express buses, and make the long ride to my office in Manhattan. I didn’t feel like selling dumb movies, or selling dumb anything for that matter. I felt Mother talking to me.

She was right, whatever she said to that day. She saved my life, Father. She kept me on that near empty beach, just she and I, and her wise conversation. She knew what was going to happen, and reached out and saved me!

At this time, Manhattan was at its peak, the very zenith of its worldwide control. Even powerful Hollywood had packed up and left a cold, wet, dreary California and settled fully in Manhattan and Queens. Hollywood was the last jewel in our crown. Old 20th Century despots like Franco, Idi Amin, Chairman Mao, Peron, Hitler, or mother’s Stalin, could only have shook their evil old heads, and marveled in dumb-struck awe.

It wasn’t the old, two-fisted Capitalist that Karl Mark feared and hated so much. Of course there were still those headline-grabbing billionaires running all over the place. But they were in the end, merely a sideshow, someone to help sell newspapers and magazines, and entertain us on the DYE, with tall tales of their many dalliances.

Rather, it was money, and cold, faceless, dedicated, efficient Managers that had done what force of arms, or big ideas could not do: conquer the world!

Although no one would point to the obvious, in many ways, Karl Mark had won.

But as always Father, there is a price to be paid for everything.

After the Big Bang, as if was henceforth known, with capitalized letters and all, the highly formidable American military machine once again went on full alert. I was a proud Major in the Army Reserves. I was co-commander of a Tank battalion, and I immediately reported for duty, ready to kick some serious ass.

But who committed the deed? We had subdued the Muslim world. So it couldn’t be them. Weren’t they now our friends? Wasn’t there now hundreds of Macdonald’s in every Muslim state on the planet? Didn’t over 15 million Muslims live peacefully within our boarders?

What unnerved us so much, besides the dirty deed itself, was the outburst of spontaneous celebrations all over the globe.

For example, hordes of happy, dancing people poured into the nighttime streets of Paris, as over a million people laughed, sang, danced and smashed every Pizza Hut they could find, in a joyful, tearful celebration. It was if a heavy gray blanket had been lifted off of the world.

But what were they celebrating? The day of the event, I was suddenly startled as my DYE came back on. Power was back. I switch to television and the full horror, which I knew instinctively, had happened, unfolded.

How could anyone want to celebrate that, Father?

The cute commercials were gone, perhaps forever. Now it was just days, and weeks, and months of death, and more death. The damage from the bomb was worse than horrendous. I can’t even begin to describe the horror, made even more horrible because all of my friends, and my girlfriend and best friend were murdered that day, with not even a trace left of their existence: the same bright, young, gifted friends that would occasionally come slumming out to Brighton Beach to visit the “mad Russian.”

Gina, my golden, brown-skinned, 27 year-old Filipino girlfriend, was short, with wide hips and a broad nose and small button lips, which she supplied with endless amounts of bright, perfumed red lipstick. She also had large, white gleaning teeth, and her breath often smelled of garlic. She was so smart. So to the point. So full of life. So sexual. So much energy.

My oldest friend, the pale, nervous, overweight, thoughtful David, the brilliant gay book editor of The New Yorker, had told me just last week that he was sick of what he was doing, this endless chattering about so-called stars and wayward billionaires.

“I hate my job. We’re fiddling, and Rome is about to burn to the fucking ground, P! All we do is watch movies that tell us nothing. Television sucks. Our books stink. Our brains have died. Can’t you see what’s happening, P? There is something sick about all of this. Something is very wrong, man,” he said.

I felt for my friend. He was asking questions that I, and most of us, had long learned not to ask. Just go along with the program.

“Lighten up David! You got the best job in New York. What else would you do?”

David phased slightly. A genuinely puzzled look appeared on his pale face. I have never seen someone so white and pasty-faced all the time, even in summer. “Who knows, go write a book, or something,” he answered finally.

We both laughed at that one! Only entertainers wrote books that anyone bothered to read. Everyone knew that. Book editor. He was right, although I didn’t say so to his face. His job was a joke.

How poor David must have instantly known just how right he really was, as all of him just vanished, evaporated, and melted into nothingness.

And Peter, Rebecca, and my best bar friend, the handsome, black Malik. They all laughed at me because I lived in Brighton Beach, in Mother’s old apartment, and not in the rich, famous, fabulous Manhattan.

But so what! Brighton Beach was cozy, old world, and on October 12, 2037, still very Russian.  All over New York City, money had pushed working people out to the hated suburbs. And this was the very edge of Brooklyn, far away from the greedy grasp of Manhattan. So, many old Russians still hung on. That’s why Mother brought me here from California. That’s why she loved it. And that’s why I loved it. And now it had saved my life.

The bomb had been planted in the subway right at 34th Street. This had the added affect of the shock waves traveling aggressively through the many underground tunnels. Most of Manhattan just imploded onto itself.

Even today, years later, no one knows how many people were killed. Manhattan as always, was loaded to the gills with Masters and Mistress of the Universe, and the best and brightest, which were my gifted friends.

Someone once estimated that there were only 300,000 of us in all of New York City, out of a total population of 10 million. But we 300,000 were the brains. We wrote the scripts. We provided the narrative. We provided the dash, the fun. We made the whole damn thing worthwhile. And we ran the whole damn world.

And now, with the exception of me, lonely me, they were all dead!

How many? Two million? Three million? We will never know. What we did know was this was the largest death toll in a single event triggered by human anger, in the history of the planet. And we know that America creased being what it had become.

Soon, our first “Hispanic” President, George P. Bush, 3rd, was on the air gravely telling us that whoever did this would not escape the might of America.

President Bush was also one lucky man. Maybe the voice of his mother, or his grandmother, Barbara, whispered something to him that day, just as Mother had whispered something to me, because he was suppose to have been in New York to address an urgent UN conference on our worsening weather, which he maintained was just alarmist bullshit!

He suddenly came down with a case of the California Flu, a new strain that was killing scores of people in many parts of the country, but especially in California. Bush didn’t die from the flu, however. And he didn’t die from the bomb that many say was really meant for him.

Wags even started calling the attack “The Bush Curse” in that every time a Bush got into office, all hell broke loose.

In immediate response to the attack, President Bush sent out to all the oceans of the world our mighty warships; he ordered our brave, well-trained troops, including my outfit, equipped with the best weapons on planet Earth, onto ships and planes.


This is an aside, Father, but I especially loved our new tank. I know that you didn’t serve in the military; that you were an artist and intellectual. But goddamn it, Father, my new tank was made of lightweight plastic. Yes, plastic, Father! Can you believe that? It was a major breakthrough. No more of those heavy-assed tanks. This new beast was not only light, but was as fast as life itself; fast and extremely deadly, with a main gun so accurate that it could blow the shit off the ass of a mosquito at 300 yards!

And shells just bounced off of it.

I know that you can tell from the way my writing has suddenly picked up, so to speak, that this is turning me on. Forgive an old man’s highly selective memory, Father, but I loved the tank corp. They wanted to eliminate tanks; said they were useless. That was bullshit! We wouldn’t let them take our tanks away!

I also loved the uniforms. I loved the grand parades, with brave, purposeful men and women of action, saluting and strutting and swaggering, and pulling rank on each other.

I remember one parade in particular, Father, at Fort Hood, Texas. Our outfit had just ended two months in the field on full division maneuvers.

“Grand day for a parade, Major!” the Old Man said to me. He was looking as spry as always.

“Grand day, Indeed, sir,” I answered.

My friend Colonel Bird had joined me on the reviewing stand we shared with a two star, a Brigadier, four full birds and an assortment of Light Colonels and Majors.

We all smartly exchanged salutes and then looked on proudly as the good old red, white and blue of the greatest flag on earth, ever; the colorful battalion flags; the red flags of the artillery; the blue flags of the mighty infantry; and of course, the bright yellow flags of the legendary, ass-kicking Cavalry—flew proudly by, with bands loudly playing strutting, ass-kicking music.


Talk about Pomp and Circumstance! This was great stuff, Father.

All of this was right up my alley. I told you that I was a man of action, not thought. I told you at the very beginning of this letter that I was no damn intellectual!

I loved moving briskly down an open field in full formation, all our tanks lined up, charging forward, our big guns booming all over the place, machine guns blazing, TATTATTATTATTAT, planes and helicopters flying all around, bombs going off, smoke and fire everywhere; and me whooping and hollowing like a madman, yelling orders to my troops and driver to “kick it in the ass!”

Occasionally, I would lapse into Russian, but my troops knew what I meant.

I only once had someone shooting back at me with live ammo, ready to blow my crazy black Russian ass to Kingdom come! That’s when we had to go back to the Mid-east in 29 and kick some uppity butt. You would have thought those dumbbells would have learned not to mess with us again. But that’s when I won most of my medals, and picked up some lead in the right shoulder for my effort.

But enough war stories, Father. You know how we old guys are. We just love sitting around telling war stories. I’m already wiping away tears just thinking about the good times I had.

God, Father, I loved that shit!


Now I was floating around the ocean with my state-of-the-art tank, and equally deadly airplanes and missiles were ready and fully armed, just waiting for President’s Bush’s orders. We had enough firepower to blow up every square inch of the planet earth.

But who were we to attack? President Bush didn’t seem to know. The Joint Chiefs didn’t know. No one knew.

Should we attack the French, because they laughed at our culture, and hated out hamburgers, and were still pissed off because we thwarted their plans to build a counterweight to our power? The black Africans, because we stood by as they killed each other in unbelievable numbers, and because we did little to help them fight AIDS, and now they have a population on the entire continent of only 200 million. The Muslims who still curse us silently under their beards? The Russians? The South American? The world, because our greed poisoned the world?

We had watched in horror as instantly, everywhere people started celebrating. But the governments of the earth all expressed deep sympathy for us, and firmly denounced their misguided citizens who danced in the streets.

There were also no Bin Ladens to point the finger at. And no Bin Ladens came forward nowhere on earth. Not from the Mid-east. Not from Africa. Not from France. Not from South America.

All over the world, everyone was begging for our mercy, saying: “we didn’t do it! We didn’t do it!”

Soon, the order came for us to stand down. I was very angry and disappointed, Father, as I addressed my troops. As our CO, Lieutenant Colonel Jack “Blackjack” Bird sternly looked on, I told them, with my voice shaking with anger and bitterness, that what happened to New York, that what happened to my friends, that what happened to this great country, would not go un-revenged.

“Some of you men and women will return to normal life, until called again, if we can ever have normal life again in America. I say yes we can members of the 36th Calvary. Let’s not let those cowards who killed so many of us win. We even lost members of our own outfit. But we are still strong, my friends. Still strong. Let’s not let them destroy the American Dream. So go back my friends, and keep building, and keep the promise of America alive.”

So for now, our ships were called back, our planes grounded, and I was able to take off my uniform, although this was now the only job I had.

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