Iron & Bass

Bird's Eye View

Joe Parker - Aug. 1, 2001

During the Cold War, Soviet submarines regularly patrolled the waters along the eastern seaboard. One night, a Russian scubadiver swam to Manhatten to infiltrate the borough and gather information.

Arriving at shore, the Russian diver, whose name was Nicholas, stashed his scuba gear near the seaport and tiptoed into the city night. Nicholas explored the city for hours, watching people, hailing taxi cabs, staring at big neon signs.

But when Nicholas worked his way back to the seaport, he found his scuba gear was missing.

"How will I explain this to my commander?" Nicholas thought to himself in Russian. "I can't. I am a failure."

Nicholas emptied some American money from his pockets and dove into the ocean, ending his life.

Moments later, two young American boys emerged from a hiding place across the street. One of them carried the Russian's scuba gear. They ran to the place where Nicholas had stood, picked up his money, and tossed the gear into the sea.

"That was a nasty trick," said one boy to the other, too afraid to look over the edge for fear of seeing something awful.

"If you think about the fact that there's a Cold War, then realize that this money will buy us each a handful of candy, you'll forget about it," said the other boy, who was dividing the bills into two equal stashes. "Besides, we're just grains of sand traveling through an endless ocean of entropy; we can't do any harm."

"You don't know how right you are," thought a fat smelly pigeon from his stoop where he'd watched the whole scene go down.