Q sits in my kitchen drinking a canned gin and tonic from a dirty wine glass.
“I can’t make any friends in Russia,” he says.
“Kind of how?”
“We are just two people who don’t really listen to each other talk. That’s much better than friends.”
I frown. “How is that better than friends?”
“Less judgmental.” He takes a drink. “And I’ll be less sad if you die.”
I light up a cigarette and we drink. N comes in a bit later.
“What are you guys doing?” he asks.
I shrug, “not listening to each other, apparently.”
He looks to Q, Q nods. He takes a seat. “Well, today a pirate tried to take over my bus.”
“What?” Q asks.
“A pirate,” N repeats.
N sighs and looks at me. I shrug. “He can’t make friends with Russians.”
He turns to Q. “Why can’t you make friends with Russians?”
Q mutters something that sounds like hamster.
“I said, Black Panther.”
Both N and I give him a confused look.
He finishes his rosy gin and tonic. “They all keep trying to talk to me about black panther.”
“So, they keep saying it is a racist movie. And one person,” he leans onto the table and puts his head to one hand, “one guy even told me he thought the movie wasn’t playing for the first five-minutes because everyone was black and it was dark.”
N looks a bit shameful. I continue to smoke.
“That’s not so bad, Russians just aren’t used to seeing black people, that doesn’t make them racist,” N says, a bit defensive.
Q holds a finger up at him and says, “when I tell them they are racist they always say the same thing.”
“What?” I ask.
Q looks to me, “they say they have a black friend.”
I laugh. N raises an eyebrow, “that’s not so racist.”
“No—they say their friend is Russian-black, tan people from the south. And that it is the same because Russians oppressed them, too.”
N nods, resigned. “Okay, that is racist. But, at least you’ve got us.”
Q looks long at him, then to me.