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Marat Rebko stood at the bar as he did most nights surveying the scene. Nineteen twenties London night-life in it's hedonistic full gallop. His slicked back dark hair reflected the chandelier light penetrating the thick fog of second hand smoke surrounding the dance floor. Marat's deep set light blue eyes could just make out though the smoke and the crowd some flapper girls dressed in short skirted black dresses doing the the Shimmy and Heebie-Jeebie. Trying desperately to impress the rich looking bachelors sat at tables around the dance floor.

The floor was sticky underfoot with split booze. The music got louder, faster reaching crescendos before stopping for brief breaks and applauses and drunken cat calls for more, the early arrivals got more intoxicated. The club got hotter and hotter. Marat's large hands grabbed a dishcloth from behind the bar and brushed the sweat off his wide brow. Hell is a dance hall it's patrons his devils.

No one noticed Marat until they wanted a drink. He stood at just over six foot, most of the flapper girls with sore feet who had taken there shoes off got on tip toes to shout for drinks in his ear. Midnight was the time he would get overrun. The waiters got absorbed in smoke and lost in the throng. Marat was able to keep up with three or four orders at once with the other bartender.

He would always fake a smile when patrons would ask about his accent. A drunk with a pencil moustache and cigarette swinging around smoke into the air clasped in his bony scarecrow hands started it.

'Here barman, your clearly not local. In which pothole backwater did you crawl from?'

'Russia' Marat replied in his best broken English.

'Cheers comrade!' was the usual response or as the toff with the moustache shouted 'A Bolshevik! Well I never!'

The rage boiled every time, his fists clenched white at the knuckles. Six months he had been stuck here like this. An officer in the Russian Army, or at least what it had been before the revolution. He longed for the home he knew before he ran from the revolution. The great open planes where Marat could ride horses on his parents estate. He had fought with the Tsar as did his father who was high a up in the military establishment. Marat never thought he would miss his sister for so long, wherever she was. The last image he had of her was always the first to mind. Freeze framed, burned and instilled into his forever. The Tsar's forces where losing. They had got to the port when the heaving crowds of panicked passengers separated them, her hand trying to reach his in the crush to get on the boat to England. They had ripped everything from him, the Bolsheviks. They had replaced his officers uniform, family and nation with a penguin suit covered in a dirty white apron and a nightclub full of drunks.

Created: Aug 21, 2012


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