Fly on the Wall: The Clothes Horse

Two guards outside Putin’s office.

Guard #1: He’s been in there for a week trying on that crown.

Guard #2: Nobody knows who is in charge of the war.

Guard #1: These Ukrainians are kicking our butts.

Guard #2: Yeah, well that Volodymyr Zelensky is a comedian but he ain’t no joke.

Guard #1: Little Tsar Putin is no match for him.

Guard #2: The guy is crazy. Told the maid that he’s getting advice from Catherine The Great.Asked whether she had any wishes that the Empress might grant.

Guard #1: He’s losing it. Now the sinking of the Moskva. Only 54 sailors out of 500 survived.

Guard #2: He’s a teetotaler. Maybe we need a heavy drinker to run things. Stalin loved liquor and cowboy movies. Some in his circle died of alcoholism trying to keep up with him. That Khrushchev was smart. While Stalin wasn’t looking, he’d mix his own drinks with water.

Guard #1: Yeah, in those days the old Bolsheviks dressed as though they bought their clothes at a Goodwill discount sale.

Guard #2: This guy is a real clothes horse.

Guard #1: Wears custom made suits designed by Kiton and Brioni, ties by Valentino, shoes from John Lobb or Salvatore Ferragamo.

Guard #2: They’ve been running blondes in here at night. He says it relaxes him.

Guard #1: What happened to Wendy Deng, Murdoch’s old squeeze? Boy she’s perfected the art of making old guys feel good.

Guard #2: I heard the generals talking. They’re going to suggest that Putin take an extended vacation at his villa. (Pause)

Guard #1:(Excitedly) They said that? Then I get his 10,000-dollar puff jacket and you get the 5,000-dollar shoes.

Guard #2: No, I get the $10,000 puff jacket. And you get $5,000 shoes.

Guard #1: We’ll flip a Ruble.


Ishmael Reed’s latest play is “The Conductor.”