The man – a young American was peeling an enormous grapefruit, carelessly squirting large puddles on the newly zambonied floor. “Want some?” I declined the grapefruit, but welcomed the conversation. Come to find out, he was a news producer for a major network, assigned to the Moscow Bureau. He educated me on the life of a foreign news correspondent in a world where foreign news was in short demand. “Most of us pick up challenging, time consuming hobbies like baking bread.” Excessive salaries and the luxury of time, he was there to meet a friend from America. He was bored and missing home.
“Can you fake a Russian accent?” His question caught me off guard. I didn’t know what to expect from an American news producer. You see, I was a little geeked out, not by his charming good looks, but by the fact that he worked in NEWS. I have always been a news junky. Always. As a kid, I preferred ABC World News Tonight to Scooby Doo. Still, I was measured in my response, “Yes, I think so.” His eyes lit up as a stroke of genius was birthed in his golden-chili-bowl-coiffed head. He wanted me to pretend to be a Russian woman. He would point out his friend and then hide as I greeted his friend. I would then proceed to give the friend a very long, detailed, ambiguous, complex list of instructions as to how to take several modes of transportation to an abandoned field where his friend would meet him after wrapping up an assignment. “You see,” the news producer said, “my friend is very scared of traveling here. He made me promise to meet him here and wanted assurance that I would make it home safely. He has almost cancelled on me 3 times.”
Secretly, I have always fancied myself an oscar-caliber actress – my only problem is the talent scouts have yet to find me. Add to that my love of a well-conceived practical joke in collaboration with a famous NEWS PRODUCER!!!!! Yes, please.
Fast forward to the Winter Olympics in Sochi a mere month ago. I was sitting in my living room, working on my computer while sitting in front of my beloved news. Suddenly I thought: grapefruit. There was no grapefruit in the house. I paused, looked up at the screen and saw my old friend, the news producer. He has switched networks and business has picked up a bit. We both look a little older and weathered, but I’m up for another practical joke the next time our paths cross.
The Rest of the Story
So you want to know if my acting skills were up to par. Let me assure you they were! The fact that his friend chickened out on him and didn’t show up on the flight prevented me from being discovered once again. A tragedy….