The Turd Terrorists Of Almaty, Kazakhstan
I've lived in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the past three years, and during that time I've seen more human shit in places that it didn't belong than I care to mention. Most of the time it's placed in these locations by folks who just can't be bothered to go through all the hassle of finding an appropriate place to drop off the kids. But sometimes these noxious land mines are the result of deliberate, pre-meditated turd terrorism. So you might want to print this out, kick back, grab a roll of your favorite wiping medium, and let me tell you a little story about life in the former Soviet Union stinkpot I like to call Kaka-stain.
I live in one of the many grey, moribund apartment buildings that make up most of the housing units in the city. It's not even that old -- it was built in the late 80's, and at the time the people who were lucky enough to get an apartment in this building were probably saying "Nah nah nah, I got a dope crib, yo," and thumbing their noses at those suckers living in the Stalin-era communals and the other dumps that are still around to this day. But the building is pretty dilapidated now. The elevators are always breaking down and I guess the person responsible for cleaning the common areas like the staircase, the entrance, and the area where the elevators are located fucked off out of here long before I moved in last year. So trash piles up and just kind of hangs around until some old pensioner gets sick enough of seeing it and picks it up. All in all, it's a nasty-assed building, but the apartment I live in is dope and you can't beat the location. So I've lived here for almost fourteen months and just put up with the general lack of sanitation.
For a city its size, Almaty has more than its fair share of bums. I noticed in the summer that a group of them lives in the yard behind the building, but I didn't pay much attention to them since they never bothered or confronted me. Mostly I would see them digging through the trash or picking up bottles to cash in for cheap vodka or a hit of heroin or whatever. I even saw bums fucking a few times out there; they didn't care at all if anyone was watching them.
It wasn't until this winter, which has been unusually cold, that the bums became a visible -- and eventually huge -- problem. It all began one morning when I came out of my apartment to go to work. There are four units on each floor and a common area in the center where the elevators are. I had begun noticing trash, empty vodka bottles (of the cheapest sort available, around twenty cents for a pint) and discarded syringes scattered about in this area outside my door, so I was on the lookout. I don't like drug addicts and freaks hanging around where I live -- they should be living under a bridge or in a cardboard box somewhere far away from me. So that morning, when I came out and saw some feet poking out from around the corner inside the stairwell located right next to my door, I decided to check it out, since no one usually hangs out in the stairwell.
It turned out to be a quartet of the stinkiest, filthiest, and most inebriated homeless folks I'd ever laid eyes on. Three guys and a woman, all in their 30's and 40's. One guy was passed out with a needle dangling from his arm. The woman was cooking up a dandy little jolt of horse in what appeared to be a very well used and lovingly blackened spoon, oblivious to my presence for a good thirty seconds as I took in the view before me. I spoke up loudly and suddenly, startling her and almost making her drop her spoon. I told her basically to wake her friends and get the fuck out of my building or I would be coming back with the cops. They had really made themselves at home, with blankets and sacks filled with sand or something that they were using as pillows.
She said OK, no problem, she would need some time to revive her fallen comrade and gather things up, and they would be out of there in ten minutes. Figuring I had put a little scare into them, I went off to work and forgot all about it. But when I returned home hours later, I came upon the same motley group of dirtballs. They hadn't moved an inch. The guys were out cold, and the lovely young lady was swigging vodka from a bottle and scratching her crotch enthusiastically with her free hand when I burst into the stairwell. I told her in no uncertain terms that if she didn't pack up her junkie friends and get the hell out straight away, I was calling the police. She just ignored me.
Now, dealing with the local police isn't fun for anyone, including the person who called them to report something. I won't go into great detail; suffice it to say, it wasn't really an option. Likely they wouldn't have showed up for a long time anyway, if at all. By the time they would have gotten here I figured these a-holes would have moved on and all that would happen is I would get grilled and hassled by the dickhead cops because I'm a foreigner. So I bluffed them and took my cordless phone out into the stairwell, where I pretended like I was talking to the cops on the other end. In reality, I was talking into a phone that was turned off. I described the situation, said I was an executive in a big foreign company with lots of powerful friends, and told them I wanted these bastards out of my place. I thanked the imaginary dispatcher, pretended to hang up the phone, and informed the bums that the police would arrive in twenty minutes, so they better pack it up and get the hell out.
The response was a little unexpected: the 'woman,' who had pissed herself sometime while I was pretending to be on the phone, spat at me (luckily missing, though narrowly) and shouted something to the effect of, "Fuck you and your police, we're not afraid of you and we're not moving."
One of the guys had been eyeing me and stealthily edging his way toward the corner. He must have sobered up pretty good, because he produced a large hatchet which had been stashed out of sight, leapt up and lunged at me with it held high over his head, aiming to split my skull right down the middle. This all occurred in a fraction of a second. I did the only thing a sensible, athletic man of thirty-two would do in such a situation: I ran my ass off to my luckily still-open door and locked myself inside. The guy struck my metal door with his hatchet a couple times, and then silence.
I never wished to have a gun more in my life than at that moment, and I wouldn't have hesitated to use it. I still didn't want to call the cops, but my girl was on her way over and I was worried the junkies would still be in the stairwell when she arrived. In fact, they left quickly, since they quite rightly realized I wasn't going to stand for being assaulted with a fucking axe in my own home. I was really bristling with anger and felt like my personal security and that of the woman I love had been utterly compromised.
She soothed me like only she knows how to do, and my anger began to recede. The rest of the evening passed without incident, and by morning it seemed like just another tale for my scrapbook of memories from Kaka-stain. But when I opened the front door the next morning, I felt a bit of uncharacteristic resistance hindering the swing of it. I listened for the clink of bottles, which I've heard before when opening my door in the morning; that's how the bums got me pissed off in the first place, by leaving their bottles and trash right outside my door so that I knocked them over when I opened it. But this was no bottle or wad of newspaper, nor even a used syringe or goo-filled condom -- it was an enormous log of human shit, laid directly in front of my door. Swinging open the door had hopelessly smeared it across the floor; and to make matters worse, I didn't see or smell it until I had already taken a step directly into it.
To be more accurate: I saw and smelled it precisely one nanosecond before the sole of my boot made contact with the pungent muck -- hardly enough time for my brain to freak out and send a signal to my left leg saying, "Stop, fool, stop!"
Realizing what had just occur red, I froze in place, attempting to minimize the damage. My lovely girlfriend, who feigns pushiness at times in a misguided attempt to inject a little extra humor into my life, had no idea what had just happened, and gave me a jovial yet boisterous shove out the door... bad, bad idea. All my weight was balanced on the left foot, which was planted in a massive pile of shit.
If you've never stepped in shit before -- and who the fuck hasn't stepped in dog shit? But I mean a big pile of human butt butter -- you know that cartoonists should have been using dung logs instead of banana peels to represent that slippery medium that sends people, animals, and even cars flying head over heels. I don't recall having stepped in anything so slippery in my life. So due to my position in the doorway, with my weight on the foot in the shit and my girlfriend shoving me from behind, said foot came abruptly out from under me. Now I was sitting on my duff, in a brand-new knee-length cashmere overcoat, in a pile of bum turd.
My girlfriend got a whiff of the fecal aroma and shrieked. She then accused me of shitting my pants, which I vigorously and passionately denied, all the while sitting in the shit because I was so mortified I had no desire to stand and see the damage. I finally came to my senses and stood up. I fought off my desire to burst into tears (I figured even slipping in shit and getting it all over my coveted cashmere coat wasn't enough justification to bawl in front of a girl), kicked off my shoe outside the door, and hauled ass to the bathroom, where I pulled off the coat and deposited it in the tub. I wasn't ready to throw it in the trash, since I had paid over $1200 for it just a week before. I never buy things like that for myself, and I wasn't going to let those bums get to me so easily. I grabbed a trash bag from the kitchen, carefully placed the coat inside and deposited it on the balcony, where the smell wouldn't annoy me in the house.
I changed my clothes for good measure, but I still felt dirty, so I took a quick shower and put on fresh clothes. I came out of the bedroom to find my girl sitting on the couch in the entrance, still under the impression that I had shit myself. Since I like to booze it up once in a while, she had it in her head that I had gotten up in the night, not been able to find the can, and stepped out the front door to pinch a loaf. Through careful explanation and rationalization, I was finally able to convince her of the truth and nip in the bud the possibility of her leaving me for being an incontinent slob. (She's not at all shallow, but who wants to leave such things to chance?)
I cautiously opened the door and stepped over the mess to get a better look at how this act of turd terrorism had taken place. Upon inspection, it became immediately obvious that the terrorist had simply dropped trou, leaned up against my door, and let the fudge bomb slide out his or her ass, leaving a tell-tale brown stripe down the front of the door. It had spent the night like that, leaning forlornly against the door, probably lonely and cold outside the shelter of its former host's colon. To make things even worse for Mr. Chunky, he had been smeared by the door, stepped in, and fallen upon. I felt sorry for him; but he couldn't stay where he was.
For once the trash in the entryway became useful. I formed a makeshift pooper-scooper from some discarded cardboard and made quick work of the sickening mess, and then followed that up with a good washing and disinfection. Already more than an hour late for work, I fetched my shit-covered overcoat from the balcony, donned a clean coat and shoes, and ushered my girl downstairs. I retrieved my car from the garage and placed the coat, now wrapped and sealed in several bags, in the trunk. I dropped it off at the dry cleaner, warned them about the contents, and paid the girl at the counter substantially for her trouble. Then I dropped my lady off at work and drove to my office.
I was on edge all day, thrown completely off-kilter by the act o f terror. I decided not to tell anyone in my office about it, choosing instead to sit quietly in my room and avoid all contact with my colleagues.
That evening I went home as usual. Lo and behold, there were EIGHT bums in my stairwell -- all four from the previous night, plus four new ones. They were having a little party, complete with a toasty bonfire right there in the stairwell. Apparently they had been at it most of the day, since there was a substantial amount of empty bottles, syringes, and cigarette butts on the floor around them. I pretended like I didn't see them, went inside my apartment, called two of my friends, and waited. My friends arrived about fifteen minutes later. We each selected a golf club from my bag in the closet. I chose a sand wedge, Yuri a six iron, and Rudolf opted for my Ping putter. Unfortunately, all of those clubs ended up getting broken, but I saved the heads and had new shafts sent over from the States before spring.
We didn't kill anyone, but eight homeless junkies got quite a hiding that night. We threw them out in the snow one by one like cordwood when we were finished with them. I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders, and that night I slept like a baby.
Weeks went by, and I figured we had really taught those douchebags a lesson. I cautiously opened my door every morning, just in case. I eyeballed anyone suspicious looking who even came near the entrance of the building, but saw hide nor hair of my adversaries. I woke up late at night and peered into the stairwell to try and catch anyone who may have been lurking there. Nothing. I finally relaxed, and went about life as usual.
Then, unbelievably, it happened again. It seems like you just can't break some people, even if you and a couple of your buddies try to do it with the help of a few Tommy Armour cavity-back irons. This time it was a duet: one solid log, and one runny pool of bowel sauce, smack in front of my door.
Since the last occurrence, the heating system had shut down in the entryway, and bitter cold had utterly penetrated the building. That's probably why I hadn't seen the bums -- they had moved on to better, warmer digs. But that didn't stop them from coming back and leaving me a little present. Since the temperature was about twenty below zero in there, the shit had frozen solid. I couldn't open my door far enough to see what was there and had to strike it a few times until the shit was partially shattered by the weight of the door. Most of it, however, remained firmly cemented to the floor.
I elected to call in the professionals to handle this one: two old Soviet babushkas from the building who were in charge of keeping the yard outside picked up. They didn't do much of a job of it, since they were shit-faced drunk most of the time, but I didn't really have an option at that point. I paid each of them about $5, which was more than enough to make them both happy, and when I came home I found they had somehow managed to dislodge the frozen fudge. In fact, they cleaned the entire area very well, which had me in shock.
I was thinking all day about how I could defend myself against future acts of turd terrorism, and had settled on what I thought was a pretty good solution; a wireless surveillance camera, set to record any activity outside my door. I configured it to relay the signal to my home computer, hoping to catch someone in the act.
Another few weeks went by without incident. I would wake in the night to check and see if anything had been recorded (the camera would only record if triggered by a motion sensor), but got nothing except my elderly neighbors occasionally coming out of their apartments in the ungodly early morning hours. Any hope of catching the perpetrators of these heinous-anus crimes was fading fast as spring approached -- the bands of druggie bums tend to migrate according to the seasons, and I was afraid I'd never get the fuckers. By that point I had grown a little bored of the whole thing, but revenge still smoldered somewhere deep inside me. I s topped staying home and staring at my computer screen, and started hanging out with my friends in the nightclubs more often.
One warm, rainy April night, I stumbled into my building around five AM after a night of merrymaking with the rowdies. The elevators were on the fritz again, so I had to hump it up the stairs. I rounded the last corner before my landing and nearly stepped on him in the darkness. I squinted in the dimness of the stairwell, and as my eyes adjusted to the light I realized I was staring at the motherfucker who had attacked me with a hatchet. He looked like the kind of guy who fit the profile of a turd terrorist -- at least in my mind. Anyway, it didn't matter at that point, since I had about a liter of booze in me and a mean streak that rivaled the brown streak which had been left on my door the first time around.
I clearly recall stepping over the guy fast asleep on the landing, unlocking my door, and fetching a roll of paper towels from the kitchen table. I changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and grabbed a knife from the kitchen, just in case. I then stepped back out into the stairwell, dropped my shorts and boxers, hovered over the junkie, and calmly deposited the contents of my colon on his midsection.
He never moved or made a sound as I floated above him for more than a minute, firing chunks of shit and watery feces all over him. I wiped my ass with the paper towel, laid it on his stomach, and went back inside my apartment. Exhausted from a lot of liquor and the ecstasy of righteous revenge, I fell fast asleep.
I slept through my alarm the next morning and finally dragged my hung-over ass out of bed around two PM. It took about ten minutes for me to sort out whether my recollection of the night before had been a dream or reality. I battled with my brain for what seemed like an eternity, and finally decided I had to see for myself. I stealthily unlocked the door and peered into the stairwell... no one there. I noiselessly tiptoed to the threshold and peered down at the landing... nothing there.
Nothing, that is, except for some splatters of shit and a wad of very used paper towel. I smiled to myself, went back inside, and called the babushkas who had cleaned up the shitsicles several weeks before. I had a job for them, and I hoped it would be their last.
As it turned out, it was. I haven't seen any junkies around here for almost a year. The moral I learned from this was: shit must be fought with shit. No choice. An eye for an eye, a turd for a turd. And if you are mad enough to shit on someone, you are a force to be reckoned with. Forget the Hot Carl; it'll always be the Hot Ivan to me, for as long as I live.