Fydor had gone to Baden-Baden to try his system at the gaming tables, but kept forgetting in his sweaty desperation to win what the system was. By the end of the evening, he had lost every last kopek he had brought. Forced the next day to pawn his watch and chain for train fare home, he wound up missing his train because he had no watch by which to tell the time. He still had, however, the wispy beard the secret police ridiculed in their reports. They had had him under surveillance for years. His epileptic seizures seemed to particularly interest them. In his mouth even the howls of pain the convulsions wrung from him sounded treasonous.
Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing) and The Bad News First (Kung Fu Treachery Press).