As Poland’s infamous General Jaruzelski celebrates his 90th birthday, here for your reading enjoyment is a sample chapter from Damn The Source, the latest OFF_PRESS book.
Adam Staropolski, an ageing ex-spy, is taking a final walk around London, a city which was his political playground for many years. Now, as his best friend General Jaruzelski lies in a morgue in Poland, the capital bites back.
“Satellites streamed images of the old General’s demise from the other end of Europe straight into Adam Staropolski’s North London living room. Slow-mo, constant repeat, pixellated blow-ups on all Polish news channels. The same ghastly scene of a bald, speckled man of eighty, thick dark glasses slipping from his nose, breathing his last on trial for high treason.
After a whole night of watching and drinking, Adam’s failing eyes were having a hard time focusing. He had seen enough of General Jaruzelski, his old childhood friend, in the dock for the supposed crime of crushing Solidarity and declaring martial law those thirty years ago, to know his demise had not been accidental. Someone must have slipped something into his prison breakfast. Or his customary glass of water. Or even the little microphone pinned to his lapel. Death injected or vapourised or swallowed. None in their game cared about traces of evidence, not since Litvinienko and his execution in that little sushi place in the heart of London. A radiation pill in a cup of black tea, flown over all the way from the Kremlin. The insane cheek of it. Litvinienko been ex-secret police too. FSB, KGB, and so what? With his Putin-backed killers still at large, nothing and no one could think themselves sacred or safe.
The sound of envelopes crashing through the letterbox in the hallway jolted him. Christmas was almost here, but was it too early for the real post man? Could it be a set up? Sarin in a greetings card? Even an old-fashioned letter bomb, pretending to be a seasonal gift?”
Read the rest of the chapter by clicking on the image below:
About the author / Marek Kazmierski escaped communist Poland and settled in the UK as a child political refugee. He decided to become a writer, then worked as a librarian, a stripper and a prison governor, among others, to have something to write about. Today, he is translating, publishing and running a series of insider art initiatives. Not Shut Up, OFF_PRESS and Intersection are his babies.