The Rhinos*

Reads: 175  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
The city is covered with heavy snow. They are freezing to death. Can they give up?

Submitted: June 07, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 07, 2019



The Rhinos *



He stumbled a little, slid to the side and stopped. He was leaning back to the nearby wall now. “How long more, man?” he mumbled. “Are you sure you know the way?”

“Of-course, I do!” said the other man a bit more loudly. “I lived in this city…for a two whole years…you know.”

“Yes, you’ve told me that,” said the first man in a meek voice. “But we’ve been walking in the snow for almost…an hour and a half…”

“Be patient!” muttered the second man, “I’ll find the way in no time!” He began taking a careful look around. “You should be used to things like this,” he mumbled a minute later as he scrutinized the area. “Don’t you remember you saved us all…the night we were caught in the snow in the Bear Valley area?”

“Yeah,” mumbled the first man, “but it must be about 20 degrees below zero now. It wasn’t half as cold … that time. Besides, neither of us had a stupid cold like this then!”

“I guess you’re right,” muttered the other man. “But I think I know the way now.”

They began walking slowly in the snow again. All the buildings around were sunk in darkness. The sound of water rolling gently forward in the river nearby was practically the only thing they could hear.

“Who is this guy…who is supposed to give us a place to sleep for the night?” asked the first man after a while.

“He once lived,” said the second man as he pulled his leg out of a snow mound, “in the same university dormitory as I did. We eventually became pretty good friends.” He paused for a second and then added, “His name sounds a bit like yours. It is…Hans, I think.”

“Not all that much like mine, though,” said the first man, “Hans and Herman only have one sound in common. It’s like saying that your name, Mohsen and my girlfriend’s name, Mitra sound the same!” He began to laugh as he struggled to move forward on the frozen sidewalk.


“Laugh all you want,” said Mohsen, “Laughter is good for you! It makes your blood warmer and stops you from …pissing in your pants!”

“How come,” mumbled Herman a minute later, “ you don’t know your way to the guy’s house…if you were such good friends?

“He moved to this place,” answered Mohsen, “after I left Czechoslovakia. For all I know, he may not even be there now. That was a pretty long time ago.. He may have moved out.”

Herman began to laugh. “So we’re tearing up our asses to go see a guy …who may not even be there!?” he said moving his body up and down as he giggled.

“It’s better than turning into snowmen standing in front of the railroad station!” answered Mohsen chuckling.

“Why in the world,” said Herman after a minute, “did you not let us take a cab or something to go there?”

“Because…you didn’t seem to realize where we were,” answered Mohsen shaking his head. “You don’t seem to remember that…we’re in a poor socialist country. Here hardly anybody has the money to take a cab. You either use a public transport thing, which hardly exists at two o’ clock in the morning, or tear up  your ass and walk! You’ve got no other choice.”

“You should’ve told me about this,” said Herman, “when we were buying our train tickets in Germany. We could’ve taken a later train so that we would get to Prague in the morning or in the afternoon or something. Not in the middle of the night!”

“Yeah,” mumbled Mohsen as he shook the snow off his legs, “But…don’t you remember how…impatient all our guys in California were?  I was afraid that if we wasted too much time in Germany, we might get to the mountains after other revolutionaries had toppled the government!” He began to laugh loudly. “Besides,” he exclaimed after his laughter receded, “How in the world could I know that it was snowing like hell in Prague?  We were lucky it stopped soon after we got off the train.”

“Maybe,” said Herman with a smile, “We should write some notes and put them in our pockets saying why we have come to Czechoslovakia, so that, when they’ll find our frozen corpses in the snow tomorrow, they’ll at least know that…we’ve died for a revolutionary cause!”

They were both standing in the middle of a pile of snow laughing and coughing at the same time now.

“In that case,” said Mohsen as he laughed, “we don’t need to go through all the trouble to get to the top of the mountains. All we need to do is to sit down here and rest our feet for half an hour or so to become martyrs!”

“Yes!” exclaimed Herman still laughing, “in that case, they won’t even have to bother to make statues of us. All they need to do is to put our bodies up on pedestals. It’ll probably take the ice layer around us some fifty years to melt.”

They were both sitting on a mound of snow laughing and coughing at the same time now.

“If we sit here for a couple of minutes longer,” mumbled Herman a little later, “we’ll really have to start writing our last wills of testament . I think both my feet are frozen already!”

“We’d better get up,” said Mohsen holding his head up to sneeze, “and walk to the …middle of the street. I think I can hear a car coming our way…”

They quickly got on their feet. A few minutes later they were standing in the middle of the street looking in the direction of a worn out Russian car approaching them very slowly. Soon after, the car stopped in front of them, the driver rolled down his window and began shouting something.

“What’s he saying?” asked Herman as they began moving towards the car.

“He wants to know if we need help,” mumbled Mohsen, “I think!”

“He may be calling us names, for all we know!” said Herman with a smile. “Your Czech is as good as my Arabic. All I can tell when a guy speaks Arabic is that some of the words I hear sound familiar!”

“No!” said Mohsen laughing, “I think I’ve actually identified a couple of the words he used!”

When they reached the car, Mohsen and the driver carried out a short dialog. Then Mohsen shrugged his shoulders and the driver rolled up the window and drove away.

“What in the world happened?” asked Herman stunned before sneezing twice in a row.

“He was taking somebody to the hospital,” Mohsen mumbled as he began to stroll, “He said he could take us there too if we were getting frozen to death or something.” He paused for a few seconds before he added, “He also said that…the place we were looking for…was right around the corner…about five hundred feet from here.”

“God!” exclaimed Herman, “So we were going to die right in front of your friend’s living place!?  He would probably be the first one to find our corpses in the morning!”

They were now walking as fast as they could towards the intersection.

“Does this guy know the man who’s going to help us get military training?” Herman asked as they rambled on.

“Nope!” said Mohsen shaking his head. “This guy is a Czech student. That guy is Persian ex-military man -- a Captain.  The Captain must be about twenty years older than the student. I don’t think they’ve even seen each other.”

“Why,” mumbled Herman as he strode, “didn’t you …take us to the Captain’s house …then…instead?”

“Because…the Captain is married and has some kids. They barely have enough space for their own family. We couldn’t hassle them in the middle of the night!” He shook his head before he added, “I’ve given him enough trouble …as it is!”

“What?” Herman asked after a few seconds. “What did you do …to the poor fellow?”

“My brother came here long before I did,” explained Mohsen, “He went missing after a while and I came over looking for him. The Captain did all he could to help me out, but we weren’t able to find any signs of him. They may have killed him or something.”

“Who?” asked Herman, “Who…may have killed him?”

“There we are!” said Mohsen loudly instead of answering, “I think this is the place!”

 They were now standing before a rather tall old structure.

“Hans used to live…on the fifth floor of this building,” mumbled Mohsen. “We should keep our fingers crossed that...he’s still here,” he added with a smile as he put his finger on a doorbell button.  

“Either he has left the place…or…the bell is out of order,” mumbled Herman after they had rung the doorbell a few times, at five minute intervals.

“We can sit here in front of  the door,” Mohsen said after sneezing a few times, “At least they’ll find our bodies early in the morning and one of them may have the time to take us to the mortuary!”

“It shouldn’t be all that hard to get help if we really believe that this is our last resort,” said Herman as he coughed. “All we need to do…is…to ring the bells of all of the apartments in the building at the same time. Someone is bound to come down and find us before we turn into icicles!” 

“I think… that’s not such a bad idea…at all,” said Mohsen as he gently rose to his feet. “It’s much better than dying like shit here.” He slowly moved forward holing both his hands up with fingers apart as if he were going to grab and strangle someone.

“Hey!” said Herman as he rose to his feet too, “I think…I heard someone gabbling something.”

They were now standing motionless in their places, all ears.

“I think you’re right!” exclaimed Mohsen after a few seconds. “I heard someone calling us names in Czech!”

“The last word I heard, though,” mumbled Herman, “was a Persian swearword!”

Mohsen suddenly began to laugh loudly. “It is…Hans!” he said giggling, “I taught him…two Persian swearwords myself.  It became a habit for him…to use those words when he talked to Persians!”

“He must’ve discovered who is ringing his bell then,” said Herman.

“Yes!” said Mohsen still laughing. He was probably eavesdropping while we were talking.”

A minute later someone mumbled something on the doorbell speaker. Then Mohsen answered and there was a short dialogue.

“What did he say?” asked Herman after the door-bell speaker clicked off.

“He recognized me all right,” said Mohsen. “But he asked me to wait down here…so he could see what he could do!”

“Maybe he was in the toilet or something,” said Herman with a smile while cleaning his running nose with a handkerchief.

“At three o’clock in the morning?” exclaimed Mohsen. “What would he be doing in the shit-house at this time a night? Besides, he must have cleaned his ass before he came out to answer the door bell if he were in there. Why should he ask us to wait some more? ”

Herman shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s just hope that he doesn’t have diarrhea or something. He’ll be in the toilet up there until long after we freeze to death down here…if he does!”

Then someone said something on the doorbell speaker again.

“I think…he said that…we have to wait for…fifteen more minutes,” mumbled Mohsen. “Something must be wrong up there.”

“It is diarrhea, then!” said Herman as he cleaned his running nose with his handkerchief. “He has to empty his intestines before he can open the door to receive us. I hope …his disease isn’t very contagious!” He began hooting with laughter as he coughed.

“I think,” said Mohsen, “we’re both more contagious than he is. Every time we cough or sneeze we throw enough shit around to infect half of the city!”

“Our guys in the States really chose the right people for this mission,” said Herman chuckling, “You and I have the skin and the temperament of a rhino! None of the other guys would have had either the strength or the guts to do some of the things we’ve been doing!”

“Yes!” said Mohsen with a smile, “But the worst part is over now! All that is left for us to do is now to keep ourselves alive until tomorrow night. The Captain’s wife is a medical doctor.  She can take care good care of us from then on.”

“Can she,” asked Herman with a smile, “ find us a military camp where we can give our group military training, too?”

“Nope!” answered Mohsen with a smile, “She’ll leave that bit of  shit to her wonderful husband, The Captain!”

“I think…we’d better take cover,” whispered Herman. “Someone is coming down in the elevator. They may see us and …get suspicious.”

“Yes, you’re right,” said Mohsen, “No one should know that I’m back…before we can contact The Capitan. If the local govermment authorities find me,they may decide to do to me what they did to my brother.”

“Let’s go around the corner,” said Herman turning to go away.

“Hello!” someone said as the building door opened. “Can I help…you two?” she asked in English as she stepped out.

“No, thank you,” said Herman happy to face someone who spoke English. “We are waiting for a friend.”

“Oh, yeah!?” said the girl with suspicion. “This early…in the morning?....Who are you planning  to see, if I may ask?”

“Who is she?” asked Mohsen in Persian.

“Are you…a member of the Czech secret police?” asked Herman looking at the girl’s pretty face.

“No!” said the girl giggling as she shook her head. “I am…”

She stopped and began looking at Mohsen with more mistrust. She then said something to Mohsen in Czech. Mohsen shook his head before he began to laugh. He then said a few more things in Czech.

“Good-bye,” the girl said turning to Herman, a few seconds later. “And Good luck!” she added before she began to walk away.

“Who was she? What’s going on here?” asked Herman now rather  confused.

“She,” Mohsen began to talk but stopped when he heard the sound of a buzzer which opened the building door. “Come right up!” then they heard someone’s voice over the doorbell speaker. “You remember the place, don’t you?” the voice asked.

“Yes, yes!” said Mohsen emphatically.

“What’s happening? Who was she?” Herman asked when they got into the elevator.

“Nothing to worry about,” Mohsen answered with a big smile on his lips. “What happened was that…Hans and his girlfriend…were in bed when we rang the bell. Poor Hans then made two mistakes. First, he did not tell me that his girlfriend was up there in bed with him, and, second, that…he thought the person who was with me was my girlfriend! That’s why the poor girl was so confused when she found two men waiting down there..”





© Copyright 2019 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Action and Adventure Short Stories