A Spoof of a Shoddy Whodunit (by Vladimir Vysotsky)

Treating spooks with due anxiety,
Steering clear of high society,
Sporting a fake English name of Mr. John Lancaster Peak,
Always wearing gloves of leather,
Leaving no prints altogether,
Lodging in the Hotel Soviet was one not-so-Soviet freak.

John Lancaster, unattended,
Mostly after night descended
Clicked his nose in which an infrared device he did conceal.
And then later in broad daylight
He presented in a bad light
Everything we love and cherish, our collectivist ideal!

Hill Street Workers’ Club and Restaurant
Would be made a public restroom!
And our dear old Central Market now looked like a dirty shed!
Our Central Store, through his ill wish,
Was made a hut in microfiche!
And what was done to Moscow Theater, that is better left unsaid.

Although, working with no backing
Could get dull or lead to slacking.
And our foe, he had a thought and forged a check, ’cause he was slick,
And in a murky restaurant
A certain man named Yepifan
Was led aside and led astray by the not-really-Soviet freak.

This Yepifan appeared needy,
Clever, predatory, greedy.
He didn’t have nor want restraint, be it his ladies or his wine.
The guy that John got on his team
Was every infiltrator’s dream;
This can happen to whomever when they’re drunk and have no spine.

“Now, your first job is this: you’re gonna
At three fifteen be by the sauna.
‘Round that time, before or after, you will see an idling cab.
You’ll get in, tie up the driver,
Act like you’re a common mugger,
It’s the kind of thing about which BBC will love to gab.

Later, get a shave and go
To Manezh, to the art show.
You will be approached by someone with a suitcase. Once you met,
He’ll say: “Would you like some fruit?”
You’ll say: “Yes, I surely would.”
He’ll give you a baguette grenade, and you will bring me the baguette.

And for all this, my drunk buddy
Yepifan, you will get money,
And a nice pad in Chicago, ladies, many cars, the life!”
But the foe did not know, the knob,
The man whom he’d been giving jobs
Was an officer, an agent, and devoted to his wife!

Yes, he truly was a master
Of tricks, that Mr. John Lancaster!
But alas, the calculations of that Peak turned out too weak!
He was caught committing treason,
Got a buzz-cut, went to prison.
And the Hotel Soviet now is housing some peace-loving Greek.

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