The Writer’s Block: Rushin’ The Russians Outta Here

By Corinne Wnek

I read the newspaper religiously every day. In fact, not reading the paper feels, to me, the same way it does when you discover that you left the house without a wristwatch on, like something’s missing. Sometimes I even read two or three different newspapers just to see what one paper considers front page news that other papers don’t. It’s amazing how the news can differ in importance from one read to the next.

But over the past few weeks I noticed that all the papers printed stunning headlines about the local roundup of a ring of Russian spies. Now I admit it was a little unnerving for me to find out that spies, as in James Bond, were living right here in New Jersey, only a few miles or so from my potted geranium front porch. It was even more unnerving to realize that, for years, these spies pulled a fast one on their neighbors.


It just seems that on “Spy Assignment Day”, you would expect a spy to ask for a melting pot like New York City to spend some in. I would reason that you couldn’t beat the variety of restaurants that are practically right outside your doorstep there. Pizza from Little Italy? Enough said. I’d never go back home and leave that behind. What about all the great shows you could see whenever you wanted to. Imagine, watching the “Lion King” on Broadway then sipping a brandy during the intermission, all the while texting information back to the motherland about how your day went. To me, that would be like working and relaxing at the same time. Talk about a concept foreign to Americans. Now that might be something interesting to convey to the other side.

Anyway, I got to thinking that if I were a spy and the high command told me to relocate to New Jersey, I might choose a town like Montclair, too, just like the Guryev’s, eh, I mean “the Murphy’s” did. What’s not to like about Montclair? It has all the elements of great suburban living by way of schools, manicured lawns and restaurants. And the proximity to Newark Liberty International Airport? Well, it’s just so convenient for those weekend get-aways to, let’s say, Moscow. I imagine an after dinner conversation between the spies at home might go something like this:

Mr. ‘Murphy’: “Natasha, you cook wonderful meal of, how you say, ground up meat in little circles?”

Mrs. ‘Murphy’: “Vlaldimir, darling, we live in Montclair long time now. You must learn correct word for food. In New Jersey, is hamburgers.”

Now I’ve always thought that I have the best neighbors in the world. But since the Russian spy debacle, I must admit that, just for a split second, I wonder if these people are really who they say they are. Is it neighborly to ask? Take my new young neighbors with their kids splashing around in the pool. I’ve noticed that the husband makes frequent trips to his work van, even on weekends. Ummm. What’s that all about? Is he transmitting important details back to the Kremlin about life in suburbia?

“General, they put chicken in sauce first for hour or so then put on grill.” And could it be that my sweetheart of a man elderly neighbor, whom I have known for over twenty-five years, and who so thoughtfully takes my garbage can in for me on pick up day is really a…..nah, couldn’t be.

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