The Ballad of MISH MASH

Known only in classified Soviet documents as "Misha," MISH MASH was born in 1898, his early years spent on the steppes of southern Russia between the Don and Volga rivers. His family fled to the Urals during the Revolution to avoid the deadly conflicts between the Bolsheviks and the White Guards. In the mountains, Misha learned the ways of a sharpshooter, using his rifle to bring food to the family table. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII), his shooting skills brought him to the front along the Volga. In the city of Stalingrad, he would make his mark as a master sharpshooter.

For many years after the war, he slowly made his way to the West, finally flying over the Berlin Wall in a red balloon. He made his way to Liverpool in the mid 1960s, where he first heard the music of the Beatles and fell in love with rock-and-roll. Misha then traveled overseas on a slow trawler, and Americanized his name by dropping the "a" to become known as "Mish," with the "Mash" to be added as his last name at Ellis Island under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. In the USA, he mastered English by taking standardized tests in the public school system, and he soon fulfilled his dream of becoming a snobby music critic, always giving praise with a wink and a nod.

Today, over 100 years old, he sits in a sunlit room cleaning his unloaded rifle next to a stack of dusty vinyl LPs and new CDs still covered in shrink wrap, daydreaming about balalaikas and the frozen steppes of his misspent youth.

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