After years on the lam, world-class criminal mastermind Ivanka Trump must come out of hiding to find her long-lost husband.
Una Donna Sconosciuta
“Vuole qualcosa di più, signora?”
“No, grazie,” the woman smiled. As the waiter walked back inside, she placed her paper on the table and, running a hand through her cropped, jet-black hair, looked out across the piazza. She closed her eyes and angled her face up at the waning evening light, when she was startled by a name she hadn’t heard uttered in years.
Greetings from Crimea
Ivanka unclasped her shutters and pulled them open. “Give it a minute. It won’t be so stuffy.” The man grunted in response, and keeping his hands in his pockets, he surveyed the stucco-walled, sparsely decorated living room, sweeping his socked feet along the cool, burgundy tile floor. Though outside the sun had fallen below the tops of the surrounding buildings, the earth seemed to still radiate with the day’s baked-in heat. “Do you want a drink?” Ivanka crossed the room to a small bar set up in the corner.
“They’re playing Taylor’s latest video everywhere around here.” She looked back at him over her shoulder as she filled a glass with champagne, flashing a wry grin. “Kay certainly looks healthy.”
“I may have a lead on where he is, Vank.” Ivanka set the bottle down hard on the table. A dog barked in the courtyard below.
“He’s dead, Josh.”
Josh sat down in a wicker chair and proffered a postcard from his inside jacket pocket. “I received this in the mail last week. Postmarked Simferopol.” Ivanka stepped across the room to where Josh sat and took the postcard from his hand. There was no message written. She flipped it over to the front, and emblazoned across the top of a photograph of a cathedral were the words “Greetings from Crimea.”
A Brother’s Intuition
“Mind if I vape?”
“No, please. The fog helps keep my skin dewy.” Ivanka continued to study the postcard, flipping it over again and again, as if some new clue would suddenly manifest itself. “Christ, Josh, this could’ve come from anyone. The Main Directorate. Deutsche Bank. There may still be an outstanding account with a Central Park West body image coach. Someone’s trying to set you up.”
“I’ve received plenty of those. Ruses. Red herrings. This is different. I have a feeling about this one.”
“A feeling. I certainly had a feeling, too, when I received Jared’s severed hand by way of DHL.”
“Pssh,” Josh shook his head. “You know how many stray men’s hands they have lying around the crown prince’s palace?”
“With fingers that dainty?”
Josh drained the last of his Bellini. “Think, Vank. If he is alive, that could be your ticket back.”
“One thing’s for certain,” Josh said, standing from the wicker chair and stepping over to the window, “you’re not safe here.” He placed his glass on the window sill. “I mean, if I can find you.”
Ivanka watched Josh take a long pull from his vape pen. A dense, peach-flavored cloud escaped between his smiling lips. She sighed. “You have a big fucking mouth, Josh.”
“It’s one of my best features,” he shrugged. “I got us a couple tickets on the regional train to Milan. I figure from ther—” The words seemed to catch in his throat. He coughed, his hand absently undoing the top button of his shirt. “Flom thur we cah—” He braced himself against the windowsill as he continued to hack. He looked up at Ivanka, his eyes filled with sudden shock and disdain.
“You have plenty of other fine features, as well, Josh,” Ivanka grinned, “not least of which being your taste in champagne cocktails.”
Josh’s hand slipped from the window sill, and he collapsed onto the tile floor, his cough abating as his body went still. Ivanka quickly crossed over to where he lay and began rifling through his pockets, removing his cell phone, two train tickets, and a small tube of high-end moisturizer, before moving over to the bar in the corner and sliding out a compact roller suitcase from the space underneath. She secured the cell phone and train tickets, along with the postcard, in an exterior pouch, and without looking back, grabbed the suitcase’s telescoping handle and exited the apartment, shutting the door behind her.
Train to Milan
Ivanka balanced a corner of the postcard on her knee, absently rotating it around, as she watched the countryside roll past her train window. Just a couple more hours to Milan. She figured once there, she’d run down her list of contacts. Certainly, she must have a friend left in that city who could help arrange a transport, or at the very least, some dego sap with modest influence and a penchant for soft-spoken, Monica Vitti types.
She glanced down again at the postcard. Greetings from Crimea. Ivanka remembered the first trip she took with Jared to Simferopol. They had made a brief stopover on their way back from the G20 summit to talk business with Konstantin. She was so taken with Jared’s quiet genius; the way he was able to convince Konstantin to accept swing state voter data in exchange for exclusive building rights on Ukraine’s largest landfill for herring carcasses.
But after all, that was a lifetime ago.
Monica Vitti’s Papers
“So, it’s ready, then?” Ivanka asked, following a squat, besuited man to a desk in the rear of his office. She glanced around the room and noted that the space, with its high ceilings, brand new fixtures, and chic decor, belied the man’s chosen line of work. Behind him, an expansive window looked down upon the train station’s pale facade.
“Is fast order. Not easy,” the man said. He bent down behind his desk and unlocked the bottom drawer.
“Your man said three days. It’s been a week already. I’m nearly on a first-name basis with the guys who sell slap bracelets in front of the Duomo.”
He chuckled and, fishing out a red passport from the drawer, slapped the booklet on the desktop. “Is good work. You see?” The man grinned. He had yellow-stained, watery eyes. Half of a pencil mustache terminated in a splotchy scar that Ivanka guessed had been caused by an old chemical burn.
She picked up the passport and quickly scanned its pages. “Checks out. Grazie,” she said, slipping the booklet into her pocket.
“Is nothing, signora.” His eyes lingered over her as he absently stroked the single end of his mustache. “You remind me of somebody, signora. You know?”
Ivanka took a tentative step back. “No.”
“Ah! Monica Vitti!” The man clapped his hands, and Ivanka smiled. He laughed loudly. “L’eclisse!”
A Stroll Through the Gardens
The days in Simferopol tend to run together, particularly when your innkeeper only serves borscht. Ivanka hadn’t dared look into her toilet since she arrived.
Progress was slow to nil. She had to tread carefully. There were quite a few people in the region who would’ve been interested to learn of her return. Of course, many of them were dead now. Dead or in the wind, like her. All the more reason why Ivanka thought Jared’s presence in Simferopol to be unlikely. But then, why was she there? Due diligence? Wishful thinking? Or maybe she’d simply wanted to practice her patronyms.
Ivanka had taken to strolling around the university’s botanical gardens in the afternoons. Despite herself, she’d felt drawn to its winding, tree-lined paths, its long rows of flowers. When she and Jared were there years before, they had spent hours in the garden taking in the sights, making future plans, and discussing the respective values of various accounts on the books at Deutsche Bank.
Ivanka approached the edge of a small meadow, reached into her coat pocket, and pulled out the postcard. She read its face again. Greetings from Crimea. A postcard is a message, but also a keepsake.
A smile crept across Ivanka’s face. It was a funny thing, memory.
Andy Newton is a writer living in Astoria, Queens. His work has been published by National Lampoon and McSweeney’s.