I received yet another Skype call from the Penniless Pensioner currently residing in Tirana Albania at 4 a.m. Toronto time. The poor fellow was distraught as Lola Freiberg aka the Tirana Tigress had been arrested by the Albanian Interior Ministry police and was in the notorious Tirana Prison for Hardened Criminals. What the charges were he did not know but he had been made a deal by the Albanian Ministry of the Interior to release her. Highly dangerous if not a fatal assignment so he wanted to talk to me as a friend and consigliere.
So I hop on a Turkish Air flight to Istanbul and connect on Air Albania and 20 hours after leaving Toronto I limp into the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Tirana and meet PP in a private conference room he has rented. Some burly men in tight fitting suits were leaving the room when I arrived and was given a big hug by PP. He explained those burly men were checking the room was not bugged. We have some watery Albanian beer and beef tongue flavoured potato chips and get down to business.
He tells me Lola the Tirana Tigress has been arrested and is in custody but he has not been advised what the charges are. He says the Albanians are not quite familiar with the “rule of law”. Representatives of the Albanian Ministry of the Interior have made him the following deal. Lola will be released if PP does the following. A large delegation of Iranians is arriving for a visit to the Albanian Freedom University in Tirana for an academic roundtable. They are then going to the Blue Sarada Hotel in Vlora on the Adriatic Coast for a series of meetings on tourism. In the Iranian delegation there are 7 high ranking officials including military officers. These 7 will lead a coup d’état in Iran ousting the theocracy. Many “leading countries” are willing to support and recognize the new regime. My assignment is to deliver to General Abapoof a terminal which when pressed will transfer 89 million USD to an Isle of Man Trussler Bank account which will be used to fund the coup. In return the new regime will have “friendly government” technicians rewire and reprogram 400 drones left in the 2400 sold to the Russians so that after the Russians fire these purchased drones targeting Ukraine they will within 3 hours be redirected to where they were fired from so many will land in military bases in Russia. Twenty will be redirected to the Kremlin. Many will also be directed to Russian army barracks, power plants and water treatment plants. The message is to give back to Russia some of what they gave to Ukraine. This will result in the “elimination” of Mr. President unless he is deep in his bunker! No drones will be directed to hospitals, kindergartens, seniors’ residences and train stations or civilian airports unlike in the Russian Ukrainian genocidal playbook.
If the Russians have any inkling of what is going on PP says he will be dead but certain” Western intelligence sources” say PP is not on the Russian or Iranian intelligence radar. PP is known for his covert financial transactions although as for his working for Bernie Madoff well he denies any wrongdoing. Once the funds are transferred Lola will be free like a bird.
After our chat PP seemed to be his old self. The man was on fire for Lola and would do anything to get his “sweet pea” back. So before heading back so I could hit the sack we decided to chill a bit and have some of that Pinot Noir I brought with me as he had requested.
PP was adventuresome and had tried all varieties of Albanian wine and had his favourites but there was nothing like a good Pinot Noir to ease the many substandard Albanian wines he had been subjected to. I will try and describe his opinion as suffering from jet lag and twisted limbs causing me some pain and a badly swollen ankle I did not have the coherence to make any serious commentary, So I try and quote his opinion on a Christopher Michael 2019 Pinot Noir from Oregon;
“Some of this Albanian wine is rough and abrasive and smells like dirty socks and wet cement. The commies here ruined the wine industry so they had to start rebuilding it. It will take some time. This Pinot Noir has a finesse and delicacy that perhaps in a decade or two the Albanians can try and emulate. It smells like wine! Well actually there is some raspberry, strawberry jam and fresh picked Albanian country cherries as its bouquet. It tastes like real sophisticated juice! Elegant, refined and sensual but it has traction and grip in a delicate way unlike so much Albanian plonk. It has a touch of chocolate on the finish. Acids and tannins are restrained. It would suit some Tave Kosi a popular lamb dish. I would give this wine a 92 but I am so starved for good Pinot Noir perhaps my rating is unreliable.”
PP drops a bombshell telling me his snookums’ Lola is pregnant! PP is going to be a father!
(Christopher Michael Northwest Winemakers 2019 Pinot Noir, Christopher Michael Wines, Tualatin, Oregon, $ 20.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 25111, 750 mL, 13%, Penniless Pensioner Wine Ranking 92/100).