Red Phone to Moscow (Bram Riddlebarger)

I was once inside the Pentagon. I was deep inside the secret heart of America. I was in the room with the red phone to Moscow. There it sat. There were many computers doing the job. Perhaps ten soldiers manned the desks. The soldiers didn’t mind that my wife and I were there with our two young children, one infant and the other two-years-old, but the commanding officer wasn’t happy. He didn’t care that we had cleared the four or five levels of security that it had taken to get to the room with the red phone to Moscow. We were civilians in another America, one that isn’t part of the map. My maniac child, my two-year-old, didn’t care that we were standing in a room that not many Americans would ever see, except perhaps a bogus representation of on TV. No, this room was a state of war. We only stayed a few minutes. Maybe even only one minute and thirty-two seconds. Then we were shown another room. A room where there was no red phone to Moscow. My two-year-old ran screaming through the pentagon hallways, past a few potted plants that may have been intelligence-gathering soldiers in potted plant suits.

The room with the red phone to Moscow was not unlike the steam inside a sweat lodge. But I am not allowed to talk about that either.

It led me everywhere in America.


Bram Riddlebarger is the author of two novels and several books of poems. His latest, Western Erotica Ho, is available from Trident Press. He lives in Southeastern Ohio.


image: Blake Levario