Coming from a village outside of the city of Riga, Latvia, Boris and Irina were not ready for the metropolis that is New York City. From the minute they landed on their gigantic 747 airplane, they felt like they were in a completely different world. Maybe the couple needed this completely different world in order to awaken themselves. Although they had been married for 3 years now, Boris and Irina seemed to have lost interest in one another. So one day, Irina decided for them to go to New York City (“the capital of the world“) so that they can experience the youth of their lives once again.
The taxi cab pulls up to the airport and Boris and Irina settle in their car. On the drive from JFK airport to their posh Midtown hotel in NYC, they were completely in awe with what they saw. The enormous skyscrapers that towered above their heads and the cars navigating the city’s vast networks of highways were too much to handle at once. They couldn’t believe how different their hometown was from this huge metal and concrete city. Once they arrived, they decided to start their stay off with a romantic encounter. Boris and Irina’s love life was a simple one coming into their stay in NYC. But once the couple saw the lavish hotel room, something clicked inside them. Boris and Irina indulged in twisted fantasies which included locking one another in handcuffs and aggressive forms of passion. The journey to New York had sparked something inside of them that they had not felt since before they were married. Once they were done playing their love games, the couple headed to one of the many buzzing cafes in Midtown and discussed their plans for the following day in New York.
“Would you like some coffee?” Boris asked Irina.
Irina who was too busy studying the map at the moment simply nodded.
“I cannot wait to visit all of the bars and exciting nightlife that New York City has!” she exclaimed.
“It will bring back the days of our youth,” Boris answered.
After consuming their espresso and having a salad, the couple went back to the hotel and prepared for a night out on the town.
“I think we should take the subway,” Irina exclaimed.
“You really want the real experience of New York I guess,” Boris answered.
After getting on the downtown 6 train the couple traveled to Greenwich Village and got off the train at Astor Place. When getting out from the subway, they saw a younger couple staring at them.
“Do you needed directions?” asked the younger man.
“We are looking for the Greenwich Village Lounge,” Irina answered.
“Oh its about 7 blocks from here. Why don’t you follow us?” the young woman responded.
“Thanks so much for your help,” Boris said.
The couple looked at one another and a grin appeared on their faces.
“You must be from out of town,” the man said.
“Yep. We are from a small town just outside of Riga, Latvia,” Boris exclaimed.
“Are you two related. Maybe you’re her uncle or older cousin?” the young woman asked questioningly.
“No! We are actually married,” Irina said with an annoyed tone.
“Oh. Sorry about that. Its just your husband looks so much older than you I didn’t even realize,” the woman said blushing.
The four people then walked through the city heading towards the nightclub. Boris and Irina looked up at all the skyscrapers and snapped photos of some of them. When they arrived at the nightclub, Boris and Irina let loose. They ordered drink after drink and shot after shot while the young couple simply watched them with grins on their faces. Irina wanted to dance and quickly pulled Boris to the dance floor. Irina danced provocatively to the hip hop beats being played in the club. Boris could hardly stand and went to sit down. After a while, Irina followed him and sat down on a couch. The young couple then made their move. They asked Boris and Irina to join them in their apartment in Brooklyn. Irina thought it would be a great experience because they would get to see NYC from behind the scenes in the outer borough. After all, Boris and Irina embarked on this trip to experience a new, yet real experience.
Boris and Irina awoke the next morning in a daze sleeping next to the young couple. All of the people in the bed were naked with their clothes remaining outside of the apartment door. Boris and Irina looked shocked at first and then tried to recollect what happened. Slowly but surely, their memories began to come back to them. Irina pictured in her head the wild escapade that the four had the night before. The couple noticing that Boris and Irina had awoken and begun to remember moved towards them again. NYC had changed Boris and Irina and you could tell this because of the way they were so accepting. Before Boris and Irina left the apartment, the four had an even wilder escapade than before this one filled with vodka, patron, grey goose, Budweiser, Heineken, Coors Lite. Boris and Irina thanked the couple not realizing they were taken advantage of headed back to their hotel room in Midtown.
Boris and Irina spent the next couple of days traveling the city and visiting the most famous sights such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center and Times Square. The couple avoided the nightlife for a few days and returned to their hotel at midnight the latest on certain nights. The day before their vacation was set to end, Irina came up with an idea to visit another club while the couple was at the hotel restaurant eating dinner. So that night, the couple embarked upon another adventure, this time to Lower Manhattan.
Boris and Irina took the R train to Rector street and walked around the city with one of their many maps. Once again, like that other night when they went to the bar, they couldn’t find their destination.
“Lets ask for help,” Boris told Irina.
“Why? So we can find two freaks like last time,” Irina said laughing.
The couple decided to ask for directions and this time encountered a couple about the same age as Boris, around 40 years old. They seemed a lot more friendlier and normal then the first couple they encountered a few nights ago. They helped bring Boris and Irina to the nightclub and then decided to join them as well. Boris and Irina behaved the same exact way they did the first night at the nightclub. They drank excessive amounts of alcohol and even smoked a few cigarettes. They danced provocatively to almost every song and seemed to really be improving their relationship. After a fun night of dancing and partying, Boris and Irina were invited by the couple, Alex and Nicole back to their apartment up in the Bronx. Irina and Boris not learning from the last time politely agreed to come.
After arriving in the apartment, Boris, Irina, Alex and Nicole wined and dined while listening to music. It was a much different atmosphere from the last time they had stayed in an apartment. Irina didn’t like it though. She thought there was something fishy about the couple. She looked around the apartment and saw satanic references all around. All the rooms were painted a dark and uninviting color. She signaled towards Boris and spoke to him quietly.
“I don’t like the way this house looks.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“I don’t know maybe I’m just hallucinating but I’m getting a bad vibe.”
“Maybe you should take a nap? We are having a nice conversation going on over there and that will give you some time to relax and rest.”
“Alright that’s what I will do. I was feeling dizzy and queasy anyway so that might be the best thing for me to do.”
Irina slept peacefully until she was awoken by the shrieks of someone. She looked up and there was her husband bleeding profusely on the floor. She tried to intervene and help but she was whacked in the head with a kitchen pan by Nicole. As she struggled to get up she made a gruesome discovery. Her husband had been stabbed with something in his chest. He was gasping for air while Nicole went to help him. She had one last look at Alex and Nicole before Alex punched her right in the face.
It was sometime before she got up from the brutal punch but when she did she immediately dialed 911. She looked at the dead corpse of her husband and then looked at the empty bags that had their valuables in it. She transitioned into a dazed state and didn’t know what to do. When the cops arrived, they asked to talk to her but she couldn’t say a word. She wouldn’t drink or eat anything. The cops were left with only one choice and brought her to the hospital for an evaluation. Irina was distraught without her husband and her parents flew into NYC to come and get her. Irina walked like a zombie to the airplane waiting to take her and her family back to Latvia and left a completely changed person then what she was when she first arrived in NYC.
Interviewer: How did you come about writing the story?
Me: I came about writing the story because of my interest in NYC. Since I lived here all my life, I wanted to write my travel story on a place that I am faimiliar with. I also wanted to put a new mix into my story. Instead of having the main characters travel to remote places, I wanted them to travel to one of the biggest cities on Earth and then I wanted to show the effect of the big city on them.
Interviewer: What were your intentions in writing this story?
Me: When writing this story, I wanted to incorporate some typical themes of travel into my work. I intended this story to be a work that incoporated the elements of S&M, miscommunication, death, authenticity, drinking, romance, sickness, asking for directions/getting lost, maps, transformation and interacting with locals.
Interviewer: Why did you make the story the way you did?
Me: I structured the story in a unique way. I wanted to include some dialogue but let the focus of the story be on describing what the characters were doing. I incorporated all of the elements I mentioned above so that my story would follow the guidelines of most travel stories.
Interviewer: Why did you leave out the names of the first couple?
Me: I left out the names of that couple because I wanted that scene to seem like a quick blur for the readers. I wanted them to get the sense of miscommunication and obscurity that the characters in this scene were feeling with their encounter with the couple.
Interviewer: Why did you start the story and end the story with coming from and going to the airport?
Me: I started my story with Boris and Irina coming from the airport so that I could put their transformation into greater light. I wanted to show the readers what they were seeing was astonishing to them and that it was completely different from their home. I ended the story with Irina going to the airport with her family because I wanted to show another transformation at the end as well. Irina wasn't the same person she was before she arrived in NYC and wasn't the same person that was in NYC either.
Interviewer: Was your age difference in the relationship a reference to Sputnik Sweetheart?
Me: Yes. I wanted my main characters to have a lot of years seperating them so that the readers can understand they didn't have a normal relationship. I wanted their relationship to be one of the main focuses of the story.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to not elaborate on the good parts of the trip in NYC but instead describe the unfortunate moments?
Me: By describing the worse moments of the trip I think this fit in with the themes that I was trying to imply in my story. These themes are used in most travel stories such as The Comfort of Strangers, Death in Venice, Sputnik Sweetheart etc. I didn't want to write a story that had to do with the pleasures of travel. My main focus was to present the dangers of travel that are accompanied with the search of transforming one's self and finding a new centre. By having my main characters go to a foreign land, this would show the longing they had to experience this change. However, foreign places may not always be the best answer to these themes. Often the natives of the lands these tourists visit can prove to be deadly which is what I wanted to expose to my readers.
Interviewer: Why did you choose to write the story in the 3rd person?
Me: I thought that it would be easier to convey the thoughts and discussions that the characters had by writing my story in this way. I wanted the readers to really gain knowledge on my main characters Boris and Irina. This is something they would have been unable to do if I wrote the story in the 1st person. By having the readers able to understand Irina's actions, this gives them a clearer interpretation of the story and they are able to see the change in the romantic lives of the main characters along with the change in thoughts of the main characters in general.
Interviewer: You seemed to make many references in your story to The Comfort of Strangers. Why is that?
Me: The Comfort of Strangers was a big influence of mine. I wanted to put my own twist on this story and thought that NYC would be a perfect place to set a similar story. I also wanted to add different elements of S&M to my story then to what was put into The Comfort of Strangers. I also wanted there to be violent scenes and I wanted the story to culminate in death just like The Comfort of Strangers.