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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Loneliness of the Long-Range Forecaster

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[Live transcription: Channel 4, in-progress record starting 10:23 p.m.]

NewsTeam4 Anchorman: And now here's our own Anatoly Sidorov with the weather forecast for Moscow and the region. Over to you, Tolya. [Pause] I said over to you. ... Tolya?

Anatoly Sidorov: Cold.

NT4Am: Ha-ha. [Pause] Um, do you have some statistics for us, Tolya?

AS: No. Still cold, that's it.

NT4Am: Ah, seriously, what can we expect for a low tomor...

AS: Look, it's going to be colder than a witch's [vulgar anatomical reference] again, all right?!? Nothing personal, Masha.

NewsTeam4 Anchorwoman: What, how dare ...

AS: Shut up, all of you, just shut up! You people don't give the real news -- why should I give the real weather?

[Voice rising] I know you blame me for it anyway! But it's not my fault, OK? I just come in here and do my job every day, and you act like I make the ****ing weather myself or something! I see you talking, don't think I don't!

[Stands up, begins to shout] What if I say it's going to be plus 25 and sunny tomorrow? Will you be happy then? Well it IS! All you have to do is go to Bali! There, that's truer than anything you've said tonight! Here it's going to be really cold and I hope you all get frostbite walking out to your ****ing Audis!

NT4Am: Tolya, you're raving! [Perspiration visible on brow]Heh-heh, who's in the booth tonight -- Volodya, are we still on? We are? Holy ****! [Calmingly] Um, Tolik, you remember that form you signed when you joined us here at Chan...

AS: [Shouting, increasingly hoarse] And it's all politics anyway: I loved the oligarchs, okay, I just loved 'em -- Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky -- they didn't mind the real news OR the real weather, and you hated their guts for it! So you kicked them out of the country or sent them to Siberia to freeze and die! You bastards! I can't stand it any more, I tell you -- so today I brought THIS!

NT4Aw: Oh my God, he's got a bazooka!

NT4Am: That's not a bazooka you nitwit, it's a snowblower.

AS: Let her think it's a bazooka, dirtbag, I don't care. Anyway, you asked for this, all of you happy-talking no-news-reporting ice holes! [Turns on electric-powered snowblower.]

NT4am [Shouting above the roar] WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO ACCOMPL...


AS: IDIOTS! YOU'RE ALL HAPPYTALK-NEWSTEAM-LYING-FOR-THE-STATE MORONS! I HATE YOU, DO YOU HEAR ME, AND I WON'T PIMP THE WEATHER FOR YOU ANY MORE! [Turns dial to HIGH setting and plunges foot into adjacent water bucket. The lights in the stage area dim, then become very bright. A loud explosion follows.]

NT4Am: My God, he electrocuted himself live on state television. Did you get that shot on camera two, Vanya, I mean when he blew? Whoa, you ever see hair do that before? Eww, kind of a bad smell though, huh? Anyway, we're journalists and this is an exclusive for us. What a story!

[Adjusts earpiece] What, Volodya? Right. Okay. [Resumes controlled voice] Yes, it's a strange story indeed: Who'd've thought that this Anatoly Sidorov was an Islamic terrorist? [Pause] And part of an illegal formation of armed separatists too. [Pause] I think we can all be grateful that the FSB planted one of their anti-terrorist self-detonating fake snowblowers on him.

NT4Aw: Wow, Chechens armed with snowblowers. Is my hair all right? His setting was way too high.

NT4Am: Some people will probably miss this man, Sidorov, even if he was, as we now know, the kind of terrorist scum you have to splatter across the walls of an outhouse. I, for one, won't. Anyway, our live NewsTeam4 nightly coverage continues with Sergei Petrov and all the sports. Sergei?

Sergei Petrov: [Pause] What?

NT4Am: Um, so what's new in the positive, upbeat world of sports, where our heroically not-doped-up athletes continue their victorious post-Olym...

SP: [Coming out of shock, clearly disturbed] Oh, right, Tolya's dead and I'm supposed to segue right into my nightly hysterical-nationalist cheerleading?!? No way! Tolya was right. I quit!

[Pointing at control booth] You're all insufferable bought-off phonies in there, and you should be ashamed of yourselves! Hey Volodya, if I had a big-enough spy rock I'd smash your knuckles with it! Wait, I might have something even better in the sports desk here for your news-monkey-in-chief [lowers head and rummages around below desk level]. Ah, here you go, catch THIS!

NT4Aw: What's he waving? It's way too thin to be a bazooka, I mean, a snowblower.

NT4Am: Um, that's right, Masha, it appears to be high-jump bar or, no wait, I think it's a javel... [ffwwwtttt sound as flying javelin enters anchorman's upper thorax] Ha-ha, yes, it's a javelin all righooohhhhaaarrrgggghhh [collapsing to floor, javelin extended through chest cavity and exiting beneath right shoulder blade] Back to you, Masha.

NT4Aw: Um, Volodya, I think we really, really need to go to a commercial now. My hair's about had it.

Mark H. Teeter, former opinion page editor of The Moscow Times, teaches English and Russian-American relations in Moscow.