Zacharov was in his Moscow apartment. The apartment was dark except for the glow of the 15 computer screens, each manned by a trained hacker.
He was working on a plan for Putin. He thought he noticed that information was being downloaded from Hillary’s server. He read the latest email sent from the Brooklyn staff servers — the motherlode of secret information.
Putin’s instructions were specific. “I want to know what she is communicating to that damn Obama,” Putin wrote. “I want to get to the bottom of understanding what he really is. I hate him because every time we are together at a meeting he is the big guy and I’m the little guy.”
“I’m very close to a breakthrough, another few hours,” Zacharov told him.
His hackers had inserted a malicious code in six of Hillary’s computers. There was a lot of junk of no importance: what kind of baby food are the grandkids eating, what time was her hatha yoga class, the installation of the washer-dryers in the Chappaqua house, when will the hairdresser be coming into the house before the Western trip? What color should the seats of the campaign plane be?
As he was reading these he was about to give up. But something new came in. He leaned forward, thinking this would be just what Vlad wanted.
It was on Bill’s computer, a burst of text. “When can we meet? Can you find the time to get away from your wife? From Melania.”
“Yes, if you can get away from Donald,” was the answer.
She recommended the Holiday Inn in Tarrytown. “It’s the only hotel here that Donald doesn’t own.”
Zacharov rubbed his hands together in pleasure and phoned Putin immediately.
“Vlad, I have great news,” he said, and told him what he found.
Putin was upset; he shouted at him. This had nothing to do with Obama.
“In 1992 I was the head to the KGB,” he said, “and we tapped phones before there were computers, and I knew about conversations between Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers. I leaked it, and everyone in the United States knew about it. And what happened? Bill Clinton was elected. Not just elected, but over his term he reduced the deficit of the government and made it stronger than ever before.”
“Kill this project, scrub your computers, and erase your hard disks!” Putin yelled.
Zacharov gave the order to his group, and hoped somehow he could help in 2020.
Putin went to his dacha, took off his shirt, and went out for a gallop on his horse. And the project was closed.
Putin transferred Zacharov to Siberia.
Harry E. Heller is a memoirist, novelist, and a member of the Amagansett Writers Cooperative.