Bogdan Bogdanovic exited the restaurant feeling somewhat disquieted. His food had been good and the service impeccable, but there had been a pair of besuited men sitting at a faraway table who had spent their entire meal just staring at him. It made Bogdan wonder if there was some distant family member in Serbia who had unpaid debts so substantial that goons had been sent after the one person in the family who could afford to pay up. But that didn’t make sense either, because the two men had complimented their waitress on the food in perfect English, something that wouldn’t be expected of Serbian hitmen.
Bogdan had walked about half the distance to his car before he noticed that he was being followed. Followed by the same two men wearing dark suits and sunglasses. Now Bogdan was very worried. He started walking faster, and in response, his pursuers also quickened their pace. When he started lightly jogging, the two men also began to jog, never closing the distance, but maintaining sight of him.
When Bogdan rounded the last street corner, he was relieved to see his car still parked where he expected it. However, his relief turned to dread when he noticed that all four tires had been removed. Now he was sure he was being targeted – but by who, and for what reason, he couldn’t even begin to guess.
There was no time to ponder the question further, because, at that moment, Bogdan heard the clattering of two sets of feet running towards him. The only thing he could think to do was also run. At the very least, his superior athleticism and more appropriate footwear would allow him outpace the two men, who were encumbered by dress shoes. Ducking down into an alley, Bogdan then rounded the corner onto another street, hoping that taking a circuitous path would help him shed his pursuers quicker.
A fast-moving black helicopter suddenly flew overhead, deafening Bogdan with its noise as it skimmed just fifty feet over the tops of nearby buildings. Doubtlessly, the agents in the air were communicating with the agents on the ground. There was no hope of evading them on foot. As the helicopter receded, Bogdan glimpsed its insignia: the FBI. That answered one question, but introduced countless others. The most illegal thing he could remember doing was watching sped-up, letterboxed versions of Serbian cartoons on YouTube.
Out of the corner of his eye, Bogdan noticed a long-haired, skinny man standing on the next corner. He was holding out a skateboard, as if offering it to Bogdan. After a quick look over his shoulder to verify that he was still being chased, Bogdan ran over to the man, whose t-shirt, Bogdan noted with confusion, bore the image of a sunglasses-wearing Ersan Ilyasova.
“I think you’re gonna need this,” the man said, casually looking up as the helicopter made another pass. “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” Bogdan replied, barely breaking stride to take the skateboard and set it down in front of him. He had ridden a little bit as a teenager, and was skilled enough to stay on the board without falling off, so he rapidly put some distance between him and the men who were still on foot.
This success was short-lived, however, as a black, unmarked SUV soon appeared behind him. He pumped his leg furiously, but it was no use; there was no outrunning a motor vehicle on a skateboard. Seeing one last chance for escape, he veered to the right, where some kind of drainage ditch or canal cut through the warehouse district he was now in. The canal was protected by a fence, but there was a section where the fence was missing and a ramp had been propped up against the wall; obviously, some other daredevil had previously attempted what Bogdan was about to.
Bogdan ramped up and over the canal. As he flew through the air, completing a full 360 thanks to his off-balance approach, the helicopter flew by again. This time, the passenger was leaning out of it with a machine gun in his hands, trying to take out the target once and for all. Behind him, the SUV crashed into the wall, bursting into flames and sending flaming shrapnel in all directions. A piece of it hit the blade of the low-flying helicopter, throwing it out of balance and sending it careening into a building, where it also exploded.
He landed back on the ground with the skateboard squarely underneath him, and thought he was free until he hit a bump in the pavement and went sprawling to the ground. Immediately, one of the original two men was on top of him. “Bojan Bogdanovic, you are under arrest for stealing top secret hair-loss remedies from the United States government.”
Bogdan paused for a second, trying to process what he had been told. “Uh, I’m not Bojan. I’m Bogdan. Different spelling.”
“Oh,” said the agent, getting back to his feet awkwardly. “You tell anybody this happened and we deport you. Have a nice day.” And he ran off.
Bogdan felt there was part of this story that he was missing. Shrugging, he got back on his skateboard and skated away.