‘Moon Over’ Chapter Alert: Where’s Juliette?

It’s H-Hour, time for Dima to escape Berlin, but those KGB officers staking out the apartment have other ideas. As do squads of Soviet soldiers. Will our pair of would-be lovers and their friends reach the West? Find out in this exciting chapter!

As convenient and inexpensive as the Duty Train was, one major disadvantage was all the hassle at Soviet checkpoints. Russian soldiers didn’t actually enter the train, but they slowed progress by carefully examining paperwork and comparing counts at each stop. My own memories of the train are filled with slow lurches and the hiss of air brakes as the train crawled in and out of checkpoints. It made a night’s sleep less than entirely restful.

If Mark, Juliette, or Ian had ever taken the train, they could have relieved much of Dima’s anxiety by explaining the routine. Sadly for him, they’re all Duty Train virgins!

Crossing the inner-German border was always a telling experience. West German villages and farms were tidy, esthetically pleasing, and clearly prosperous — in stark contrast to their Eastern counterparts, which seemed for the most part dingy and shabby when one could spot them.

Speaking of shabby, this is photo of a Duty Train sleeper car taken in the late 80s. See the ashtrays on the walls? Yes, people smoked!

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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