When He Fell Asleep

I have always been a tall girl. And although it would leave me without a dancing partner at all the school parties, it still had its benefits. One of them was the ability to enter the discos without being asked for an ID. So, my club life started when I was 14. Foreigners who come to Azerbaijan often ask me why such a big city has only a couple of clubs worth going to. They have no idea that only 9 years ago we had a whole network of nice clubs and new ones emerging every day. And there are reasons some of them got shut down.

I heard the name of this guy R when I was 15. A friend of family who was a head of security in one of the biggest clubs back then, came to us on the dance floor and asked to leave, because R was there. He was with friends and all of them were armed. R was a nephew of a Big Guy, so security was not allowed to do anything.

So we left. A couple of days later this family friend told us the guy is an often guest there, and his favorite way of clubbing is asking someone to do something and when they refuse he takes the gun out and threatens to shoot. He would make random people sing, random girls hang out with him. The only time R met actual resistance, was when he tried to do the same with another Big Guy’s nephew. A couple of years later the club was shut down.

There was another club this R guy liked a lot. He even had a table always reserved for him. The window near this table was missing glass for months. When we got curious and asked why, one of the security guys said they used to change it every day and then decided it was useless. Why? Because the most favorite way of spending time for R in this club, was getting drunk and then shooting through this window. This club got closed even sooner than the first one.

In my university I had a friend – an extremely nice girl with life principles who had a dream to become a theatre director. She had a close friend, a guy, who also seemed nice. She had no idea the guy was a pimp. One day I received a call from her mother who was scared to death and couldn’t find her daughter. In her last call to her mother the girl managed to say she was kidnapped by R and didn’t know where they were going. Later that night she called, said she was in a taxi and asked to meet her somewhere on the way.

Her friend basically sold her to the guy in the middle of a day.

“I ran away when he fell asleep”, she told us.

She wasn’t the only girl there. She also wasn’t the first one. A friend of their family who was a police officer, told her mother not to fill any complaints, because “those who tried it before got beaten up and threatened”.


I was riding a bus this afternoon, when two girls sitting next to me were discussing this article, about Serj Sargsyan’s brother, who started a shooting in a restaurant.

“It’s terrible”, one of them said, “look how bad it is there”.

They had no idea how bad it was and still is here. No, the gun problem is not big in Azerbaijan, random people don’t have an access to arms. Those who do – are the problem, because they are also untouchable.

But as it always is in this part of the world, most of the people have no idea about these things. Because they don’t publish this kind of news nowadays, and those who did back then don’t do it anymore. And there are reasons for this too.