“All of my adult life,” he said, with obvious pride. 


Dzhugashvili had come up north to this very honey plant, the largest in the region, and brought with him the age-old secrets of Georgian honey making.  Starting out as a mere smoker — “He who smokes the bees from their hives,” he explained — Dzhugashvili slowly rose to head smoker, and then senior head smoker, and then junior foreman, and then foreman, and then senior foreman’s brother-in-law, when his sister married.  It was, he assured the doctor, “a most prestigious post.  Prianik?”


“No, thank you.”


“They’re fresh from the baker,” said the Georgian, jiggling the basket of biscuits beneath Galashnikov’s nose.  “Are you sure?”


“Please, Mikhail Papavich, I must speak with you about Misha Temkin.”


Dzhugashvili sighed and set the basket down.  “Alas, poor Temkin.”


“You knew him well?”


“Apparently, no.”


“But he worked for you?”


“For three years, yes.  Such a young boy.  A bit sullen at times, but friendly enough, and!  He was a master honey man in the making.  His was a nascent ability to tell honey apart by colour or smell.  Either sufficed, and he would tell you the texture and taste, and species of flower.  Had he only stayed away from that riff-raff scoundrel Ovitch, Temkin could have gone far here at the honey plant.”