After the Polish border next came Ukrainian passport control. A fat young man leaned through the door. He waited for his dyed-blonde female colleague, then started to have an argument with her about who should look at my passport:
"This one is your compartment."
"What are you talking about, I just did that one!"
"But we each do every second one, and this one is yours"
and so on... Eventually the blonde pushed him out of the way and demanded my passport while he leered fatly, blocking the doorway.
She held my passport up and made me turn my head this way and that
"Pokhozh?" I asked, to break the silence and trying to turn on charm.
"Ne ochen'" she snapped back "you should have curly hair. And glasses."
"I have lenses, and that was ten years ago."
She snapped my passport shut, harrumphed, and swept out.
A little later they passed on the platform outside and their voices floated through the window "what are you always getting at me for?" whined the fat one "you're always complaining. You're meant to do one, then I do the next one." Her answer, delivered with projecting chin was aggressively indecipherable as they disappeared gesticulating into the darkness.