fiction, Uncategorized

Never Forget the Whore

I wanted to learn more about a Russian’s perspective on World War II, The Great Patriotic War, or according to some, simply THE WAR. Since paper turned out to be even more revisionist than memory, I asked around for those who may have lived through it. My friend Ivan’s grandmother spoke a bit of English and he arranged for me to meet her at her house on Tuesday. Her face was a mashing of slate and limestone, she had a button for one eye. She might have had hair, but it was hidden under a musty-green bonnet.

Her apartment was an antique apocalypse, strewn about were books, kettles, chair legs, mummified jars of pickled mysteries, numerous floral patterns creating an eclectic field of colorful dust-bunnies. Great booming closets and mirrored shelves lined every wall, housing dead photographs of even deader relatives. She navigated it well. In the kitchen she sat me in a chair with a flat piece of plywood nailed to two of the broken legs. I gingerly sat and took out my notebook.

“Tea?” she asked.

“With milk and sugar, please.”

She bustled about the dusty sink, taking tea from a tin and setting on an old kettle.

“So, how old were you during the war?” I said.

She didn’t turn. “Wait,” she said.

I waited, looking out the window through a mess of dead plants at the people walking past. It was summer in Saint Petersburg, finally. Outside people wore T-shirts and shorts with a desperateness that only comes in a place where summer is born a dead-leaf. The old woman came and sat across from me, placing a mug of plain black tea on my notebook.

“So, I am collecting stories from the war, from people who were alive and—”

“Bread?”

“Uh—no thank you,” I said, nervously. “So, I thought maybe we could start with the Siege of Leningrad, Ivan said you were a child when it happened?”

She looked out the window, then down at my notebook and untouched tea.

“You want to talk about the siege, but you don’t want bread?” she asked. She stood up and took a half-load of bread from a squirrely spot in a dirty cabinet. She cut a chunk and put it on a plate with some butter and a slice of cheese. I waited.

“Thank you,” I told her after she placed it beside my tea.

I took a bite.

“I remember going with my mother to bring bread to her sister,” she waved in a direction out of the window. “She lived not far from here. My mother would bring me with bread–we were more fortunate. She lived on the top floor of her building and people used to sleep in her stairwell, sleep until they died and there was no one to take them away, so they moved them into the windows. They put them there one on top of the other until there was no light in her building. Her children had died. I didn’t know them very well, but they died. My aunt too, one day. In her building she died because she wouldn’t eat, and they put her in one of the windows, too. I remember the darkness in the stairwell and I remember my mother didn’t cry.”

I didn’t write anything down as she spoke. She looked out of her window through the plants and sunshine. Her face suddenly went dark and she scowled at a woman passing.

“Her,” she said.

I looked. It was a young woman, she was wearing a light summer dress and she looked happy.

“She is a whore,” the she said. “She has been sleeping with the Jew who lives just there.” She pointed at a window, two floors up and across.

“He’s married,” she said ominously.

“Oh,” I managed, and with nothing else to say, I took a bite of my bread.

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fiction, Uncategorized

The Fruit Thief

Once upon a time there was a man who intended to build a fence around his small country home. He forgot. So, once upon a time there was a girl lost in the woods. She didn’t know she was lost, yet.

As she came across different things, she picked them up, looked them over and left them where they were. It was dark by the time she realized she was lost, and she said it aloud.

“Oh, I am lost.”

To her surprise, the forest answered, “I will help you,” it said. The girl looked around, suspicious that the voice of the forest would be so small. And there she found a caterpillar. She picked it up.

“You will help me get home?” she asked. The caterpillar smiled.

“Of course, I know the way well,” it said, “but you must wait for me. Place me in that tree over there and wait for three days, but whatever you do, do not eat the fruit of the tree.”

The girl, already hungry, looked up at the fruit.

“Why not?” she asked.

The caterpillar latched itself to a low branch and replied, “when I come back, I will need to eat, if you take it, I will surely starve.”

The little girl nodded and waited for the caterpillar to cover itself in a thin white cocoon. Then, she slept. When morning came, she picked the tree clean of fruit and began her walk home. As she went, she found the things she’d observed along her path and soon, she was home. Her father was outside building a fence.

She went inside to her room and tucked away the fruit in a cupboard. Three days later, a butterfly perched on her windowsill. She went over to tickle its wings as she often did with butterflies. This butterfly however, shied away, angry.

“You stole all of my fruit!” it accused her. At this she went to her cupboard and produced the fruit for the butterfly, untouched. The butterfly looked from her to the fruit, confused.

“Why?” it asked.

At this the girl shrugged. “You said you knew the way, so either you were lying and then I would have a whole bundle of fruit to myself, or you were telling the truth and you’d find your way to me, at which point–” the girl held the fruit out to the butterfly. The butterfly took it, grateful and began to eat.

“But you were lost.”

The little girl watched out the window as her father sat next to a half-finished fence.

“Things are often lost before they are found, if they can help it,” she said. The butterfly thanked the girl once more and flew off, leaving behind a couple pieces of fruit.

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fiction

Don’t be a Dick

I was in the shower when he first made contact.

“Hello.”

It came right out of my phone.

“Hello, Earth.”

I got out and looked at the phone. A gray faceless blob looked out at me with one foggy blue eye in the middle of it.

“Hello, can you all see me? Can you all understand me? I’m using this thing here, so everyone should be hearing me in their own colloquiality. If not, speak up now please.”

I heard it louder, from outside. I looked through the window and saw the same face-less blob, miles wide, staring down out of the sky.

“Alrighty. Hey–uh, so. I don’t really do this–I’m not supposed to do this. But, well– I was assigned to monitor your planet some hundred thousand or so years back.”

The thing made a goo-ey, gargle sound of delight.

“It was beautiful,” the thing continued. “But then you guys grew out of the muck and you were beautiful too, sometimes. Interesting, innovative; did you know you’re the only race in the whole universe to invent straws? Really! It is incredible, and the bendy-ones, get-outta here. Anyways. Lately you all have been doing a whole lot of fucked up shit. Which is fine, every species has their burdens to bear, but really. The murdering and the rape and the beating each other up all of the time, I mean–well, not the point. Point is, I’ve kinda grown attached to you guys. And uh–hm…sorry, I have never spoken in front of people before. I’ve been watching a buuunch of TEDx talks though, to prepare.”

The blob shifted around a bit on the screen and made another goo-ey sound before continuing; “yeah–so basically I’m gonna start zapping you guys. I have this zapper thing here and basically I can see everything all of you are doing all of the time and so like–if you’re gonna beat your kid, or rape someone, or eat someone else’s lunch out of the office fridge…”

There was a pause, the blob sat there. It gave me time to run out onto my porch to get a real good look at him. On the stairs I heard him mutter a bit and then say, “that–uh, that was a joke. Sorry–oh yeah, it isn’t funny. I got all mixed up, sorry guys. Sorry–so yeah if you do any of those things like that, you-know, I am gonna use my zappy thing here and then, well–yeah, your gone. Poof. Dead.”

“What do you guys think? I mean, I thought it was a pretty good idea. I don’t care about what any of you look like or who you bang, hah. But, you know, like I’m not gonna’ just kill random people. If you’re like…”

He ruminated a moment and then continued with more confidence, “like, a dick–yeah. Don’t be a dick. Just don’t beat people ’cause they look or think different than you, don’t hurt others or like, do the whole murder thing, you-know, like dick things. K?”

“Yeah–don’t be a dick and–like, everything is cool. You guys just used to be pretty cool and lately you’ve been a bunch of dicks. So, yeah. I think that covers everything, I hope you guys got something out of this, I know I have. Feeling pret-t-t-y good. Yeah. cool. K, peace.

Oh yeah and if you all are worried about me spying on your floppy parts and all of that, I’m not like that. I’m not that guy.

Cool

alright

nice to meet you all

yeah, don’t be a dick.”

He vanished.

I turned and watched my neighbors house, and waited.

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poetry, Uncategorized

mmmmmmm

I don’t remember her name
she was drunk

I was outside smoking a cigarette
cigarettes are keys to the outside

the outside of a house
the outside of a building
the outside of a conversation
the outside of everything

she found me outside and she said
“mmmmmmmmm”

and I said
“how was your night?”

and she took my hand
She took me to her DORM room

and I was so scared
that my penis wasn’t hard
like it was supposed to be

and she pulled me into bed on top of her
and she said
“mmmmmmmmm”

and I said
“I’ve only had sex twice”

because surely no one would want to have sex
with someone who had only had sex twice

and she said
“mmmmmmmmm”
and she fell asleep

thank god
I thought

before running to my room
to masturbate

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poetry

bees

my dad never runs from bees
but I run from bees
does that mean I am not a man?

bees are small and evil little yellow and black things
that cause you pain
but everyone still wants to save them

I want to kill them all
but if we kill them all we all also
die
this is called nature
it sucks
it is an absurdist joke in bad taste

I was outside of a wedding when it happened
the bee
I ran from it
an old woman watched me
and I could see in her eyes she thought

“that’s not a man”

and I thought
bees are dumb
this is dumb
everything is dumb

why aren’t you running from the bee
you crazy old bitch

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