Posts tagged fiction
Posts tagged fiction
Rome is such a lonely place when it’s raining. The water floods between the cobblestones and forces both Roman and tourist alike indoors, and Cal can see it all from his perch on the edge of his apartment roof. Even the refugees from central Africa that normally hawk knock-off designer sunglasses and three-euro umbrellas have retreated inside, fleeing the deluge.
Cal welcomes the emptiness and the darkness—after all, there isn’t anyone around to find his body. There aren’t any small boys around to scream at the sight of his broken bones in the street, and there aren’t any old women around to try and rescue him.
They’d probably have celebrated when they saw that a scumbag like him had gotten rid of himself, anyway.
His dirty blond hair and his windbreaker cling to his body, and he stares down at the street once more. An old Peugeot creaks through the street, and Cal sees his chance. In this moment, he can get rid of the burden he’s been carrying all this time and finally escape from the horrors he’s seen.
He reminds himself that he can do it. Just a few inches more, and it would be all over. His worthless life would be gone and could make room for someone else who was more important than him. That could be anyone though. There’s nobody crossing the street below him, and if he just thinks about the color of the walls in the room of the Dutch girls that rent the flat across the street, it’ll be over in no time.
Mrs. Sirko was a bird-thin Ukrainian lady, often gossiped about by the students because she had the most unfortunate nose in all of Poland—it was too big for her face; a hatchet made of cartilage and bone that came to an upward point. However, she was my favorite teacher of all time. She taught Russian at the gimnazjum I attended and always smiled at me whenever I raised my hand in class, always explaining the rules to me in ways that I could understand them.
It was the first time someone ever cared that I was trying, and it showed when I brought that note home.
I’m not exactly sure what was said at that parent-teacher conference after I brought home a 6, but school got a lot more fun after that. I wound up being pulled out of my science class and put into English and German courses in addition to the Russian and Polish I was already taking over the course of the next several years.
He remembered talking prices with perfume pressing in his skull. She led him with long nails and bee-stung lips into that den of teeth and roses and that all-too-familiar smell far from the reaches and reason of the Pantheon.
He just needed someone to help him get some relief.
She couldn’t even do it; she couldn’t free him. She could stretch out her arms like branches of the pines dotting the city and put her mouth on him in ways that only women like her knew.
He paid the one hundred he owed and left, still dazed and hating every fiber of himself. This was all he was good for—contributing to the slave trade and making others feel pleasure for a few minutes. Nothing more.
He could connect the ears and tongues of a million people, but it was nothing now. His moments with the girls were everything to him. His own body was everything he had.
He wanted to throw everything into the Tiber.
Americans smile a lot. I learned this soon after I turned five and went to kindergarten for the first time, and that was literally all the teacher did. I always found it a little bit nerve-wrecking talking to her, and even to some of the other students. Perhaps it was fortunate that I spent almost all of kindergarten and first grade with a special English teacher who usually kept her face as blank as a clean slate.
At home, we smiled pretty often, especially Dad. Usually, in Russia, two people only smiled at each other if they knew each other really well—smiling like that before you really knew someone was seen as weird or even shady at times. Assimilating wasn’t at the top of Dad’s list of priorities—usually he kept his face as blank as a slate when we were out in public. However, I quickly learned to smile at school. If I didn’t smile back at someone when they smiled at me, they somehow decided that I hated them and was going out of my way to show it. Really, that wasn’t true; I just didn’t want to look shallow or fake.
Moniek smiled a lot, be it just a lopsided smirk at my brother and father’s antics, or a grin whenever he saw me taking the field at football games. I wasn’t, by any means, used to it yet. None of his smiles were particularly quiet, either. They were loud. Snarky. Kind of obnoxious, like him. He sang in the shower in the mornings when I was usually trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Even though I had to admit that he wasn’t too bad of a singer, it was hard to enjoy anything, even a baritone rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, at seven in the morning. Did this jackass ever even sleep?
God, I couldn’t get away from the smiles, even when I really tried to.
Moniek was a fixture in our lives since I was about two years old. Supposedly, Dad had met him at an ice cream social in the park the summer after he and Mom finally settled down in Arling. They had both been listening to the community band play, and Moniek had heard my parents talking about the music and things to do in town in Russian.
The very first thing Moniek ever said to him was, “Pereyti padayut v kanavu, Russkiy.” Go fall in a ditch, Russkiy.
I’d like to say it was love at first sight, but I’d be lying. In fact, it almost felt like they hated each other for a few years, looking back on it. It did eventually get better though, and Moniek became my father’s best friend and more. I don’t know what happened between those first few months and when he first started coming over to visit, but it must’ve been big.
I was looking for Monopoly, and instead I found a big, black box in the bottom of the closet.
Dad was pacing around the house when I found it, a hint of worry on his face. I wasn’t used to seeing him worry. Usually, he smiled even when there were things we needed to be worried about—scraped knees, bad grades, and flat tires still couldn’t keep him from smiling. His shoes thudded, soft and slow, against the hardwood in the kitchen. It was almost ten o c’lock on a Monday morning—we had a three day weekend because there were teacher conferences, but what about him? Didn’t he have to go to work?
I wrote this on the spot and left it on my character blog.
My older brother always hated being called by his full name. Every time he would introduce himself at roll call or whenever there was a substitute teacher in his class, he would correct them by simply saying “Sasha” as soon as the word “Aleksandr” was uttered.
Nobody in school dared to call him Aleksandr, either. Sasha was the single biggest guy in school and he had a face that made little kids cry and run away if he made the wrong expression. It was kind of sad in a way. Really, he was probably one of the gentlest guy I know. However, that long, thin scar on his face tended to scare some people away. All the time, there were rumors going around about how he got it—he got it fighting some thugs on the south side, or in a freak car accident, or from KGB officers when he was three years old and still living in Russia.
Sasha didn’t exactly help dispell the rumors, either. Every time someone—usually a girl who liked him or an innocent freshman in the band—asked him about that scar, he’d change the story.
“I was in a bad sledding accident when I was nine.”
“I got it from a mountain lion when we were visiting Denver one time.”
“Alexei and I were kidnapped when we were really little. They didn’t hurt him because he was just a baby, but I’d rather not talk about it.”
Why did he have to bring me into it?!
Through and through, I’m a Tolkien-loving nerd. I’ve been that way since I saw the first installment of Lord of the Rings when I was eleven years old, and I haven’t gone back since then. Roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons have never really been my thing, but there would be entire weekends when I would spend my time watching “The Fellowship of the Ring” and reading my old, beat up copy of “The Hobbit” until I fell asleep on Sunday night.
Even though my Dad gave it to me for Christmas when I was ten, I still have that copy of “The Hobbit” and I’ve read it so many times that I’ve lost count. It’s a special edition, hard-bound and covered in fake leather, but it has definitely seen better days. It was dropped in puddles and left dangerously close to bowls of red and brown sauce at dinnertime, and the signs are there—the pages are stained in some spots. Still, the story never changed, and yet I could never stop reading it.
Needless to say, I was a bit of a nerd. That was before September of my freshman year of high school.
Calico kept trying to convince himself that this would be worth it in the long run. Even though he had had to pull out a nicer shirt than what he normally wore and had to go all the way across town in order to find the restaurant this girl wanted to go to, he managed to convince himself that he’d get what he wanted eventually.
His chances seemed to improve during the dinner itself. Sandra seemed to like him so far. Maybe she would let him take her home at the end of the night.
Eventually, he was right. She kissed him gently and took off her cardigan, then her dress, then slid under the sheets.
“I have something to ask of you,” she whispered.
He grinned and put his hand on her hip. “What?”
She pulled a Nintendo 3DS out from underneath the pillow. “Could you please play Pokémon with me? I need to make my Haunter into a Gengar.”
Calico tried not to scream and pulled out his 3DS. Patience. He just needed a little patience.
The edge of the world. Alexei Dyakov felt like he was there when he reached the top of the mountain and looked out at the horizon. There was nothing but a thin layer of clouds and some boulders beneath the cliffs below, with other peaks emerging from the white layer in the distance. The wind was whistling in his ears. Still, he couldn’t hear it. He couldn’t hear anything at all.
He couldn’t see anything. The sky was forget-me-not blue, but all he could see was pitch black.