prose

Boris K. the Buddhist

A decade of day-to-day agony was behind Boris K. , of traumas, anxiety, grosses of emptied liqueur bottles and millions of diazepam cases downed. Boris K. decided to burn all of his bridges, to retire from the grotto, get a new job, a new vocation, new surroundings, in his quest for a bright sunny day, and not a raise nor severance pay, he followed his heart and made way straight to Tibet. After he had met the Lama on his way to the Multicolor Monkey Temple, he decided to become a Buddhist.

First he started his pilgrimage. He made his way towards the Buddha’s Ropes region, the gate of Himalayas, where, dead center in the rainforest, was the Temple of Positive Serpents. At the top of this magnificent building’s stairs, he spotted a Tibetan monk clad in dead leaves-hued garb reciting the Kama Sutra. It all happened in an instant. He himself didn’t even know how.

Suddenly Boris K.s initiation started, along with rooting, prayers and spiritual music. Boris K. finally thought that he had found his life’s purpose, when Dalai Lama suddenly said:

‘Let’s just carve out the third eye on your forehead, so that you can become psychic.’

Boris K. started sweating profusely. Completely astonished and terrified, he grabbed the first available canoo and went jungleward. Breaking through the thick foliage, he found the sacred monkeys. They saluted him by extending fingers on both hands. As they hung from the trees, chanting sutras, down came Hasan from the tree, a monk initiate and Dalai Lama’s personal bodyguard – he was sent to get Boris K. back to the temple.

‘Fear not ,Boris, they will not prod you with a switchblade’, the monk said, and briefly explained the Buddhist meditative techniques of opening the Third eye.

‘It is, in fact, a seat of universal wisdom.’

‘Alright, if all I have to do is sing,’ Boris valored up.

For a while they travelled across the mountain chains, along what seemed to be endless space. In the distance one could hear Tibetan sutras saluting the newly-born Sun.

As Boris K. went down the cold, marble hallway, so did the monks, with their characteristic muffs on their heads, welcome him.

‘Boris K., you’ve reached the very end.’

Then they chanted. This is where Boris K. felt something cracking on his forehead and opening…

‘Ouch!’ Boris cried, and the world went murky before his eyes… In an instant he viewed the past and the future of all monks. One monk, for instance, he saw, will utilize the money taken as charity for his personal benefit – building a cottage in the Swiss Alps – and that he will, as punishment for this, be reincarnated in his next life as bindweed on the fence of that selfsame cottage. He also saw himself, how he will, should he participate in this fraud, become roof moss. In a different instance he saw how people, seeing him begging for food clad as a monk, gave him meat – which he accepted in accordance to Buddha’s teachings – but also how he will, in the next life, be eaten as a bull because of this. In the third image he saw himself how, while mowing the lawn in the Lumbini garden at the border of India and Nepal, he kills an earthworm – due to which he will himself, in his next life, become an earthworm cut in half. At long last he realized how he didn’t need the all-seeing eye. He decided to put some ointment on it and gave up on the monastic life.

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Uncategorized

The Purpose of Living

https://belegbg.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/leila-samarrai-svrha-zivota/

One day, Boris K. came to a conclusion that he did all that he possibly could in this world. He called the stupid stupid, the hypocrites hypocrites, the selfish selfish, the fool a fool. That night, an unusual duck-billed, finned being came to him in a dream and said:

‘You did not do all that you can, Boris… You did not cover yourself with a Bunyip-hide quilt, a mythical being of the old Aboriginal peoples. When you get up, the quilt will be within reach, and after that, you will meet a wise man who will help you fulfil your life’s purpose.’

When he awoke, Boris K. concluded that instead of his blanket he was covered in the Bunyip-hide quilt which he wrapped himself in then and there, trembling…

Looking into the mirror, he concluded that he had acquired a dog’s face, that his teeth fell off, and that tusks grew in their place. Turning around, he noticed a horse’s tail above his buttocks. Having nowhere else to go, Boris K. decided to wait for the Wiseman. Instead, his neighbor Basil came over, who took him out for a barbecue.

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prose

The Balkan Viper Snake, “The Adventures Of Boris K.”

A Nostalgic  Letter of Boris K. to the Citizens of the Republic Written in Diaspora

The Balkan Viper Snake

What am I doing on this most elegant of wastelands?’ This I wondered the very day I found myself in Denmark. ‘Mere hours ago I was sat at an old oaken table, scribing letters to those in power who owe me favors…

I was recently let off from my job. As if this weren’t enough, the landlady started whining about me ‘neglecting my duties, not paying rent, not keeping the fridge full’. As these things usually go, in a moment of despair and utter feeling of confusion, I happened upon a news ad. ‘Looking for experienced whalers to hunt orcas on the Icelandic coasts.’ No hints, no winding mumbling, a short and sweet ‘Looking for…’’

I decided to reply to this ad. The next day, due to, as I had later realized, a misclick of the mouse, I found myself in Denmark, on a mission not assigned to me. However, not only did I not realize this at first, but I could not even remember how I managed to leave the Phenomenonpublic. I dreaded that the phenomenisations did their thing and that their temper would not get me back to the peace I have long desired for. Hence why I found myself in Denmark, the unplowed overseas sward where I knew not what fate awaited me.

That not so distant day, when it was negative seventy degrees in our warm little Phenomenonpublic, the subjects of the Kingdom of Denmark asked me to go to Aarhus where lived a magical serpent which can only be killed by a man that survived the nineties in the Balkans. Him alone, they say, is resistant to her venom for he himself has tasted venom of similar power. As a stranger, I won sympathies of the Danish National Parliament members and met Philodendrona the Third, the great-granddaughter of the ancient queen Margaret the Second, who lived on Faroe islands and wrote passionate love letters to me, encouraging me.

‘I am in love with you, Boris K. They say you speak mellifluously, that you write letters as if you were painting a poem, and that you do not fear bloody conflict. They also say that you bought Playboy off of Hugh Hefner.’

Upon inquiry of the location of the magical serpent, the noblewoman lay it down on me.

‘One tail-end is in Folketing itself, while the other floats in the Baltic sea. They say that it is so silver-tongued that it comes up with the Christian democrats’ parliamentary speeches and announces the Second coming of Hamlet…’

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Philodendrona the noblewoman, who was unusually friendly towards me, placed her servants under my command, in order to make my difficult task somewhat easier to complete. She made the ride to Copenhagen with speedy Danish ferryboats possible.

I lay prostrate on the bed within the luxury cabin, keeping track of the live broadcast of the Parliament meeting via TV, when I heard a knock on the door. IT was the ferry captain who gave me an envelope as soft as black satin with the golden coat of arms of the house of Philodendron. The letter was sealed in red wax where the initials of the infatuated noblewoman lay…

The letter went as follows:

‘‘I’ve used up all of my influence, good Sir, to secure a place for you to live in within the very Tower of Folketing itself and have your peace. Get ready, Boris K. The Snake pays the parliament a visit every night. It crawls up the Royal stairs, at times pausing at the Royal library, studying the terrarium manuals. I’ve instructed the most famous Danish architect to put glass panels on the walls of Your temporary home, for they say that the Snake enjoys looking at its own body on glassy surfaces. Therefore the glass itself will attract her, and You will finally confront her, thus do join me, as a hero crowned by glory, at the Faroe islands, so that we may together live in wealth and happiness.’

Then came the instructions about the movement through the Parliament Palace.

‘At the bottom of the steps are the Reception rooms. They say that the Snake tends to pause there, to gather strength before climbing up the Royal steps.’

‘The post-script stated:

‘’Your mission is of utmost importance for the Danish interests Her Majesty has formal audiences every other Monday. The Snake knows this. Last month she bit her ring finger, and then took over the State Council and issued a few decrees regarding the necessity of undertaking food measures of raising lettuce in Royal Only reception rooms closed off from the public – the amount of light shining through the baroque windows is what the lettuce, in those very rooms mind you, really seems to enjoy.”

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They placed me in a special chamber, the one they called the Glass Home during my stay at the Parliament, they packed it full with glass houses, so that I, eagerly awaiting the upcoming battle, could devote myself fully to my hobby.

Once I had settled, the Folketing was emptied out in a matter of hours.

’Beware the snake at midnight, Boris K.’ the Prime Minister said and slammed the massive oak door shut, leaving me all by myself.

The clock struck midnight when I felt the ruffling around the table in the center of the room. It was the snake which was studying parliamentary deals. Its back shone bright in the moonlight. I approached it all but soundlessly, but it spotted my shadow on the wall, spooked itself, turning its heart-like, flat head with her eyes  erect. It was adorned by intense black patterns along its thick, pale grey body. The snake curled up, bent its neck and tried to bite me.

I was ready. I let out the battery powered rat from the metal box, which I controlled remotely. Spotting it, the snake snatched the rat, attracted to the lights and sound effects the plush toy was emitting, and it spat out the batteries. Spotting this, I remembered to tie the light cable, hued female python yellow, to the electrical outlet. The sweethissing snake male was tricked and hopped onto the cable. Power surged dance-like throughout its body, but the snake, aside from a few burns, survived the high-frequency shock.

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I was crushed by despair when I spotted the freezer in the corner of the Glass Home. I threw it open. Before the he-snake a tempting sight of frozen food spontaneously came to be. For the reptile was it to be or not to be, that was the question?!

‘Go for it, snake! The Århus frozen rat. Ice worm a la carte!’ I proclaimed. The snake refused such a meal, claiming that it would rather have lettuce. Then it spotted a large covered bowl from which, akin to a snake’s tongue, stuck out a tiny green leaf. It darted towards the fridge, and I closed the door behind it.

When it noticed, the Snake wept. This touched me a tad, hence I asked:

‘Why do you cry, snake?’

‘I will tell you, if you let me go’

I decided to let the poor reptile loose, and the reptile, happy that someone wants to listen to it, stopped crying snake tears and started its tale after a deep sigh.

‘I wasn’t always like this. I spent my life in the body of a well renowned Balkan politician who, upon phemonenizing, was forced to flee. Fearing recognition, I thought of disguising myself as a snake. Ever since then I’ve been living in foreign lands as the Balkan Viper snake, where I felt somewhat protected, but still living in fear of the citizens of Århus, who have a bone to pick with me.

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‘Every year around this time they get Balkan-based hunters, all in order to destroy me. Scared and alone, I spend my time with octopi, fellow sufferers from the deepest of oceans, where we nostalgically recall intriguing lettuce and gorgonzola recipes which I’ve tasted in my fatherland.’

Shaken by this story, I hugged the snake which wept on my shoulder. Instinctively I felt that the snake is in essence a misunderstood, kind being, and the snake said to me:

‘I recognized your noble and pitying character, therefore I will help you.’

The snake offered to take me on its back over the Norwegian sea, to Narvik, where I will be taken back to Phenomenonpublic by the North Atlantic current.

‘That road is the safest and the fastest.’

And to this the snake added:

‘Beware the people of Århus.’

As a token of gratitude, I gave it an enormous bowl filled with lettuce leaves, seasoned with hot, Århus spread, one which I located in the fridge. But the Danish spread, due to phenomenizing, was full of intestinal parasites, which made the snake lose weight drastically, twist its tongue and drop dead.

I buried the critter with the highest of honors, covering with gestures of formality its slender body with juicy lettuce leaves.

I sat at the table. It was packed with political scribbles, pamphlets, contracts, edicts, directives and decrees, secret letters of the highest parliamentary officials and the European commission. None of this mattered. At long last I had found what I had been looking for: an envelope, paper, ink and pen.

I started the letter addressing in an exalted manner Her grace of Philodendron.

‘I came to Folketing as per Your council, and I saw one end of the snake tail. Amid the fiercest of battles, I cast myself upon its tail, but it wiggled out and escaped into the Baltic sea. I grabbed the tongs from Folketing’s terrarium made of stainless steel, boarded a ferry and started snake-hunting.’

My hand was tired, but my Graph von Faber Castel pen made of twenty-four karat gold slid effortlessly down the surface of the paper. I decided to adorn the tale with as many Munchausenian descriptions as possible, hoping for, if not the title of a baron or a spokesman in the parliament, at least a solution to my housing problem, a modest stone house, somewhere in Eastern Greenland.

‘My dearest Philodendrona.

The quest for the snake was almost as long and arduous as its killing.’

Not wanting to keep the noblewoman in suspense, wait and worry, I mentioned that the ferry fell to pieces under the rush of the undercurrents.

‘I floated like a shipwrecked sailor on a piece of wood, dry-mouthed, when a supernatural strength penetrated my body. I was overjoyed when a few weeks later, having swum breaststroke over the salty Baltic sea, I located the mealymouthed snake which, upon spotting me, fled across the three seas and two oceans, leaving enormous cuts on the sea’s surface.’

‘Halt, do not fear!’ I shouted to the snake which kept fleeing maniacally, fearing the venom I had inside me. I had long been trying to think of a way to outsmart it. I feared the venom in me going evaporating under all the phenomenizing. As thoughts were rolling onward, I quickly came to a conclusion: the mealymouthed snake can be beaten by – a coalition.’

When I wrote this, I looked at the Contract lying on the table specked in the blue stamps of Folketing. This gave me strength to push onward.

‘I offered the North sea snake a Coalition Contract with the magical seal of the Pacific and a while whale, a great-great-grandson of Moby Dick.’

‘Only when part of the coalition with the sea hound which felt like a land-based housecat did Moby manage to swim to Madagascar. Only in such coalition, oh snake, would you be part of a team capable of relativizing the Loch Ness Monster’s popularity to whom I’ve already been a PR manager.’ I told the snake conspiratorially and handed it the pen to sign the Contract.

The snake, as is true of any other individual political entity, was drunk on the thought of impending glory. It accepted me as its manager.’

Enchanted by my own flights of fancy, for a moment I stopped, gazing at a distance. I shook myself back into reality, pleased. I clenched the pen harder, dipped the tip in ink and continued.

‘I gave the snake the pen – it wanted to grab it with its mouth, but the minute it tried biting into it, the phenomenizations rejected it. The snake bent and twisted its tail around its head, for it spotted the pen below the tail. It tried reaching for it with the fangs, when the pen flew away again. The snake wrapped itself in an untangling hank and suffocated. I saw its winding body away, which, motioning on the surface, slowly sunk until it was completely out of my sight.

I killed the snake after a long and hard-fought battle.’ I ended the letter to the noblewoman Philodendrona.

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I folded the letter, took the envelope closer to my lips, sealed it and beaten by all the events and assailed by immense scenes of which some I made up, and some lived through in the Parliament of Denmark itself, I fell asleep.

The royal subjects were enthusiastically congratulating me and organized a reception in my honor which was attended by Her Royal Majesty herself. I’d been decorated with the Medallion of the Snake with golden and silver rays. I became an Honorary member of the Royal library of Denmark and had lunch in a prestigious restaurant Norma.

I was manufacturing various Balkan venoms per order, as well as antidotes for the Liberals who in particular feared snakes. On the streets of Århus by daylight, and on Faroe Islands by night, I paraded around, crowned in glory, my head held up high, decorated by various medals. I was headline news in the press. I was looking forward to returning to Phenomenonpublic and had declared this during a press conference – when I was met by the silence of the citizens of Århus. They all hung their heads, for their consciences were unclean. In what way could they even tell me, they were whispering among themselves, until one of them proclaim:

‘Now that you’ve killed the snake and freed us from this misery, you deserve the truth.’

Then, not lacking the fear of my venomous might, they explained to me that he who kills the snake can return home only under the condition that, should he abandon this accursed place, he crawled back to his fatherland, where they will sue him for grand treason the minute he finally crawls into it.

 

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prose, satire

‘HEREIN LIVES THE MAJORITY’S MINORITY’

‘HEREIN LIVES THE MAJORITY’S MINORITY’
Boris K. was mildly astonished and asked of the meaning behind the street art, when he suddenly spotted another oddity. People were so short that their garb was dragging along the moldy tiles.
‘Oh, why you are… Downthesewerians!’ Boris concluded.

an excerpt from a story “Boris K and the Majority’s Minority”

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prose, short story

Let the Sleeping Dog Lie

A year after his monitor went kaput, Boris K. banged his hand on the table. He had had it! He took a piece of paper and started writing.

Boris K. was no essayist, let alone a scientist or a sociologist. He observed the useless keyboard with longing eyes. He stared at the paper, when suddenly a wave of inspiration struck him along with an army of ideas which clouded his mind. For a moment he thought he had been spoken to by a higher power. He wrote fast enough that a she-stenographer 250 clicks a minute strong would envy him, and the moment he finished, he sealed the letter and concluded aloud to himself:

‘My monitor is broken. This should never have happened.’

He put on his tux, took the earnings from his last film review and with a defiant air about him ventured outside. At precisely midnight, from the 123rd floor of the Secret service’s headquarters, via the magic of megaphone, the deep bass of Boris K.’s voice soared the Republic.

‘Citizens of the Republic, you all well know that machines do everything nowadays. Who even needs you right now? When you get cancelled and my patented machine gets the job not only will neither you nor I exist, but…well, neither money nor economics will exist either, nor politics!’

The President sat upright in his bedding in the building next door.

‘An urgent phone call from the church, mister president!’, he was told this before the phone even rang. There was many a consequence on a multitude of souls following Boris K.’s voice. A retired bank clerk lady still about her wits had, upon the mere mention of the words ‘revolution in human manufacturing’, screamed and escaped the building where she had been living secluded all this time. Mute witnesses will for generations tell tales of seeing a woman running through the streets, disrobing one piece at the time, screaming how she was renouncing everything. Everything!

The Secret service headquarters was surrounded by both the armed forces and the police. Boris K. held the megaphone with his one hand, and the other, the jacked up one, he used to grab two prostitutes at the same time and place them in front of his body as hostages.

‘Hold your fire!’, the masseuse guild of the Republic shouted. The voice of Boris K. had reached young ears and old alike. The awakened Winners sat at their computers afraid and desperate and with an incessant click click click of their mice for a moment they were displaying a dreadful sound. Panic spread across the city while Boris K. spoke over the megaphone:

‘The constitutional rights will still stand! Criminals shall be punished!’

Two old ladies with nightcaps forced out into the street from the sweetest of dreams embraced on a bench and wept. An old man had dropped the chess board which he had taken with him to kill time while the state of emergency was in full force. He smiled an uncloaked a golden tooth.

‘For all of the citizens of our Republic I have crafted a container and programmed it so that all of the molecules can merge, extracted from the liquids of materials thrown away in them and useless, which can last up to a millennium. To you, they last no longer than five years. Five!’ His voice broke off for a second.

A neon sign popped up on the billboard revealing the password:

„TOO MANY CLONES!“

The Republic’s gate opened. Another state of emergency was put in power, for one was not nearly enough.

‘There is no money. Capitalism is dead. Its time is up, your time is now. Type in the password TOO MANY CLONES, no spaces. It will fling open magic gates as well as my patented container. A quantum leap of intelligence will follow!’

From open manholes Losers popped out, filled with hope, their eyes looking at the distant lighthouses.

‘Artists!’ The voice behind the megaphone roared.

The counter-terrorist units carefully snuck into the building and surrounded the bathroom. The hostages were doing their nails. A senior gentleman was downing the newest brand of ‘Vlast’ tequila, a Russian brew. He was thirsty and rather apathetic. The Peacekeeping Forces grabbed Boris K., disarmed him of his megaphone and tossed him from the 123rd floor. Boris was fortunate enough to drop into an open container, the only one in that part of the city, and thus break his fall.

‘We punished this man here, this saboteur and anarchist, for he has broken the main postulate of the Republic: Never wake the citizens at precisely midnight!’

At that moment Boris K. stood up from his bed, covered in sweat.

‘The keyboard is working, article done,’ he mumbled and tripped on the beveled edge that Frau Suzie had measured together with the flooring installer and fell right into the toilet bowl. He managed to get his whole self stuck in there, escaping the eerie nightmare which hadn’t been stalking him since his experience with tar, feathers and a dog in the friendly Uganda. Hidden among the feces, sprinkled with moldy entrails and Waffen SS grub made of a brown substance, he yelled:

‘It was all just a dream!’ Comforted as such he spent a few moments in the toilet shell until he remembered to flush.

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prose, Uncategorized

Boris K, the cosmopolitan protagonist

‘The Adventures of Boris K.’ was already published in Serbia, but I’ve decided upon the expanded Kindle edition to have the cosmopolitan protagonist live through cosmopolitan fate, to have him read and loved not only in the isolated space of the Balkans, but also among the aboriginal tribes whom he, often, breaks bread with on his travels.

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prose, satire, short story

Boris K. and the Shaving Kit

Upon his stint as a taxi driver, where he was accused of taking the customer to the wrong destination, Boris K. decided to seize different business ventures. He turned bitter and frustrated. Surely he was a remarkable driver, but the phenomenonizations did their trick.

He had heard through the grape wine that some busses of the city transportation, especially along certain specific routes, defied the laws of phenomenonization. He picked up the wanted ad for the bus driver position on line 42. This was unbeknownst to the she-passenger entering the bus at the front, in obvious high spirits, spreading the sour scent of Black Kashmir all around. Others looked at her abhorrently.

Boris K. tightened his grip on the steering wheel, stepped on it and the bus came to life. Parallel to this a panicky tenor of a frightened man soared within the vehicle. What happened was that a shaving kit went missing from an old man’s bag. Panic ensued. Droplets of sweat sliding down Boris’ temples. A saintly smile adorned his face, which horribly mismatched that hellish eyestare of his. Someone sang mid-dream, and the old man/mugging victim threatened to have them inspected and vacated the vehicle cussing and swearing. All of this, an endeavor too much for Boris K. to handle.

He turned towards the most gracious she-traveler and, the moment the well-off lady was powdering her nose a la France and Chanelled eyebrows above her eyes, he spoke to her courteously:

“Were you, perchance, in a dire need of a shaving kit?” The sensitive she-traveler teared up in an instant hearing these words, noting that she had just finished performing her bathing ritual in a sweet-scented bathroom.

“By the Majestic Mach-3, beyond a shade of a doubt, not a single hair ever grew on my body!”

Looking at her, Boris K. was imagining that Chanel the she-traveler was in a glass jar rounded up top. Noting Boris K. staring at her with suspicion, she said:

“I was born in an airplane, the moment the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe took place.” Having said this, she took of her wig and the baldness popped out in full display.

Face Mask

Boris K. pupils contracted. He was at one moment observing her bald head, at another her white, smooth hands in velvet gloves. The passengers leapt from their seats. They were pointing at the top of her head, accusing her of stealing the distinguished senior gentleman’s shaving kit.

“We all saw her!” The loudest of the voices accused, belonging to an older woman with a hat.

“She is the perpetrator! She lies!”

Boris K. asked to see the contents of her bag, which the lady opened. Ampules of ketamine powder emerged. A drug evaporated which put a spell on the passengers and blurred all of the windows on the bus. They all jumped off their seats and started banging on the four sets of double doors, begging Boris to release them.

The she-traveler exclaimed, disappointed:

“I should’ve taken a cab.”

With his last ounce of strength Boris K. used his walkie-talkie to report a diversionary Mujahideen attack and fainted. When the fog dispersed, the bald woman was no more, and the granny wearing the fedora, the loudest accuser, pullet the shaving kit which she needed out of her brassiere, not to remove armpit hair, but for magic – to harm the neighbors stealing her exotic flowers.

 

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LEILA SAMARRAI: VODKA, THE ADVENTURES OF BORIS K.

https://belegbg.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/leila-samarrai-votka/

In his tiny two-by-two hole in the wall, Boris K. sat with a dignified expression on his face and his legs out in a straddle. He wore two left slippers of diverse colour. As he casually turned to peer in the cracked mirror, he was greatly displeased by the sight of his slicked-back gray hair. He attempted to part it à la Sieg Heil, but could not really pull it off because – he wore a flower in his hair, you see.

At springtime, as the locks of his raven hair started blooming, he left all the women breathless (left-wing ones in particular, as they were especially partial to flowers).
“There is a certain symbolism to them,” they claimed.
Boris K. was a seasoned communist, a ruin left behind by the transition, a redundant loser. Like many others, he looked back on the times when he subscribed to the Labourer newspaper with nostalgia. It used to be a matter of prestige.

Due to his former high-ranking positions as the coffee brewer and sentry for the Trade Union sessions, he retained the habit of sitting, sleeping and eating dressed in a gray business suit. On that cold evening he was waiting for the arrival of his landlady while reading “The Trial”. Remembering the times past and the chanting of the famous “Comrade Fidel, if you so said/we’d go live in a car shed,” Boris K. mused how, everything said and done, he was actually still living according to his beliefs. The very thought was heartwarming. Boris’ “car shed” belonged to none other than the very harpy, the very shrew who announced her intent to arrive at 6 AM on the dot. At that time, with the first rays of sun, she was to materialize in the flat. Boris felt hungry and mildly nauseous. Maybe it was the fear of the landlady, or perhaps an omen of the apocalypse. He felt confused. By the powers of the left wing, Boris K. was no coward!
He approached the old refrigerator, opened the handless door, and saw a drunken lady squeezed into a small glass cage. It was a bottle of vodka, the Russian standard with 40 percent of alcohol. The poster on the wall offered him support and encouragement, or at least so it appeared to Boris K. It seemed to be saying “Bottoms up, Boris! Long live the counterrevolution!”
“Alas… if only I could squeeze myself inside just like you,” Boris thought wistfully. He envisioned his landlady, the morning sun illuminating her like a halo, menacingly brandishing the electricity bill. He huddled against the wall, crying like a baby, his cheek resting against a poster. A thought pierced his aching head, which throbbed as if clenched within a hoop.  “But I don’t drink.”
“Now or never,” he spoke out loud. After the first sip, it occurred to him that he should attempt to seduce his aging landlady. He was determined to fight to the bitter end.
“This is how Alexander the Great charged against the Persians with his sword!” he thought, detaching his tear-stained cheek from the poster. “Is the casino Alexander still open?” he asked the wall hopefully, his face beaming.
Feverishly, he contemplated the way to get out of debts.  Even without a penny to his name, Boris K. decided to try his luck at the adjacent casino. He took a big gulp of vodka and stumbled. Toppling the chair, he knocked down the suit and the grey socks and grabbed for the closet. He let the bottle drop out of his hand after the second swig. Somewhere in the pile of jumbled clothing Boris spotted a formal suit à la Vienna. He looked at it from all sides. He looked both ways furtively, as if he were not alone in the room, so surprised he was at the appearance of a beautiful, shining suit in such a gloomy environment. He stroked the buttons gently with his fingertips. It was exactly what he needed. Boris K. looked up at the ceiling and muttered “Thanks!”
Delighted, he cast another glance toward the closet and noticed the secret barrier dividing it into two parts. He grabbed the handle and shook it tentatively, but it appeared to be locked. Boris K. stepped back and stood in the middle of the room. The bottle of vodka back in his hand, he raged at the locked compartment.
“You’re hiding some great treasure, I know it!” “
He heard something rattle in one of the suit pockets. His hands shook as he rifled through the pockets, but all he found there was some brass buttons.
“Pure gold,” he soothed himself.
Donning the suit, he decided to use the buttons as gambling tokens. Thrilled with his incredible discovery, Boris K. danced a few bars of the Viennese waltz in front of the cracked mirror, arranging his hair. Out of breath, he fell onto the sofa. He was transported back to the harsh reality by the picture of Fidel Castro winking – or so it seemed to Boris K – straight at him.
“Too much to drink,” Boris concluded. Pulling himself together he threw the cheap buttons into the corner of the room, took one glance at the electricity bill and burst into tears.
The old lady entered just as she promised – illuminated by the first rays of sun. On her dress, tailored back in the forties, she wore an embroidered swastika.
“The Brazilian tarantula. Such an elegant little animal,” she explained to the curious butcher’s wife in passing. She wore lace gloves, dirty fingernails showing through. Smoothing down her oily hair, she swiped a dainty finger over one of her eyebrows, tattooed according to the latest fashion. Following the unfortunately drawn arch, she cast an Ilse-Koch-like look to Boris K. A cynical smile spilled across her elderly, clenched lips.
“Cash on the table,” she pulled out a stopwatch from her undershirt, “in 60… 59… 58…” As she counted down, it appeared, the last seconds of Boris K’s short life, the age spots on her cheeks broke through the layers of golden foundation and bright lipstick on her cheekbones.
“Do sit down, old Fräulein,” stammered Boris K, pointing to the sofa as full of holes as a Swiss cheese and stinking of cigarettes. The old woman threw him a contemptuous look. Boris K. realized his mistake. “Meine Frau,.. I… I… Frau, bitte,” he stammered, hypnotized by the embroidered swastika flanked by a flashy heart-shaped medallion. Finally, he murmured “Just let me run to the casino. I forgot my wallet next to the roulette here.”
“The casino, you say?” The old woman swiped the corners of her widely open mouth using a forefinger and a thumb.
“I swear by… this poster on the wall, Fräulein Suzy!”
She studied him like one would an insect and, with a sudden twist, cast a look filled with loathing at the poster of Fidel Castro. Stalin was her true love, but it was a fact she carefully concealed.
“Too bad he is an infidel,” she said as the light pushed its way through the dirty windows, illuminating her head like a halo. Her voice rang with the austerity typical of elderly women of reckless youth, who remembered their days of decadence just a touch too wistfully. Once easy, now a puritan, she had changed the dirty skin of her body and threw it on the altar of martyrdom, akin to a snake.
Boris K. repented his actions. He felt like taking off his nonexistent à la Vienna hat.
The old woman turned, eyes bulging, and approached him at a menacing pace. With the stance of an SS officer, her long nose touching the chest Boris K, Frau sniffed him, noticed the empty a bottle of vodka and contemptuously waved her hand. Settling into the sofa, she closed her eyes in the manner of a yogi. It lasted a whole of fifteen minutes, with Boris K. perspiring, dabbing the sweat from his brow and occasionally massaging her feet, until she cried
“Genug! Stop!” Her wide open eyes startled Boris K and he immediately stood to attention. “At ease!” Boris K. threw the left shoe off his right foot, hips swaying. “I forgive you, just as my Fritz would have done,” she murmured wistfully, remembering her old love – a high ranking SS officer, carried off by the maelstrom of war. Boris K. burst into tears of happiness. “But, under ein condition! ,” she roared in a thunderous voice. Boris K. was all ears. “I will write off your debt if you can squeeze yourself into this bottle.” The Frau pointed at the vodka bottle. “Verständlich? Understand?” the implacable Frau screeched.
Boris K. glanced at the bottle, then at his soft, pink hand (he was an artist, and it is well known that they do absolutely nothing under the sun). He wanted to protest, to say that one could not treat the oppressed classes so. Squeezing people into bottles like that? Not even Mengele would have thought of that, he thought – but said nothing. Somehow he managed to bend his back; he crumpled, growing smaller, lowering his proud fists, his skillful fingers curled and his head hung low. Thus his entire body distorted.
Boris K. kept diminishing before the terrible powers of the frau, finally growing small enough to squeeze his tiny hand into the vodka bottle, followed by his shoulder, chest and spine – the latter proved easy enough to squeeze into the bottle – and finally his feet, which by that point had completely refused to obey him. Thus Boris K. successfully completed his task under the Frau’s contended smile. Only Boris’ two large, terrified eyes remained visible.
The giant frau stood up, took the vodka bottle and headed for the locked compartment – the strictly guarded secret of all secrets. For years she was suspected of hiding, if not jewelry, then at least Fritz’s letters there. She reached into her pocket for the gilded key and opened the plywood compartment. Frau looked with pride upon the arranged bottles of numerous manufacturers – English and French, but mostly German. One bottle contained Sir Gawain, her former tenant, the second Herr Hans, and the third, Jean-Paul. From the fourth, the Obergruppenführer Fritz (the former supreme commander of the Waffen-SS) smiled at his lover, the Frau, who blew him a tender kiss. Each of the bottles contained a tenant hopefully peering through the stained glass of his prison, every one of them grateful to his landlady for being so very generous as to write off his debt.

imaginarium

Imaginarium, Igor Morski 1960

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proza, short story

Happy Odunde!

The Firecracker Man, a story on New Year’s Eve, my literary gift for Boris K’s fans, readers and lovers. Cheers to a New Year!

Boris K. has been so stressed lately. Luckily, it is New Year’s Eve, so he has easy access to smoke bombs. The neighbors can hear the hiss, thud, crash!, Whizzz, and heeeee of firecrackers Boris K. sets up and ignites one by one in the house, from the sofa.He has decided that rather than wash dishes, he will simply blow them up. So he launches rockets into the air with a loud bang that break dishes, shatter glasses, collapse walls and turn forks into shrapnelsharp and tinny enough to pierce the roof and violate the sound barrier. While smoke and the entire color spectrum spill onto Boris K., an event that could only happen in Neverland, Boris returns to the memory of his first marble. As the neighbors wake in horror from sweet dreams to find themselves fearfully screaming at the vision of an apocalyptic earthquake, Boris K smiles and sinks into a blissful dream.

Happy New Year’s Eve, Odunde (means “Happy New Year” in the Yorube Nigerian language) and other holidays! For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. – T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

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