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Pelican Man

November 20th, 2021

Pelican Man

There was a lonely pelican who had his own island at his disposal . He was quite a large bird with pale pink plumage, ink colored head, turquoise eyes and feet, and an insanly flaming red pouch under his bill. With such lavish looks and a sizeable property any bird should have felt like a King, but not this one.
The pelican was clumsy on land and not very good provider for himself either. He was lucky just with small fish here and there and had a secret dream to catch a very big fish, at least once, in his life time; to satisfy his enormous appetite to the full and beyond and perhaps to meet some pelican-girl. But he did not dare to fly far away from his island, he kept just dreaming and hoping.
Every night, the lonesome pelican's silhouette against buttery oversize moon was as the logo of the island and local creatures gossiped about him constantly: there he goes the dreaming, goofy fool of a bird.
And his dream came true in the most fantastic way possible: the pelican caught a mermaid by her tail. There was insane struggle. But the willful mermaid freed herself from her fish tail and ran away as a human being on her two legs. The pelican swallowed her fish tail and turned into a handsome man.
The Pelican-man had a hard time as a human. He could't adapt to his human hands, and felt clumsy and useless, worse than before. But the mermaid-woman was the apposite and took to her new role very well. Of course, even before, she was a half human after all.
She was a good hunter and excellent with fishing and also collecting fruit and berries; could easily start a fire and cook delicious dishes. She always left food for The Pelican -man but held her-self at a distance. Even though these new humans looked like very close relatives, their past memories were still fresh; they used to be different species. Mermaid -woman loved to sing at night and now there was a different silhouette against the buttery moon and the local creatures had new stories to pass around.
There was a lot of chasing in the jungle between this couple but, in the end, The Pelican-man and The Mermaid- woman became lovers. Maybe because it was unavoidable do to the lack of other chooses.
They loved each other intensely and grew into better human beings, wiser and deeper. From this incredible human connection a pair of wings appeared on The Mermaid �woman. She flew freely over island and beyond. The Pelican-man did not grow wings and felt lonely and clumsy again. His heart wept from fear to be left alone forever. But the former mermaid-woman, now a Flying Lady, took him with her to glide over the island, the vast sea; each time further away mapping fresh grounds of new discoveries.
At once, their life became an open horizon, limited only by imagination.
Yelena Tylkina
The editor Charis Warchal

HUNTER Part I Flower

November 17th, 2021

HUNTER Part I Flower

HUNTER Part I Flower
By Yelena Tylkina


�Hunter� is a mystical and tragic love story; a complex, fantastic, journey of one young man�s realization of the reality of intangible forces (thoughts, feelings and, most importantly, the imagination) that are the foundations upon which everything is actually built.

Part I: Flower

The young, handsome, hunter entered the forest, but he was too cocky and lazy to look for really difficult prey. He preferred the already wounded and weak, or the young and inexperienced, so that he needed little or no effort in his hunting expedition. He often went alone to hunt, so that, because afterwards he could brag to his friends about how good he was at this manly, risky hobby.

Afterwards, he would host a party and cook his hunting prizes for his friends and while also cooking up stories of his incredible hunting adventures. His trusting friends believed they were gorging themselves on lions or bears but actually stuffing themselves with rabbits, squirrels and rodents.

In the depth of the forest, the young hunter saw a bloody trail and happily followed it, trembling in the anticipation of an easy kill. Preoccupied by the chase, the young hunter did not realized he had entered a maze of a long cave, and only then did he see that the wounded prey slung on the shoulders of some huge, hairy creature was his own nude body, bleeding from a fresh cut in his throat.

The young hunter choked on his scream, biting his knuckles when he was confronted with the beautiful, brown, dewy eyes of a buck frozen in the starting death mask of his own face.

The slain buck brought a lot of cheerful joy to eerie tenants of the cave. The group of mix bread of beings from jelly like aliens, humans, insects and hairy beasts began to prepare for the feast. The big fire lit up the cave and the young hunter searched nervously for a hiding place. He fearfully squeezed himself behind some large rocks. He was not sure whether this bizarre situation was just a wall of hallucination or very real and very deep trouble.

The deer was skinned and cut into pieces: nothing would be wasted. All the deer�s organs were displayed on a big, long wooden table for the different cooks to do their special dishes: soups, goulash, smoked tongue, fresh sausages, brain stew, kidney pie � a seemingly endless combination of delicacies with herbs, spices, wild berries, honey and hallucinogenic mushrooms. The deer�s head was placed on a golden tray. A gentle looking, dark eyed girl about eight or ten years old was petting the deer�s severed head and saying something in its ear. The young hunter concentrated his attention on the little girl face and her pink, moist lips as she pronounced,

�Now you know who killed you, my gorgeous, special pet.�

She then removed the eyes from deer�s head with her fingers and put them on a small crystal plate.

The little girl, dressed in a bright scarlet silk dress with long folds, moved quickly toward the place the young hunter was hiding and blew a kiss at him. The cold chills rushed through the young hunter�s body, but his heart was ready to explode from the hot wave of a hideous fear that he was now discovered. The girl smiled and said,

�My precious, I have made sure that only I can see you, so follow me closely.�

The long folds of girl�s dress enveloped the young hunter and in a few seconds they were in a lavish room of rich shades of scarlet, burgundy, bourdeaux and gold with countless incredible artifacts seemed to be collected from all over the world and many life-size sculptures, paintings and mosaics depicting common life and hunting scenes.

The little girl aged in front of the young hunter�s eyes in to a mature, handsome woman, an Amazon with gleaming gold hair, dressed in hunting clothes.

- �Let�s celebrate this good hunting season and have a drink for the soul of the beautiful, sacred beast we slew today! �- The Amazon exclaimed, as she placed the deer�s eyes in to the bottom of a florescent glass and added a special liquor of fermented honey and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

They emptied the glass and licked their lips in appreciation of the unique, beautiful taste. The young hunter glanced in to the glass and asked the Amazon,

�But who swallows my eyes, I mean the beast�s eyes, you or me?�

�The eyes will go to the one who needs them the most,� the Amazon answered and added, �It is the eyes� choice. They could be evenly divided between us. You will see the effect shortly enough. You will see the truth of things, places and people, beyond the surface, and feel, comprehend this amazing reality, unblemished with influences of any kind. Please excuse me, but I have to attend to some things of immediate importance. Please do not leave this room alone. The entrance door could be different from the exit door. Without guidance, it can be very tricky for an inexperienced person.�

She smiled enigmatically and vanished behind the door.

The young hunter was left alone in a new, strange environment. With great curiosity, he inspected the mysterious, lavish room. He was bewildered when he recognized himself with the Amazon in many images of art work and marveled at the pink marble sculpture of himself as Apollo in the classical pose of Greek masters. The craftsmanship of the sculpture of Apollo was superb and incredibly realistic, full of life and almost ready to speak. The young hunter�s head was spinning from the overwhelming sense of self- importance and a false pride. The effect of the potent liquor was obvious and the aggressive, selfish nature of the young hunter belched out a complaint to the ceiling�s echoes,

�Who does she think she is, this woman, to tell me what to do? I am my own master! I do what I please! She must be insane! There is only one door in this room.� The young hunter barged out.

As he faced the wilderness, the grim wind slapped the door behind him. The young hunter turned around but the door was not there; everything had disappeared. It was snowing lightly and the darkness settled quickly. The realization of his new, equally surprising circumstances was sobering and compelled him to stay put until morning. The young hunter searched for twigs and old branches to use for fire. He made a large circle with what he found, jumped inside it and lit the fire to keep predators at bay. The night seemed as long as an eternity, full of hungry howls, bone- chilling sounds and ominous movements.

But the dawn came and the young hunter moved along, hoping to reach safety. Shortly, enough, he saw a bloody trail unaccompanied by footprints, hooves, paws of any kind and he realized that he was at the same place where his bizarre adventure began. He knew how to get home from this point. The young hunter glanced at the bloody trail, he thought for the last time, and twisted his face with an arrogant smile.

The bloody spots on the snow had the shape of scarlet lipstick kisses against the white paper of a love note. The long chain of scarlet lips moved in a whisper. The young hunter went down on his knees and put his ears close to the scarlet lips which had a warm breath and a lovely voice.

�Follow me passionately, execute me masterfully, and feast on me ecstatically,� the scarlet lips repeated like a mantra. The music of the mysterious voice entered the young hunter�s heart. He sensed gravity free lightness in his body and euphoric happiness of no origin. His hot, heavy tears streamed down into the open scarlet kisses, scrolling around in the fresh snow, covering the ground in frenzy. Scattered diamonds of the young hunter�s tears glimmered in the midday sun, illuminating the wilderness with a magical, unearthly, glow. The tree gushed with perfume blossoms.

4 November 2010
Fantasy Fiction

The editor Charis Warchal

HUNTER Part II Cosmos

November 17th, 2021

HUNTER Part II Cosmos

By Yelena Tylkina

Part II: Cosmos

The young hunter pinched off one, solitary flower from a blooming tree, hided it inside his jacket and followed the trail of scarlet lips. He did not have to wonder for long to get to the magical cave. He prayed for a few minutes to get the courage to face whatever that would come to him and entered a crevice of the maze.

Near the fire the little, dark eye girl was alone, reading a book. The young hunter was spying on the girl for a while, thinking how to approach her. What to say to look evidently smart, dominating, manly and with an immediate explanation about his disappearance. The time was passing and the young hunter could not start a conversation, fumbling tails of his jacket.

“Well, well my special pet is back from playing around in the wild woods,” the girl sad without taking her head of the book. “I am reading a book on your heart desires. I would say an amazing and amusing literature. Please, come closer to the fire. You mast be cold, tired and hungry. We still have some leftovers from a last party which you miss. Would you like a snack? And what should it be? What is your favorite part of yourself?” She looked strait at the young hunter.

Now, the girl seemed to the young hunter about sixteen with boyish appearances: spiky short hair, thick eyebrows, a strong jaw line, dark, deep, hungry eyes; wiry, long body. It was confusing even at the close distance to figure out the gender of this teenager.

The untamed beauty of the teenager girl was captivating and agitating at the same time; even so, she was well groomed, and dressed in superbly tailored, funky clothes: burgundy lather jacket with an embroidered, tattoo inspired design of skull, flowers and dragons, and black, animal print jeans staffed in the red snake skin boots. But her eyes seemed to be not human.

Somehow, the all atmosphere in the cave was changed to a modern look of a city loft: brick walls, high ceilings, huge windows. The cave had been converted into the cosmopolitan living quarters with oversized canvases of Modern Art and wide, heavy furniture placed over antic rugs mixed with skins of wild animals. The young hunter immediately felt more relax and approached the girl flirtatiously: “My favorite part of myself is my butt. It is tasty on anything.” He collapsed on a red lather sofa near the girl, crowding her with his massive presence. The teenager girl still was holding her book. The hunter glanced inside girl’s book but pages were empty.

“What us up with your book, sweetie?” The young hunter asked and broad his face very close to girl’s neck and inhale deeply. The girl frayed her brows, her eyes glowing with amber as she moved her lips slowly:” Only I can see the script. This special gift not for common people, my pet, and only I could see and imagine what will happen in the future. Do not forget this book is about your fate.”

“I am going to tell you what to write.” The young hunter rolled his eye to the ceiling to gather his thoughts, mumbling something to him-self and folding his fingers in calculations of his desirers, wishes and dreams.

The girl rose slowly, closed her book, and annoyingly replied: ” I see you do not learn your life lessons and insisting to be primitive and a bully. Already, you was devoured by your own demons ones, kicked your “good on anything butt” from the paradise to the wilderness of your stupidity, come back and still, not a drop of wisdom in your eyes. I do not understand why you had to be chosen for this magical experiment? We all have to obey cosmic orders but I refuse to participate to help you with your fate. Go to Hell! I am going to burn this boring book of your life right now!”

The girl rushed to the fireplace. The young hunter grabbed her arm and pulled her back toward him. The girl kicked him fast and hard in the crouch, stomach and face. The young hunter stroked back and in the fury of there straggle he stabbed the girl with something he grabbed from a table. When the girl collapsed on the floor, he pulled the book of fate from her hands with laughter. His dance of glory and hysterical laughter stopped when the young hunter was up to his ankles in the girl’s blood. He froze in a shock. A black long line of a calligraphy pen rising from the girl’s shiny from her own blood limp body was the last thing he remembered. The young hunter fainted into a scarlet, abstract space, but of very tiny, suffocating dimensions.

With his book of fate still clanged to his chest, the young hunter regained his conscious on the cold floor of a small, dark room without a door. The ragged structure was a hut made from thick branches and the spaces between branches were staffed with small stones and mud, and layers of dried grass were substitute for a roof. Dim light was lazily descending down from a narrow, horizontal slat of the window on the top of a wall. The young hunter feasted his eyes on the blossoming flower from the deep woods, bathing in the ray of dim light.

“Ha-ha! It is easy to break this childish stricture. This is, maybe, a tree house.”- The young hunter communicated his plan to the flower and rose from the floor. He tried everything in the hope to destroy this tree house: scratching and kicking walls, jumping maniacally, assuming he could brake floor or shack this fragile structure down. Finally, clamming walls and digging holes in the grass roof. But dry grass was sharper than scissors, cutting his hands to shreds. He was creaming for help for hours in to a slut of the window, just to get slaps of bird’s shit on this face. After a few days without water and food, broken by an effortless straggle to free himself from his cell, the young hunter gave up and was ready to meet his end. He collapsed in to oblivion.

The aroma of fried chicken and French fries woke him up. The young hunter lost any sense of reality. He was starving and dying from the thirst. The food on the tray was a large bucket of Kentucky chicken, fries; pickles, fresh bread, soda, and one slice of pizza with pineapple.

“Is it Haven? Did I already die? “-The young hunter was wandering in his thoughts, while staffing himself with food and weeping like a lost child. He finished eating than fell asleep again.

The caravan of long days passed the same, except the fast food variations and a miracle of a never withering, aromatic flower from the deep woods. A basin with water appeared for him to wash and other things of personal toilet. He tried to break out again and again, but the same story repeated itself, till he realized that he could manipulate his surroundings by drawing the image of his needs in the empty pages of his book of fate, with his tears and blood. The small wishes would came true, but still he could not leave his cell, yet the place itself got bigger and bigger and a structure change from a hut to an abandoned factory, than into a space station of a colossal magnitude.

A space station had robots to maintain it and an intercom to talk to the source of the leadership. The young hunter got deeply involved with his place of incarceration and left behind his emotional longings, even forgot his earth life. But felt in his book of fate with drawing and letters of his life story. He reared his book at the remains of his day, staying in the observation room and than looked for hours at the cosmic view full of indescribable, fantastic wonder. He did not know the exact location of this space station. This specific knowledge was not given to him. He was safely drifting among endless cosmic beauty. He surrendered to his destiny to be a time and space traveler.

Than one day, the Amazon walked in to the observation room. The young hunter was not surprise to see her. He was dreaming about this moment for years. They set together in silence, listening music of peace. The Amazon’s elegant silhouettes was a miniature depiction of the cosmic view: the gold streams of the Amazon hair were in a beautiful contrast with a shimmering indigo suit she was wearing and enigmatic glow was emanating from her face. She looked younger then the young hunter remembered, or perhaps, he edged a bit. He took from an inner packet of his jacket the forever blossoming flower from the deep woods of his earth life and decorated the Amazon’s hair with it. The perfume of a timid flower felt the air.

“Life is an unpredictable and mysterious voyage!”- He sad.
“Our life is exactly as we picture it and what an incredible view!”- The Amazon replayed.

Fantasy Fiction
18 November 2010
The editor Charis Warchal

Postcard From Death

November 12th, 2021

Postcard From Death

Historical truth is not only a collection of dry facts but an intricate infusion of views and impressions of information with all the impossible, controversial and fantastic thrown in.
This story is about a young woman's survival from a brutal attack and a rape and her emotionally complex affair with her rapist.

There was a time in my life when I met Death, and fell in love with him. Death was impressively tall, with a military posture, symmetrical, pale features, soft, full lips, and innocent, baby-blue eyes.
It was a fickle Russian September when the summer warmth rapidly changes into wet, bone-chilling cold. The early frost slipped its icy fingers under my clothes and painfully caressed the sensitive enamel of my front teeth every evening as I stepped from my warm work place into the street and, increasing my pace, pressed my stomach tight against my spine to stop shivering. It was a short walk home, but done in the darkness of a blind man.
My neighborhood, �Red Bank of the River Orsha,� was located between three cemeteries, Jewish, Russian and Polish, on the outskirts of town. The main street, named after Fredrick Engels, never received the official attention it needed. All the streetlights were broken, and the only public phone was mutilated beyond repair. There were no buses that ran through this part of the neither town, nor taxi service to Red Bank after dark, even if one could afford it - and I could not. The private houses, pocked with dingy little windows, were placed far behind fences and stood concealed by neglected, entangled vegetation and shed no light on the desolated country landscape.
On this cloudless night, only the moon was the queen of navigation. I sensed movement in the thick darkness directly ahead of me and heard a gentle voice ask forgiveness for disturbing me, and pleading for guidance. �Excuse me, please, I am completely lost and I had to report to the army base 15 minutes ago. If it�s not too much trouble, please, could you give me directions?�
I focused my vision to try and penetrate the flat space of invisibility and identify the source of the placid voice. The night rippled into a six foot, seven inch, Red Army Major. The moonlight reflected from his polished brass insignia. Someone was lost in my lightless neighborhood. It wasn�t the first time.

So why should I be frightened or surprised now? Plus, the Major didn�t seem at all out of place, but stood comfortably, almost bored, as he calmly received my blabbered and gesticulated directions, which I gave with my back to him. �And then you take a right, and then a left and after you reach the bridge�� As a good-natured person and patriotic citizen, I had to make sure the solder wouldn�t remain lost.
It was the sudden, overwhelming, abstract, sense of a panic, as if something was burning above my head, which forced me to turn to face the Major. I beheld the crazed eyes of the lost soldier glowing with orange flames against the endless satin of the darkness. I disappeared into his stare, falling into the abyss of the avoidable moment. In anticipation of a struggle, my body jerked. I tried to scream, but the sharp edge of terror pricked my throat and no sound reached my lips. The silent roar of horror exploded in my chest.
Violence is like a giant, foul, stale, fart that fills the air with a sulphurous, suffocating, rotten egg odor. The lungs refuse to breathe, the nervous system shuts down, the heart stops its rapid race, and the spirit abandons the body.
Before my twentieth birthday, Death had come for me.
I surrendered easily as my spine cracked under the pressure of the trained-to-kill, iron grip of the Major�s coarse hands. He tossed and twisted me like wet laundry, trying to squeeze some struggle out of me in order to reach the ecstatic intensity of his predatory game. The excitement of the chase and hand-to-hand combat sweetened his pleasure of killing. But I gave him only the remains of the real me: my limp limbs. I had abandoned my body as soon as it landed in a puddle of icy water.
From a distance, my spirit watched the brutal end of its physical existence. How long would it take before someone discovered this insanity? Definitely by morning, when a pair of still sleepy eyes would notice my smudged, dirty, nude body on a pile of slimy, rotten leaves. The person would go through an entire range of emotions: shock, wonder, panic, fear and sorrow. After that, there would be the obligatory police investigation and, of course, the funeral.

The investigation was not important for me to fantasize about, since I was almost certain that no one would ever apprehend my murderer. I skipped all the legal procedures and my thoughts went directly to my funeral. The yellow polyester dress, which I inherited from my cousin Raisa after she purchased it for a special occasion and used for her long-held wish of a wedding, which was now too small after the arrival of her baby, would be my first choice to wear in my coffin.
I hoped people would say nice words at the final farewell. A small town has neither pity, nor mercy. The locals will kill you over and over with spiteful tales of who deserved what, and for transgressions real or imagined. Good girls, bad girls. The reality was that at the end of the burial services, everyone would get awfully drunk with Samogon - 120% proof, home-made potato vodka. People often forget the purpose of the gathering and amuse each other with dancing, laughter and stupid, vulgar jokes. Also, a funeral is a perfect place to settle old disputes. Before nightfall, some will inevitably start a fight and shed some blood. A few might even shed some tears.
�Are you a virgin?� Death�s voice took my spirit by surprise, interrupting the flow of its meditation. My spirit jumped back into my body and I suddenly felt cold.
�Are you a virgin?� Death repeated.
�Yes, I am,� I lied.
Death gave me an unexpected kiss. I responded to it, softly sucking his tongue, caressing his neck, admiring the Major�s stars on his epaulets. Forcefully, I entered into the mysterious territory of someone else�s emotional labyrinth, and became lost in the translucent structure of time. My body became disjointed and weightless and my energy dispersed and scattered into floating confetti of fire that fell on me like hot ashes from a cigarette. Still feeling the Major inside of me, my body spasmed and shook. The bitter taste of silent tears flooded my mouth. I choked, but was too frightened to display my discomfort. So, instead, I moaned.
�You are my girl now,� Death declared.
�Only yours, to the end,� I responded. Sometimes, in the formation of simple words, there is a secret lie.

My consciousness unfolded into a measureless surface of astonishment, coupled with a cheap desire to know what was coming next. Then, merciful Death put me on his wide shoulders and carried me home. I only had to point in the right direction. A few minutes later, I was alone, scratching the front door of my house like a homeless cat. In the struggle, I had lost my keys.
�Let me in please,� I whispered to an empty space. My boneless body wanted to give up, slide down, and melt in to the concrete porch. The cold air was so comforting. I closed my eyes for a minute. First, there was a total stillness of thought and then an eruption of repressed anger as I saw my fist banging on the glass of the front window.
Pow! Pow! Pow! The sound of trembling glass bounced against my chest. My lips folded into a pipe, jaws shifting from ear to ear, mouth turned inside out and a liquid ball of vomit slapped the porch and my shoes. The sour taste of stomach acid bubbled inside my throat, as I coughed out the words, �Ma! Op-en the door! �The do-or! Ma!�
Without turning on the light, my sleepy, cursing mother opened the front door. She turned around immediately and dragged her fungus-infested, stinky slippers back to bed. On the way, she farted loudly, cursed again, and slammed the bedroom door.
My mother�s indifference was formed during War World II. Well informed Jewish families fled from Belarus to the South of the Soviet Union to avoid execution or concentration camps. When my grandfather joined the Byelorussian Front, my grandmother, with her five daughters, aged five to fourteen, went to Uzbekistan with very bleak prospects for the future. A sacrifice had to be made to save family from starvation.
In 1942, my mother, aged twelve, was sold - or better still � �exchanged� by her mother to a munitions factory for a bag of barley, a large jar of lard, and three pieces of soap. Ma was sent to the Siberian border with a forged birth certificate indicating that she was old enough to work twelve hours a day.

Robbed by adults of her winter clothes and food rations, my mother was destined to be a war casualty after just a few months of slavery. She escaped the factory and survived the long journey back to her family in Uzbekistan, to a war refugee settlement near the capital, Tashkent. Her mother died only a few days before her arrival, and her sisters had been given away to different work camps.
I didn�t want her to see me all bruised and disheveled. We all learned young: keep it to yourself. Which is exactly what I did, even with a dislocated shoulder, a swollen ankle, broken fingernails, and hair plastered to my skull by wet mud that dripped on my back like cold kasha. Over a basin of cold water, I washed myself and brushed my sticky hair until my skull began to bleed. I tied towels around my twisted ankle and shoulder, covered myself with a shabby, bacon-smelling coat, oily from years of use, and sat down.
I lit a cigarette and stared into the night. Our kitchen was damp, cold and crowded with the sharp mushroom smell of rapidly spreading mold on cheaply built walls. It was furnished with a thirty-year-old, beaten and chipped refrigerator, bare wood country chairs, and a plastic coffee table. I hated this chicken coop. Desperately, I wanted to cry, but the tears stuck somewhere in the bottom of my eyes. Instead, I smoked till dawn and then slipped into oblivion.
I dreamt that I sat on a park bench reading a book on a clear summer day. A woman appeared and began a conversation. She was worn out, tired-looking, and had short, bleached-blond hair and a wrinkled face. Her age was uncertain, maybe forty, perhaps over sixty. No one could call her attractive, but her watery, turquoise eyes were hypnotizing, provident, and caring. I couldn�t stop staring. She put her chapped lips close to my face. I felt her warm breath on my cheeks as she whispered that she could read the future from facial wrinkles.
She said that I longed for balance and security and that emotionally, I was just a passive and insecure reflection of others. The dark side of my nature would bring me many dramatic experiences. But, I was going to live a very long life of one hundred and twenty seven years and that, sometime in the future, I would laugh at all my sorrows and pain, which would surely be transformed into creative and dynamic expression. Then she said that emotional balance must to be earned.

Confused and frightened over her predictions, I demanded to know whose wrinkles she was reading. She answered that she read her own, but that my future was reflected in her face. �Who the hell are you?� I demanded, losing my temper. �Why, my dear, I thought you would know by now. I am your fate, of course,� she calmly replied. Then, she let me touch her timeless, tired face.
�One day we will go up in flames from your fucking cigarettes!� Mother�s screeching voice rang in my head. �Go-od mo-r-ning!� she screamed in my ear. She snatched one cigarette from my pack, lit it, inhaled with pleasure and added, �Never smoke on an empty stomach. It�s bad for you.�
I excused myself on account of my �terrible menstruation� and went to bed. Luckily, it was Saturday and I had two whole days to recover before going back to work. My salvation lay in taking some date-expired aspirin washed down with mother�s homemade liquor.
Monday came and life went on. That week, a sudden heat wave swept through the town. Indian summer arrived in full splendor. The reflection of sparkling sunshine in the thick brocade of autumn foliage contrasted against the sapphire sky and created a spectacular view. The air was heavy with the perfume of honey, apples, and winter blossom flowers, mixed with bitter smoke from the burning leaves on every front yard. Cats were going crazy from the sudden comforting warmth and serenaded the moon every evening, bringing total frustration to the local residents. People screamed profanities in the night and threw scalding water onto the street in the hope of injuring some cat but, instead, innocent bystanders would get burned, and these situations would escalate into vicious arguments or fistfights.
How to take advantage of the glorious weather was everyone�s concern. As always, there were hurried, last minute preparations for the long, frigid winter. Mother and I worked our small patch of land after my day job and during my precious weekends, though we hardly equaled a pair of man�s hands. So, for many years the husbandless woman and her cub were creative in approaching the difficult task of everyday survival. The field needed plowing after the final collection of roots and vegetables. Renting a horse was not within our budget, but to continue working with just shovels was total insanity. Borrowing a plow in exchange for a portion of our harvest seemed to be the only realistic approach.

I functioned as the horse and mother the plowman. Wrapping leather straps around my waist and shoulders, I pulled the plow while, at her end, mother tried very hard to steer the blade in a straight line. Work was progressing well and it would take us two days to finish the job. My shoulder still hurt from my encounter with Death. I had to stop often to adjust the plow straps. Mother�s patience began to wear thin.
It was then Death suddenly reappeared with a bouquet of flowers. Standing in the middle of the potato field, Death looked so proper, clean, and polished. Did he simply fly over here? He certainly wasn�t lost this time. I could see my reflection in his black army boots. There was no sweat on his forehead, even though it was a very hot day, nor even a speck of soil on his boots, nor dust on the sleeves of his army jacket. Closely shaven and perfumed, Death was irresistible.
Mother was pleased with Death�s looks. �Boys like you should guard the Kremlin!� she told him. Flattery is very tasty bait. Death volunteered to help us. He stripped down to his waist, carefully folded his belongings, and asked for a pair of work shoes. I glanced at Death�s over-sized feet and froze in place stuttering like a retarded child. Mother, on the other hand, always wise about seizing the moment, quickly found a pair of old galoshes my uncle left behind after freezing to death in his yard because his wife was worried about her monthly beating and refused to open the front door. The drunken idiot thought that cigarettes would keep him warm till morning. Instead, he let the severe Russian frost lullaby him into a better world. He fell asleep and became an icicle. His death was a full figured, G-cupped snowwoman.
Meanwhile, my Death, using only a shovel, worked like a film on fast forward. I felt dizzy watching the half nude, sweat-glistened being move around with the power of a portable tractor. All the work was finished in a couple of hours. Mother called our neighbors to display the splendor of our glory. We now had a male friend and protector who loved to work, a Red Army Major, a handyman and a gentleman, who brought us flowers and planned to repair our leaking roof.
Mother set the table with bottles of homemade wine, boiled potatoes, marinated mushrooms and her secret stash of dry sausage. Even faced with this banquet, worms of worry chewed holes in my stomach, as I imagined Death drunk and loose in the Red Bank neighborhood between the three cemeteries.

Ocean-blue-eyed Death was reticent and enigmatic. Respectable neighbors and beloved relatives wanted to please him by guessing his desires. Oh, maybe this, or maybe that. Try, please, a little more of this, a little more of that. After a few shots of mother�s potent liquor creation, everybody wanted to chat with handsome Death, to stroke his hair, to hear his opinion on the war in Afghanistan. While surrounded by the tipsy, doting and affectionate crowd, Death looked straight into my eyes with silent devotion and smiled. I looked at his perfect teeth and felt a winter frost lick my neck and chill my body with a violent desire. I walked with Death, hand in hand, through a grove of apple trees in the total silence.
Desire is blind and the heart a foolish prankster. On piles of golden and burgundy leaves, without exchanging any words, we made love passionately like true lovers, lovers that hungered for love, rolling on the ground, pressing into each other�s sweaty body with fury, reaching deeply into each other�s soul, and into that sacred place where the color of ecstasy infuses itself with the color of pain. Death stretched his hairless body on the ground and offered it to me like a bench. I made myself comfortable on his flat abdomen. While nude, we smoked cigarettes and showed each other ways to make smoke figures.
The level of our intimate connection grew deeper when Death tenderly caressed the black and blue marks on my skin, which, by that time, were hardly visible under my Gypsy-dark suntan, and I told taboo political anecdotes.
When Leonid Brezhnev died, because of his important contribution of twenty years of dictatorship in Russia, he had a choice on how to spend his eternity: Heaven, or Hell. In Heaven everything was clean, light, quiet and peaceful. Brezhnev�s tour of Hell, however, brought some excitement because there Brezhnev saw his former comrade Nikita Khrushchev having wild sex with Marilyn Monroe. Brezhnev settled for Hell, wanting Nikita�s piece of the action. Instead, he was dragged into the Inferno. �Why is Nikita better than me? I am a Soviet hero four times over!� Brezhnev complained. Satan calmly responded that the sexual escapade he had seen in Hell was not Nikita�s reward, but Marilyn Monroe�s punishment!

Death giggled at this sacrilege like a little boy. In the magical glow of the scarlet evening sky, with streaks of gold on the horizon and scattered patches of peacock clouds, accompanied by a chorus of noisy insects and the matrimonial dance of flashing firebugs, Death became my pet.
A box of nails would appear on the front porch, or a truckload of quality wood would be unloaded in the front yard, complete with all the proper papers of ownership. Cans of army food found their way to my home, which added spice to our existence. The boiled potatoes tasted heavenly with fatty chunks of beef from those cans and every evening mother tried to collect every drop of the exquisite taste by dipping a bit of sour, black rye Russian bread into the melted fat, while worrying out loud about how long this luxury would last.
My relationship with Death brought me a higher level of respect from relatives and neighbors. Now, I had an official breadwinner, a provider. People talked about my secure, prosperous future with some degree of envy. Mother mentioned that she finally could see a light in the end of the tunnel. I was asked often how I met the Major. Well, we met on the street and it was love at first sight. What a beautiful story. Yes, indeed.
Then, Death disappeared and, two months later, a postcard arrived from Afghanistan, written in the almost illegible handwriting of a first-grader. Our Major found himself in appropriate circumstances for his skills, where he could polish his particular talents to perfection. A soldier belongs to war, he declared. Civilian life was suffocating and depressing. I had to be strong and patient, since glorious Death would be back one day.
Death�s postcard melted into dark ashes in the fireplace. I stared at the red-hot coals for a long time. Mother mumbled complaints about the fickle nature of men and of life�s disappointments in general. I kept quiet, as always.
the editor Charis Warchal

Essence of Housekeeping

October 16th, 2021

Essence of Housekeeping

Essence of Housekeeping

By Yelena Tylkina

I arrived in New York from Russia as a political refugee on a steamy July afternoon with only fifty dollars in my pocket, but measureless hope for a seemingly bright future. I kneeled and kissed the million- footstep- trodden, gummy, sticky, cigarette ash covered ground of the famous John F. Kennedy Airport, and shed tears of overwhelming happiness in having safely reached the promised land.


“Summer days are long, so there is still plenty of time before the end of this memorable day to look for a job”, I was wisely advised upon my arrival by my sister-cousin, Zemfira Bergoldt, who was kind enough to meet me at the airport after eleven long years of longing for the family’s reunion. I turned with open arms and prepared to smooch my “miss–you- for-ever” darling, five foot- one inch- tall, munchkin Zemfira, and her family.

But, as quick as a middleweight boxer, Zemfira ducked her plump body, grimaced with disgust, and pushed me away. Her chilly welcome jarred me out of my joyful bliss. I raised my arms and sniffed my badly shaven armpits.

“What is it?” I asked, “A little too delicate for the old country aroma?”

My gruesomely obese nephew and cross-eyed niece burst with laughter, showing metal braces over their yellowed teeth. And next, the breadwinner -my four hundred pound square, brother-in-law, Mickey, who, incidentally, was my second cousin, stopped licking his ice-cream cone, sighed and lit a cigarette. With a sad expression on his pumpkin face, he looked at milky steams of cigarette smoke and spoke prophetically about my future:

“With your face… you aren’t going to make it in New York; Skinny, dark, no English. You look Puerto Rican! People will think that you’re our housekeeper! You belong with those people: dancing and fucking all day long. Pueeeeer-to Ri-cooooooooo…”

Fat Mickey unzipped his mouth widely, baring his periodontic, bleeding gums and giggled like a hyena over a fresh corpse. Screwing his fat, black, auto-mechanic, finger into my shoulder, he wiggled his layered, inflated hips. A Tsunami wave of suffocating rage reached my peaceful mental shore. My first reaction was to bite his kielbasa-size, rotten finger and swallow it without chewing and shit it out, just slightly digested in front of a whole family. But at the same moment, I remembered that I needed to crash on someone’s sofa and so far, in New York, I knew only these cartoon characters.

The family members that I grew up with in the same household in Russia had become weirdly shaped aliens. In the middle of summer, they had pale-green, transparent, jelly faces, with greasy lips, eagle noses and a heavy net of blue varicose veins that seemed to be hanging, dripping from their denim khaki shorts over their psoriasis infected skin.

Jet lagged from the flight, dizzy, disoriented and having lost the hearing in my right ear from a rapidly developing infection, all of the above made me reasonably mellow and agreeable. San Juan, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, samba, meringue, cha-cha-cha – Yes! With pleasure, I will carnivalize with rhythm oriented, sensual, suntanned people - but only after a bowl of hot borsht, a good shit and a shower.

The beige minivan subsided from the heavy cargo but, nevertheless, gave us all the treat of a comfortable ride home - to Brooklyn. I was amazed by the rich vegetation on the way from the airport to Bay Ridge. The brick, steel, glass, plastic, concrete jungle wasn’t so inhuman and scary. This was the beginning of my American life! In the comfort of the air-conditioned car, through spotless car windows, I visually absorbed new, all the exotic imagery that we passed on the way: architecture, flowers, birds, traffic - and I saw a raccoon digging through trash in broad daylight.

“A preview of my prospects” I thought.

I turned away from the window to face my ten-year-old niece, Kath. The “th” part of her name was impossible for me to pronounce properly and Kath would sound always like Kiss. She was an authentic American, a New York Yankee, born and bred in New York City. She was an odd looking child. Her face was a surrealistic painting in motion: Salvador Dali’s disturbed, internal, world manifested in one little girl. Kath’s ability to communicate in Russian was much better than my English. Both of us could use some practice and we engaged in Russglish chatting.

“So, tell me, how old are you?” she asked. Kath was rubbing against my leg and spoke in a very deep, sensual voice. She imagined that my miss-pronunciation of her name was an invitation to flirtation.

“In my early twenties, senorita Kiss” I answered.

Kath give me a stare, if one could call it a stare. The little girl’s eyes had a unique, incurable condition different from other cross-eyed people. Her blue pupils and dark centers of her eyes were in different corners of the white base of her eyeball. The amazing part was that she could see well, but focusing on an object was a challenge that sent her facial muscles to obscure, distorted expressions. The inbreeding had reached its acme. A panic attack of a powerful, realistic hallucination of being trapped in an aquarium with a deep-sea creature clogged my trachea. Gasping for oxygen, I barely controlled my desire to jump out of the moving vehicle.

Then Kath began her monologue:

“Ya’ know, you look like a goofy kid; you don’t have any boobs, your skin is dark and bumpy like a sand paper and I see a couple of black hairs on your chin. How gross! When I’m your age, I’ll have a size-E, like Mama, but Grandma is bigger- a dream size -F. She’s got to order her bras by special order. Ya’ know, American society is boob oriented. You’re not one of the chosen, you’re flat and no one in his right mind will marry you, poor thing. I already got a bank account for my wedding and a subscription to “Modern Bride” Magazine…”.

Kath went on and on about chosen and special people. I envied her enthusiasm for tomorrow. I thought to myself that sunglasses and enormous breasts, combined with a substantial bank account could be a winning formula. The little, goggle-eyed, Cyclops has a chance, so I better seriously shift my focus on Latin America. My Spanish vocabulary had up to thirty words more than my English and the Latin world appreciates tall, wiry, small-breasted women.

The radio blared, “Besa me! Besa me mucho! La- la- la!”

“No Spanish-mix! Change the channel! Put on some Russian Rock! We have a guest with us who knows bull about anything Spanish”.

My nephew Max made the request in a feeble attempt to welcome and comfort me, in memory of a decade old sentiment when I was his babysitter. A badly made copy of a vernacular noise crucifies me on the spot. Nailed by my scull to the back seat of the car, I silently wept.

“Jesus came from Jewish family and died suffering, but not like this.” I thought.

A two bedroom, tiny house with one and half bathrooms, still brought the proud owners, the family Bergoldt, to tender tears. The purchase was made a few months prior to my arrival. A few blocks away from the water, practically oceanfront: a gem, a wonder, an architectural masterpiece, a dream! The house was actually a cheaply built, aluminum sided structure, connected to other dreams on both sides: Polish, Italian, Greek, Bangladeshi, Equatorian, Afro- American. We all stood still for a few minutes in the front of their Winter Palace, their Hermitage, to pay homage to human achievement. After much struggle and sacrifice, the Bergoldts could mingle with the imperial crowd. In this corner lives so and so, an owner of mini-meat market (always fresh products) and in that corner someone who has connections to the Mafia (very quiet people), and there lives a lawyer (disbarred for a sexual harassment and embezzlement), but a decent, agreeable chap. The Bergoldts moved mountains to achieve respectability and a secure future and all I had to do was to walk the red carpet straight into the American dream.

What could I say? After Soviet Social Realism, when dust balls counted as an exotic food group and were distributed by rations, I had to admit, that anything was better than my yesterday.

“Incredible, sublime, fantastic!” I exclaimed, increasing the volume in my voice as I approached the last word and the exclamation mark.

The interior of the house was done in a “Le Freak C’est Chic” interpretation of Russian country style - Lubbock. The salmon colored ceiling with gold stencil print gently echoed the wallpaper’s repetitive scenery of a pink sunset over a palm outlined landscape. The wall-to-wall, wild berry linoleum intensified the magical impact on the visitor. Mirror-glass shelves reflected every delicate detail of the fabulous chatschky collection: Russian wooden dolls, matroschkas, ceramic figurines of unicorns, dolphins, ferries, kittens and puppies in woven baskets and a gilded edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, volume from I to P. Black veneer furniture, chrome finished electrical fixtures and plastic-glass coffee tables united in a silent partnership with the jewel of the crown of super refined taste: each and every immigrant’s dream - a 48 inch-screen television!

But, it wasn’t the décor and the two hundred-channel box that took my breath away. In the middle of the living room, a lengthy table with elaborate and lavish banquet sent spasms through my empty colon. Airborne molecules of paradise liquefied my body into a puddle of sticky drool. Very slowly, sliding my feet on the floor, I approached the lavish display of different types of cold cuts, cheeses, smoked fish, something with viciously large claws, salads and blintzes. Individually wrapped in plastic, the extravagant food presentation was a glistening spectrum of the color chart. To see a rainbow after a horrifying storm could be a spiritual, holy experience. God, All Mighty! Tenderly, I caressed the tablecloth and inhaled the complex bouquet of chopped, baked, broiled and cured aromas.

“Stop floundering with the tablecloth and start unwrapping the food!

My angel, Zemfira, was always on time with her wise guidance and worldly points of view. Treasures from Ali Baba’s Sesame Mountain were now at my disposal. Abracadabra! I was presented with kosher barbequed baby-pork ribs and other wonders of Jewish- Russian gourmet cuisine. Only the best and freshest ingredients were used to create the delicate masterpieces of the East.

My deprived life’s insecurities crept in and a paranoid idea seized my head: I was here not to enjoy the pleasure of these wonderful treasures, but merely to assist in the lavish party.

Fearful tears clouded my eyes and through a haze I saw the broiled, whole, spiked fish wink, smile, and say: “Hands off”, or “Fuck off”, or something along those lines, and then show me its tongue. I giggled, tried to step back from the table but got lost in a plate of wonderfully soft and creamy goose pate.

I regained consciousness in the back yard, huddled in a plastic lounge chair under a tree with my hand full of goose pate clinging to my chest and surrounded by a brave group of sparrows using me like a shield, flying back and forth, to steal crumbs.

“Hiya, boys!” I greeted the silly birds. “We may all be working together soon.”

I opened my eyes to the party, which had blossomed to twenty-five people or so. The barbeque smoked and sizzled, and the countless shots of Absolut had softened the borders between reality and absurd.

The buzzing human larvae with zippers unzipped, buttons unbuttoned, and lipstick smudged were packed to the brim with food and beverage, but couldn’t stop chewing and swallowing. I heard distant voices from across the backyard:

“She always was like this, dark and hungry like a roach. She’s illegitimate, you know. Who knows about her father? Probably not even a Jew. When she was three, we had to tie her like a dog, so she wouldn’t chew up the whole house.”

The sensational gossip collector, the hostess, let her tongue loose and became the center of attention. With hysterical dependence on the easy comfort of food and barking excessively like an abandoned puppy, Zemfira talked, with her mouth full of a hodge-podge of food as dressing dripped down her chin, to a bunch of bleached beyond recognition sirens. Blah, blah, blah, blah…

Through my ear yet undamaged by infection, I caught yet another folk tale. Around the barbeque stood Mickey, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, defiantly tailored from the leftovers of the living room’s wallpaper, holding forth with a free lecture on sexual harassment while waving a spatula dripping with oil.

“Some people would scoff at this, but studies show that 93% of men have felt coerced into sex at home. Marriage is like a double shift at the chemical factory, dangerous to the health and exhausting to the spirit. Half the time, I feel like a zombie during my performance, or like an astronaut, praying for a safe landing. Women are the Devil’s Inferno with hungry flames that reduce one to ashes. If not the kids…”

The group of listeners, five stout men with bull-size necks, guts hanging over their belt lines, greasy fingers and mouths full of burned cow flesh, howled in agreement and raised their glasses to the undeniable truth.

Kath appeared in my view like an ominous cloud, all sweaty and pink from excitement:

“I know that you’re fatherless. But, do you know who he is, at least?” She lisped in to my ear.

I looked at my hand full of goose pate, sighed and answered: “I am the daughter of the leader of the People’s Movement Against Oppression!”

The Cyclops’ reaction was very hard to read, she blinked her google-eyes for a long time, then popped: “What? I don’t understand. I can’t follow.”

“Precisely my point, my dear. So go and bring me a couple of crackers to finish this pate, go on.”

“I’m not your servant!”

Kath wanted to add many more adjectives and nouns, but was rudely interrupted with a big slap of watery bird shit on her face. Screaming and cursing in three languages: “Fucking shit! Blayd! Padla! Koorva! (fucking shit, a cheap and lazy whore, an easy slut, lame prostitute) in English, Russian and Polish - the last one, courtesy of a former nanny from Warsaw - the Cyclops turned and disappeared into the house.

Kath’s private school education is paying off handsomely. I couldn’t even finish my thought when I was swooped down upon by the famous, double-G size, Aunt Nina, Kath’s grandmother from Mickey’s side.

“What did you tell Precious, to upset her so much?”

Nina’s “nuclear submarines” vibrated rapidly to reflect her agitation. Staring at the two lethal weapons, human breasts with nipples size of my fists, I stutter:

“No es mi culpa, mira, paharitos locos shit on our p-pobresita Precious. I can’t interfere or stop the r-rascals. I was unconscious. No es mi culpa!”

“What is this shit with Spanish? This is a country of English speaking people!”

“Do you speak English, dear Aunt Nina?”

“I know my way around without it, you dummy! Now, I’ve got to ask you a very imported question. Be an accommodating girl and confess.”
Nina blushed, scratched her head under her cheap wig, put her sweaty palm above my knee, licked her lips hungrily and added: “If I take you to a doctor will I be pleasantly surprised?”

I hesitated to answer, but did so anyway. “The surprise is that my relatives’ core hasn’t changed. We all came from the same tree, then mutated in to a different species.” The goose pate melted inside my fist and dripped like a diarrhea between my fingers on Nina’s clothes.

“You klutz! Trollop! You got no manners or class!” Nina lost her polished cosmopolitan, high-handed demeanor and shouted out loud. “Are you a virgin or not? Answer me! I don’t have all day! People are entitled to know!”

She waved her fleshy hand at the party. Human larvae stopped chewing for a moment and some young men coughed or giggled in an anticipation of my confession.

All her life, Aunt Nina was a professional housewife, after her husband’s departure to a better world a few years back, she developed into a talented match- maker. With Nina’s zealous sense of duty, what had begun as a leisurely hobby became a profitable business. For their spoiled and insecure boys, Jewish Mamas wanted brides fresh from the boat, uncorrupted by temptation. Virgins were pricey but, with a proper certificate from a reliable doctor, negotiations could be completed rapidly to everyone’s satisfaction.

Mazeltov! Congratulations! Nahas, happiness for a hundred years!

“What century is it, the end of the twentieth? I don’t want to get marred! I have an education and, most importantly, I am a lesbian!” I announced proudly, trying to scare off potential marriage offers. The party cracked up in laughter and my body’s stock value shot up.

“These girls today are funny. They make each other’s hair and baboom! They’re automatically lesbians!” Nina maneuvered her monumental body between the guests, diplomatically explaining the delicate matter, if any doubt or confusion existed. “She is a virgin, a perverted one, but a virgin nevertheless. Tomorrow I will take her to a doctor. Mickey, throw more steaks on the grill. What a great party! Enjoy everyone!”

Nina was a living encyclopedia of traditional Russian, Jewish, and Polish folk songs and had a very pleasant singing voice. She belted out classic vocal pieces like “ Black Eyes”, a song about a Russian Army cadet- hussar’s passion for a dark eyed, Gypsy woman; “ Sen’ka Rasin”, a song about a Russian peasant who claimed to be Tsar Ivan the Third and demanded the Throne. He killed his beloved mistress front of his comrades to prove his loyalty to the cause; and, finally, “A Bisele Wein”, a Yiddish version of “A Little More Wine” – a song that always brought the guests closer.

So close, in fact, that my body was used as a musical instrument, my rib cage was an accordion, my buttocks -a drum, my fingers and neck, were used as a lute, a harp and a trombone. No new and exciting sounds were created, but the musicians had a hell of a time.

The morning cup of black coffee never tastes better than when suffering from a hangover. Every sip is an elixir.

“Give her something to eat, she look like an unripe prune! Her head is green and her ass is brown.” Exuberant and intensely perfumed, Nina slapped the refrigerator door.

“What happened to the leftovers from yesterday, Zemfira? We’re all hungry!” Nina then turns to me. “And you, Schlimazel, eat faster! We’re already late for the doctor’s appointment”. She pressed her index finger between my eyes.

“Strangely enough, missy, you got several offers of marriage during the party. The classic combination never fails: vodka and good shish-kebab, but strike while it’s hot! People here are very fickle.”

In her late sixties, Nina had more energy, than any young person I ever came across. She got fixated on the idea of my secure and easy life, which, for her, was marriage. “Marriage is the spinal cord of a society. A strong, healthy spinal cord can hold a promising future for the whole world.” My future husband would pay all my transportation and immigration debts to my family and I would be a respectable housewife with no worry of having to look for a job.

Sooner or latter, even a trapped animal would give up, and I wanted to avoid confrontations, especially during a crushing headache. I had an infection in my ear, so let’s go see the doctor and I would take it from there. When I asked for an iron to press my business clothes, I found out that wrinkled corduroy or denim, complete with white snickers and socks were considered favorites for the season. “This is not your village, this is New York, and people don’t dress for a doctor’s appointment. Casual is the way to go.”

I love having a little delicious sense of alienation. The obstinate and eccentric characteristics of my personality always hatch an adverse reaction of disobedience at any provocation. And my interpretation of casual was a starchy, little dress, in pink and yellow with tonal embroidery on a over-dyed dragon print and a pair of lime green sandals. My dowry consisted of just three pairs of shoes: sandals, dressy pumps and winter boots that were painted with industrial acrylics too many times to match the different outfits of my limited wardrobe. Piled layers of different shades of acrylic chipped off, showing the colorful decay of my sandals. At one glance at my creatively rebellious appearance, my relatives choked on that morning’s coffee, looked at each other with crooked smiles, but kept silent, remembering their Russian deprived past. Only Zemfira mentioned that she never saw a white person look so well in home-dyed, Caribbean colored shmatas.

The aged, shriveled, doctor immediately realized that I was not marriage material. For a while, we talked about art and poetry, and my untypical Jewish looks. The doctor diagnosed that I could pass for Brazilian. Are you a dancer? You’re a svelte young lady. A great posture! Could you do a split? No, I am not a dancer, just a propaganda artist, but yeah, I can do a split. I demonstrate the flexibility of my limbs. The doctor gave me an address for a cleaning job and a prescription for my ear infection.

Nina was disappointed that I chose work, instead of the security of marriage, but the address on Fifth Avenue across the Metropolitan Museum was a very promising prospect that I would not be a burden any longer.

I traveled to an unknown constellation, not visible through an immature user’s telescope, far away from even my imagination, to a non-parallel universe. I entered a Fifth Avenue apartment. The internationally exaggerated living space was blazing with luxury: gilded moldings and furniture, blue chip art, priceless artifacts, Murano glass frescos, elaborated fresh flower arrangements and an elegant host, in his forties with streaks of gray in his wavy, black hair and with impeccable manners. I did not feel overwhelmed or out of place. I studied art from the time I was eight years old, hitchhiking through all the major cities of the Soviet Union: Kiev, Yalta, Odessa, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stalingrad, Brest, Grodno, Vitebsk, and the cities along the Baltic and Black sea coasts; I ate sandwiches in every café of all the major museums; I had my first group exhibition at thirteen in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, and finished a few murals before my emigration. And now to dust “ Picasso”, “De Chirico”, “Dali”, “ Chagall”, “ De Koonig”, and caress with soft feathers Chinese Objects de ‘Art from the second, third and may be the seven dynasties, vacuum naturally dyed, hundred year old, Persian silk rugs and change four hundred dollar designer sheets was like working in the museum’s restoration section. In a place of such intense beauty and deep cultural roots, I felt privileged to be a cleaning lady.

My English- Russian dictionary came handy, when my master tried to explain my housekeeping duties, which included nothing sexual but an occasional healthy stream of clear urine on his face. He wanted to be pissed on. It was a moment of quiet uneasiness. I am the same person who just a few days ago wiped her ass with grass under a wild bush in the geographically uncomfortable part of this world? And now I ‘m transformed to the winning finalist in an international pissing contest with a prize of two hundred dollars per urine sample? What’s the problem? I thought. When half of my life I felt like doing it for free to so many people I know, just put them in place. It’s time to practice my secret desire on strangers then move onto my family members. Where’s the soda? The cracking sound of opening soda cans releases the bubbling Genie. On the malachite tiles of the bathroom floor, about the size of my cousins’ living room, a refined collector, my master, was rolling in ecstasy in a champagne colored voyage. I caught my reflection in the oversized, inlaid, Versailles mirrors. A peaceful picture of a young woman with her skirt up, carefully, crossing a brook, got stack in my mind.

On the roof sculpture garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I spent the rest of my working day merely to justify my insanely high salary. With a spectacular sight of the Central Park, sitting under a Rodin’s bronze, I make myself comfortable before reading my aesthetic employer’s letter of explanation for his unique addiction, fetish, or urge. He starts with an epic:

The neon sign of a desire flashes
Linen on my bed in flames.

Deep in my throat a scream is laid,
Controlling involuntary vital functions.
Emotions seep into the medulla.
A contagious conflict
In a stream of blood cells,
That no one can evade.
Lonely tears corrode the metal core
Of the metropolitan beast.

My heart stands still for a moment
To catch a glimpse of an innocent wish,
But death is not an option.

In drastic lines, the scholar continues, that the meaning of life has dissolved into materialism and an endless hunt for possessions. Urine is a means for a higher level of communication, far beyond pedestrian sexual encounters. Only then do momentary connections accrue between humans. The urine stream is an umbilical cord that is never cut between the mother, the Madonna, and the child, and represents the essence of togetherness, and the true definition of belonging. The triumph of a human existence lies in an unconditional surrender to universal love.

Did I just participate in something bigger than one individual judgment? I dared to let go of my ego and venture into a world that may lie behind all artistic marvels. My act of urination could be the enormously valuable, intensely stimulating force behind the creativity of a poet. The City of New York contains ten, eleven, million people and many, like my master-poet, are searching for a meaning in life. I will be a solution to the educated, sensitive and artistic. A perverse virgin’s healing, cleansing power, ready for the request of the next stranger in need. The umbilical cord would never dry out or get soiled.

Creative Realism
Event Date: June 1, 1989 NYC, US

The Bathing Suit.

October 4th, 2021

The Bathing Suit.

by Yelena Tylkina

The Red October Factory was about a minute walking distance from my house, or
perhaps three minutes, if you really dragged your feet. So, it was very
convenient when one day I discovered the factory’s management decided to open
the company indoor swimming pool for the use of the children of the
neighborhood. Aside from the fact that there would be a swimming coach available
to teach the children how to swim, there would be showers – with hot water – to
bathe in. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but to me, living
as I did, in a house where in order to bathe we had to boil water on a
wood-burning stove, this was a source of indescribable happiness and bliss,
especially in the winter, where the simple act of bathing meant taking your life
in your hands.

At the time, I was eight years old and very excited about the prospect of
swimming in a heated pool in the frigid Russian winter. However, my
participation required possession of a bathing suit. Bathing suits were not so
easy to obtain as one might imagine. Indeed, they were rare and luxurious items.
How could I obtain a bathing suit in my provincial Byelorussian town in the
middle of winter- or in any other season for that matter?

I tearfully complained to my mother that I would not be able to learn to swim
and that the kids in the neighborhood would make fun of me in the summer when
they - unlike me - would be able to swim in the town’s river like caviar bearing
sturgeon, whereas I would sit on the shore like a lump of gefilte fish.
Fortunately for me, my mother owned a two-piece bathing suit in royal blue that
was imported either from Bulgaria or Yugoslavia that she considered one of her
most treasured possessions. She put it on to demonstrate it for me. Now, one
must remember that my mother, God Bless Her, looked something like a Russian
–Jewish version of the The Venus of Willendorf. Each of her breasts was bigger
than my head and her midsection was the widest point of her body. But, in that
royal blue bathing suit, to me, she was beautiful!

With much flourish, she removed her famous bathing suit that made her the envy
of all the women on our street and presented it to me so that I might try it on.
The bottom was much too wide for me at the waist and the top of the suit
contained large plastic supporting cups for each breast that created the
illusion that I had things that I would not have for many years to come. I
marveled at my womanly good looks as I viewed myself in the mirror. I was
convinced that Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and even Marilyn Monroe had
nothing on me.
“Ach! Meine schane madele!* This is marvelous! ”, My mother cried,” Everyone
will be green with envy!”
Indeed, I was so impressed by my newfound good looks that I refused to take off
the bathing suit even when I went to bed. This presented a problem since my
mother and I slept in the same bed for the simple reason that we only had one
bed. As I slept and turned one way or another, the plastic breast cups of the
bathing suit made loud clicking noises. Suddenly, my mother sat up and kindly
suggested to me to take that thing off so she could go to sleep because the
noise was driving her meshugah.**

The twenty or so neighborhood kids stood at attention along the side of the pool
as our young swimming coach introduced himself and began to examine the new
recruits. He slowly went up the line like a general inspecting the troops when,
upon reaching me, he stopped, moved closer and, in a particularly polite manner,
inquired about the origins of my bathing suit. “Aha!” I thought, ”Here is a
person of taste who has sensitivity to fashion!”
Happy as I was to be recognized by such a worthy person, I took one step
forward, and proudly announced to everyone that the bathing suit belonged to my
mother. He looked intently at the cups of the bathing suit and said ”Hmmm…Your
mother’s, eh? I would like to talk to her sometime, but first we must begin our

The shallow end of the pool was the place where our training began. Our coach
wanted to discern our various levels of ability. Sitting at the edge of the
pool, we first got our feet accustomed to the water. Then we all jumped in and
tried to swim as best as we could. Suddenly, I realized that my bathing suit had
decided to go out on its own. To my horror, the bottom of my suit was floating
right beside me. When I tried to retrieve the fleeing rascal, and salvage my
dignity, my top, having become waterlogged, began to pull me down like the
tentacles of a giant squid. As I strayed into deeper water, my body was ready to
surrender when I felt someone grab me and pull me to the surface. Our coach had
joined the battle against the fashion import that betrayed me. When he tried to
release me from the grasp of the deadly “D” cups, there was a loud clicking
noise and one of the cups smacked against my ear. I lost my senses and saw all
my life pass before my eyes -- all eight years of it !

I awoke to the warm embrace of a terry-cloth robe. On my lap, was the miserable
object of my embarrassment and of my almost untimely demise-- the bathing suit.
That day in the pool dramatically shook my confidence. I didn’t swim in the
river that summer. As a matter of fact, twelve more summers would pass before I
was able to conquer my fear of the water and the unseen fashion monsters that
lurked beneath.

The Life of One Butterfly

February 5th, 2021

The Life of One Butterfly

The Life of One Butterfly
By Yelena Tylkina

A butterfly became trapped inside a fake greenhouse where all the vegetation was made of plastic. By appearance, it was a very pretty green house and the plastic flowers looked super realistic and fresh. The plastic flowers even displayed morning dew made from glue of useless nutritional value. Soon the butterfly collapsed from hunger and was on her last breath..

But, luckily, a terrible storm came and broke a window of the greenhouse. Its strong wind swept the butterfly far away and placed her on a majestic, ever -blossoming, tree. The enormous tree was covered with glowing aromatic blossoms full of nectar and spread its ever growing branches endlessly to outer space.

The butterfly was resurrected and loved her new home. She replicated itself and all the new butterflies remained with the majestic tree forever.

Every few minutes, a spectacular view of a fantastic explosion of glowing colors would unfold as countless groups of butterflies swirled around the majestic mother tree in a whirlpool of dancing rainbows.

The majestic butterfly tree became an important item for tourists: It became something to see before one dies.
But for the locals, it became a place of worship; a sacred place of purification, forgiveness and metamorphoses.

26 of April- 5 November, 2011 and 1/6/2020

This story was made in to a 3D erotic slideshow on YouTub at your pleasure:

In The Eye Of The Beholder

February 2nd, 2021

In The Eye Of The Beholder

By Yelena Tylkina

Somewhere in the city, there was a young man named Afronut, who dreamed of experience the profound, incredible, feelings of love as only depicted in myth, legend and fairy tale. But his search led him to no one.

Life around him was painfully simple, idiotically vulgar, and emotionally poor. For a long time, he mimicked other people�s behavior in close relationships. Yet those examples did not suit for his gentle soul and the suffering inflicted upon his naturally refined senses was excruciating. Afronut was trapped in a space of warped mirrors with twisted, goofy and, frequently, hideous and scary reflections.

From frustration and disappointment he smashed his penis between two rocks wrung it from his body and threw it away. He then covered his face with blood and screamed for many days in blind madness. Afterwards, he ripped out his own heart, and then cut his head off. That seemed the end of it.

His head rolled out into the street and local boys used it to play soccer. His heart faded under the sun and deteriorated because of the weather, rodents and birds. Afronut�s heart never matched his emotional longings and deep, intense and colorful desirers. It was made from cheap, mass produced materials, like the dozens of little hearts sold for a dollar on St. Valentine�s Day on every corner of the city. With an unsuitable, goofy heart like this, Afronut was easily satisfied with his effortless conquers, and then the next day memories are in the garbage for the city�s rodents and birds to munch on. His life became a morbid drag, witch led him to his mutilation and the suicide.

Afronut�s tortured and beheaded body was not identified and was buried in potter�s field under the number: # 935362-8955462. And after a while, the local boys realized that they were playing with a human head instead of a ball and ran away in insane, hysterical fear. Rodents and birds finished the job: birds pecked Afronut�s eye out and rodents cleaned the brain, flesh and skin from the skull.

The cemetery�s beekeeper, a magic woman named Linga, found Afronut�s skull and put some ideas together. Her bees produced reddish- black, lava- like honey from collecting nectar from the blossoms on the graves. One grave had flowers that were the same lava- like colors: an explosion of orangey-red hues of the color spectrum upon an indigo velvet background.

Linga, the magic woman, smashed Afronut�s skull in to a powder, mixed it with lava- colored honey and ate the potion for eleven days. On the twelfth day, she became pregnant and gave birth the very next day to a budding Calla- lily. When Calla-lily came to the full blossom, her pistil was Afronut � a handsome man in his prime, but still an emotional infant. Like a freshly hatched chick, Afronut assumed that the magic woman was his mother.

The magic woman was ageless, maybe thousands of years old, or perhaps, merely a teenager. Who could tell her age when light emanated from her face like a solemn halo? When even by the slightest physical contact with her clothes, any person experienced mental or emotional bliss. She loved her�little chick� unconditionally and showered him with attention and affection, spoiling him rotten.

But to watch a grown man crawling nude, just in a baby diaper, and sucking pathetically on his thumb, was not an option. Linga had to create a new, magnificent, and unique heart for Afronut. She tailored it in the shape of the cape of indigo velvet with intricate gold embroidery and embellished it with precious stones and pearls. The lining was woven from her own hair: like rich, royal and silky furs of ermine. The magic woman was ready to present her �little chick�, Afronut with her priceless gift, but stepped out to first inspect her bees.

While wandering about the house aimlessly, Afronut suddenly saw the incredible, hand- embroidered cape, glistening on the magic woman�s bed like an entrance to haven. He could not resist trying on the cape. The cape felt uniquely comfortable, and extremely sensual against Afronut�s skin. He rotated his body as if preparing to dance and glanced in the mirror. His limbs went numb from staring at his reflection: he saw an amazingly graceful human being resting upon shiny stars looking peacefully back at him. He stepped closer to the mirror with admiration and love for the reflection, only to realize that the mirror was the magic woman�s eyes.

�I can not stop looking at you! I experience such an enormous amount of beauty and love, by just looking at you. I am abducted and possessed. Every moment together, since we met is priceless, incredible and endless. I sense the eternity of my soul and an immortality of our union.� � Afronut whispered to the magic woman as he gently caressed her face.

�You are my masterpiece.� � The magic woman answered. �I know that some things are not how they appear to the naked eye. Wear your heart proudly. It is breath tackingly romantic, passionate, sensitive, honorable and pure. �

The editor Charis Warchal

April, 23, 2011 Fantasy Fiction

A fly on the wall

December 2nd, 2018

A fly on the wall

I am a swirling mass
of lusty maggots
over a decomposing corpse
of my yesterday,
gorging on the rotten flesh of all idols,
and all the rules
on life’s propriety
and prosperity.

Who sold me that inspirational horse shit?
And called it Pegasus golden nuggets?
And put it in print
in the holy book of knowledge:
How to satisfy the king of flies?!

I will make decisions from my point of view,
from my perception
and my endless quirks.
I am plentiful and hungry.
At any time now
wings will spout on my back
and green flies
will inherit the earth…

Just a dream,
just a dream
of the fly on my wall
watching me
writing this poem for you.
Yelena Tylkina, 2 July 2017

Hell Gate

July 23rd, 2018

Hell Gate

I will walk naked through the inferno
just to see roses of your love in bloom.
I will survive anything
just to get close enough
to see the magic in fast forward.

And your vagina flows perfume at me,
velvet petals covered with dew.
I see my perfect reflection
in every sparkling drop.
I am forever lost
in the gardens of paradise
with heavenly blossoms
that climb over Hell’s Gate.


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