Un Livre de Nouvelles

 

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Comrade Commissar

In the little town of Netrizovo, in a 3 room dacha lived Comrade Commissar Pietrov. It was his duty today, as it had been every Tuesday since joining the Party, that he patrol the rabochiye polya and make sure all was well and all the happy children of Comrade Stalin were working to their heart's content.


Comrade Commissar Pietrov was a rather handsome fellow if you asked his babushka, and he had a pleasant if not stern look about him, as all good Comrade Commissars should. He stepped out into the crisp morning air taking a deep draught of the smell of fresh cut hay. Adjusted his hat at the angle that he thought made him look best and important and turning towards the rabochiye polya to begin his patrol.


He greeted the People's Workers with a tight smile and a short nod as he walked down the lane, and as he walked he noticed up ahead that a group of workers had gathered by the side of the lane.


"What is the meaning of this laziness? Why are you not in the field working?"

 

Although Comrade Commissar Pietrov had not approached in a stealthy manner the workers turned at the sound of his voice and seemed startled to find him standing there. One of the workers swallowed hard and in a timid voice spoke, "If you please Comrade Commissar, there are a row of carrots planted in this field."


"Carrots!", exclaimed Comrade Commissar Pietrov. "What are carrots doing in comrade Stalin's polyas?"


"P-please Comrade Commissar we do not know." stammered another worker.


Pietrov could see that the workers were visibly shaken and he being stern but not a cruel man had a moment of inspiration.

"I will get straight to the bottom of this!", and with that said jumped straight down into the field and in a very official manner had plucked the first 10 carrots out of the ground.

"Bring me 10 of those wooden 20-centimeter stakes now!"

 

The workers looked around perplexed at one another till one of them rushed off to get the Comrade Commissar's order because one did not question the Comrade Commissar.


After a short time the worker returned with the stakes and Comrade Commissar Pietrov said, "Good, now tie each of these criminal carrots to the stakes."  

 

The workers did as they were told and in no time at all 10 carrots were tightly tied and staked into the ground in front of the Comrade Commissar.

 

Pietrov walked back and forth in front of the staked out little line of carrots with his hands clasped tightly behind his back. "Now!" exclaimed the Comrade Commissar so abruptly and raising a pointed finger to the sky so suddenly that the workers were startled. "Now we shall get to the business of this mornings lawlessness!"

 

Comrade Commissar Pietrov stopped in front of the first staked carrot. "You there! What have you to say about this rebelliousness?" The carrot not being the most sentient of vegetables said not a word. "Nothing eh?" 


Pietrov jumped to the second carrot in the line pointing at it with his arm straight as a rifle with his finger as a bayonet. "You! You will tell me the meaning of this sedition!"


The second carrot being much less sentient than the first appeared even more guilty to the workers who were sure that it indeed was. "So you're not talking either, eh?"

 

The 10 carrots seemed very unperturbed that they were enduring the worst interrogation ever to be seen by the Workers Party of the little town of Netrizovo. "Now we shall have to try more extreme measures." 

 

Commrade Commissar Pietrov then removed a small pistol that he had been given three years ago when he joined the Party. In fact, he had never fired that pistol once in those three years.

 

The 10 carrots, being not the smartest of vegetables looked as though they did not care that their lives now hung in the balance unless they were to come clean of their crimes.


"One!" shouted Comrade commissar Pietrov. The worker's eyes widened and some were starting to shake because they had never seen such a thing.


"Two!" Shouted Comrade Commissar Pietrov. Several workers had now covered their mouths and some were trying to hide behind the others gathered there.


"Three!" There was a small popping sound like that of a cork releasing from a bottle of vodka and several of the women workers screamed. One fainted flat on her face. Several men held their ears and everyone assembled by the side of the lane on the edge of the potato field jumped, except 9 carrots and Comrade Commissar Pietrov.


"Now let this be a lesson to you that we will tolerate no carrots in comrade Stalin's potato field. Is this understood?" The carrots did not answer Comrade Commissar Pietrov, but as he turned his head ever so slightly toward the gathered workers they all shook their heads, yes and a few mumbled "Understood." in shaky voices.


"Good. Then we will have no further problems. I bid you all good day" and with a light step Comrade CommissarPietrov continued down the lane, even starting to hum a bit of a song he had recently heard, leaving behind him nine relieved, seemingly innocent carrots and the most stunned group of The Workers Party that ever was.

 

The day came and went as the days always do in that part of the world and upon the morrow, Comrade Commissar Pietrov stepped out into the crisp morning air, adjusted his hat at the angle that he thought made him look best and important and turning towards the rabochiye polya began his patrol.


Upon reaching the sight of the previous day's delightful distraction Comrade Commissar Pietrov noticed two things. The worker's production was up noticeably from the day before and there was not a carrot in sight to be seen.


Comrade Commissar smiled his little tight-lipped smile, hummed a bright tune to himself and continued down the lane.

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My Life above the Blue Iguana                                                     

I am a work in progress. So what if it's taken 46 years to get here. There are some things that strike you first thing in the morning. All those nighttime thoughts fading away leaving you to question what it is you're thinking. Have you ever found yourself early in the morning, getting out of bed, stretching, trying to center your chi, aligning your chakras getting ready for the day ahead and then you FART and realize you've just set the tone for the entire day? Sometimes I feel like that, living here in this three-room apartment over 'The Blue Iguana Café'.


People say to me...."Shit Mason, why don't you move if it bothers you that much?"


And I always say....."Well, buddy, farting ain't much of an annoyance once you get used to it." Plus I get my drinks half price from the bar downstairs AND I just happen to be dating the owner."


Before you ask, the answers are yes.


Yes, the owner of the café is a woman and yes it's the kind of dating in a good way that everyone or most everyone enjoys. It's on a pretty serious level so I hope we cleared up any fantasies you ladies might be having about me.


 Nope, I'm strictly a ladies man or rather a man that would nail most chicks if they'd let him. Now I'm not movie star handsome but I have boyishly good looks and TONS of it. Let me tell you tons of it will get you laid more than boyishly good looks any day of the week.... but having boyishly good looks helps.


     I had spent the day wandering around Key West. From Flagler Ave. to the White Street fishing pier and back. Days seem to go on forever down here and stretch achingly into the sometimes even longer nights. By the time I was done with my meandering around town I had worked up a hearty thirst so the first order of business when I got back to the 'The Blue' was to get Diedra to give me an ice cold bucket of Corona's beer, half price of course. With lime. It was one of her so-called fancy tourist gimmicks. Give'em a galvanized metal bucket filled with ice and beer and another one with oysters and 'POOF' your an instant Parrot Head. I'm not going to explain to you what a Parrot Head is. You wanna know? Google it.


Diedra handed me the bucket, "Hey Mason do you just use me for cheap beer or do ya really love me?"


"Awe c'mon Dee you know I'm into you for your cheap beer."


"Asshole"


"Yep" I agreed. We both smiled. It is kind of a game we play. She pretends to be all passive aggressive and I pretend to be an asshole. Except I know I'm an asshole. I took the bucket of beer upstairs turned on the T.V. and sat there thinking, for a long, long time. Somewhere between 'Days of our Lives' and 'Judge Judy' I switched over to vodka and tonic.


     Thinking can do that to a man sometimes. Make you switch hit drinks till you don't know what the hell your drinking. All you know is that you're killing important brain cells. I try to focus on the ones I developed learning algebra and one semester of economics at the local community college.


      At some point, I noticed Dee had entered the room and was going about doing her 'after work' stuff. Quick shower, denim shorts and a loose top t-shirt that showed a little side boob. I working on my fourth vodka tonic and my third pack of Kools when Diedra got that look on her face, sighed and said.....


"I know you're really an asshole pretending to be a nice guy right?" Oh shit, I thought, she figured me out. "You know what Mason? Everyone thinks your an asshole"


"The cat doesn't think I'm an asshole, Dee. As a matter of fact, I just gave that scruffy bastard a scratch or two right before you come up. So yeah, I know I'm an asshole. But I am a lovable asshole."


"What do you mean by that?"


With a slow smile forming at the corners of my mouth I said: "I been practicing on you for the last 10 yrs."


blink* blink* 

She stood there eyes blinking with that deer in headlights look on her face. When confronted by some brand new astounding fact she automatically reverts to the last disagreement we had, whether or not she won it or not. Inevitably the decade-old argument about "We never go ANYWHERE or DO anything." came out of her mouth nonstop for 20 interminable minutes and then I told her...


"Jesus Dee I like to drink at home...Because I don't want to share my high with 59 yr old sex kittens, drunken buttholes that think they are 10ft tall and bulletproof or guys named Shirley, Tina, Alice, or Peggy. I remember one time....... Sitting at the end of the bar, and after 12 beers I walk down to the other end and buy this guy that's been talking all night a beer. Cause I'd didn't mind the way his face looked. 27 beers later I walk down to the end of the bar again and this time I punch him in the face. Cause I don't like the way his face looks. Once I got so drunk Dee I thought I was a Jedi Master and I used the Force in the men's room. I guess it was the Dark side because I couldn't shit right for a week. Next time I'll just try some natural fiber and yoga."


"OK, Mason what evar! I just wanted to have a little fun and maybe go somewhere for a change and me..."


I abruptly cut her off from another 20-minute tirade. So with that little pouty look of indignation on her face, she strolled over to me with those long legs and sat in my lap. I fired up another Kool took a sip off my 'vodka T' and I said


"Look, Dee, I'm sorry....I'm a little...naw fuck it...I'm a lot drunk and I tend to get mouthy. It's just been me and the cat for the last few hours sipp'n gin in this shithole apartment.....and I'm starting to think the cat thinks I'm an asshole too."


"Hey, this shithole apartment just happens to be attached my life ya know?" Dee was pissed, I could tell.


"Your right I'm sorry. It's my life also because it's your life too. You forgive me?"


"For being an asshole?" she smiled.


"Yeah, well that and forgive me of loving you just a little to much for your own good." I could see her literally melt. I'm such a fucking Romeo when I want to be.


  For 30 seconds no one spoke or moved. I moved her off my lap got up and walked to the bedroom door and with a wave of my hand and a bow I said, "So, wanna go to bed with me?"


"Since no one else is available at the moment, sure"


She slipped slowly past me dragging her hand across my chest. I turned out the light and closed the door behind us.






~ GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE ~




Sleep never came easy to me and I was NOT a morning person. So try, if you can, to calculate the odds of drinking all night, having incredible, explosive, mind-blowing, orgasmic, animal like sex with an incredibly hot Puerto Rican chick, sleeping till noon of the next day and having a pencil thin laser beam of sunlight travel billions and billions of Carl Sagan space miles through the solar system, across the face of the planet Earth, to Key West Florida, through the palm trees, up the face of the building to find a small crack in the blinds on the window, traveling 20 feet across the semi-darkened bedroom to strike me in my right eye at the exact moment I open it.


Incalculable you say? Bullshit I say because that's exactly what happened. So the odds are pretty fucking good.


Yeah, Dee and I had a really good thing going. Marriage was definitely not on the menu. She had been married once before to the previous owner of the Blue Iguana. It wasn't a good marriage he used to beat her so she killed him. Oh, not in the way you think, not like murder or anything. They were in the middle of intercourse and he had a heart attack or rather she gave him a heart attack. So ownership of the Blue Iguana transferred to her. Lucky me.


 I could hear the hawkers out on the street corner hawking their wares. I must be the only person in the world to use medieval terminology to describe street people in Key West. Who the hell says hawkers anymore anyway? Diedra slammed open the bedroom door, a plate of sliced mango in one hand and a Margarita in the other.


"Good morning handsome."


"Where is he I'll kick his ass?"


"Whose ass?"


"This handsome fellow you're talking about."


"Mason."


"What?"


"Don't start it's too early."


"I thought it  was afternoon?"


"Well, it's early for you and I ask you not to start. Here, have some fruit and some liquid motivation and come downstairs when you're resuscitated. I got to put these t-shirts out. I'm tired of looking at them. With a quick kiss on my forehead she sauntered over to the table was a box of touristy T-shirts, in pastel colors, waiting to be hung on hangers, for touristy tourists to buy them, at a 300% markup from wholesale. Sexy hot and smart. Told ya I was lucky. She picked up the box as I arose from the bed. My now rumpled shirt contrasting nicely with my bed head. She whistled at me. "Oh my, sexy man! I have something I want to talk to you about. Something has happened. Something good."


"What's happened?"


"Get dressed come downstairs, sexy man."


I grabbed a pillow off the bed and threw it at her. She squealed and darted toward the stairs with the box of the pastel touristy tee shirts. Dee grabbed the banister with her left hand while her right grasped the box of shirts and swung herself down the stairs. I could hear each old creaky step as she took them till they suddenly became silent as she alighted to the first floor.


I Yelled "Hey Dee was up? Dee?"


From the downstairs I heard a faint. "Get your ass down here."

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Signal Fires: The Inundation 

Signal fires alight all along the watchtowers of the black Dreamscape Wall. I extort brilliant the banners as yet unfurled, that my courage will suffice for the glory of the forthcoming invasion. We must hold the salon till the breaking dawn. The foundation stone must anew its self. Awaken! My heart cries. The for death is at hand and seeks to destroy my spirit!


All is quiet behind closed doors but the city sleeps in a restless dream. However, you will, divine some scary signs before the black Dreamscape Wall and pray the gods to hear your prayer. Beware! Demons will hearken to any power spent in their honor. Be mindful of your fear. All the sinning and betrayal cannot abide within the fog ere the setting of the sun. The solar light tries to squeeze one more dazzling, sparkling, diamond flower to ward off the coming doom. I reach with my eyes to a last vestige of hope! The vision is over. I alone am awake at the hour of our time.


I can see the horizon of the wall; It darkens. The twisted, sick horde of Legion pressing, straining with all its might to force a breach. They have nothing to lose for death is their chariot, chaos their horse and evil their weapon. In whose eyes they would search me out, the defenders of the Foundation Stone and the last wretched few survivors of the Great Purge would see me as their hero. They would have me as Horatius at the gate when I would hide my face and cry like a babe. Feeling I must seek shelter and hide. I wonder that my will would fail my courage and my courage does weep for want of the strength to back it.


The wall explodes outward in a great cacophony. Ash and cinder flung all the way back to our outer lines. Before we can act they are through the black Dreamscape Wall and advance like an inky black wave of evil, slithering, hunched and running, flying, crawling, every nightmare shape and form all slipping inexorably toward our end. There is no time to hide as if it would matter. They are at the Silver Gate. I can hear the latches and hinges buckling under the immense weight of the Legion, pressing inward, like a sick and twisted infant suckling at a dry breast and pressing harder for more. The Silver Gate gives with a giant snap and doors that I know to weigh several thousand stone are flung like dry parchment in a wind. I stand ready not with courage but with numbness.


The Horde moves through the galley way and spews from out of the entry like vile sewage from a drain. There is no form to their ranks, none but the function of exterminating light and life. Onward they come. They are close enough to feel their massed heat and the smell makes me vomit in my helm. I spit the bile out and draw a fetid breath. My shield before me, my sword raised high in the falconer's pose. I have engaged the enemy. Three times three we beat them back and still on they came. Howling and gibbering madly with fury and reckless abandon. Throwing themselves upon our pikes so as to way them down with a sheer mass of death. We number so few.


Standing, a small pocket of ichor stained silver armor and grim faces. Never have I felt so much honor and fear as I do at this moment. Never did I wonder we would last the night. They ready for their last push. Morning is but moments away and they must take the garden where lays the Foundation Stone. They spray from the port-way like a ruptured artery. We plant our war banners into the ground but we will not defend. We rise and sally forth, head on to meet the foul rush.


Bodies, blood, screams, and howls assault the senses like an out of tune orchestra of hell. The left flank folds and in a tremendous roar they hurry forward drunk on death and impending victory. Through our ranks killing at will. With my war cry ringing in my helm, I leap to meet the oncoming rush. The defenders have rallied upon me in a fury to match a displeased god. They mass around me and the Horde dies falling like reaping ripe wheat in the hundreds. I sense that their rush has ceased but thousands more are massing in the shadows.


Suddenly a silver horn clear and loud, high above the din of battle and hope is sparked from the ashes of defeat. Light breaks. The morning sun has come and with it our salvation. The horde shrinks visibly and cowers under the shrinking shadows. The power of the Foundation Stone renews and the Legion feels the pull of the Dreamscape Wall dragging them back. Once again they lay imprisoned. Haggard and broken; Tired beyond measure to rally a victory cry, I fall to my knees and close my eyes.


We have all but died before help could come.

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