THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF BORIS KRZNIKI


It was now lunch time and Boris was pretending nothing had happened. He sat alone in the dark kitchen, although it was a bright sunny day. The metal kitchen table shined dully in the yellow light of the single bare light bulb hanging above it. Brown stains from many coffee cups covered the table. He smoked a cigarette and dropped ashes into an empty can of cat food on the table. It still smelled of cat food.

He mashed out the cigarette onto the table and dragged himself to the old white refrigerator and grabbed another beer. He downed it in three swallows, dribbling some of it down his unshaven chin, and he dropped the can on the floor.

The back door of the filthy apartment opened and his fat American wife barreled in. She was drunk, too.

“You did a great job out there, Bob,” she said.

After they got married, two years ago, she had insisted that he “Americanize” his name. Now, everyone called him Bob Coster.

“No,” he said. “I embarrassed you.”

“You embarrassed yourself, you dope,” she said.

She bumped against him and fell against the refrigerator door. The refrigerator skidded against the wall. She belched and pulled the door open.

“You’ve been making a pig of yourself,” she said.

He looked at his hands.

“There’s only three beers left,” she said. “I ain’t going out to get more. You are,” she slurred. When she said, “You are”, it sounded like “yurrr”.

“I’m drunk,” he said.

“Yurr goddam drunk,” she said.

He fumbled with his shirt pocket and pulled out his pack of cigarettes. He slapped the top of the pack against the palm of his left hand and three cigarettes flopped on the table. One of them immediately turned brown, wet with the beer he had spilled.

“Wanna ceegarette?” he said.

“Fuck you,” she said.

He lit up and looked away from his wife.

He blew a cloud of smoke off towards the baby’s room.

She popped the top open on her beer. It sprayed onto her hand and onto the floor. There were only five left. There was a case in the fridge three hours before. She slammed the refrigerator door with her big ass and staggered into the living room.

She spilled more of her beer when she fell into the recliner. The baby started crying.

Both parents sat, silent.

The baby screamed.

Both parents sat, silent, absorbed in drinking.

After awhile, the baby stopped crying.

There was a knock at the door.

“Marcia,” the man slurred. It sounded like he said, “Marsh”.

“Marsh, Ur you in air?”

“Marsh.”

“She is asleep,” yelled Boris.

“Fuck you, Bob,” said the man from the next apartment. “Got more beer?”

“Go away,” said Boris. He said it so quietly, under his breath, that he could barely hear it himself.

“Go away,” he yelled, louder. He woke up the baby again. It howled.

Boris’ head spun. He picked up the dry cigarette and lit it with a shaking hand. The last one was still burning on the tabletop, burning a brown stain in the dirty white metal.

“Shut up,” he whispered. “Shut up,” he thought to the world.

His wife, Marcia, was snoring loudly. Her mouth gaped stupidly and her can of beer was sideways on the seat next to her. It soaked the cushion and her right thigh. Her pants were already wet.

Boris picked went to the bedroom and grabbed a pillow.

He pressed it against his wife’s face. She fought him for a few seconds and then she lay still.

He went to the kitchen and grabbed another beer.

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About rosewater12

I am in hiding.
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