Authentica (Fragment #023)

Here you are!”

Maybe I’d plopped my notebook down a little too cocksurely, but I was feeling pretty confident. Hell, I’d been sweating over this essay for two whole nights, rummaging through the dullest monographs and sneezing up billows of agelong library dust.

The professor picked up my notebook with two fingers, kind of like it was a filthy toad. Well… actually, I consider toads pretty cool. Take, for example, Hypnotoad or Kermit. Or, even, Jin Chan. I remember, once…

“… plague!”

His harsh voice made me jump. Damn! It looked like I’d lost the plot again. I needed to concentrate. What the hell was he saying? Yes, toads were  The Second Plague’, but had I said something about toads out loud?

I raised my eyes and stole a look at his reflection in the dim windowpane. Then our eyes met. For a fleeting second it seemed as though his glance was flaring a bright orange, but when he turned to me, his eyes were yellow as always. This angry look was a storm warning.

“Too vague! Up in the air! It’s a mere dalliance with the topic, not an exploration!”

Why was he always on my case? But there was no sense in arguing… at least not now. This morning, I’d heard how Uranus had said something about the Moon being in Aries and that one should avoid open conflicts. (If someone had said to me some months ago that I would make decisions with an eye to this cosmographic crap, I’d have given them a Screw Loose sign. But this University can make anyone superstitious like the last pea goose in existence.)

I took my unfortunate essay and went to the door. I had almost stepped into the corridor when his acrid voice struck my ears.

“And don’t forget that using translations in research is  ‘mauvais ton’. If you want to get a decent result, you must work with authentic texts only!”

Huh? Ball and Tzara? In the original? I fucking like it!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // F is for Fallow & Freckles

Kamil had been cultivating freckles all his life. It was a respectable family-run business. His father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather before him had all been freckle growers of considerable renown. Their freckles were the pigmentiest of all freckles, and as such beyond compare.

Of course, the business had had its ups and downs throughout the years. They’d almost gone bankrupt in the Victorian era. The skinny, pale, society bitches had shown a preference for frills, power-cleavage and arsenic rather than healthy, non-GMO, organic freckles. But then freckles went gangbusters in the swinging sixties, and the advent of flower power and nude love-ins made everything better. Freckles staged an unexpected comeback.

The golden age of hippiedom returned hope and prosperity to Kamil’s family, and so they dared to buy extra hectares of arable lands. They began growing new varieties of freckles, the more popular ones being shaped like horseshoes, others that twinkled like newly pledged promises, and even more that could be removed and placed elsewhere on the body at will.

Soon, everyone who was anyone was lining up to buy freckles to adorn their bodies with. It got to a point where such luminaries as Mark Zuckerberg, Prince William, Ron Weasley and even Peppermint Patty were counted among Kamil’s most elite clientele. And although negotiations with Leonardo DiCaprio and Garfield regrettably fell through, the demand for freckles was so great that their loss was barely felt.

Of course, the word ‘fallow’ should also be remembered at this point. Growing freckles depletes the soil badly, and after every harvest it’s recommended that the land be left to rest for a period of at least twelve months. If this is not adhered to then instead of freckles only polka dots for panties will grow. But who wants to wear polka dots on the face? No one, that’s who! And that’s why Kamil failed to become a gazillionaire. Alas!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Come Unto Me (based on a true story)

I feasted my eyes upon the gorgeous frescoes that adorned the ceiling one more time, then turned to the exit. When I reached the wide doorway, I saw that today (to my great surprise) the forecasters had been right. There was a heavy rain.

Of course, I hadn’t taken an umbrella. Who can properly enjoy walking around one of the most splendid European capitals with unnecessary stuff in hand? One hand is for my camera, another hand is for ice-cream cones. A third is not a given.

I turned around with the intention of going back into the church and waiting out the storm. No such luck. A stodgy man in a black robe blocked the passage. In answer to my wordless question he pointed to the notice board. It stated that the canonical hour would be starting soon, so I went out to the big porch in the rain. There was no choice.

The porch was quickly filling up with people. The rear pushed at the front, perplexed as to why they would stand out in the downpour and not enter. Toward them moved ‘exiles’ like me who had been turned out of the building. A sullen acolyte stood at the centre of this live whirlpool like a hard-shelled bouncer at a night club doorway. It looked like no one was fitting the dress code for this private party today.

I lifted my face to the grey sky and inhaled the heavy, wet air. Some huge raindrops fell on my cheek. I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. There’s always choice.

I covered my head with a leaflet detailing the schedule of canonical hours, and ran to a bar opposite the church. Thank god these sanctuaries are always willing to embrace and warm the sick and suffering. Amen.

 

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017