Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #7

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

Tony as TONY

 

ACT 10 SCENE 2
THROUGH THE BLOWING HOLE

 

Tony comes into the room with a sad face.

TONY: I have news.

Tati blows soap bubbles from a little bubble wand.

TONY: Actually, it’s two pieces of news. Which first? Do you want the good news or the bad news?

TATI: Start with the good.

TONY: Okay, well… Ray gave Mooreeffoc five stars and wrote a brilliant review.

Tati continues to blow bubbles. It looks like she’s trying to get a very big one, but it bursts every time. Tony looks quite annoyed.

TONY: Tati?

TATI: Yes, I’ve heard.

She continues to blow. When another bubble bursts, she says crossly…

TATI: So, shoot! Give me your bad news!

TONY: Ray then gave One Pulse one star and wrote a… well, less brilliant review.

Tati has switched tactics now. She’s begun to blow as many small bubbles as possible.

TATI: Yes, I got you the first time. What’s the bad news?

Tony looks embarrassed. The bubbles have begun clinging to his head. He now looks like Bozo the Clown with frothy hair.

TONY: Five stars. One star. Good news. Bad news. I guess it’s all the same to you, huh?

TATI: If we want only five star reviews, we should ask our moms to write them.

TONY: But don’t we want that? Five star reviews make us look good, and hopefully we sell more copies that way.

TATI: Dunderhead! Every opinion counts! Even the ones we prefer to forget. How else can we improve?

Tati looks musingly at all the bubbles floating around.

TATI: And no one can accuse us that all our reviews are written by friends and family members. Sycophants!

Tati’s gaze settles on Tony and his ridiculous clown hair.

TATI: By the way, you need more shampoo.

She holds up an empty shampoo bottle and wiggles it in Tony’s face.

Tony tries to speak, but only bubbles come from his mouth. Each one floats towards Tati and pops, revealing a letter. They spell out…

W. T. F.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Eugene (based on a true story)

1.

Let me make things clear right from the get-go. I’m not a believer.

I don’t believe in supernatural geezers with unkempt beards and such, even though I deeply respect religious liberty. Even if you’re a passionate parishioner of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wear a colander instead of a hat, I promise that as long as you don’t try to hang spaghetti from my ears, I’m completely tolerant.

Well… actually, I don’t know why I started with this declaration. I wanted to tell you something quite different. I wanted to tell you about Eugene.

2.

I noticed him when I was going to my yoga class. I normally wouldn’t have paid attention to yet another beggar on the street if he hadn’t been busy with a pretty unusual thing.

Now, you could say, “Tati, what’s so unusual about needlework? Embroidery is no big deal.” Yes, I would agree if it had been my grandma at the local stitch club ‘Tweedle-Needle’, but not a messy, homeless vagrant sitting on the ground near a central mall—right on the passage between two crossroads. This guy looked absolutely canonical. Long dirty grey hair and beard, rags, a bag full of undefined stuff, a plastic cup with coins, and a frame with an art canvas.

I slowed down a little, but decided it wasn’t too polite to goggle at someone so openly. Even flotsam and jetsam have a right to privacy. So, I walked past, squinted at him, pretending that I didn’t care. In fairness, it must be said that he was so involved with his creative process that he would hardly have noticed me anyway.

3.

This man became my favorite scene on my way to yoga. Three times a week, I was passing near him and glancing furtively. I was feasting my eyes with him. I was seeing a flower-piece motif blooming in his hands, taking on its eventual colors and form. (By the way, he was embroidering with beads—I noticed this a bit later.) Also, I noticed his emaciation, the hampered movements of his hands, and a pair of crutches. As well as his funny hipster-like glasses with a pink rim.

As I was passing near him one day, I began to wonder where he had learned his craft, and how he’d gotten the beads and canvas and such… I then realized that he’d almost finished the picture, and I was risking losing the pleasure of seeing him create. The solution was obvious. I decided to buy him a set for beading.

4.

I stood before a shop display, looking like a cow gazing at a new gate. I’m not an experienced buyer of fancy stuff, you know. After some deliberation, I chose a portrait of some old man who reminded me of the vagrant. A label informed me that the man in the portrait was Sergius of Radonezh. Okay. I didn’t care what the vagrant would embroider. My only concern was to make sure he kept embroidering.

5.

“Good afternoon. I bought this for you. I hope you’ll like it.”

He didn’t react. Today he was busy with weaving love beads. A nearly empty cup with alms, like black sheep, stood right between the plastic cups filled with colorful beads and trinkets.

Up close, his angularity was more evident. My mind even made a strange connection with the image of a broken tree that had crooked twigs-hands and knobby roots-legs. The real Leshy right in the middle of downtown.

I repeated my message—a bit louder this time. He raised a blank stare toward me. Maybe he’d become estranged from people greeting him in a polite, formal way, but some moments later it dawned on him. His face broke into a nicked smile.

“Why, it’s Saint Nicholas!”

I didn’t see the principal difference, and so I nodded. Okay. Have it your own way.

He turned out to be an absolutely adequate human being, with clear speech, a nice smile, and kind grey eyes. He told me his name was Eugene and that he was homeless, but that he wasn’t an alcoholic or a drug-user—he was making and selling handicraft. I listened politely, waiting for a pause. When he reached out for a cardboard box with bracelets, I quickly murmured some excuses that I was running late for my yoga class, and ran away. I didn’t want him to start pressing his product line onto me. I didn’t need love beads. I just wanted to see how he embroidered when I was going to my yoga. That was all.

6.

After this, everything went on as usual. I was going, he was embroidering. I was passing near him without stopping. Sometimes he was absent—usually when the weather was rainy. Once or twice I saw him with, so to say, a ‘colleague’, a woman. They would sit on the ground together, just talking. She would be eating an ice cream, and I would instantly imagine how he’d buy sweets for his girlfriend—like a real homeless gentleman. Sometimes when I was approaching him, I would see how he’d lift up his face and look at the passersby as if he was seeking someone in the crowd… I would pass him again and again and never stop.

7.

One day, I was standing on the crossroad near this central mall. You know these idiotic double crossroads, what with their asynchronous traffic lights. You manage to cross one part, but before you reach the next part (if you’re not a world champion in the one hundred meter dash of course) the red light turns on. That’s why a bunch of people were hovering on this small patch with me that day, waiting for the green light, and leaking through slits of traffic with the more impatient pedestrians.

So, I stood on this crossroad in the middle of the crowd when someone twitched my sleeve. I turned and saw this woman—Eugene’s girlfriend. She had in her hands a plastic bag.

“Eugene asked me to give you this.”

I didn’t have time to say something. The crowd caught me up and carried me away.

8.

At home, I got the plastic bag out of my backpack and unfolded a piece of cloth. It was a finished portrait. The work looked very neat—bead-to-bead and stitch-to-stitch. Even its underside was tidy.

“Oh, what is this, Tati?”

Damn! Would grandma ever learn to knock before entering my room?

“It’s Saint Nicholas.”

She took the portrait and got her glasses out.

“Nope. It’s Sergius of Radonezh, Tati! He’s a patron of students. Nice work, by the way.”

I shrugged my shoulders. I never could understand how a person who’d spend half a day looking for her glasses (only to finally discover them on her forehead) could remember the names and occupations of a whole pantheon of gaffers.

“May I take this?”

I nodded indifferently and went back to my affairs.

The next day, I discovered that the portrait had been framed then left on my table. At first I took it away, but later changed my mind and put it back. I didn’t want to upset my grandma. The main thing was to not forget to hide it whenever my friends came round. They’d be sure to make a laughing-stock out of me.

9.

Since then, the portrait stands on my table. Forgive me, Sergius of Radonezh and Saint Nicholas, but I call it ‘Reverend Eugene, Vagrant and Embroiderer’. I’m not a believer. I don’t believe in supernatural geezers with unkempt beards and such.

But I do believe in people.

 

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Schubfachprinzip Bar #3 (Fragment #026)

I was sitting on the box, sipping cold beer, when suddenly something rustled under me. I almost jumped out of my skin with surprise and spilled beer onto the counter. Damn!

Someone began to guffaw. I scowled and was going to give a rebuff, but this loud rustle repeated. I slipped off the box and cautiously peeped into a round hole on the side. There was something white inside, like a big rat or a rabbit. I looked through a hole on the other side. A pigeon! Aren’t they flyers? How on earth could someone cage a poor bird into such a stuffy, dark box? A big poker-picture on the side of the box said Kuckuck Circus’. Of course. That was a given. A circus.

I stood straight up and looked about. The bar had suddenly lost its charm. It was as if someone had twitched the festal cloth off a table and bared its true, smeared and scratched ugly surface.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Schubfachprinzip Bar #2 (Fragment #025)

“Get out of the light, bimbo!”

Someone pushed me from behind with much giggling. Why on earth do these idiots call me bimbo all the time? I definitely should change my style! It’s such a pity that I can’t make a public appearance with my real exterior. They would have bitten their tongues then, that’s for sure!

But they were right to some extent. Standing at the threshold wasn’t the best way to spend time in a bar. I went right to the counter and perched on a high, narrow box which served as a bar stool.

The bartender jumped out of nowhere. I opened my mouth to make an order, but he looked me up and down, tsked, and disappeared again. I stayed there with my mouth still open in surprise. What a strange way to serve customers!

I didn’t get a chance to express my indignation. The bartender popped up again. (Was he sitting under the counter?) He plopped a hug mug with dark beer in front of me. Hmm.

The bartender gave me a wink.

“Schubfachprinzip! Do you know how it works?”

I was at a loss. Such an unexpected question! I’ve never supposed that combinatorics and beer could be married. I thought to myself for a moment then said with uncertainty, “Well… if ten pigeons are placed into nine boxes…”

The bartender burst out laughing. I felt a bit embarrassed. Maybe I’d made a muddle. I’m a humanist after all, not a digithead.

“Schubfachprinzip. It’s easy. Drink one box of beer and get another box for free.”

He giggled and disappeared again, leaving me to wonder about such strange mathematics.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Schubfachprinzip Bar #1 (Fragment #024)

I felt like a boiled rag. That’s why I’d decided to weasel out of all this bookish bullshit and have a stroll around instead. Aimless walks have always helped me to take my mind off things, to get my head together. And, besides this, I will often find myself in interesting places or near interesting people. If I do possess any talents, this would definitely be one of them.

I was going down a drowsy narrow backstreet, pensive, kicking my toe against a small round stone. Klat! The stone ricocheted off of a worn porch and fell between the bars of a sewer grate. Yuck! I raised my eyes.

‘Schubfachprinzip Bar’.

I snickered. You don’t believe in coincidences, do you? Well, there you’d be wrong, bro.

If you want to arrive at a decent result, you must work with authentic texts.

With this thought and a remnant of a wry smile on my face, I pulled open a heavy wooden door and stepped inside. The interior was really cool! Well… not cool, actually. Perhaps that wasn’t the correct word. Rather, the interior felt right, true. It felt real. If I were to have designed a bar, I would have done it in exactly this way.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017