I live with my friend ‘D’ in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The man, Olek, who works in the shop where we buy our morning coffee sometimes calls D, “Bob–something.”
Once, we asked why and Olek said, “He black–you black. He big–you big.”
Olek is a delicate man.
This morning, his shirt said, “CANCEL MONDAY”
And, in case you didn’t get the point, just below it read, “FUCK OFF.”
It is Thursday.
He smiled when we walked in, “Tyson!” he cried at D. We all shook hands.
“You–” he clapped me on the arm. “Every morning you come in here and you look like–” he finished with a Russian word. He frowned. I frowned. D frowned. The old lady standing at the counter behind him waiting to get served, frowned.
I shrugged. He said, “one moment.”
As he served the old woman, he looked up something on his phone. When the old lady finally left, he came out to stand beside us and together, we read his phone.
“like a junkie going through withdrawal.”
He sounds it out slower. He points at me as he does.
We get our coffee and leave. When we arrive back in the courtyard to our apartment and round the dumpster, we find a crouching skull-capped man with a large zit on his nose taking a shit on a pile of old wall art that had been there since yesterday. There were bunnies on it if I remember correctly.
The man-made eyes at me, then at D. He had a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. He nodded. We nodded.
“Excuse me,” he said.
We waved our hands to him in the same way you might tell someone, “don’t worry, no one was going to eat that last cookie anyways.”
*If you guys would like to check out D’s blog, he writes stories about life here in Russia as well as a bunch of other great stuff: https://dantonlamar.wordpress.com/