DEATH at a Preschool Christmas Party

DEATH

In the mirror, I attach the fake ears and tug the hat onto my head.

“It’s the wealthiest Preschool in St. Peter,” K had said, “they’ll pay you a boatload to just stand around as an elf for their Christmas party.”

I sigh now, as I did then, resigned.

I wash my hands and step out into the hall. The Babushka rolls up to me. Her rock-face is polished. Her eyes are onyx.

She points. I nod. I follow her directions to a door inundated with Christmas joy. I go through.

The room is vast, a gymnasium almost. It is crowded with all manner of Christmas. Bells float through the air, jingling. Ropes of ornament-covered pine snake along the walls. A fat tree absorbs the center of it all.

Children wander about the place. None are more than five or six years old. They are dressed almost exclusively in argyle. A snowman in the corner is telling a story as a small blonde girl discreetly stuffs bits of his backside into her mouth. On the other side of the room, Santa Claus is red-faced as he picks up a small boy. A red-nosed reindeer stands calmly next to him, chewing on the inside of its own mouth.

Santa places the boy on the red-nosed reindeer. The boy begins to wail. A woman in a black sweater runs over and pulls the child down. The boy runs off across the room. I see him slide on his belly down a thin layer of ice. A young woman in a blue dress stands beside it. She claps.

A fair-haired little girl walks up to me. Not dressed like the rest. A simple black dress.

“You got a cigarette?” she asks.

“Huh?”

She sighs, “you got a cigarette?”

“Uh…”

“I’m not a child.”

“Oh…are you a midg—uh I mean– a dwarf?”

She giggles.

“I’m DEATH. And, I want a cigarette.”

I’m not sure whether or not to laugh.

“What do you mean you’re DEATH?”

“I’m not sure what else I could mean. That polished rock turd out there hired me to be here so…”

DEATH shrugged, “I’m often in Russia this time of year anyway.”

I continue to stare at the frail-looking girl. She winks. “Just between you and me,” she lowers her voice, “I never go anywhere I’m not needed. Even for the kind of scratch, this place shells out.”

“Right,” I manage.

“So, you got a cigarette or not?”

I nod.

“Let’s go have one then. Take my hand, everyone thinks I’m a child anyways. Pretend you’re taking me to the bathroom.”

She holds out her hand. I take it hesitantly. Suddenly she grabs it tight, very tight.

“Your time has come!” DEATH says, her eyes go black. I panic and jerk my hand away. My heart stops.

She bursts out laughing. She holds her stomach and bends over, a joyful tear falling from her eye. “You should see your face,” she gasps.

I feel like vomiting.

“Oh, that never gets old,” she says, catching her breath, “but, seriously, let’s go.” She holds out her hand again, her eyes back to blue. I don’t take it. She steps forward and grabs my hand anyway.

“Don’t be a pansy,” she says. She leads me out the door.

The fear in my legs has subsided by the time we get to our destination, a closet. Inside I light up two cigarettes. She takes one. She smokes through her nose. I can’t wipe the frown off my face. It’s beginning to hurt.

“So, what are you doing here?” DEATH says through the cloud that’s sprouted up between us.

“Uh, I am an actor.”

She snorts. “Bummer.”

“Mm.”

We finish our cigarettes in silence.

“We better go back,” DEATH says, holding out her hand again.

I take it this time, apprehensively. Before we leave, I can’t help asking,

“What did you mean that you never go anywhere you’re not needed?”

DEATH smiles up at me and shrugs, innocently.

Continue the story at https://deathatapreschool.com/

The Babushka Society [Russian | English]

The Babushka Society is now available!

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Baba Yaga menaced Russian children for generations, but what would happen if you ran into her in modern-day Russia? The Babushka Society is a demented magical-realism adventure set in the heart of Saint Petersburg, where two young men stumble across a babushka conspiracy, led by Russian fairytales’ stalwart character Baba Yaga, to take the country of Russia back from the Hipster scourge.

**This is a bilingual Russian-English story, translated by Julia Pyatnitskaya**


Where can you pick it up?

KINDLE: check us out on Amazon and receive your copy for .99 | click HERE

PDF: Pick up a FREE PDF from Nada Blank E-Press | click HERE

PATREON: If you’d like to support me on Patreon, sign up and receive a copy and follow along with future projects. | click HERE


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*Illustrations by Nikita Klimov

When you’ve finished if you could please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, we would greatly appreciate it.

If you haven’t already listened to The Babushka Society Radio Drama, you can check it out here:

The Babushka Society | Radio Drama

 

The Babushka Society!

 

Last month we worked with She’s in Russia, a podcast based out of Saint Petersburg to create a Radio-Drama rendition of The Babushka Society. Written by me, artwork by Nikita Klimov and featuring my brother Elliot as BABA YAGA.

What exactly would happen if you ran into Baba Yaga in present day St. Petersburg? Come along with B and N on their adventure through the city.


*LISTEN NOW*


 

​The King of FU

Hi everyone! Our first book got published…

It is a somewhat demented poetic magical-realism memoir about growing up in America in the 90’s.

Illustrated by Nikita, published by Nada Blank Press and written by me.


If you don’t have a kindle / live outside of the US, you can get a digital copy straight from the publisher here:

https://www.nadablank.com/copy-of-epress


You can also get it on Kindle or Paperback on Amazon. It is up on Kindle Unlimited right now as well so if you’ve got that you can read it for free.


You can find it on Amazon here:

http://bit.ly/KingOfFu


 

*Note: if you are buying it through Amazon, please buy the paperback. The hardcover was a test copy that did not work out, but was bought by a wholesaler before it could get taken down.

 

Well–That was new.

The security guard in my building is old. He doesn’t smoke. He used to smoke, but not anymore; he tells me every day. His English is not very good. Now that winter is dead, he spends more time outside. He finds me there and he says, “I used to smoke, but I don’t, now.”

Then, yesterday he came to me. He said, “I remember a story. There was a smoker, a soldier. And, he was smoking. The colonel. Colonel, you know?”

I nodded, took a drag.

“Yes. A colonel, he saw a soldier smoke. And the soldier saw the colonel and he threw the cigarette away. So, the colonel comes to the soldier and he picks up the lit cigarette and he, asks ‘is this yours?’ And the soldier says, no. And the colonel says, ‘no, it is yours, I saw you.’ And the soldier denies it and tells the colonel maybe it was his but before anything a sniper shoots the colonel right in the head.”

He made a pfft sound and poked himself in the head.

“Oh,” I said. I held my cigarette at my side. The security guard pointed at it and nodded.

“So,” he said, knowingly.

I nodded. “So.” I walked and put the cigarette in the ash tray. He nodded.

“To your health,” he told me and held the door for me to go back inside.

5 Short Story Recommendations

5 Short Story Recommendations (repost from Telegram)

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I’ve made some short story recommendations. (For new people, I try to post five short stories I like, originally written in English, each week.)

“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut: I went through a Vonnegut craze when I was in my early twenties. I own almost every novel he’s ever written, and I always enjoyed his short stories, this one in particular is wonderful. (also, if you’ve read ‘Sirens of Titan’ you’ll recognize some characters.

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe: Many of you might have already read this one. It is his most famous, but it is also an incredible piece, I’d also like to add that “The Black Cat” is another one of my favorites by him.

“I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison: This is a super fucked up but fucking amazing science fiction short story. If you like science fiction and you’ve got the time and are okay with being a bit disturbed, check it out.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber: They made a whole blockbuster from this story, but it is actually quite a short story and I think it is better than the movie. If you haven’t read it, it doesn’t take long, and it is one of Thurber’s best. (and by that, I mean; it is the only James Thurber short story I’ve read.)

“Six Inches” by Charles Bukowski: Okay, so this might be the weirdest short story I’ve ever read. When I was at university we had to choose a story to read aloud to the class, I chose this one. When I finished, everyone was very disturbed and I’m pretty sure the professor just said “…right.” But, though Bukowski is known for his poetry, he pulled off some really strange and really good short stories, this being one of his best.


Let me know if you guys like these stories by commenting below.