Why Russia: Cats and Cockroaches

I drink a glass of water before bed. I stand and watch my cats try to eat the cockroaches sprawling over my cutting board. Those damn cockroaches. The first time I saw them, I went numb behind the ears and almost puked. Six cans of Raid, a dozen roach-traps, a kitchen full of containers full dried goods and one month later, I just watch them. There are hundreds more now, many of them are babies. Someone has been getting their freak on.

Good for them.

In the morning, reality knows only two things; the roaches have fled into the cutlery drawer, or the dish-rack, the microwave, the cabinet beneath the sink, a crack in the walls, above the shelves, beneath the floorboards, behind the toilet, under the bath, or in some other dark nook cranny or crevice inside this apartment of seemingly endless dark nooks, crannies, and crevices, also the cats are hungry.

I am truly grateful that they are so fat and sweet, those cats, and they cuddle.

But hell, what good are they.

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Why Russia: Speaking Russian

Trying to speak Russian feels like fumbling around a room of people I’m sure I’ve met before but whose names I can’t quite seem to remember. Sometimes, I think I’ve got one. I walk over and cry, “Frank!” The man turns and says, “no, I am Frankы, Frank is over there calling Julии, just behind Frankом, the novelist. Jackass.”

IMG_3071And, this is nothing compared to my perpetual fear that I might be offered a voice-activated Russian time machine. If I were told I had to go back and save the world in 1953, I am sure I’d find myself 21 years, or 223 years, or 347 years in the future, or possibly past, and I’m sure that when I stepped out of it I’d be a man or woman or at least a noun (or worst case, an adjective) and hopefully there would only be one of me, though I’m less sure that I wouldn’t be eating my own nose upon arrival.

Either way, the world would surely burn.

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.