Publications in December

Publications in December:

December 1stAn American expat writer observes how Russians morph into ‘winter mode’ – An article on life and Russians in winter published in Russia Beyond.

*Link: https://www.rbth.com/lifestyle/329593-american-observes-russian-winter

December 9thHow Russia Inspired a Year of Daily Art and Stories – A guest post on Nesie’s place about the project Flash-365 and The King of FU.

*Link: https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com/2018/12/09/guestblog-benjamin-davis-author-of-the-king-of-fu/

December 10th

The Exceptional Uselessness of Cats (but I love them anyways) – A story published on Medium that I just happen to be fond of but was not submitted to publications.

*Link: https://medium.com/@benjamindaviswriter/the-exceptional-uselessness-of-cats-4f917808038d

December 25thContemplating Gender Roles while Following my Wife around Marshalls – a story published in The Junction, based on true events.

*Link: https://medium.com/the-junction/contemplating-gender-roles-while-following-my-wife-around-marshalls-e7a5b7e5bc63

Other News:

Video Interview I did in Saint Petersburg about my past and future projects:

Interview with Benjamin Davis from Alena Koleso on Vimeo.

 

 

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/

Why Russia: Cancel Monday and Fuck off.

IMG_3101.jpgI 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.

“You…look…like..junkie…going…through…withdrawal–hah! Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

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/

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*


 

Let’s Freelance This Bitch [Week 2]

My brother and I decided to quit our jobs and try to whole digital nomad thing. We both have school loans totaling about $800 a month. But, before you feel bad for us, here are the facts:

We are men. We are white. We are in our twenties, college educated and if we broke down on a street corner and cried “MOOOOMMMYY.” Our small-town Massachusetts mother would morph into a mythical beast, fly to Russia to burn our enemies and carry us home in the crux of her wing.

We are privileged as fuck.

I say this now because I’ve been traveling almost ten years and I’ve seen many travel bloggers say shit like “you can do it! It’s easy!”

Bullshit. These people are often white, middle class, from America, England or Australia, and for the most part, attractive. Not all—mind you, but sift about on these travel forums and you’ll see what I mean.

These posts are for entertainment and hopefully to provide some insight and resources for anyone else looking to do some freelance. And bored people.


SUCCESS!
Writing a script for an online shopping platform explainer video
One ghost written article for a tech-company specializing in trading platforms
Total made: $300

FAILURE:
We both had articles rejected from The Only Social. I guess we were not for them, you might say they were anti-only social. -_-
Lifestyle article on writing magical realism in Russia rejected.

Fun Stuff:
Cards Against Humanity call for card-makers (Submit before August 31, 2018):
Cards Against Humanity is putting out an open call for card makers. You submit 5 black card ideas and 15 white card ideas. We have both submitted to them. If we fail, we will post those ideas here. If we succeed, well—they pay $40 an hour so, not a bad gig. Here is the link:
https://submissions.cardsagainsthumanity.com/

Previous work:
How Russians Changed my Life [Published in Russia Beyond]
3 Insane Conversations with my Russian Girlfriend [Published in Russia Beyond]
Why Russians and Americans are not that Different [Published in Russia Beyond]
Why does Bitcoin Have Value? [Published in Hackernoon]
The Longest New York Minute [Published in Dataspaceone]
Who Owns Your Body? [Published in Dataspaceone]

RATE CARD:
Article Writing (Technology & Business)
400-600 words: $100
800-1000 words: $150
1200+ words: per project
Article Writing (Lifestyle)
$50-100 based on
Editorial Services (Creative works)
$.05 / word
Editorial Services (Technical)
$20 / hour
Copywriting for Social Media
Per Project
Resume Writing
$200
Web Content Creation
Per Project
Social Media Creation / Management
Per Project
Video Production Services
Per Project
Voice Recording
$15 per minute
[min charge for any project – Equivalent of 1 Hour]