FOTM, A.1,S.8.

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Scene 8

Scene Eight

Mehanata

 

 

The yellow cabs fly by on Tuesday night. You could cook things on the sidewalk, that’s how vile and hot the concrete jungle is this summer.        For the nine to thirteen million rats in their various races, this city never fucking sleeps. Its go, go, go, zoom, zoom rush! Slaves and serfs to the trains for service. It’s all an illusion its fun here with no currency. It’s a filthy place except at the center. Getting in early with red eyes and leaving late. Back on the cattle cars. The masters dangling enough to cover the rising rent and some groceries if you’re lucky. You’re so lucky to here in this cage! The hope dies out. You whore yourself somehow. You have to. You drink more than you should. It feels worse if you’re not from here. Even the yellow cab driver have more education than most of the rest of the country.  The black sports utility vehicles, with tinted windows and important people that don’t want to look at you. The constant sirens. Everyone running somewhere not making eye contact. Always a fucking siren going off for some emergency that isn’t probably real. The city itself was built on the very top of the mountain. Its highest towers hold more rich and powerful people than anywhere on earth. Except maybe Moscow. This apple is all poison and rotten. The high octane hyper diversity is just a sex circus. Plus a racial death trap. Plus an ugly over crowed sprawl more regularly breaking then making those who arrive from the interior or abroad.

 

Nikholai Rosetree Trickovitch is bleary eyed. He stinks of cigarettes, some cheap men’s fragrance and also of Rum. The climate here is repressive towards the end of summer. Rum Barbancourt Three Star on the rocks isn’t served in this part of town. So he brought his own bottle to the tavern. For their troubles were about to mount.

 

Nikholai also technically, mostly by association with more militant Sebastian; part of the core of the leadership of the Z.O.B., a network of insurgent cells and the editor of its underground newspaper, the Banshee News Service. He highly prefers conducting his revolutionary duties from the computer of this same Penthouse. Moving things about the internet, correcting pamphlets and public movement speeches Sebastian and his comrades give in parks and on trains. Nick was persuaded to manage the logistics for the First Haiti Operation.  He did well. He was then persuaded to manage ground logistics in Port Au Prince for the expeditionary forces. Still later, he joined the medical guerrillas in their ill-fated expedition into Colombia. But, he has only so much will power to back up such walk.

 

 

I need another drink, thinks Trickovitch. He knows it will be a long meeting and the A/C won’t in the club house. The night is really just getting started workwise even though it’s past 4am. They’re erring toward minimal street traffic, but even the rats and pigeons here work in shifts. Well that same night Nicholai Trickovitch put together a little squad to, “do a messy little big job.”

There were big jobs and little jobs. There were campaigns that took years. Some jobs where social engineering was needed. Others where brute force was the best approach.

This required some of both and right away. He had to get buy in. No one was ever really in charge. Now, outside New York the Resistance got very eclectic who was involved. It would be inaccurate to say anyone could possibly lead it. It was as bad in New York where 70% of the population wasn’t even born here; they were born everywhere else. A lot of players. They all “relied heavily on black, white and grey magic to keep this thing together,” as Nicholai was fond of saying, “But in New York City, we still do things the old fashioned way. By having a real tight crew.”

In the dead of something, where night creeps toward dusk, around a table on the fourth floor of 113 Ludlow Street, they met. That is to say the restaurant immediately above the Mehanata Tavern. A little talk is underway, a briefing maybe also a sale pitch.

 

“There are thirteen leaders of the Z.O.B,” Trickovitch explains, “Two have disappeared. We don’t fill their seats, but we consider them probably dead. Ones in living in a submarine somewhere hidden. Two are sleeping. That’s a polite way of staying they were thrown in a camp and badly tortured. Most of them kill themselves sometime after. That means at any given period nine are left. Left in charge of all the cells in the division. Greater New York City.”

 

The table is wooden and plates of street meat tapas have all been cleared. Nobody got in from the street, they got in from the tunnel.

 

“Let me tell you how this is gonna go down,” says Nick to his fellow partisans which include the tall well-polished Jamaican Gangster Mickhi Dbrisk. He is wearing a black suit with no tie after coming from work at previous engagement. Where girls were still jiggling.

Mara Fitzduff Donahue is the half pint Irish, dirty blonde famous for her firebrand speeches on the Fire Switch Radio. Also present is Raphael Ernesto Lynch Contras, the Peruvian disk jockey. A photographer. Retired child soldier and lesser officer of a defunct guerrilla band in Arequipa Province. The fifth member of this add-hock unit was Siegfried Sassoon. He speaks very well. He should be expected to as he is an actor classically trained in Moscow. He too is in the black. Just getting off work as bar tender at a flashy supper club up the street called the Fox. A dashing swaggerous man of Cuban descent. Perhaps the closest man to be able to influence things after Trickovitch and Dbrisk. The sixth man in this last minute, late night call up was the light skinned Haitian smooth criminal Watson Entwissle. The seventh at the table wasn’t made, a smooth young Shatah from East New York. Said his name was Joshua Hunter. Had ok references and they were going to test him out.

 

Watson is pissed. You can tell when he’s pissed, he doesn’t pay attention at all. It’s based anyway on the past midnight hour. He left his favorite chocolate in bed in the Bronx for this “bullshit.” He doesn’t get to see his lady enough. She lives in Boston. Charlotte from Uganda.

 

In the confusing and albeit vaguely disjointed chain of command Mara, Watson, Mickhi and Nicholai are all title holding inner leadership. Only one is from the inner nine. Siegfried Sassoon, Hunter and Raphael were called in as volunteers. Though technically Hunter was not even a “provisional member”. Hasn’t made rank or been sworn in. Not written in the book of life. But they were told he could work.

 

“The Labor Day weekend begins in 72 hours and you all know what’s coming,” explains Mickhi, “The West Indian Day Parade ain’t heading south at the Grand Army Plaza. Oh no, they’re gonna head north right over the bridges and attack the mostly empty City.”

 

Everybody except Joshua Hunter knew that already. They were gonna stick Hunter with Watson and Watson would keep him working this weekend until he was trustable, or dead.

 

They were all aware of the score.

 

“As most of us know this revolt is a three stage attack in New York was being coordinated mostly by the Pan-Africanists, the Garveyites, Black Lives Matter Movement, some of the liberal and radical medical trade unions, the I.W.W. of course, the Muslims, the Occupiers, the student movements in CUNY, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and of course; Uhuru and us,” explains Mickhi.

“The dry run were the occupations on Wall Street and around the country last year to assess the state defenses. Phase Two is Labor Day where we take Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Phase three will be to hold and liberate the City before New Year’s Eve,” he continues.

“Hectic shit,” mutters Raphael.

“Our role then is quite basic in phase two,” explains Nikholai Trikhovitch, who knew indeed that the General Rising was close in coming, but not actually five days away.

“We all know what was revealed about the h1n1 and Ebola. We’ve all seen the reports. The documentation has been widely circulated and now the people are ready. Enough outrages have occurred to spark something bigger than riots. The Stop and Frisk, the weekly shootings, the Iran war conscription and the new walking drones of course. This time almost everyone expects death camps and prolonged urban warfare, not kumbaya” Mickhi explains.

 

“The Z.O.B. has called up eight hundred riflemen, combat medics and agitation propaganda officers to support the needs of the parade. Our convoy of marauders. They will be attached to each major island band truck. Flying columns are on the ready in all five boroughs. An additional three hundred and forty three women and men.

 

“Listen, Watson knows all of this shit. So brother please come to conclusion so I can get Bronx bound with this new jack,” says Watson.

 

“Watson, we just need this young buck briefed, you can get out the door in fifty minutes,” Mickhi tells him. Used to his way.

“Watson needs this to happen in less minutes,” he replies with a grin

 

“As usual,” continues Mickhi, “The 2 Haitian Convoys will bring up the middle and the rear. Unknown to the City parade organizers, and hopefully the police intelligence forces, there are actually three Haitian bands this year of 10,000 masqueraders a piece. About ¾ up the route the Middle Convoy which is gonna be twice as big will initiate the raid across the Grand Army Plaza and then fight their way up Flatbush hope fully with the people behind us. And this is when the hectic bloody melee will begin.”

 

“What’s our precise role tonight,” asks Siegfried Kenly Sassoon. Siggy, who god or his parents made tall dark and handsome never goes to that many meetings. He never votes in otriad elections except with his feet for Sebastian. When Sebastian is leading he steps back and when Sebastian is sleeping her steps up. He did however vote for keeping Sebastian asleep after the last Haiti job, when the hospitaliers took him very hard. Sebastian is a serious knock around guy; best estimates think he’s been taken to the camps over 21 times. About three years’ worth of his life. Siggy, like Watson does jobs not meetings. Neither ever-ever tries to be at these meetings. Rarely even the candle light salons in Brooklyn. Which are sometimes cute.

 

“We’re gonna install Fire Station Transmitters on four very, very tall structures,” says Mara Fitzduff. She has been the club’s chief of staff, worked in propaganda, women’s affairs and fundraising for the past ten years. She’s not officially even Z.O.B., but she is dependable. She has no broag. She’s got one kid with a soldier who ran off and another with the Russian loan shark Donny Gold who Sebastian and Nikholai went to high school with ‘way back in the day’.

 

“And then tomorrow we’re gonna blow up the Consolidated Edison building, putting most of Manhattan in the dark” says Mickhi Dbrisk, who has been the club’s Operation’s Chief since nearly the very beginning. He was in prison for a year as a teenager. When the cops accused him and four friends of all robbing a liquor store and no one talked.

Some people say he’s a Crip, but he’s not a Crip anymore.

 

Nikholai holds the official position of Logistics Coordinator, but he’s more hands on than many before or after him as a good logistic fixer should be. He’s the one who arranges a lot of the raids and bombing targets. Now that Sebastian lives in a dream, or a nightmare.

 

“The transmitters will override the police radio system and turn whatever frequencies we feel like into dancehall radio stations. We need them hidden and we need them high,” explains Mara, “so we can keep broadcasting when they shut the internet down.”

 

“We’ve gotten the four choice spots picked out well enough,” Nicholai explains, “each transmitter is about the size of a football. There are blasters and flicker masks in the bags at the downstairs at coat check. But those are for getting out of the buildings later. Soon as this meeting is done, if you agree to this shit, you’re all getting in the town cars outside and getting dropped near bye all four targets,”

 

“Fuck the girls if you feel like, if that works for you. We want you rested and loose. The town cars bring you to apartment brothels we work with and you sleep there. Whatever you decide to do,” Mara says.

 

She continues, “You wake up again when it’s dark. One person one location. In the bags with the guns and flicker masks are the addresses and names of four sympathetic venues, but really the car will just take you pretty near there. You’re going to get dropped at some of the tallest buildings on the island. Masks go on to obscure your faces, before you get out of the town cars. The girls will have you over for a drink, and whatever. Don’t really drink. Fuck if you wanna fuck and go to sleep. Then they will give you roof access when you get up. Those masks don’t come off in elevators, in lobbies, on streets anywhere near that building. The cameras are everywhere, as you know. You will get up the roof and turn on the transmitters.

“Try to hide them somewhere,” Nicholai mentions. Don’t just leave them lying around, they’re booby trapped anyway. Whoever tries to turn them off will is gonna lose their arms and face,” says Mara.

“Watson, you are assigned to the Heights. You’ll take Hunter with you. Siggy you’re in Midtown working with Ha Chi as usual. Denby and I will work in lower Manhattan. Raphael you’ll be setting up the Long Island City installation which is quite tricky because there’s nothing residential in the CITI Corp building so we’ll have to social engineer it. Nicholai and Dbrisk will go after the Hightower on Atlantic Junction also with the same predicament.”

 

“And by assigned, we’re asking you to accept the job as a volunteer,” Mickhi explains.

“For the good of the service,” Mara smiles.

“How is Jon Denby doing?” Mickhi asks.

“His father is real sick, it cuts into his out time,” Nickolai explained.

 

“So are you with this? You’re all Pararescuemen or Parapsychologists so I’m sure this will all just be fun. Once you get to the safe houses you’re staying at feel free to relax and take a long nap. You’ve all been up all week. Some of you all month. This doesn’t have to happen at once or tomorrow, it just has to happen before we blow up the power station on Monday morning. So enjoy, thank god it’s Tuesday. Some of these sympathizers are very attractive. I’m not saying any of you would take a whole a day to ravish the high end escorts at the brothels you’ll be staying at. Certainly not as either husbands, fathers, or Haitian gentlemen. But well it’s an option. Can’t have you stressed,” grins Mara knowing full well Raphael is married albeit a consummate adulterer. That Mickhi Dbrisk for all intents and purposes has three or four wives. That Siggy is secretly married to the daughter of a powerful Russian oligarch. That Nicholai is an incorrigible whore monger. And that Watson Entwissle is a very loyal family man. A true Haitian gentleman.

 

“We’re working out of the apartment brothels yet again?” asks Raphael. The joy in his voice is real for he so loves the Manhattan apartment brothels. You can’t afford them as a DJ.

 

“We need these devices set up high,” says Mara, “If we can knock out their power and maintain alternative systems of communications we’re keeping to our end of the mutual aid agreement with Uhuru. Without blowing our arsenal and fighters prematurely,” she says, “as you all know this is phase two of three. We’re only fully mobilizing if they manage to take the City or if they hold Brooklyn longer than a week. Otherwise it’s 1st January.”

“I know I’m in,” asks Raphael.

“Shut the fuck up, Watson knows before he came here he was in.”

“Hachi will be a little pissed,” says Siggy, “But of course. It’s too late to get out.”

“Joshua, you gonna ride with us on this?” Watson asks him.

“Yeah 100,” the kid replies.

 

Mickhi Dbrisk chuckles.

“Four transmitters. Then we blow the Consolidated Edison NSA depot on Monday morning and EMP the district financial at noon thirty Monday with the anarchists, if they breech. Monday. All of you are in the trenches and I’m running dispatch with Anya out of a most secure location. Things are going to pop the hell off prematurely. We’ll do the best we can to keep up with impossible expectations, any questions?”

 

No one had any.

“I love democracy. All of your please grab your shit at coat check and get in the cars outside via the alley doors,” she tells them, “Good luck don’t get killed.”

 

Things were about to go bang in the night.

 

FOTM, A.1.S.7.

Russian Folk Painting

Scene 7

Scene Seven

The Atlantic Ocean

 

 

 

After everyone and their family was safely disembarked in Port of Spain, conditions became a little looser. They were allowed to leave the two conjoined rooms and walk about the lower deck. A strict military order presided here. Which was to be expected as the ship carried the women most responsible for gathering the tribes, uniting the factions and ramping up the war path from the colonies now into the heart of the empire.

 

Of the four on this team none had been at Madeira. That place of balance, of mountains and springs, of constant Spring and Fall had served as the main rebel base for the Democratic Confedralists outside of Qandil Mountain and the growing revolution in North Syria. The island of Madeira is located south west from Portugal into the Atlantic and about 400 kilometers north from Tenerife, Canary Islands. It’s on smoldering still, but’s still there physically. Though far less of attraction after a carpet bombing wave.

 

By Oleg the Bear’s estimation they were four days from American shores when Emma called them into a conference room on the deck above them for briefings. Red cushions and steel benches.

 

“Why are we here?” Emma asks them.

Oleg raises his hand.

“You young man, in the front,” Emma says.

“Your uprising begins in about three weeks,” Oleg replies.

“The core revolution beings in about two weeks. The peripheral revolution has been going on hard since 1791,” she says.

“Why are we really here?” Yulia asks.

“The American’s have been slow to contribute,” Oleg says.

“They contribute erratically,” Kudzai cuts in.

“Stop talking and listen please,” says Adelina.

 

“Something is wrong and we need you all to find out the extent of it,” Emma says, “The cells in the U.S. are planning to launch the second phase of the uprising on September 1st, which is in thirteen days.”

“You in the leadership think something isn’t right,” Oleg tells more than asks.

“That’s very close,” Emma replies, “we are certain everything possible will go wrong.”

 

 

“Why didn’t you see Madeira before it happened,” Kudzai asks her.

“I’m not God,” she replies.

 

“What happened in Madeira?” Adelina asks.

 

“They have a lot of ability to lean on everyone until they make people change their sides. Someone gave away the base and set up half the leadership for slaughter,” Emma tells them, “but you were all hired before that. Those of you that didn’t volunteer.”

 

“So what happened in Madeira one last time,” Adelina asks again.

 

“Thousands of our best people, many of them with relatives there from the top positions of responsibility, officers, deputies and committee heads of the People’s Assembly were burned alive in their beds. Many of the leadership were shot dead by walking robots and commandos. Of the Confederation leadership of some 240 elected or appointed delegates, which included about half of key movers that very much mattered; all except 40 were murdered. Decapitating us right before the revolt.”

“What are we supposed to do exactly” Yulia asks.

“She wants us to..” Oleg begins.

“Stop being a jack ass,” Adelina interrupts.

“I’m here to do something highly specific for you,” Oleg says, “let’s be clear about that. I’m not one on the team who is volunteering. They massacred you all in Madeira. That was supposed to be a high level gathering on your super-secret base. That was someone’s fuck up.”

“Someone towards the top has clearly betrayed just about everyone,” Emma says.

“Ah,” interjects Oleg, “now I see. And based what I think I know there are only two people that could be.”

“That said you were quite smart,” Emma smiles finally.

“That is why you must be getting paid so well brother,” Adelina interjects.

“So you go in and blend into the mobs,” Emma tells them, “You watch how the thing all goes down and you join in when you must. You find out how bad the shape of their movement is. You find out who is giving us away. That’s what you’re doing out there. Most of you.”

 

“Sounds like quite a suicide mission,” Yulia states flatly.

“Stay out of New York,” Emma says.

“Why do we need to that?” Kudzai asks.

“We’ll get trapped there,” Adelina replies.

“How can we get this accomplished if all the primary leaders are in New York?” Kudzai asks.

“Well some of you might will probably get trapped in New York and the rest of you can wait up for them in Boston. As everyone is either paid by the day or volunteering. You’re all aware this can’t be rushed. We don’t even know where Avinadav is.”

“Who’s Avinadav,” Yulia asks.

“What are you paid to do again?” Oleg laughs.

“She’s paid to murder people, just like you,” Emma retorts, “Avinadav is the military commander of the Resistance in Israel & Palestine. He helped found it in 2001 with Sebastian and I, he disappeared in 2005. We think he’s being held by the C.I.A. somewhere but he could be dead.”

“For a prophet you sure have a lot of questions,” Yulia remarks.

“From each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” Emma replies.

 

“Where will Sebastian be when the uprising begins?” Adelina then asks.

“They put him back to sleep,” Kudzai states.

“What does that mean?” asks Oleg the Bear.

“They took him and wiped out his mind again. He doesn’t even probably remember what he’s helped organize. We don’t know what state he is in,” Emma says.

“We don’t know how many rebel leaders have flipped. We don’t actually know how far the secret police have gotten in. We have no way of calculating the probabilities of success for the September 1st rising.”

“How many cities and towns are going to rise up after New York? How well coordinated is this expected to be?” Kudzai asks.

“If they succeed on the 1st, maybe three dozen other City groups will follow suit the next day. If they get quickly repressed. Everyone else will wait for January, we think,” Emma says, “but it’s Democratic Confederalism so honestly we can’t command and control very much. The other groups will all follow New York.”

 

“So we get in, we wait. We get close to Sebastian and other leaders. We wait. We take pictures we make an assessment. Then you tell us who will die?” Yulia asks.

“Unless they all get killed in 13 days and then you just try and find where Avinadav DeBuitléir is,” Emma says.

 

“You’re a questionable ass prophet,” Yulia says.

“I can’t vouch that we will ever see each other again after this voyage,” Emma replies, “I don’t lead alone, nor do I lead with some mandate of certainty or belief in my own divinity. But I assure you it will be a Great Revolt.”

 

 

FOTM, A1.S6.

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Scene 6

Scene Six

Mehanata

 

 

The lights are kept dim no matter what happens. You need that to hide subtle stains from fluids. You can dance all night if you have to, but eventually someone has to herd the cats out the door and hide the bodies on the floor. The Mehanata Social Club is tucked away discreetly on 113 Ludlow Street on the lower east side of Manhattan. This is its second location. Numerous police raids and finally a raid which transformed into a brawling melee succeeded in burning to the ground the original location on Canal and Broadway. In an ugly incident that took place in 2005 the lights of Bulgarian Bar and Cultural Society briefly went out. The new location is about six times the size over three levels. Surely it will not be the final location, given the tumultuous nature of the existing times. Sasho the owner has already begun planning an even larger Brooklyn location, a whore house in Kiev with the same name and a School for Alcoholism in upstate New York.

 

At an infamous establishment such as this you ought to always know the names of the men standing watch or the women pouring your drinks. Or the people holding down of your bags and coats. Most importantly you ought to be cautious of the seductive forces marshaled via awkwardly inexpensive liquor and the black magic to lead you to things you ought not to be playing around with. Such as foreign persons in needs of papers. Or creatures that drink blood.

 

There might was well be signs on the wall telling you anything not tied down will be carried away into the night, your bags, your souls, and virginities of every kind. Come to think of it, there are such overt signs hanging everywhere! Literal not figurative signs. One claims three teeth are needed for entry. One says anything not checked will be stolen. One says get naked get a shot, get fucked on the bar win a bottle. That is hardly a bluff, but the bottle is never top shelf stuff.

It’s a Gypsy Bar, they claim to the public which romanticizes Gypsies. But Gypsy’s all steal. Gypsy’s will trick you with music and some dance, lure you for tarot cards and then steal you internal organs and you will wake up in an ice bath in Bratislava missing some elements internally, then die of blood loss. The name of this place literally means ‘the Tavern’ in Bulgarian. And it lives up to that designation splendidly.

You wouldn’t find it unless you were looking for it. The entrance isn’t loud and the clamor inside is well insulated by its system of layers. The Lower East Side area is a drinking dancing seven day a week shit show anyway for NYU college students and the children of the upper middle classes. Mehanata is the club of choice for New York’s newly arrived undocumented immigrants from South America, Central America and the former Soviet Union. You’d only be looking for it if someone told you about it. Perhaps you’d hate them for it later, but very few people are not amused the very first time. There never is just a first time. But, in the New York wilderness a tavern of eclectic wilding foreigners and untamed domestic people dancing to the tunes of Latin American, the former Soviet Union, the Balkans and the Roma can draw to it both angels and demons by word of mouth. Since 2000 it has been surviving pogroms, police raids and venue changes via fire. The police department is doing everything in their human power from keeping the Brooklyn location from obtaining a liquor license. Sasho has been trying to open it for three of four years it seems.

Who is Sasho? He’s the boss.

There are three floors to the Tavern. The website extolls patrons to “meet their future green card holding spouse.” There is live Latin music. Live fire juggling. Bulgarian contortionists on Thursday alongside with Bordel Dali; Ernesto and his business comrade Georgie who is from Bucharest, Romania. Or maybe he just says that knowing no Americans know any other cities there. “But I’m not a Gypsy!” he declares. He’s getting a PhD in Computer engineering. The cast of characters around here boggles the mind.

The club has the look of a vast lawless pirate ship or a wilderness brothel. It is sometimes dim red and under the cloth tarps of the upper galley level which looks down with little tables in the dancefloor. The main floor has a dancefloor, a bar and a kitchen. The downstairs has stripper poles, blue light, a bar and an Ice Cage.

The Ice Cage has bottles of wall to wall Vodka, which is all the same Vodka, but when people pay $40 to enter the cage and slam that wall to wall Vodka orgy in Soviet officer uniforms; they don’t notice. Vodka drinkers of repute, do not go in the Ice Cage, which also sits above a hatch to the abandoned railways under lower Manhattan. So one can walk or take a private train to Brooklyn or New Jersey.

And that is also why the place is only open Thursday through Saturday, to facilitate that traffic.

The waitresses and bar tenders are skinny or shapely, all Post-Soviet Bucharest or Sophia girls just arrived recently though generally well educated and for now, un-indentured. Some claim they are from Moscow, but they are not from Moscow. They are from shitty little Eastern European towns no one has ever heard of. They mostly don’t stay long and the reason for that is partly because of the mental and physical demands of the work and because their boss is the devil himself. The club is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Things that go on during the week here are private and mostly didn’t even ever happen. There are private parties in the basement you’d do well not to crash unexpected or uninvited. Like the one on Wednesdays which is sort of high stakes a gang bang contest. There have been cock fights, dog fights and also bear fights. There are a lot of meetings happening upstairs right before the place fills up in Eastern European languages that you’d do well not to hear.  The musical talent is highly various. Normally three or four live acts a night on Friday and Saturday. A lot of live horns. There’s a rather Pall Mall esthetic of transcontinental bacchanalia.

The booking agent for Music is petit and elegant Victoria Lynch often wearing the hat of a Soviet officer the shoulder length locks of her hair falling over well fashioned skirts or flowing dresses. She was born in the Catskills, but has recently gotten her New Yorker residency card much to her delight; eight years later. The primary live acts are Gypsy Jazz, Spanish Ska and Balkan mostly. Roma meets Latin American for the most part. You get dance hall and reggae tone periodically from the DJs, but for the most part ‘the brothers’ stay out of the place. The doughty wine happens, but as international as everything remains, there are almost never black people at Mehanata. Which no one has a problem with except maybe Sebastian Adon who keeps bringing them there. But, they have one drink and politely leave after meetings.

Since 2001 the Z.O.B. has made Mehanata its unofficial office and social club. It’s meeting spot and its drinking spot. Sasho allows all kinds of people to meet under his roof and being there has connected the movement to darker things. There is a power the club has to draw in the very worst and best of people. Mehanata is thus a fitting place for the Z.O.B. leaders to draw towards since many of the group are hardly saints. Its members are generally able to lumped into the categories of ambulance workers, criminals, sex workers and leftist radicals. Sometimes a cadre is two or more of those things.

The salsa, the tango, sometimes even a little Zouk are played by the selectors, but ‘the brothers’ always depart when the meetings are over. No one can say why they don’t like the place, but they don’t. But as it is a central location for all four boroughs, it’s remained an unchallenged haunt.

Sasho and Sebastian go all the way back to 2001, but they don’t always remember or talk about all the event in between.

The most popular disk jockeys are Raphael Ernesto Contreras Lynch also called DJ Rafflex and Georgie from Bucharest also called DJ Mishto. As stated Romanian but “not a Gypsy”. Recently booked is the bearded, crazy eyed Serb; A.J. The most famous of the current bartenders is Martina Hella Dubreskaya. She has been here a good deal longer than the others. A black haired Bulgarian journalist, music blogger and BSDM enthusiast. She has the special constitution that a bartender needs to work the shit show around here longer than a month. Though many suspect she will quit soon. Perhaps go into Real Estate. Martina smiles at everyone in hate. She is technically speaking the first person to publish the work of Sebastian Adon by putting his sad poems on her website. She regrets that she encourages him, but secretly likes some of his work.

Outside and inside is James Burns the feisty retired Irish cop on ¾ pension. They call him James White, because he’s white. After his ACL was torn chasing down a perp he retired to bouncer work. His partner is James Behemoth Brown Pérerez a smart talking, burly Latino from the Bronx. They call him James Brown, because he’s Latino. Always outside is Slavi the stone faced brother of Sasho, but no one trusts they’re actually brothers. Until sneaking a sly grin the Bulgarian strong man collects people’s papers, cans their IDs and directs them to be retina scanned via this Israeli device at the door which biometrixes all the guests. He collects cash or directs drunk people to use the external ATM which charges a ten dollar service fee, the highest almost in New York. The irregular admission charge never gets a smile, because Slavi doesn’t charge people he knows in money. Then he sneaks a grin, has a smoke and sometimes asks people for money to come inside wearing a black Soviet wolf fur hat except during the summer.

You should pay cash up front for everything unless you’re a card carrying regular. Giving them your credit card is a horrible idea. It means you’ll just keep drinking. James White and James Brown are sometimes easy going on admission for just about anyone not over weight and female. The regulars never pay. The various mob tough guys never pay. The Z.O.B. members never pay. Sexy young girls never pay. The endless Korean bachelorette parties never pay except to ride the Gypsy Bus. The guests of regulars, mobsters, musicians, DJs, rebels and girlfriends of friends never pay. It’s between 15-35 dollars though if you’re just sort of showing up. Except on Thursday when everyone is free.

James White, James Brown and Slavi sometimes have to get fierce quick to squash the brawls which happen, generally around 2 AM, generally instigated by the Albanians, but often before and after. They can’t seem to keep the Albanians from breaking people’s faces over stupid things.

Justin Toomey O’Azzello is the General Manager. He is Irish and has wandering hands people say. He is quite jovial and likes to tell elaborate stories about his days in the Air Force flying bombing missions over former Yugoslavia. He blames his flirtations with alcoholism over the years on bombing runs he inflicted over Bosnia. But Justin was never in the air force or in Bosnia. His hands do wander though.

 

The owner of this place is a fearsome Bulgarian half Ukrainian Jew named Sasho, but is real name is Alexandre Dmitrievich Perchevney. He was born in Kiev, lived in Belaya Tserkov, Ukraine and moved to Sophia, Bulgaria before arriving here in 1992. He used to be a dentist. He used to be a person of importance in the Communist Party. He thus has a soft spot for revolutionists. The debaucheries of fallen men. As well as a hard spot for undocumented woman of theatre. Misha Kishbivalli, the long haired millionaire playboy from Bulgaria also is his silent partner. No one ever knows of asks what Misha does for a living. But the answer is blood diamonds. The Mehanta cooks are all from the tropic of Capricorn but nothing is ever very good eat except the beet soup or the Bulgarian salad; cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and pepper and white cheese. The cheese over fries is safe too. Some type of Borscht which is rumored to sometimes contain menstrual blood. The pork dishes are outright made of people.

Sasho’s wife Tanya isn’t the cook. It’s always undocumented Mexicans Sasho brings on over the years. They say the Brooklyn venue when it opens will have traditional Bulgarian food, but no one knows what that means.

Tanya is not a vindictive person, but she can’t stand Sebastian Adon. There is very valid reason for that beyond him being something of a trouble makers.

“Stop cooking people, and more people would eat here,” Sebastian once suggested.

It is rumored also that there is tunnel running from under the club to places unknown. Some nights Misha Kishbivalli has pontificated outside of the club that an American engineered mega tunnel system runs under the entire country in case of insurgency, general emergency or nuclear winter. The traffic around here is always hard to predict.

There are tall glass confectionaries of apple cider ginger vodka that sit atop the bar. There is a sign informing people that “get naked get a shot, get fucked win a bottle” and people seem to win all the time.

Also the rule that patrons must have at least three teeth to enter the establishment, that is untrue. You just need to have cash money. Preferably American type. But, things are negotiable.

 

The music is playing loud at the Mehanata Social Club where Daria Andreavna makes eyes then orders a Vodka based energy drink confection. She then slides up to Sebastian at the bar. He is wearing a black suit this time. A week since his death.

 

“It seems that we have found each other again,” she whispers.

“You were misbehaved I dare tell you,” he says.

“I was bad. Rude should I say? I am told I insulted your hospitability greatly.”

“That you did.”

“What are you drinking,” she asks.

“Astika,” he replies. The Bulgarian beer that is never in stock.

She catches Martina’s attention, and get him his drink. Martina winks at her.

“So,” she whispers again, “Cheers. I have no memory of anything last weekend. Forgive me for that. I don’t even know what I did.”

“You remember nothing?”

She just gives him a devilish smirk. And then shakes her head.

“I drink a lot for fun. I don’t always remember my Friday or my Saturday nights. Outside work, where I also drink the week gets interrupted by school, and then I party hard on the days off. I was told I was really bad to you. So, I’m saying the sorry. For the being of bad. What are you really drinking? This is our custom. Astika is shit,” she says.

“Nothing? No recollection?”

“No nothing at all. Oh, ok,” she smiles at him, “you were wearing a suit that’s a different color from the suit you’re wearing now, this I remember.”

Sebastian is now in a black suit. The night she almost killed them last it was white linen.

“You never acted all that drunkenly. You were calm and in control throughout, your, shall I say, outbursts. My friends have told me that it’s too late to stop your vodka calamities from unfolding sometimes. But, you nearly killed us. And you bit me,” he says showing her the red ring around his index left finger.

“Well we all have our demons in there, don’t we? I’m good at drinking. Until I sometimes fall down. I fell down those steps one night,” she says pointing to a long downstairs plummet into the downstairs floor where the Ice Cage is hidden.

The Ice Cage is a freezer box in the basement where people pay forty a head to slam wall to wall cheap vodka over a period of two minutes. It never ends well for those who get in that cage. There is perilous flight of stairs down to the basement where they keep the stripper poles and the blue lit fuck cage by a second bar and dance floor.

“That looks like if would hurt,” he replies, “if you remembered it”.

“I don’t remember it,” she smiles wide and seductively.

But that’s a silly thing to say. Seductively. Dasha is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Her proclivity for homicide aside, she is fascinating. Describing just how beautiful she is almost doesn’t fit in a later play he could end up writing. Her golden locks are like a lioness. Her eyes are capable of quick swing between fierce, curious and loving. She loves to hear men say it, how beautiful she is, but beauty isn’t where a man falls from when he falls from the heart not the groin. Beauty is a thing of lust. It has no bearing on love when that love is real love and not lust with imagined feelings. Love is energy, a wave crashing over you. Sebastian has drowned several times before. He’d be very careful to use the word again. In that regard he is reckless to no end. He feels an attraction and can’t comprehend it, must be love. Previous formularies for the same emotion dictated that whatever woman resisted his affections the most adamantly and then let down her guard to an elegant seduction of deeds and art, must be love. There were loves at first sight, or interaction as well as friendships that became romances and he was unafraid to say the words again. The words often came out without his permission.

Overtime several women had accused him of bastardizing the loaded phrase via serial usage. There were over a dozen women he’d uttered it to over the course of his 28 years. Generally after the conquest of kisses, but to a couple stupidly even before.

They were all very different women of course and they all brought out very different rolls to his emotional dice. Sides to his coin being a limited idiom. Supposedly in popular fictions man or woman is supposed to have only one true love in a lifetime, to marry them or be parted from them tragically. So Sebastian was working hard by that standard, which truly in real life it can never be that simple, that limited.

“You’re really something to write about,” he says.

“Absolutely I am. And I never say sorry to men, but Ernesto said he would cancel his friendship with me if I didn’t say sorry to you. Apparently I underestimated that you are the favorite host. The dashing revolutionary saint. The darling also of the owner. The grandeismo. Wait I’m not sure what that word means! You’re great. Also as the confidant of Rafael Ernesto and Victoria, you should become my confidant too.”

“I’m just Sebastian on my good nights.”

“And on the bad nights? Tell me your other names,” she whispers.

“Vasyli Pveada.”

“Ha! Royal Victory? Where did you concoct this other strange and slightly atrocious moniker? Moniker, is that the right word?”

He nods slightly.

“I’m Sebastian when the drinks flow and the desire to dance returns to my hard hips. All other times I’m at war. With myself and my nature, with a world of sheep and a den of wolves. In such circumstances I require a hard Russian name, and the luck of a royal victory.”

“Hm. Well it sounds ridiculous the way you say it. I’ll call you Vasa sparingly, it’s an insult you know! Some girl insulted you and you made it your Russian name. We can get you a new on. But, Sebastian is ok too. I’ll see what rolls better off tongue. All that other stuff, well I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Marina, two shots, Russian Standard please,” Daria proclaims dropping another twenty on the bar.

Martina the bartender comes over and gives Dasha a little wink again. She pours them out.

“This is sorry alright,” she smiles “I have said the words sorry! Now I again reserve the right to be rude to you and forget about it later. Fair game, yes? You got two drinks.”

He looks deep into her blue eyes and gives a half smile wondering how much she really remembers. In her eyes he sees someone looking out at him below the swagger of her posture, behind her beauty is a much older beauty.

“Well aren’t you impressed with my new manners?” she asks

I find you quite a bit stunning, he thinks and almost says.

“Of course I am.”

“What are you drinking next?” she asks.

They clink the shots and she proclaims, “Nazdrovia!”

She drinks like a fish, but really she just drinks like a Russian.

Astika,” she orders for him.

She has years of recent training in anticipating the needs of men. And by realizing those needs controlling them. And she thinks, what terrible piss but of course she orders him another one from Martina. The raven black haired Bulgarian bartender who knows exactly what she’s doing. Since Daria never buys men drinks. Because Russian apologies are based on acts not words.

“Are you coming to our little festival?” Daria asks him almost casually.

There will be a four day Bohemian Festival happening Labor Day Weekend where all manner of fuckery will take place in a park in Queens called the Onderdonk Public Fields. Sasho the owner had let Victoria allow Sebastian do a benefit concert for their Haiti efforts at Mehanta a month ago. So a week from now Sebastian and his EMT, Paramedic in training comrade Jared Forgetter from California will be freelance EMTs covering the first two days of festival.

“Wait,” she pauses.

“You are working the festival as our paramedic,” she says as she presses her palm to his side burn and face side.

“Sharp as a dagger you are dorogaia,” he smirks.

She smiles with big bright eyes. Who the fuck taught you that word, she thinks.

“Don’t call me dear ever again, I’m not so old. I’ll alert you that I may well come to some of that festival and if I fall down, drunk, I will ask for very intimate and professional service.”

“Hand pressed ice,” he promises reaching for her waist then thinking again.

“Hand pressed everything,” she demands.

“It’s at the service of all attending,” he declares.

“You are a true servant of the people,” she mocks with a wink.

“Dasha, you’re a tough act to follow.”

“You’re gonna keep calling me that are you?”

“That a problem?”

“It’s rather intimate, I don’t know if we know each other like this or that.”

“Well I suppose we can work on that over festival.”

She smiles a lovely, practiced smile.

“Vasa. Press me best you can. The risk is completely yours not mine.”

A song about the great and noble Commandant Ernesto Che Guevara by the Buena Vista Social Club a famous Cuban salsa band comes on and she thrusts herself into his arms for a last dance. They take the floor to themselves.

“I knew you back in Cuba,” she whispers in his ear.

“I’ve never been to Cuba,” he replies with a stone face.

She sashays him across the dance floor muscling out the other couples with her buxom way. She’s crass and wonderful. She lets him lead and he does a fairly good job under pressure to keep up. It’s been over a year since he’s danced with a woman of any substance.

“You dance like you’re from the Caribbean,” she says to him.

“But I’ve never been to Cuba,” he repeats.

He dips her slightly. A full dip might turn into quite un-romantic arms to floor plummet.

She’s a gorgeous powerful woman who will always get what she wants in the end so it seems. Except perhaps happiness which no power or money can so far buy.

“You’re good at being an Amerikanski,” she tells him.

“You’re even at better at being a Russian,” he replies and they dance the rest of the night.

 

It is past 4 am now and efforts begin to clear the worst kind of rabble out the tavern have begun. Only card carrying regulars and lovers of staff can remain and light things up or pound things down. It’s now with the storm shudders sealed just over two dozen left lingering around the bar. Smoke them if you got them. They count out the cash on the bar.

For some reason with almost no music, drunk as hell; Sebastian and Daria are still dancing.

 

“Right never on schedule,” says Justin Toomey O’Azzello to Sasho, the burly owner smoking a cigar at the end of the ground floor bar passage way, packed up with intoxicated core circle patrons, tight except around his circumference.

“Hasn’t changed his cap or tune much in ten years,” Justin notes.

“I know him of course,” Sasho says without looking up, “with or without the ridiculous peasant cap. He’s been the same good man for over a decade.”

“He’s dancing with Daria, good for him! She’s got great big ones for him.”

“He’s always dancing with Daria, or trying to dance with her anyway.”

“You’re thinking of…” notes Justin.

“No Azello. I’m thinking exactly what I mean to be thinking. He’s always dancing with Dasha right before thing get interesting around here.” And it sure can get interesting fast.

“They just met boss.”

“You’re thinking of things three dimensionally and I am thinking of things fifth dimensionally, even sixth or seventhly and I know that when those two dance. Fucking trouble. Niggers with arms in the streets. Israeli mind games. Decapitations on camera and lynchings to boot. Lynchings and lots burnings of bodies.  It’s time to call up all our troops, every single man to the front.”

Justin sometimes suspected the boss was fucking insane, but the old man had a gift.

The lights come on and the remaining guests not vouched for are herded like drunk cats out the secondary exit on to Ludlow street until no one is left inside but the staff, a handful of regulars and of course Sasho with his cigar.

Daria and Sebastian wander out into what’s left of the night on the Lower East Side.

Out of the corner of his eye Sasho notices the Mexican weight staff are carrying the body of a man out of the tiny room upstairs where people go to fuck whores, or their drunk lady girlfriends, or college students. Or, he supposed less frequently, but evidently in case tonight; kill a man, drain his blood and empty his pockets. A little room to the very back of the second floor mezzanine. You can fuck or murder at the top of your lungs and no one would know.

Of the four little Mexicans none are taller than four feet a piece and they must carry drag the body down the stairs.

The corpse is pale from exsanguination.

 

Into the soup?” asks Enrique from Monterrey in Mexican Spanish.

 

And Sasho nods. Let the dead keep eating the dead, like they do out in the colonies. James White and James Brown sit with their drinks in near silence. Tanya counts money. Martina counts money with a smoke in her mouth for some reason naked as they day she was born. Justin Toomey sits on the bar next to Sasho. Wondering how many days the Tavern has left.