Adler S Walt
Dedicated to: Daria Andreavna Skorobogatova
Also to Elena Komarova,
With Special thanks to
Thank you to my editor Daniella Bonder
A C T O N E: S T R A S T
The Mother of FLame
E P I S O D E S, List
PRELUDE: “Storytime”, SET IN MOSCOW
ONE: “A Double Funeral” SET IN THE BRONX
TWO: “The Last of the Underground,” SET IN HAIFA-ISRAEL
THREE: “The Tavern,” SET IN MEHANATA
FOUR: “Red on the Run,” SET IN NEGEV DESERT
FIVE: “A Message to Sympathizers” SET IN NEGEV DESERT
SIX: “Safe House J” SET IN UPPER WEST SIDE
SEVEN: “A Dream from 1999” SET IN THE BRONX
EIGHT “The Rise of the Black Mermaid” SET IN CARRIBEAN SEA
NINE “Maya’s Escort Service” SET IN NEGEV DESERT
TEN “The Tunnel to London or Russia” SET ON A TRAIN
ELEVEN “The Bratva” SET IN MEHANATA
TWELVE: “The Brothers” SET IN CROWN HEIGHTS
THIRTEEN: “The Assisted Suicide” SET IN ADDIS ABBA
FOURTEEN: “The Coast of Brooklyn” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
FIFTEEN: “The Unit has a Palaver” SET IN CARRIBEAN SEA
SIXTEEN: “Little Talks at the Rock in 2000” SET IN UPPER WEST SIDE
SEVENTEEN: “A Conversation at the Tavern” SET IN MEHANATA
EIGHTEEN: “Ideological Lessons” SET IN CARRIBEAN SEA
NINETEEN: “A Bomb Plot” SET IN MEHANATA
TWENTY: “The Unit Arrives” SET IN BLOCK ISLAND
TWENTY ONE: “Brunette in Grapes” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
TWENTY TWO: “Photos from Hell” SET IN LOWER EAST SIDE
TWENTY THREE: “The Skin Suit” SET IN BLOCK ISLAND
TWENTY FOUR: “Bohemian Festival Day 1” SET IN ONDERDOCK FIELDS
TWENTY FIVE: “Bohemian Festival Day 2” SET IN ONDERDOCK FIELDS
TWENTY SIX: “Bohemian Festival Day 3” SET IN ONDERDOCK FIELDS
TWENTY SEVEN: “The Labor Day Rising” SET IN GRAND ARMY PLAZA
TWENTY EIGHT: “Debrief Penthouse J” SET IN UPPER WEST SIDE
TWENTY NINE: “Black Black Hearts” SET IN BATTERY PARK
THIRTY: “Blessings” SET IN MIDTOWN MANHTTAN
THIRTY ONE: “The Boardwalk Never Ends” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
THIRTY TWO: “The Peruvian Friend” SET IN MEHANATA
THIRTY THREE: “My Dream is to be Free” SET IN BUSHWICK
THIRTY FOUR: “New Year’s Communique” SET IN MEHANATA
THIRTY FIVE: “The Russian Quarter” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
THIRTY SIX: “The Mirrors on the Ceiling” SET IN MANHATTAN BEACH
THIRTY SEVEN: “Drunk Drowning” SET IN EAST HAMPTON
THIRTY EIGHT: “Valera Says” SET IN BUSHWICH
THIRTY NINE: “Accosted” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
FORTY: “Torture at the Foxy Cabaret Club” SET IN BRIGHTON BEACH
FORTY ONE: “The Curfew” SET IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT
FORTY TWO: “The Fall” SET IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT
P R E L U D E
Two little partisans hide in safe house in Russia.
The snow fall was exceptional. It was as if god had pulled a vast white blanket upon us to tuck Russia to bed, and then the devil and a host of petty bureaucrats did not take the time to keep the power running, and so this winter was the winter that tens of thousands across the country, were tucked in without heat into a long kiss goodnight.
But I have a very supple and extraordinary woman lying naked in my arms and below a great burgundy comforter she slumbers gently as I prepare to read her epic verses of Amerikanski poems written in her name while I caress her soft blond lioness mane.
“Where did you find that?” she asks like a pouty German baroness.
I am paging through a leather bound compilation written in what she recognizes with a dismissive glance to be English. The room is dimly lit with the flickering flames of candles and a dim glow from the night stand casts a thrilling ambiance. The flat itself is on a fourth floor walkup just fifteen minutes strolling on the prospect up to the Arbat. And of course so close to the center of everything our heat is on just fine and the room burns with reverberations of a passionate exchange. But yesterday a general curfew was issued and the capital placed under martial law. Everything has been locked down and there are tanks in the street. So we bolted the door turned down the lights and made love in the only three ways we knew how.
Waiting for the government to lift the curfew.
Having given her every bit of me, my life included several times via deed and also a contract she humors me sometimes when after love making I read her old poems from past lives we led long ago.
To remind us that while the great uprising is not yet over, we are free because we have finally found a quiet little place to love each other roughly and via our previous assignments, absolved ourselves of our past crimes. Thus our hard work has allowed us now to have a simple life where we can carry out the only justifying and partially redeeming characteristic of the species; expressive and wanton love. To do so we must now hide in plain sight.
In a well-fortified safe house buried in the heart of the Russian capital.
I lock eyes with a woman who in another life broke me down and sold me as a slave. Her eyes, her eyes! Even the bluest day on the Caspian contains no such expansive shimmer; there is no comparison for this level of captivation. All things we have done, or did or may even still have to do are only so that we might never have to bear again the painful agony of our tumultuous separation.
“Read then my little bleak one, my Mayakovsky,” she says disarming me.
And thus smiling I read some.
“Daveigh,” I exclaim, which means ‘enough’ “Poem #038: Moscow Hostage Crisis Part One.”
“Dedicated to me, Dasha Andreavna,” she exclaims right back.
Her hands pantomime the ghost of quotations for that name is certainly not the one she was born with.
“Are you blushing yet?” I ask her in jest.
“We know not how,” she is all she replies.
She then claps with excitement, kisses me wild eyed then retreats under the covers.
“Did you like it?” I ask following her under the vast red folds of the heavy blanket.
“I like very much it when you try and talk so dirty to me in American,” she says in Hebrish with a devilish little smile.
I wonder when she learned to speak like that.
“I am capable of just about anything when you believe in me,” I remind her.
She laughs at that. Though knows the full extent of it.
“I believe, that you still believe in Brooklyn Soviet,” she says softly and kisses my lips.
“You whisper always of dangerous things,” I tell her slyly.
“Story time tovarish lover. I challenge you now. One for one. Two for two,” she purrs.
“The trouble sweetness with your stories is that not a single one of them are true,” I say to her. She feigns a pout.
“The greatest fun with your stories is that so many of them are!” she retorts.
“Dasha, what will be the prize for the partisan with the premium story?”
“The usual my daring Valera,” she says with a smile.
And licks her lips at my obvious arousal.
Her amusement and our perpetual survival had gotten us in quite a yarn of danger. She’s been worth every bullet. As well as dirty things I dare not reveal at this juncture that I do to women as well shaped as she. Or worse the tender things I do to balance those out and then so let my guard fall, completely.
Under the folds of the burgundy comforter we languish in the sensual embrace of each other’s longing as our pillow fort assumes new dimensions. A vastness will unfold with the power of words and the only distraction from the yarn of escapade will be the fortified lusts we will unleash when a parable wears thin. She will draw on fairy tales and I will spin from the ghosts of my dead friends and the darkness still in me. Somewhere in between that space hope will float perhaps. We expect and encourage each other’s full participation.
“Ladies always go first, for this is the code of the Haitian gentleman” she declares and launches right into her opening tale.
Let the mind games begin.
Daria thus exclaims;
“If I am woman, and he attempts to be man then we are easy prey.”
For the gods, the spirits, lesser demons and also human devils! Sin and general winter are historically undefeated. That’s a fact. Above all those forces seeking to make us base slaves, we are bound most to our own wild passions!
I am creature ruled almost selfishly by my passion, and so is he. Inevitable really that so much did burn.
I do not make any remembering when we had this conversation. Only that it occurred.
It was sometime after our very first meeting.
Sometime before I found myself handcuffed to a chandelier fixture in the Millennium Hotel awaiting my deadly snuff and torture! Sometime after blue moons of their Bohemian festival. Sometime before that murderous uprising called “the Great Disorder”. Sometime after the Great Revolt. Which was its more articulate, yet ultimately more homicidal older sibling.
Before I sold soul to a devil without making ask of questions!
Certainly after I realize I loved him as I have never loved a man before in this life or the next, or one after that.
Before I realized that I had loved him several times before. And that we are both so dangerous when in love. To each other. Also world at large.
And that Russian love, and American love have very different expectations that come with them.
I will now make careful my choice of my words.
Speaking his American language with my Russian thoughts is to attempt placement of entire Caspian Sea into hip flask. My English when spoken without any intoxications hints that I will speak more clearly with my actions. Were he sober then when we found each other on that roof top, instead of passion punch drunk he’d not have ignored the threat our lusty adventures soon presented. We would have walked away. Despite his fascination with me. Despite my overwhelming beauty.
But that is not how the story was to write itself!
He could deny me nothing. But no one dare should point the finger to me that I did not give warning!
Perhaps we were blinded by the vodka lullabies, the bright lights of the towers and the good night moon.
“I’m going to use you,” I announced on the roof of the district. And he didn’t care.
“Completely and utterly so that I may get from point A to point B.”
Did I say that to him, or did he say that to me?
“I consent to such use, use away,” he immediately retorted, “we will see how far in the alphabet we can climb with you on my shoulders!”
“The Russian alphabet, it has more letters. The letters also can take different subtle meaning based on where they are placed. The sounds, they will completely change. Some hard, some soft.”
“Place yourself besides me for now,” is all he said to that.
“I shall, but tomorrow this will be finished. How long can you make more of your favorite poetic noises, your rhymes in American English as you devote your life to something hopeless that cannot ever be?”
He looked at me with big bright hazel eyes.
“I like the way that all sounds, he claimed, “I like way the way the word ‘hopeless’ rolls off your lips. I am an Amerikanski, as you accuse me. Hopeless is just a call to arms.”
What could I say in the face of mad idealism! His passion did touch me.
My eyes flashed blue silver back.
“I’m going to devastate you, you know,” I casually mentioned and I took his hand and thrust it against my heart so he could know that I was flesh and blood like him. No angel. Or Devil. Or ghost.
“Well we shall not later claim I wasn’t given a fair warning,” he whispered but for some reason did not try to kiss me.
“Had we met in another time, were I a different person wearing a different life; I would still know you,” he declared, “I cannot put the emotions that I wear like cufflinks to my funeral to bed as easily as you.”
In the darkness of the district night. In the wilderness of North America I repeatedly told him nothing but white lies. I did what needed to be done.
“It is sad that it all has to end,” I remarked.
These were the first words uttered in acceptance of a risk and a warning between myself Daria Andreavna and the mad idealist named Sebastian Adonaev. Our love and the totality of our affair will be thing of Post-Soviet lore and Amerikanski voyeuristic fascination. There have been many doomed loves before. Captured artistically in bright theatre lights of both empires. There have been tales of hard hearts which remain unbreakable. And wild bohemian longings that conquered heroically the conventions of their day.
Often Valera, whose American name was Sebastian would ask me, whose Russian name is Daria Andreavna; “Is the story of our love to be more like Russian literature or more like American cinema, mere Paramount Pictures?”
I would cryptically respond, “General Winter has never been defeated, not once ever.”
So we performed miracles. In the wilderness to remain together a variety of strange longings took shape and bore most irregular fruit.
That much is clear.
The first miraculous act was turning his tragic tears into vodka. This was my happy gift to him. To turn an unusual and storied past into a heroic song and dance. And make his dead mechanical heart beat like a war drum as the waves of the uprising crashed upon the nation we shared or really I should say, co-inhabited.
The second miracle was the theft of the blue moon itself. Such a task was just a starting point for him to please me, also my ransom. He took to heart that the materialism of a Russian woman is but an ante up to play a most choice and high stakes game of loyalty.
The third miracle was for us to put bullets in the devil himself. In retaliation for crimes of the past committed against us, and our love, and humanity in general.
The fourth miracle act was that I could truly come to love him. And forgive him for what he had to do in my name. In the name of his long dead wife also.
It took several lives and a solid contact between us to accomplish these four miraculous acts. They will make wild tale and epic song. Mine I did with ambition first and then secretly, begrudgingly with love. His he did to please and save me and avenge his fallen tortured soul. Via my company and our secret series of kisses we made war on the devil and his entourage. And we painted together a portrait that in the end makes Russian literature look like tame romantic comedy, and Amerikanski Cinema, just flickering soma on telescreen.
To beat back brutal hunger and or feed those dependent upon them; to meet the benchmark called survival; human body and mind capable of any number of general sins.
At times grossly unpalatable to human soul. If you believe in such things! It is not just question of what we all must to do to preserve our own selves. The shifting of alliances in pursuit of securing our deliverance from the wilds of worldly living is exhausting. Strange bed fellows make and break even the strongest of hearts.
The wilderness at night is vast and treacherous place that to some is source of fearful panic. To others bevy of potential opportunity!
In darkness of night fallen angels appear as demons at times. Most treacherous are our human misjudgments. The nuances of intention are lost to perceptions of trickery. Violations of trust. Devils can look angelic for a time and humans with host of mixed motives can see best kept secrets revealed like so much dirty laundry blowing in the cold winds of night.
Not here to talk to you about night! Or about all the devils that thrive in its long shadow.
This just story about when feeling returns to the heart when the body has been dead for many days. So many that the world of the living is but a restored memory. Also about the selling of souls and the banding together of destinies. Also about whether poems can feed anything more than hope in the face of hopelessness.
And whether more reckless and brazen hope, is indeed the only cure something so called hopelessness invites.
So it’s Haitian love story, also a Vodka Lullaby staring brave Russian angel from Penza me! And devilish American paramedic born in New York. If that’s how like look at it. Little like the Christ Story, has less violence and more nudity and good deal more vodka from tears in place of water into wine.
And it also about trying to steal away another man’s wife. Which is whole category of sin onto itself. It’s about old souls coming back for each other, even if just for a fall.
This yarn is play with words based on true Brooklyn noire based on two people not “being in love” or “missing each other” or “being tortured by our supposed fate”, but instead some wide range of prophesized events which we set in motion via of our high impact knowing of each other. Maybe like in a biblical sense.
But with more carnality! And gun play.
Set not in heaven or hell like the Bible but in the Holy Land of Brooklyn and the Wilderness of the Financial District in the City of New York, mostly to glow of blue moon light at night and structure fires by day.
In Moscow! In Haiti! In the heart of Brooklyn Soviet! In places that were and also soon could be!
This not just the story of Sebastian Vasyli Adonaev and I, Dasha Andreavna Skorbogatova; it is also a tale of forbidden-impossible love in the age of anarchist trials; of great train robberies in the former Soviet Union, and of a tavern in the wilderness where lost souls find short but wholly tumultuous company in post Capitalist America on the eve of a global human rights revolution.
And so begins the tale of Daria and Sebastian, a Russian me and a most irregular Amerikanski he and the partisans we led into a vile battle. Star crossed lovers with the moon as our witness, fuck and vodka as our means of cross interrogation and higher ground beyond the waves of hopelessness and fate as our primary objective.
He begins with memories of a murder and a war. I with a warning but a promise of deliverance via passionate love, once adequately demonstrated.
And yet, “We begin our tale with a double funeral!”