‘The World to Come’ ‘Prelude’

P r e l u d e

A Safehouse in Central Moscow

The year is unknowable.

Two partisans hide in a safehouse in central Moscow near the Arbat second inner ring. The room is lit only with eerie glow of soft blue light from electrical candles. A man with strange gray eyes is seated with a tidy bale of manuscript papers working on a small primitive lap top device on a red desk. Also on this desk is a large silver scroll, opened to reveal an ancient manuscript. A woman with blonde hair is seated on a bed taking apart a futuristic pistol and putting it back together.

In the background, the Russian song Oy Moruz plays.

The sound of a record skipping and it becomes a dancehall song. Then abruptly turns off. Sebastian Adonaev, a 29 year old American is seated at the red desk going through a lengthy manuscript, copying out the scroll. Intermittently he is also typing. The words appear holographically projected about the walls of the room. Daria Andreavna, a 25 year old Russian with bleached blond hair is meticulously assembling a pistol while smoking a banned Newport cigarette.

SEBASTIAN:

I strangely recall that I’ve had many and multiple lives. Some past. Some future. Some even running concurrently! I feel as though I have visited the top inner most quarters of the Ziggurat! Had powder blown into my eyes! And then I awoke again here. In your begrudging arms. My head is spinning!

DARIA:

You must keep those mad notions to yourself for now. Your eyes are so sad. It seems you have lost the muscle memory to even smile. I would go so far as to say, it’s time to stop fighting. Stop using your brazen words in English, when you do not fully comprehend what they mean.

SEBASTIAN:

Reading from the Silver Dressed Manuscript

‘The snow fall was exceptional. It was as if my god had pulled a vast white blanket upon us to tuck America to bed. Then the devil and a host of petty bureaucrats did not take the time to keep the power running. This winter was the winter that tens of thousands across the empire were tucked in without heat into a long kiss goodnight. That was the winter the Chornay finally fought back. Remembering also where they came from.’

DARIA:

Where did you find that? English! Stupid fucking English. I don’t think they say ‘blacks’ anymore over there. It’s so dated. It think its ‘Negs’, or ‘Noires’ maybe. In the raps they call everyone their niggers!

SEBASTIAN: 

Reading from the Silver Dressed Manuscript

‘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!’

DARIA:

‘Indeed’, as you like to often say.

SEBASTIAN:

Reading from the Silver Dressed Manuscript

‘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.’

DARIA:

My, my, Oh my the fuck my! The stories you tell yourself, and others. Read then my little bleak one. My American Mayakovsky. Read and you can torture yourself once again.

SEBASTIAN:

Reading from the Silver Dressed Manuscript

‘Poem #38: The Millennium Hostage Crisis. Part One.’

DARIA:

Dedicated to heroic little me! Dasha Andreavna! A true Russian patriot!

SEBASTIAN:

Are you blushing yet woman?

DARIA:

We Russians know not how!

Reciting the Poem:

Life of the slave show. Let me remove you from your castle and let you observe how we live, in the wilderness below.

SEBASTIAN:

I take it you liked it a little bit? To remember even a line. A very great flattery.

DARIA:

I like very much it when you try and talk so emotionally dirty to me in such poetry. This is for sure.

SEBASTIAN:

I am capable of just about anything when you believe in our work!

DARIA:

Our work!? The history books will again say you wrote it all yourself.

SEBASTIAN:

Our work! Important work! Giving the working class some actual hope. Giving the people in the streets and trenches of America’s greatest uprising something to believe in. Art in service of revolution and of course a brilliant kind of code. Code to make sure the communication lines don’t crumble as the material conditions worsen. When they turn the internet off. Code to signal and trigger events!

DARIA:

Ha! I believe, that you still believe in your very own lies. Your own strange delusionals about the so-called ‘Brooklyn Soviet’. Blat! Believe the bullshit stories we fabricated together. You still seem to find it a useful propaganda. Publishing these, Je ne sais; conspiracy theories and varying alternative realities. These delusions of grandeur the underground is still apparently circulating. Written in antiquated prose of a dying language!  Just I think it’s dated. Using plays and poetry to rile up the mobs to blood shed.

SEBASTIAN:

Poetry and Martyrs are immortal!

DARIA:

I think all your dead friends have very little use for any poetry.

SEBASTIAN:

Such overwhelming blackness! Such hopelessness embedded in all our mad man ideations! You have a very deep amnesia. You always whisper always of such treacherous things, and remember nothing that was useful and good about out work, our short happy times together. 

DARIA:

An amnesia you say! Perhaps knowing you is very traumatic?

SEBASTIAN:

You don’t ever remember the good times! You forget all the possibilities we unleashed together. You forget, that we have played a part that absolves us now of any further responsibility to any higher cause. We don’t have to get involved ever again. We don’t have to come back to life, we can just live this one out.

DARIA:

Remind me! Story time Tovarish lover. I challenge you right fucking now Blat. The Ministry wants to know how our poems are coded. The Department of Homeland Security accuses you of course of treason, thus to your country of origin you will probably never return. Worse places to be exiled to than Russian though. The proles still need something to believe in! Your Millennium Hostage Crisis, it cost the Oligarchy dearly.

SEBASTIAN:

The poem or the siege?

DARIA:

Of course the mother-fuck siege! No one care about the poetry anymore, if ever. That which you cannot see with your own eyes, is just some kind of pornograph or propaganda being distilled to you! Tell me your best tales! like you used to on the boardwalk. Remind, me again what we’re worth on the market. Why is it that I assume such a huge risk for you? It sure isn’t love.

SEBASTIAN:

It is a kind of love though. Between two people fully unaccustomed to having it. The trouble sweetness, with your tales, is that not a single one of them are ever true, ever. Frankly, they’re all just bleak.

DARIA:

The greatest fun with your war stories is that so many of them are trying to be real. You give everyone away. You reveal your entire naked plot points! You expose yourself to serious liability. Your voice is so fucking loud, even the bed bugs can inform on you!

SEBASTIAN:

What will be the prize for the partizan with the premium story tonight?

DARIA:

The usual my daring! Only the base usual. As, at this juncture nothing is real and anything is possible. We suffered badly in New York. I won’t get again raped and you won’t get tortured for weeks on end. With blades, beatings, gas, current, water fire boards and sodomy. The people you love most won’t have to get killed this time. Maybe they can even sit the great war out. Maybe you’ll get to bring your city and homeland back from the ashes. Your people come back from the dead. Fuck, maybe I’ll date you for a while. Have summer fling in Moscow, take a train to China. Like you always said you wanted to.

SEBASTIAN:

Your amusement and our perpetual survival have gotten us in quite a lot of danger so far. You’re worth every bullet though, I stand by that. You will draw on Russian fairy tales but I will spin from the ghosts of my dead friends and the overwhelming darkness inside me.

DARIA:

Ladies always go first, for this is the ‘Code of the Haitian Gentleman. Let both the high and low minded mind games begin! 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 once 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 moved reality about. Sometime before that ultra murderous uprising called “the Great Disorder. Sometime after the far more bloody “Great Revolt”. Which was its more articulate, yet ultimately more homicidal older sibling. Before I sold our souls to a devil without making ask of questions! Certainly after I realize I loved you as I have never loved a man before in this life or the next, or one after that. But, it was a dark and unusual love.

I realized that I had loved you several times before. And that we are both so dangerous when in love. To each other. Also the world at large. And that Russian love, and American love have very different expectations that come with them.

I will now make careful choice of my words.

Speaking your American language with my Russian thoughts is to attempt placement of entire Caspian Sea into a shitty hip flask. My English when spoken without any intoxication hints that I will speak more clearly with my actions.  Were you sober then when we found each other on that roof top, instead of passion punch drunk you’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.

She then pauses.

I’m going to use you. I announced as much on the roof of the district back when. And I know you don’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?

SEBASTIAN:

I consented to such use, use the fuck away. We will see how far in the alphabet we can climb with you on my shoulders!

DARIA:

The Russian alphabet, it has more letters. More strategic depth. The letters also can take different subtle meaning based on where they are placed. The sounds, they will completely change. Some very hard, some soft.

SEBASTIAN:

Place yourself besides me, for now. You know me to never surrender. Not a hair on your head, not one inch of the turf.

DARIA:

I shall, but tomorrow this will have to 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? You want crazed impossible things, which of course all know is the road to tremendous suffering. You believe in a revolution, that frankly kills all it touches and scorches the earth with fire. You concurrently believe in a love, that when examined is not love it is you own need to anchor yourself in the impossible again, perusing me of all people. A cold, self absorbed debutante, to put it nicely.

SEBASTIAN:

I like the way that all sounds. I like way the way the word hopeless rolls off your lips. I am an Amerikansky, as you accuse me. Hopeless, is just a call to arms. Hopeless, impossible to me those words are exciting. The kind of words to separate boys from men, cowards form heroes.

DARIA:

What can I say in the face of such mad idealism! Your passion did then and does still touch me. In some weird way. I’m going to devastate you though again, you know. This is my effect on men, you are still a man. No angel. Or Devil. Or Ghost. I know I am a human woman of Penza and I know that you can certainly bleed. And, also cry. But sadly, you are not a normal man. Your of very different stuff.

SEBASTIAN:

Well we shall not later claim I wasn’t given a very fair warning. Had we met in another time, were I a different person wearing a different life; I would still know you. I cannot put my emotions to bed as easily as you.

DARIA:

Your emotions and your memories, are not real. In the darkness of the district night, in the wilderness of North America I repeatedly told you nothing but enormous destructive white, black and blue lies.

SEBASTIAN:

It was, what it all was.

DARIA:

I did what needed to be done. As Absofuckinglutely usual.

SEBASTIAN:

He quotes her.

It is sad that it all has to end.

DARIA:

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 living under his various code names. Our love and the totality of our affair will be thing of Post-Soviet lore and Amerikansky 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. Wild bohemian longings that conquered heroically the conventions of their day. I needed to get you to Moscow.

SEBASTIAN:

Is the story of our love to be more like Russian literature or more like Amerikansky cinema? Mere flickering Paramount Pictures? Or, was it all just a job t you? Work that needed to get done. For your pocket? For your mother?

DARIA:

General Winter has never been defeated, not once ever. So we will have to perform still more wine soaked miracles in the wilderness to remain together. A variety of strange longings took shape and bore most irregular if not unnatural fruit.

SEBASTIAN:

That much is now clear.

DARIA:

The first miraculous act will be turning your tragic tears into Vodka.

This is my happy gift to you. To turn an unusual and storied past into a heroic song and dance. To make your long 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, strategically co-inhabited.

The second miracle will be the theft of the moon itself. Such a task is just a starting point for you to please me, also pay my ransom.  Take to heart that the materialism of a Russian woman is but an ante up to play a high stakes game of loyalty. As for my freedom, Dmitry asked for that moon. I can have Oleg introduce you to her.

The third miracle will be for us to put some bullets in the devils collective. In retaliation for crimes of the past committed against us, and our love, and humanity in general. We’re gonna kill some oligarchs, at the very least.

The fourth miracle act will be that I can truly come to love you, maybe one day. To forgive you for what you had to do in my name, the easy part I suppose. In the name really of your long dead wife, bless her martyred soul. For the freedom of long abused inhabitants of Hispaniola too. More on all that later. But, to even consider loving you of course you must secure me. It will take several lives and a solid contact between us to accomplish these four miraculous acts. They will make wild tales and epic songs. And some poems, 

when we must.

SEBASTIAN:

It seems you remember the entire bloody manuscript before me! I would prefer it if we keep my alleged tragedy, the story of me dearest intended, my dead and violated martyr wife out of this all, completely.

DARIA:

Whatever we need to compel you to vengeance, my friend. Save me now and avenge your fallen tortured soul too! Via my company and our illicit secret series of kisses we made war on those oligarchical devils and their sickly entourage. We painted together a portrait. That in the end makes Russian literature look like tame romantic comedy, and Amerikansky Cinema, just flickering Soma on telescreens. Wakanda is real!  To beat back brutal hunger and or feed those dependent upon us. To meet the benchmark called survival, the human body and mind is capable of any number of enormous sins. At times grossly unpalatable to human soul. If you believe in such things!

SEBASTIAN:

It is not just a 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 moral panic. To others, a sheer bevy of potential opportunity!

DARIA:

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.

But, I’m 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.  

SEBASTIAN:

Also about whether poems can feed anything more than hope in the face of hopelessness!

DARIA:

They certainly do not!

SEBASTIAN:

And whether more reckless and brazen hope, is indeed the only cure something so called hopelessness invites.  

DARIA:

IT ISN’T!

SEBASTIAN:

So it’s Haitian love story, but also a Vodka Lullaby staring brave Russian angel from Penza! And of a daring American paramedic.A friend of the people fighting under a Kurdish name. An adventurer born in New York City! Or as it was later called; Newyorkgrad!  

DARIA:

It’s also about trying to steal away another man’s wife. Which is whole category of crime and punishment onto itself.

SEBASTIAN:

It’s really about old souls coming back for each other, even if just for a fall.

DARIA:

Based on a mostly true Brooklyn Noire, circulated by the underground in 2012. Based on some wide range of prophesied 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.

SEBASTIAN:

Set 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 Kurdistan! In Arabia! In the heart of twisted dystopia called Brooklyn Soviet! In places that were and also soon could be!

DARIA:

Set in your occupied and homeland called Israel. 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. Or, something. Something hopefully both ludicrous and profound.

SEBASTIAN:

So begins again the tale of Daria called Dasha and Sebastian called Kawa. A Russian she and a most irregular Amerikansky me and the partisans we led into a grim losing 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.

DARIA:

You use a lot of fucking words. You begin tales often with strange memories of a foreign murder and a liberation war. I however chose to begin with my winning smile. With my chest pressed against you. Also with a warning. This courtship cannot ever end well. A promise of deliverance via passionate love, once adequately demonstrated.

This is not ever to be that tale.  I begin instead with a double funeral!

SEBASTIAN:

You my dear old friend. My Tovarish. You are a genius artist. A most thrilling propagandist. A temptress. A siren. To destroy a mighty fleet. I remember when you took me in after the hospital camps and all their torture. When you took long walks with me down the Brighton Coney boardwalk. Allowing me to re-compose my inner thoughts. Restoring my will to fight.  I am honored, truly honored to be your front man. If only as you proclaim, for another life of night. I am your fall guy, your dagger man. Your sword. You are my comrade and my everlasting droog.  What have I done to me, in the name of you? A lot of terror.

DARIA:

You have too many fucking names! When the history is finally written, they’ll make you a lunatic. A fanatical zealot. A real mad man. A terrorist. And me, just some whore.

And at best a hapless muse!

And then, she blows a powder into his face and the story begins again. To the sounds of trumpets and gun fire.

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