Back when I was a boy
in Volodzograd, my mother often told me how dangerous the world was outside
of our village. When she tucked me into bed at night, pulling my thin wool
blanket just over my chin, she would tell me stories of the deviants, perverts,
monsters and terrorists that lived in other cities, in other countries and
on other planets. Some were only a few kilometers outside of Volodzograd.
"David Ivanovich," she would say, "danger lurks at every corner. Their faces are coated with toxins. Their feet have not been washed in years, these people. When they look you in the eye, you will be cast under their spell until you are lured into their lurid dens of sin and iniquity."
She told me stories of orgies and sacrilege, of people who would steal the very eardrums from your ears in order to make high-tech transistor telephones.
"Guard your ears, David Ivanovich; your eardrums are worth thousands and thousands of kopeks in the black markets of Moscow, Paris and Cincinnati."
And thus my sleep was troubled. Every night mother would make me promise never to leave Volodzograd, then she would sing to me a song and I would drift into a half-dream of the thieves of Cincinnati: their beady eyes and long knives. Often I would wake up in the middle of the night and, lacking light, would imagine that I had been transported to the treacherous Ohio River Valley. I would stumble through our two-room panelak, fearful that every creak in the linoleum floor was the bell tolling my last breath. The monsters were upon us; the terrorists had come to Volodzograd, invading from the new world. Their fangs were menacing. Their horns were poking at my ribs.
But, alas, when Mother and Father were killed in that tragic zeppelin accident in Riga (I am sure you saw pictures on the news, my fathers swan dive from the burning craft, my mother trying to use her brassiere as a parachute), I was left with nearly nothing, forced to sell even my socks and my shoes and walk barefoot through the streets of Volodzograd, begging for alms. Many is the night that I slept in Kareninakova Park, under the statue of Pushkin, crying for my fate, as I had now become the dirty-footed man my mother had warned me of. I never stole, mind you. I never stole a kopek! But after several months, winter set in and one of my toes was run over by the pushcart of the fishmonger, Semolina Semolinova, in the town center. I decided that I must release my qualms and resort to my wit for survival. I would become a gypsy, a tramp and a thief. I would become the man my mother warned me about. For what good was morality when one was not able to afford even the smallest bit of borscht now and again? Like the devil was once an angel, thus I would fall, gracefully, and imbue my sin with the same holiness that had marked my holiness.
We pick up my story several years later. I have changed my name to Ivanovich da Terrible and am living in Brighton Beach. I have just passed some ice over the Canadian border and the fuzz are on my ass like bling on bling. I am planning to take my dogs and my hos out to Cleveland, where well go to the mattresses and wait for the heat to lose our scent.
It was a sweltering summer in Brooklyn, hot like an overused vibrator, and my deputy, Peter Petrokovich, pulled one of our many BMWs out from the underground garage. My crew waited with their luggage, sweat trickling from their brows. I got into the back seat of the BMW, joined by Anna Akmatova and Anushka Cermakova, who both felt sick because of the diamond-filled condoms I had forced them to swallow at gunpoint. As Peter Petrokovich and I had joked earlier, this would not be the only pre-lubricated, spermicide-coated, black-market-produced piece of latex that Anushka Cermakova and Anna Akmatova would be taking before we arrived in Ohio. Ha, we laughed together, and before we left Brooklyn I opened a bottle of malt liquor and poured a small amount onto the pavement for my fallen homies.
The highway was awash with large trucks carrying oil and timber and beauty products. As Peter Petrokovich drove and it became night, I began to fear these trucks. They were like bears, looming over us. The charm of the highway that had captivated me so when I first arrived in America was now gone.
There was only danger again, and I realized that with this trip, I would be coming ever so close to Cincinnati, that awful city of sin (so much that they put it two times in the name) that my dear mother had warned me about.
As we drove through Pennsylvania, I decreed that no one in the car would speak a word. At one point, when Anushka Cermakova coughed and Anna Akmatova said, "Bless you," I felt compelled to bitch-slap them both. They were evil, dark women. Their talking seemed to signal gypsy blood was coursing through their heroin addled veins and arteries. There was danger.
The other BMW followed us closely. And finally I realized it. They were all agents from the FBI and CIA. They had lured me into this road trip as a trap. I would be interrogated mercilessly and then sent to Guantanamo Bay to be tied up like an animal. This was not right! I am a man, not an animal. I would not be tricked by these fiends.
"Peter Petrokovich, stop the car immediately," I screamed. We got off at a rest area Dennys and sat at a long table. I drew my pistol and laid it on the table. All my dogs and hos gasped. The employees of Dennys hid behind plastic wall partitions.
"But Ivanovich da Terrible " said Peter Petrokovich.
"Silence!" I shouted, and fired a round at the sky, "Now, this may just be the crack cocaine talking, but I think youre all with the Feds. Show me your loyalty. Prove to me your devotion."
Anna Akmatova was the first to beg for her life; she got to her knees and swore to me that she was not the rat. But I knew, with my legendary intelligence, that anyone who would first tell me they were not a rat was definitely, absolutely a rat. And I knew, even as the others followed suit, that they were all gypsies, tramps and thieves, jealous of me because of my Rolex watch and expensive champagne bubble baths. They were part of the government, thus, they were all fascists and deserved their fate.
I made them lie in a circle, so that their heads were all in the center, face down, and I shot them. It was a sad night in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
And as I raced in my BMW, trying to distance myself from the wailing sirens and flashing lights in the rearview mirror, I could only dream of my mother, my sweet mother, who plummeted to her death from the blimp. If only she could tuck me in at night once more and save me from these evil people. The world outside was so dark.
DAVID HIRSCHMAN is a freelance writer living a very unhealthy lifestyle in Brooklyn. He blames all of his problems on an upbringing that was not nearly repressive enough. Eager to sell out, David will write just about anything if you give him $100,000.