Once Upon a Time in Russia

Little Red Jacket with a Hood: Part I

M’s dog has been shedding at a supernatural rate. It’s in my mouth. I put my boots on. There is hair in my boots, but still tight. I shake myself off best I can in the hall outside our apartment. It’s no use. I head out into the cold. It is late. The streets I walk down seem begging for a shot to ring out.

Someone turns out from a street ahead. A girl. Maybe my age. Maybe younger. Her jacket is red and pulled up to hide her face. I decide she must be the most beautiful woman in the world. She doesn’t walk fast. I do. I don’t mean to, but I find myself walking past her. She says something in Russian as I pass.

I turn.

“Oh.” She smiles, I wasn’t far off the mark.

“Hello,” she says in a near perfect accent.

“Hi.”

“Do you have a cigarette?” She asks. I nod and pull one from my pack. I light it in my own mouth and hand it over. She takes it, grinning.

“I don’t like to smoke and walk. Will you stand with me?”

“Sure,” I tell her. I pull another cigarette from my pack and light it for myself.

“Where are you off to?” she asks.

I shrug. “Nowhere.” I motion to my clothes. “My roommate’s dog is shedding like crazy, needed to just walk a bit. You?”

She nods, exhaling through her nose. Steam or smoke, I can’t tell. It’s that kind of weather.

“I’m bringing some food to my grandmother.”

“She must not eat a lot,” I say, motioning to her empty hands.

The girl laughs. It sounds like a lullaby in a dark room.

“I haven’t been to the store.” She snaps her cigarette to the ground.

She raises an eyebrow at me. “Would you like to join me?”

I look around at what my night has been and was going to be. Nothing.

“Sure. Is it far?”

“Not far.” She starts walking. I follow along beside her.

“Your grandma won’t mind, will she?”

“No, no, she would love to meet an American boy.”

“Cool.”

I try to brush as much hair off my pants as discreetly as possible as we walk. Whether we walk for long or short, I do not know. We arrive at a street.

“Down there. Walk till you see the small house with a fence. Wait there for me.”

I frown. Hairs on my neck dance a warning. She smiles.

“I don’t live in a foreigner friendly neighborhood. I don’t want you to find trouble at the store. It is late. Just wait for me down there.”

I don’t move. She leans in and kisses my cheek just below my eye.

“Handsome boy,” she says. My face goes red as her jacket. She turns and walks off. I look down the street I’m meant to follow.

“Screw it,” I mutter. I light a new cigarette and walk down the street.

Sure enough, a minute later I am standing in front of a small fenced in home squished between two crumbling apartment buildings.

“Would you look at that?”

The door opens. A woman in her fifties, or maybe a bit older, peers out. She sees me. She waves. I look around myself.

“You, boy,” she says, in Russian. She motions for me to come to the house. I drop my cigarette, open the fence and walk toward her, slowly.

“Hello, I am a friend of your granddaughter,” I tell her, in broken Russian. I get to the doorstep. The woman smiles wide.

“Good boy,” she says. Something hits me, hard.

Everything fades to black.

To be continued…

12 comments

  1. If it’s any consolation, flash365, I’m pretty sure that lullaby laugh would have had me throwing my suspicions under a Lada. Excellent part one. If I cull my following list you’re safe for another two days 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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