The Polyglot

finn

N and I step out of the bar, a bar called Bukowski. It is somebody’s birthday and that means whisky–free whisky. And free whisky means a crowd and every crowd, at every bar, on every birthday involving free whisky has, like all creatures, an asshole.

“You speak Spanish?” The man asks.

N says ‘hello’ in Spanish to the man. The man looks at a bit of wall, all of him sways; his eyes to the tune of passing cars, his body to the lilt of the wind.

“You ain’t know shit,” he says. “You know nothing, you fucker.”

He rolls around himself, sweating. “Fucker,” he says again, tasting the word. “You are a fucker.”

N laughs, the crowd laughs. The man starts speaking Russian, something involving ‘from’ and ‘where.’

“Moscow,” N tells him.

“So, you ain’t from anywhere! You know nothing.” He takes a deep breath of spit, coughs, and adds ‘fucker.”

“He’s from Finland,” a voice informs us, from the crowd.

“I’ve been living here for years, five years in Moscow! You know nothing,” he says, in Russian. Someone starts translating to English, for me.

“I know,” I tell them, I understood.

“I know, I know,” the man mocks me, doing the drunk man’s two step, almost falling into me. I dodge, smiling.

“I know,” the man whines again. He continues in Russian. I don’t understand, nobody translates.

The cigarettes are snuffed out, people start heading back into the bar. The Finnish man tries to catch one eye with the other. He almost falls.

On the way back in, someone is shaking their head, smirking.

“That’s what this country will do to you,” they say, to no one in particular, in English.

 

13 comments

  1. God, i wish you’d pitch some fiction to the New Yorker. It isn’t really for me to say, but your fiction seems right up their alley. I’m still crushing on your work, stronger with each story I read. It’s just something about your work that easily keeps me start to finish, with endings sometimes ambiguous. Your work has that quality that the reader can interpret his own ending as it applies to him – gold, and definitely New Yorker gold.

    Please forgive my review of your work as a know-susanridneonothing reviewer. And my penchant for extreme noticing and responding. It’s jut that over the last six months I’ve watched you get better and better, and I know good writing when I read it.

    I’d just like to see the writing I love be loved by millions of people.

    Apologies if I’m being pushy, and please forgive me me for sharing my excitement regarding your work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, no, this was really nice to hear. I should give you some background on my writing. I’ve been writing. I started about ten years ago writing long stories and I don’t think I was very good. I didn’t get my first story published until I was 23 and even then, I got a lot of rejections. But then, I moved to China. I was in China for a while and I had trouble writing there. I also didn’t really have time to submit anything and it was a bit difficult since I didn’t really have a permanent home (not to mention chinese internet restrictions.) But, I continued to work on longer projects on and off. I have about five books that I’ve written. I was in china for a year then I came home for a few months. I worked on some of my stuff. My uncle used to be a journalist and I sent him some of my work and he said I was too wordy and that I should go through and cut out everything that wasn’t important. So I did. And realized how much of a story is unessential and began trying to perfect saying a lot with a little. But, after that, I moved to Korea. I was in Korea for two and a half years. The problem is, I was completely uninspired there. I worked a lot and just couldn’t seem to write anything at all. I lost a lot of practice. So, when I came home I started to focus more on flash fiction and one of my older projects. Then, I moved to Russia. When I got here I had a lot of time and felt very inspired here. So, I decided to start really practicing because, despite everything, I’ve only ever wanted to be a writer and I refuse to give up. So, to practice I told my friend I’m going to write every day and he said I should make a website to keep myself in check. So I did, and slowly from there everything has grown and I’ve noticed myself getting better and writing coming to me a lot easier and honestly I never knew if I was any good and so I really lacked the confidence to submit my work to anyone very often. Part of what has been giving me that confidence now, is people like you. So, thank you. Also, right now, this is my main focus. Everything I write I put here on this website because I want it to be the best I can make it. There are some stories that, if I submitted them places, they might get accepted. But, I want them here because I really care about this project and Nikita and I have plans to turn the work here into other projects later on. (graphic novels, anthologies, etc.) A publisher recently contacted us about working with us after we have finished. And I sent them one of my old projects and it is looking like they might be publishing it. (a novella of sorts). So, I don’t really know, things are looking really good right now. I think I have always been very apprehensive to think I might be good enough to make anything of myself with writing because there are so many people in the world who want to be writers. I am hoping that what we are doing here will help me to get to that point. (and hopefully attract an agent) And then I will try to tackle The New Yorker haha. Sorry for the long winded response. I just wanted to explain my backstory a bit. It is hard for me to tell when my own writing is good or not. Most days I run to Nikita after he has read it and say “Is this one any good” and he always rolls his eyes and says “yes, Ben, they are all good” But for some reason I still need to be reminded every day. I am waiting for the day that I just sort of…lose it. But really, you’re encouragement makes me smile every time and helps me to think that I am actually producing something worthwhile. So, thank you, truly.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for tat reply. Not long-winded at all. I’d read your grocery list all day long. Appreciate so much your personal backstory.
    I understand being unsure of the greatness of what you write. I can’t reread anything I write for a good six months, then I’m like Wow, who wrote this?? Then of course I edit it and usually wreck it haha. Love, your biggest fan (but not Stan) Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really appreciate your reply (thank you, “writing”, for prompting it.) I know good writing because I read good writing. You are a good writer. When your book gets published, I hope you will let people know.

    Liked by 2 people

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