Bullets, Just What the Doctor Ordered

brick_by_brick

Saint Petersburg summers are about as warm as a snowman’s pit-sweat and only twice as wet. A man, T, is visiting us from Moscow. T’s nephew is turning four. I don’t know him very well; his nephew, not at all.

I’m bored.

T doesn’t like when I drop my cigarettes on the street, raining or not.

“Why do you do that?” His accent is strong, Russian. It makes me rethink where to next put my foot, always.

I shrug, looking guilty.

“I don’t always. Just when I can’t find a trash-can.”

He looks at me, then to the trash can five feet away. He scowls.

“Sorry. I am not always very environmentally conscious, I should be.”

He shakes his head. “No. It is this city. It is beautiful. We need to keep it beautiful.” He walks to where I dropped my cigarette and picks it up. He places it down a sewer drain. I frown.

“You know, that–” I stop at his look. “Sorry,” I finish. He nods. We make out way to a toy-store near my apartment. The shop is called “Play, Now!”

We go in. The front is mostly puzzles. We move into the back. It looks like the toy aisle in Walmart, fattened up and relabeled in Cyrillic.

“Aha!” I cry, heading for the Legos. I pick up the top box: a fire truck. I smile, thinking fondly of the days, sifting through oceans of Lego pieces, hunting down the elusive black visor (the real one–not the one we’d colored in.) I’d only find it hours later, in my brother’s dresser, on a caper for fresh socks.

I shake the box at T.

“These, are my childhood. I remember spending hours looking for this little black visor. My brother always stashed it from me.”

He looks the box up and down. He frowns.

“When I was young–how old are you?”

“Almost twenty-eight.” I shudder.

He nods. “Yes, not much younger than I. When I was a kid, we did not have Legos.”

“Oh?”

“No. Bullets.”

“Oh.”

“Yes,” he looks ahead, remembering, “they were everywhere then.”

“Oh.”

“We put them in fire and they go BANG!”

He points finger-guns at me as he says it. He even smiles.

“Ha-ha,” I say. He puts his gun down, the Legos too, with disgust.

“Well, maybe, I think your nephew would like some Legos. Bullets are a bit, um, dangerous?”

T nods. “Pity. He would have fun with bullets.”

I give him a sympathetic look. “Yeah, well, maybe it’s kind of good. I don’t know if kids playing with bullets is–hm, best?”

T looks into my eyes. I quickly turn back to the Legos. I pick up the firetruck and hold it out to him.

“He’ll like this, trust me.”

He looks down at the box, then up at me.

“What do you do?”

“Huh?”

“Your work.”

“Uh, I kind of freelance at a few things.”

T nods, slowly.

“I am doctor,” he says, taking the Legos from my hand. He looks down at them, up at me. “So maybe,” he shrugs, “bullets, not so bad.”

He drops the Legos back in the pile.

16 Comments

  1. thank you Flash! A new one, different, but not less interesting. A serious doctor who has played with bullets (I know these stories still well from my parents and grandparents) and the “freelancer”, who belongs to the Lego generation and notes that his opponent has a completely different concept of games because he no toys.
    Margarethe Steiff sewn the first plush elephant. I think the children have kept them for life. There were no toys, children had to improvise games, had to be creative, and were outdoor. Toys are becoming more complex, more comfortable, more technical, less creative. Maybe the doctor is even right. With the balls you could surely made a lot of nonsense and had a lot of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed this one. Yeah, this is somewhat based on a true story. Mainly just a guy telling me how he played with bullets growing up in the soviet union. I kind of wanted to use that idea to make the exact point you’re noting on. Thank you.

      Like

  2. Well, the conclusion to that story was as unexpected, explosive and satisfying as a bullet thrown into a fire! And you told us in the title what the end was going to be, you actually told us, and I still didn’t see it coming! You’re a magician, mate!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great piece! The different perspectives shown so clearly over something so simple as picking out a toy, then the twist ending…really great! Keep the city beautiful but let the kids play with bullets, as it drives up business! Interesting character! Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. haha thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed so many aspects of it. Much of it is pieced together from different experiences with people I have here in Russia. Tried to make it all into a cohesive story.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. hahahahaha…sorry I made a mistake…it´s glass marble….you know this little, beautiful coloured glass balls to play with….

        Liked by 1 person

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