Friday, March 5, 2010
"Forgive me, I think I’m a little drunk. Let me see your hands..."
"Just let me see them. These are not city hands. Look at this. You don’t get callouses like those beating up students and typing reports. Why aren’t you out in the fields, Comrade Gorbulina? It’s nearly harvest time, isn’t it? Why are you out here in Mexico?"
"You think you’re smart, huh?"
Nikolai shrugged, saying nothing.
"Let me tell you about the harvest. My uncle was the oldest. He got the land, the house. Everything. When the harvest came my father, my brothers, we’d all work the fields along with everybody else. Sleep in the fields like everybody else. When the war came to us I was sixteen years old. My uncle sided with the nationalists, the Germans. He had the land, why wouldn’t he? My father sided with the Bolsheviks, and I sided with my father. They gave one of these. You see?"
"What you do is you take them to their front field, where they’ll be found. You want them to be found. You take them, you kneel them down and you tell them to pray. “Oh Heavenly King”, usually. You know it? O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things. Treasury of blessings and Giver-of-Life: come and abide in us, cleanse us of every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One. Every Ukrainian schoolboy knows it. Anyway, they kneel, they pray, and then you shoot them here, down into the backs of their heads. Sometimes the gun jams, or sometimes you miss. Sometimes you have to shoot them twice. You know, when they brought my uncle in to me he smiled?"