My Russian cousin will not tell me what’s happening. He wants to keep me in the dark. He fancies himself Dostoyevsky or the famous magician, Krylov the Fry Pan. He won’t even tell me why they call him that.
He finally got a great girlfriend, really cute, cute as a chipmunk, but he’s thinking of selling her online. He likes the idea of being a Human Trafficker.
Why would you even think of doing something like that, I ask him. He’s a distant cousin, but he’s got my nose, my jaw, my eyes.
He replies: The one who grabs the rat by the tail–he will get the vacuum cleaner.
My son is born with colic and a bad attitude that destroys all babysitters, but worst of all, he has Pupila Duplex, two irises, two corneas, and two retinas on the eyeball of each eye. It’s as if he has four eyes. He’s a freak, but the condition gives him more data than a normal person, and increased focus. As soon as he could talk, he’s telling me what to do.
He tells me: The Chinese emperor Liu Ch’ung had this mutation. The populace fell to their knees in awe and wonder whenever he came within five miles. Sign over your Parenting Card, old man. I’m in charge now.
In the City
Travelling west toward the mountains, Denver is a gritty place, though not as gritty as it used to be. It’s where people go when they’ve finally tired of the hick life. I never tired of it but was cast out by greed and pulverizing machines. Now I’m old and don’t believe in wisdom. I only believe in removing as much crap from my mind as possible. Minimum crap is the best I can do, removing the greed from my heart, and staying lean almost to the point of pain, skirting anorexia.
Anorexia is a road too far into the desert, a road where you stare at a cactus’s spines and feel jealous—but that’s merely another form of greed (greed has a million manifestations). That’s why the Buddha advocated the middle path, with greed tugging at you from both sides, the greed of overconsumption and the greed of self-deprivation. Neither works. Both are ego.
I would return to the hick life if I could, somewhere where people aren’t hardhearted and I’m not continually damaged by pulverizing machines. In the meantime, I’m here in the city.
Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his website to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.