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Chapter 34 – Vernut’sya v Chernom

May 8, 2012

(NOTE: Probably not safe for work this one. Adding a fold.)

Chapter 34 – “Vernut’sya v Chernom”

January 6, 1994 – Private Clinic, Long Island, New York

Voices. Words. Faces. No meaning.

“Harold! Harold! Harold?

“Can hear?”

“Hear, yes, but it is not yet assured that he will understand the words.”

“Harold! Is Yuri. Can you understand me?

“Eyes are open, but I think he is somewhere else, doctor.”


November 27, 1955 – Roarke Home, Suffolk County, New York

“More turkey, dear?”

His mother was smiling. So was his father, but that was because he was drunk.

“Well? Answer your mother!”

Harold just sat there as if stunned or in a daze.

“You goddam mute. F***ing monkey! Faggot.”

Harold was still trying to puzzle out what had happened yesterday. As a result, he hardly noticed the traditional insults hurled his direction by his father. They were especially traditional on holidays like today.

Yesterday, Mom had sent him with Dad to get some groceries because the help had the holiday and most of the week off every year.

When he was younger, Harold thought that the help being around kept his father at bay, helped to stem the abuse. But now he realized that it was the fact that they—he, his brothers and sister (who were always late arriving on days like today), his mom and his dad—had to eat together during the holidays that made his mother give the help Thanksgiving off. They weren’t some good luck charm after all, but were sent away so they wouldn’t see what it was like when they were all together.

Yesterday, after he and his dad had stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some items for Mom, Dad made an additional stop at a strange, small apartment building in a rundown neighborhood. Dad told him to wait in the car. Harold didn’t know what to think, so he tried not to think about it at all. He was safe in the car.

Harold waited waited for what seemed like a long time. He got bored and checked the groceries. The ice cream was melting but the car was getting cooler by the minute. He hated it when ice cream thawed and then froze again. It didn’t taste the same: not creamy, more like ice crystals…or sweet sand. Gritty, not smooth.

He got out of the car reflexively. He locked the door so no one would steal the food, but that also meant he was locked out.

He had no choice but to wait for his dad outside the car or go see what was keeping him. He waited for a while longer at the vehicle, just daydreaming.

Harold gasped when someone he didn’t know said hello to him. He hadn’t even seen the man appoach.

It was a black man. Dad had said many times that they were always looking to steal stuff. In fact, the Old Man said, they were stealing from us after President Roosevelt gave away our money to them.

The man seemed more concerned than like he was going to steal anything. When Harold looked up at him frightened but trying not show it, the man backed away holding his hands up in a friendly manner as he spoke.

“Hey, you take care now. This ain’t no neighborhood for a little kid to be hangin’ out in. You dig? Be careful, little man.”

Harold’s heart was racing. The man seemed nice, but maybe he was going to break into the car and steal their groceries. He had to go find Dad.

“I-I-I’m just leaving. Thanks…”

He crossed the street and went up into the brownstone. He could hear his father’s voice coming from somewhere down the hall.

When he reached apartment three, he could see that the door wasn’t closed quite all the way. He pushed tentatively.

“I said ‘no teeth’ goddamit. Hurry the f*** up, I don’t have all f***ing day!”

Dad was sitting on a couch. There was a black woman with his dad’s penis in her mouth. She was bobbing up and down on it like it was a popsicle.

Harold froze. He didn’t understand what he was seeing, but he somehow knew he wasn’t supposed to see it.


Apparenty she was doing what he wanted now. Dad relaxed and leaned his head back.

When Harold gazed back toward the woman, he saw that she had seen him out of the corner of her eye. She stopped what she was doing and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She then smiled sheepishly at Harold.

“What the f***? Did I say stop. I was nearly there, goddamit!”

The voice that came forth from the woman was whispery. A little hoarse, but soft and somehow friendly.

“We have a visitor, Thomas.”

Dad looked over at Harold and his face went red and got all twisted up. He kicked the woman in the head. As she fell backwards, her robe fell open.

She had a penis. It was a rather long one at that. She…or he… looked scared. Harold understood fear, especially when his father was around.

“I thought I told you to wait in the f***ing car!”

Harold turned and left. He ran and waited at the car until his father appeared minutes later. They didn’t speak the entire way back except once when his father asked him nicely to grab the groceries.

He was still trying to make sense of it all the next day when his mother asked him if he wanted more turkey and his father berated him for not answering immediately, as if twelve seconds under these circumstances was adequate.

“I think I’ll have some dark meat, please, mother.”

She smiled and forked over two slices.

His father puffed on a cigarette and stared at Harold. The look on his face was a new one, one that Harold hadn’t ever seen on it before. His father looked confused, perhaps even a bit afraid.

He seemed to be trying to figure out if there was more to Harold’s request than just a desire for more turkey. Harold calmly poured a little gravy on the turkey and started cutting and chewing. He even looked at his mother and smiled.

The Old Man just stared at him silently and puffed on his cigarette.

One day, Harold would destroy that goddam son of a bitch. He had just started.


©2011 Christopher C. Knall

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