Sunday, September 3

Savings Account

If you haven't already, go to Wordsmiths Unlimited, a joint venture of Tiff and me. This is my entry for the inaugural exercise, inspired by the photo submitted. If you missed it this time, PLEASE stay tuned and submit your entry next month. No fame, no ass kissing, no prizes. It's just like life! What more could you ask?

This is a work of fiction. Copyright © 2006 Rumba Creative. All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this work may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated,
or otherwise used without the express written approval of the author.

Savings Account

"Shake the girl's hand, Varya."

“Tip your hat, Varya.”

"Give me the coin, Varya."

She hated Piotr.

Varya licked her bruised and cut feet, listened to his sleeping mind relive vodka and females. She couldn’t shake his thoughts, even when she covered her head with her thin blanket. Resigned to another sleepless night, she hid her stolen slips of paper in the folds of her clothing, and stretched as far as the wire cage would allow. Tomorrow she would spend hours on a hot sidewalk, feeding Piotr’s greed and lust. For now, Varya could do nothing but obey.

The morning sun warmed Nevsky railway station, setting pigeons to flight. The tourist season made the dusty corner a favorite of Piotr’s. She twirled to the music of his old record player, accepting coins from tourists, kissing knuckles with feigned appreciation. Every exchange transmitted their thoughts, enchanted, annoyed, indifferent.

“Say thank you to the gentleman, Varya,” said Piotr.

She assumed her cutest expression, climbed a red-faced man’s arm, and wrapped her thin arms around his neck. She patted his collar, his mustache, his pockets.

“What a charming animal!” The man lowered his arm with a chuckle, scratched her head, and walked away.

“Give it to me, Varya.” Perched on Piotr’s shoulder, she handed over the red-faced man’s billfold. Slips of paper peeked out from the leather. “Good girl, Varya, we shall celebrate tonight!” His thoughts were the empty echoes of a liar. He would celebrate, and she would munch a mushy potato in the dark, dreading the return of his sick drunken thoughts. Piotr didn’t know she stole one last paper slip for herself, and that was some consolation.

The long afternoon passed with laughter and copper coins. Twice she was photographed on a child’s head. As always, it was an endless parade of faces and fingers she had never seen, would never see again. Toward sunset, her stomach empty, her tongue dry, her muscles cramped, the man in the overcoat finally appeared.

“Hello again, sir! You are becoming our best customer! Give him a hug, Varya.”

Varya didn’t dare vary the game. She nuzzled the man’s neck, listening for an unspoken confirmation, and heard what she hoped. It would work! She kissed his ear, played with his overcoat pockets. With a grunt, the man in the overcoat gave her a coin and melted into the crowd.

“Give it to me Varya.” Other than the coin, she had nothing to give. Piotr cursed.

The man in the overcoat was gone, but Varya felt him counting the slips of paper she had stashed in his pocket. She felt his sick glee, his calculation of when, where, and how. The plan would work, she thought. If it did not, she was patient. She could choose another and try again.

Diversion, stealth, cunning: Piotr had taught her many things. Slavery used the same weapons, Varya had learned. Soon, very soon, Piotr would learn it, too.


tiff said...

Sweet hopping baby jeebus, how did you get THIS from THAT picture?

I'm pretty darned glad we decided to NOT pick winners.

OK - for a moment I was confused by the coins vs papers thing, but on second reading figured it out. I really like how she can read people's thoughts and feelings, and use that against the ones she knows she hates. I also like the "slips of paper" becoming money.

My only suggestion would be that you leave the story off with the first sentence of the last paragraph. Your readers can fill in the blanks of the last 2.

KOM said...

I've already spent my quotia of "awesome" on TGIUTK's entry. Still, what more to say?

I agree with TIFF to a point. But the ultimate meaning would be lost without the last sentence.

This Girl I Used to Know said...

ooooh, chilling!

the only daughter said...

Vividly disturbing. For me the wrap up worked/helped. I think it would have been clear enough without it.

Goosebumps--eerily close to home.

Rick said...

Methinks yer monkey and mine trained at the same camp...