Thursday, January 9, 2014


You know, I believe they once had a fairly decent art collection in this place. Hundreds of pieces scooped up when Stalin split Eastern Europe with the Germans. Stuff from Krakow and Breslau and Bratislava too, if I'm not mistaken. Now The Red Army did not reach all those places, at least not then. Not in the early days of the war. But the party had agents and things sort of slip-slided their way over the border. Some was still here until 'the fall,' of The Soviet Union, I mean. Though when the Lenin statues started to come down the place became a grab bag. I have some pieces in my palace on the Neva. Pushkin's ghost is there, not permanently. He's not in residence. Don't get me wrong. But he does come by from time to time. (and the temporary ghost whispered to himself) God, I miss that place. 

Then he retreated into silence, but his eyes continued to study the unfortunate prisoner's form. There are storerooms filled with irradiated food in this complex. Big cans sealed in the nineteen forties. The temporary ghost vampire named Grigori Usipov knows where they are. And he knew the prisoner was hungry, so he spoke..... There's a can opener in the desk. Right here. Top drawer. In the middle. Come take it - he said.... Then he stood up and moved aside so the prisoner would have room. The helpless mortal did as he was told and he hefted the large implement in his hand. It had a mother of pearl handle with some type of printing or writing on it.... a souvenir from a 'People's Resort' on the Black Sea.
W-what is this? What is it? - he said...... The strange being, locked in spirit form said nothing. He simply moved toward the doorway and gestured for the mortal to follow. So lit by the feeble light escaping from the Russian 'ghost' thing's form, they hurried through the endless corridors to the food room. For the next two hours the hungry scared mortal ate. I can't vouch for the flavor of the feast, for much of it was basically steamed and that steaming took place more than sixty five years ago, but the radiation did it's trick and it was more or less germ free. Pressed duck he had and scalloped potatoes and Vienna Sausage plus some disgusting, wet, noodle pudding concoction that looked like it came from King Tutankhamun's kitchen. But he ate it.  And for six or seven 'days' they returned to that place. There were cans of pineapple juice too and some type of wafer that approximated crisp toast.

The Grigori Usipov thing knew of a gym too and he exercised the current tenant of his future body so he'd get a good one. The basic form was already half decent to begin with. They had these kettle dumbbell things. Like bowling balls with handles. And the trapped mortal learned to swing them around like a dancer. But considering where he was and who controlled him, what choice did he have? You know Hansel in the cage and the Witch? Well.... then you know what I mean. And all this happened in the dark, lit by the subtle light wafting off the ghosts.... A strange, mundane horror and deep inside, the mortal knew it. Sometimes the pin-head thing came to watch, but I think he (she... it?) only really came for the pineapple juice. 

One night (look, due to the sealed up windows it was always night in that place) the sleek and improved mortal said - You had them take me. You had them capture me and bring me here...... And then he couldn't say anymore..... Usipov continued - And you want to know how it ends?....... The mortal just looked..... His captor went on - You won't die. No oblivion. Don't worry about that. But it will be 'different.'.... Then he held out a robe. The mortal took it and put it on. The temporary ghostly, vampire oligarch thing led the way back to a gerrymandered living space strewn with old vinyl sofa cushions and a solar powered/hand cranked radio-cassette player. Needless to say, the 'solar' part was out of the question. So the mortal sat down bathed in weak, silvery ghost-light, snapped in his favorite cassette, an old, well worn version of Brigadoon (there wasn't much of a collection to begin with) and cranked it up, filling the place with a poignant song of a magical, faraway world. Then he lay down and sobbed, as the strange jailer quietly spoke of 'harmonics' and the wonderful things it could do.

Please forgive me for stopping now. This disembodied spirit narrator planned to tell you more. And if you are curious, I am not one of the important spirit narrators. I am not Mister Never-You-Mind, or Johannon, or Zebulon (remember him?). I am not the little polio victim in the cellar of the townhouse. I am just 'me.' And that wilkravitz, or 'Billy' mortal who channels this is sleepy.....

Let him rest. Next time you'll hear more.

Oh, if you like, google Brigadoon on You Tube. You might enjoy it.


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