Friday, December 08, 2006

THE BLACK ICON--Chapter Seven

THE BLACK ICON
A Novel
Chapter Seven


The potato diet was now beginning to affect the family. A lethargy set in, and all three were becoming irritable with the meatless fare. Languid. And little Genyk was infested with roundworms.

One night Genyk awoke, complaining of a buzzing sound in his ears. Katerina, knowing just what this meant, was the first to rise, putting a match to he coal oil lamp on the oaken table between the children's beds. The light, streaming through the children's open bedroom dooway, woke Sophia immediately; Sophia had long-since gotten used to this ritual. She sat upright in bed for a few seconds, then put her feet on the cold earth floor, at the same time grasping out for the pile of newspapers prepared for just such an emergency.

In the other bedroom, she could hear Genyk shouting out, "The buzzing. It's getting louder. And I feel like I'm going to poop."

Sophia hurried towards Genyk, a handful of newsprint rusling in her sleep-numbed fingers.
While Kateria tried to comfort the boy, Sophia threw back his covers, yanked down the baggy pantaloons that served as the boy's covers, and did what had to be done.

Genyk, lying face down, Katerina's hand gently stroking his head, cringed as he felt the stiff paper touching him.

"Got that one...Here, get me some more paper, Katerina. Poor boy, they just keep coming out...damn worms." Sophia continued the operation for twenty minutes, tossing each long, dark, wire-consistent parasite on an outstrtched centrespread on the floor.

"There, that ought to be the last of them," she said finally.

Genyk began crying, but settled down after Sophia stroked his head and flushed face.

While Katerina continued to calm the boy, Sophia made for the kitchen, returning with a large jar of pickle brine, said by the village women to be a cure for worms. Genyk, whimpering and wanting something to get rid of the foul taste in his mouth, snatched at the brine jar and began taking loud swallows.

"Drink as much of it as you can," Sophia said. "It'll keep the worms away." But she scolded Genyk while he gulped down the brackish fluid. "What did I tell you about eating all that brown sugar? It gives you worms, and if you keep eating it all by iself like that, someday they'll come out of your throat in a ball. I've sen it happen."

Genyk took the jar away from his moth and shrieked, making Sophia immediately sorry for the insensitive chiding. She cradled the brine jar in he crook of her arm and stretched out her free hand worad Genyk, caressing his face. "There now, she soothed, pulling th covers back over Genyk. Katerina, on the other side of he bed, stroked Genyk's head and shoulders.

Genyk fell asleep after a last stiff sob.

11 comments:

EA Monroe said...

Good morning, Ivan. How's your Saturday morning? Time for those dreaded Saturday chores, but at least I can plot and scheme while I scrub!

That was certainly a graphic scene. Poor little Genyk, but it reveals Sophia's character, too.

It may be awhile before I eat potato soup again. ;)

ivan said...

They'll come and getcha!
Small wonder that in my course on Martin Luther, I laughed out loud
at the Diet of ...

I appreciate your critical sense.

Ivan

ivan said...

Liz,
You have this uncanny ability to divine that others may be doing the same thing you are doing this Saturday morning.
Lately, Ive been a bachelor (not entirely my idea) and my apartment had beome a total pig pen.
I finally got in some professional cleaners, and they agreed that it was indedd a pigpen, but they would do their best.
But then I look at my walls, and gad! soot, dust, smoke tracks , beer stains.

Ach Ich bin ein schweinhund!

I had a character in my Light Over Newmarket, a woman who was assaulted by dirt and grime to the point where it overcame her.
Dirt and grime has all but overcome me.

"Write about squalor," a girl advises a Salinger character.

Well, have i got maaterial!
So I guess we'll both be doing a lot of scrubbing this aft.
I think I need a life cleaner.
Maybe sluice myself down with Colt .45 beer.
But that's where all the squalor came from in the first place!
...None of all tis is going to make me write better! Heh.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Hey Ivan. I keep saying I'm going to Hire the Mission Organize Crew or Clean Sweep to do my mom's house. You should see that mess! They would take one look, declare it impossible shot of a bulldozer, and head for the hills! My mom has 78 years of pack ratting skills and my brother and his five kids contribute to the mess, too. Well, I'm off to stuff the washing machine and scrub the tub.

ivan said...

U2HUH?
Lost two socks in dryer, but managed to liberate a towel not yet in tatters.
Jay Wells said, in a column a month ago that she was ready to wear Big Girl panties.
...Well, I picked up a pair of those as well.
...Now what am I going to do with them?
Wear them around my neck, I suppose, out of pure nostalgia.
Yeah. I'm a sick pup.

Josie said...

Well, I see things are as sane as ever over here. Just popped over to say hello to you and Liz before I dash off to luncheon.

I wish I had time to read the chapters. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Cheers,
Josie

ivan said...

Josie,
Oh dear.
This chapter is not good to read before lunch.
...Maybe even after lunch, heh.

The Third World scene may be a little much.
The next two chapters will be a little more up. At least we hope.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan. I saw that San's been plotting behind my back. Ah, the dog's life! I've been busy writing a "Christmas" story this afternoon. I imagine it will get me into trouble, too. Catch you later! Liz

ivan said...

Really interested in the Christmas story.
I'm kind of looking around for material like that.

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