Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Idiot

Concluding part of Chapter Eleven, THE BLACK ICON, A novel.



Kalyna Ostapovna was worried. All through the fighting, she and her wild-eyed son had hid in a ditch near their cellarless home, the standard Neolithic brand with the dirt floor. Tanks had ground to within a hundred feet of where the pair were crouched. The idiot, though not being able to hear the battle sounds, had nevetheless felt and seen all, becoming excited, tongue lolling out, shaking at each flash of the Russian Katiusha rockets and each freakish tremor of the earth. Kalyna looked at him. He could be dangerous. All the signs were there. She may well be in for more lumps. He'd beat her before.

By morning, when the firing died off, mother and son returned to their mud cottage, Kalyna clearing up broken glass and thick dust shaken loose during the shelling. Chyvago, meanwhile, peered through the paneless windows and shook his head from side to side.

The nearby railway depot had received a direct hit and was a smoking pile of rubble, telegraph poles and wire stretching crazily from the jumbled stone.

It was his spot, where he had "talked" to all the nice people. They would never come there again. He pointed at the former deport with a shaking finger, howling.

Kalyna tried to settle him down, to get him busy, asking him, gesturing to him, to help with the cleaning.

Chyvago insited on making for the depot.

"You'll get hurt over there," Kalyna said slowly, so he could read her lips. "There are Germans around. They will shoot you."

"Uhnngnoooo," the idiot insisted.

He rushed for the door, while Kalyna tried to stop him. Rushing after him Kalyna put a foot in front of Chayvago, tripping him, bringing him to his knees in a howl.

"Don't go there," she said to his face. "They will kill you."

Thie idiot rose from the floor and faced his mother. With an angry burble, he stood up suddenly and lashed out at her with a heavy, twisted hand, bringing the woman down.

"Go then," Kalyna cried from the floor. "All right. Go. Get yourself killed. I hope you get yourself killed. Go, you demon, curse of my life. Go. I hope you die."

Gefreiter Muller, high cheeked, fair and freckled, squatted behind a watertank, fingered his black mauser and cursed his luck. All the others, tired after the night's fighting, were allowed to sleeep in any quarters they found, providing they were in wire contact with HQ. But his lieutenant had ordered him to watch over this section of track, challenging anyone who approaced, shooting anyone who refused to halt.

Something big and hulking moved towards where the railway depot had been. An enormousman in a quilt coat. Now the figure bent over to pick up something.

Muller crouched down and yelled "Halt!"

The tall, bent man kept picking up bits of rocke, examining them against the sun. Now he straightened and began walking toward Muller.


Muller lifted his machine pistol and let go a slow burst that stiffened and toppled the approaching figure.

Afterwards, when Muller examined the body, he shook his head. "Stupid civilian. Why the hell didn't he stop?"

Back at his post, Muller fell asleep, tugging at his gritty eyes, while only the occasinal chatter of birds broke his watch.

............end Chapter Eleven THE BLACK ICON, a novel.


EA Monroe said...

You know, Ivan, The Black Icon should be a movie. Oh, yes.

You left a comment about writing sports for me over at Josie's hangout. I've typed plenty of basketball and football stats over the years (the sports media directors at Oklahoma State and OU called me the Media Guide Queen). Not to mention three years designing and laying out Pro World Rodeo. After rodeoing rubbed off on me, I wrote a "bareback bronc riding" scene into one of my alternate-reality wips.

Writing "sports" scenes are fun, especially the tavern brawls! There's nothing as exhilarating as choreographing a riproaring brawl.

Well, maybe other than writing love scenes!

ivan said...

My Lord, you do seem to have just about all the genre bases covered, you lucky little three-bagger you.
And real journalistic experience!

Not for nothing do you write so effectively.

The Black Icon a movie.
People have suggested it, but they also said it would be dark. Hm.

Josie said...

Do you guys have ESP or something? About an hour ago I was thinking The Black Icon should be a movie. Ohh, that's weird that we should all think that at the same time. I think it would be an amazing movie.

Go for it, Ivan. And at least it would not be from the perspective of the "American War Movie" i.e., Saving Private Ryan, etc. It would be from the point of view of the people who actually lived through it.

I think it would be an amazing movie.


ivan said...

Why thank you so much, Josie!
I wish I'd gone to Hollywood to flog my script when I had the big bucks.
Nowadays "broke and brilliant" just doesn't cut it. I am, at least broke. Hah.
Showing up in a Bavarian MotorWerken is so much more effective than showing up with a Greyhound ticket home.
Ah well. Maybe my kids will one day do something with The Black Icon.
I have had people from my ownbackground have a look at the book and more than one said it was "obviously a first novel."
The same from a noted Toronto critic here, though now that he has fallen a bit out of favour, he denies ever having read the book.
Go figure.

Yes, there is this sort of psychic bond here in our little triad. Every one seems to anticipate within three days what the two others are intuiting.
Maybe there is something to your blog on six degrees of separation.
...But all the times, ages, interests are so disparate.
There is in physics something called a quark. It is shot from the sun in clumps of three. Quarks are inseparable. Heh.

EA Monroe said...

We must be The Three Quarks! ;-)See there. Josie agrees. An amazing movie!

ivan said...

It is definitely an idea.
Two of the "quarks" say yes.

There is an old essay by David Reisman, about the inner-directed and the other - directed man.
Hah. Quark quorun says it will be a movie. I am probably other- directed.
Maybe it can be a movie.

ivan said...


After Liz's treatment of our mythical Mexico excursion it has just struck me that Liz could be the director and editor of footage.


For the past forty years, there has been an unofficial Fans of Black Icon club, which has included systems analysts, dentists, editors, writers--and even my poor estranged wife.
She will tell everybody that I am a horse's ass, but she did like the Black Icon.

So we set up a new chapter of The Fans of Black Icon Club and Josie will be the secretary, will keep minutes?
Or we could just set up a bistro called The Black Icon and serve cabbage rolls and pyrogies?
We can sell religious artifacts in the vestibules?
The possibilities are endless!

EA Monroe said...

You're on a roll, Ivan. Count me in! ;-)

I'm still recooping from our Mexican vacation! Maybe I will make cookies for a post later tomorrow night.

ivan said...

Hey, I like that.
Black Icon Bistro.
It ain't Tortilla Flats, but what the hell.

ivan said...

That should be Tortilla Flat.
Josie is the Steinbeck fan.
I only have passing knowldge, as Steinbeck was on my English course and I must confess I used Cole's cribs half the time.
I used Classics Comics for a lot of Dickens.
I forgot the philosopher we had to study for authenticity/non authenticity. Gabriel Marcel?
No worry, I dug Kierkegaard, Either/Or. Stay with the obsession, says Kierkegaard (who was always in the shadow of the logician Hegel).
Ever try to read Hegel? It's impossible.
Enough to make you a mad Dane.
Hamlet? Soren Kierkegaard?
Danish cookie monsters!

EA Monroe said...

I was here earlier but the computer room is grand central station. So I was going to say...

Hey, good morning, Ivan. We had a set of encyclopedias with condensed versions of the classics. Came in handy for writing my book report on Ivanhoe... had to take a brief intermission for all the interruptors coming through the door.

You should hear some of the 7am conversations this morning. Tom already asked what I was up to. I said, "Just laying low and staying out of trouble."

Josie said...

Hi Ivan and Liz, I love the idea of the Black Icon Bistro, run by the Three Quarks... (or the Three Kooks?)

I still think it would be an excellent movie, and someone out there in the ether should do something with it. Get in touch with Ivan.

And the movie will not have ANY American actors feigning foreign accents, thank you very much.


ivan said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha, Josie.

That is hilarious.

The Black Icon Bistro run by the three quarks, uh, kooks!
Thanks a lot for the entreaty to possible script publihers out there.
The Black Icond did have a pretty good run in its day when it was a novella. Well reviewed in Toronto and environs...I am half convinced that I got my teaching job because of The Black Icon.
But if they want to make a movie?

Oate de 'Ell!

I am French, I have always been French. I will turn gay--whatever they want.
You can't eat integrity, I say.

...I just thought French Canadian actors faking Ukie accents might just do the trick.
It's only French Canadians who are producing work of any quality these days anyway. We can steal their actors.
Black Icon shining forever!

--At least that's what they said when the class gave me a send-off after my final lecture. They really buttered me up, especially when three out of 12 got published while taking the course.
Oh to have the publishing connections that one used to have!

ivan said...

Good morning, Liz!
Trouble. Maybe you and I should hang around together.
Trouble seems to follow my encounters, even the most innocent encounters, the little guy with the cloud hanging over his head.
Oh how nice it was when one was younger. Fall into a barrel of
outhouse honey and come out smelling like a rose.
Well, some of it is still there.
They forgot what a duffer I'd been at finances and I somehow got some new credit card for Christmas.
Watch out, the fool is at it again!
Max out all three!
Merry Christmas to all out there.


EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan. Trouble? Hanging out with you and pestering Erik was what got me started down the road to perdition! heehee

Now, we're taking Josie along for the ride! I think I will stop in at the Black Icon Bistro for lunch today!

Josie said...

Ivan, I've sent you an e-mail, I hope you can open it.


ivan said...

Looking for it, Josie.

I was putting up a new blog, and that may have scotched it.


ivan said...

By all means, let's have lunch at the Black Icon Bistro.
They have Steppe dancers!

ivan said...

The email came through fine, but I couldn't access the attachment.
Can you send the pic another way?

I know how schmart you are, and I'm sure you'll find a way to get it to me.


Josie said...

Maybe I'll just send it to you by "snail mail". I really would like you to see it.


ivan said...

Liz says she can send her copy to me direct.
....This is getting too exciting.
I am taking a beer break.
...For the season. Heh.

ivan said...

I just got the pic.
Thanks, Liz and Josie!
Whee Oh!

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