What’s in a name?
Act One: Mark 10:9
by Stan Faryna
I began writing this story in response to Betsy Cross’ contest on her awesome genealogy blog. What I have written is too graphic for her to share with her blog audience. Betsy, mind you, is a wonderful friend, a fantastic fan, and a fellow blogger; I understand her decision.
However, that does not prevent me from sharing it with you on my blog. [grin]
Is this something I should continue with? Is it too graphic? Let me know in the comments.
The title comes from Shakespeare. Most of you will have guessed as much. Deadwood has had profound affect [sic] on my recent writing- as you can see.
Regarding my recent blog sabbatical, I apologize for the unannounced reprieve. I have been afflicted. Salmonella grieved me undiagnosed for several weeks. But also Castleville! [grin]
I am recovering my health with all haste and enthusiasm. And I miss you all very much.
It had been a good day. Henry Jarjabowski had cut enough wood for the coming winter. His wife and son would be warm. The belly of the stove would glow and smoke through the long, cold nights.
His work done for the day, Henry thought now about dinner. His stomach growled. Steaming beet borsht and fried potato pancakes with onions and dill. And fresh, heavy cream.
The sunset was spectacular. The sky was afire with an orange glow. Above, a murder of crows changed course, cascading left toward his home.
Was this a sign? Henry wondered.
Approaching the humble, one room cabin, Henry heard his wife cry out from inside. He moved like a scarf thrown in a gale, he flew to the door, and opened it with his left hand.
In his right, he held the axe with which he had been chopping firewood that afternoon.
The landlord had ripped open her white linen blouse and his mouth was sucking on her right breast. With one hand he had grasped her neck strongly and pinned her against the wall. She was gasping for air. His other hand was shoved down her dress – searching awkwardly to offend her chastity.
“You offend me!” she sobbed and then she spit on him.
Though she struggled to get free, the landlord was stronger. Tears streamed down her bitten, bleeding cheeks.
The gentleman was a brutal savage. As are gentlemen.
“Your resistance is the greater offense, hoont. Consider then that I’ve repaid thy offense,” he mumbled with his mouth full.
He took his mouth off her breast.
“And now to my interest…”
Henry leapt across the room, grabbed the landlord’s long, dark, curly hair, and brought him slamming down backwards on the earthen floor.
The foot of Henry’s dusty boot came down hard on the landlord’s face -breaking the man’s nose. Blood flowed and the landlord covered his face with his hands. His golden rings glimmered less like gold under the wash of blood.
Henry’s wife tied her torn blouse together to cover her breasts. Then she grabbed the knife with which she had been peeling the potatoes. She stuck it into the landlord’s raised knee and he howled in agony.
“I AM YOUR LORD AND MASTER, YOU DUMB SCHMUCK AND HOONT!
DO NO MORE INJURY OR YOU FORFEIT YOUR LIFE!”
John brought his boot down again on the man’s covered face. Teeth spilled out of the landlord’s mouth.
“Ai-ai-ai! I will pay you and the hoont for the OFFENSE! Miserable Shreks!”
The landord mumbled bitterly as he spat blood and a tooth.
“Your head will be off for your offense,” said the landlord to himself and under his breath.
Henry stepped back and lifted the axe above his head with both hands.
The landlord hastily pulled three gold rings off his bloodied left hand and offered them to Henry in the open palm of his right.
“I WILL PAY YOU IN GOLD! ALL YOU CAN CARRY ON YOUR PERSON! DO YOU HEAR ME, PEASANT!?”
There was a loud knock at the door.
“Altz iz gut,” sighed the landlord to himself and breathed deep in relief at the knock.
Henry brought the axe down.
The landlord’s head rolled free of his body. It rolled toward the table. The hand holding the gold rings fell to the floor. The gold rings rolled to Henry’s feet as if commanded by providence.
Henry’s eight year old son started crying loudly. Until now, the boy had been quietly preoccupied under the table. He had been playing with a silver pocket watch engraved with the maker’s mark: J: MC: Vacheron A GENEVE.
Henry’s wife kicked the landlord’s head aside and took their son into her arms.
Henry spoke softly in a hard voice.
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man offend.”
End of Act One
Read Act Two.
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19 December 2011
I am pleased to mention that I am a co-winner of J.M. Bell’s flash fiction contest. Click the linked text to read my sexy stuff.