What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Act One: Mark 10:9

by Stan Faryna

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.

Act One

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.



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.


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.


If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.

If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,””Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.

Stan Faryna
19 December 2011
Bucharest, Romania


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.


11 Responses to What’s in a name?

  1. I though this post was most awesome. Just the right amount of violence! I’d really like to read more.


    • Stan Faryna says:

      Thank you Darlene. Wanted for murder, Henry must leave his family and he flees Poland. Where the next act takes him, I too wait to see.

  2. Stan!

    Whoa. (more please… where is he, right now?)

    miss you.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Big hug to you, Amber-Lee!

      Henry, I believe, was in late 18th Century Poland. Krakow, perhaps but I am not certain. The stories told to me in childhood are fuzzy on those details.

  3. Wow, Stan, what a powerful story. Sex, violence and honor all wrapped into one. I loved the contrast between the husband returning home, after working hard all day to provide for his family’s basic needs, and the discovery of the violent act being committed against his wife.

    The cliff-hanger of the boy holding the pocket watch is intriguing as well and makes the reader quite curious about the next act.

    Speculation. Did the boy steal the pocket watch from the Landlord and that incited the violence? If so, the Landlord could become a sympathetic character if the violence were not of a sexual nature.

    Perhaps the pocket watch was the husband’s prized possession (your subtle clue about its worth was very clever) and the Landlord was trying to take it in lieu of rent payment? The boy was trying to protect it? This MacGuffin could drive the story.

    Could the husband have been questioning the wife’s fidelity, even for a second? If the sexual encounter weren’t immediately identifiable as violent, that might lead to a different type of intrigue.

    In a very short time you have crafted intense and believable characters. We know what kind of man the husband is, we know that the wife is a fighter. We know the boy is scared, but we aren’t sure about why he has the pocket watch. We think of the Landlord as a violent thug but will we be surprised by a later plot twist? Why does he say, “All is good.” at the end? Who was at the door?

    You have also woven the setting beautifully into the prose, letting us know that it’s rural, perhaps olden days, and not an English speaking country. I’m not a fan of long, descriptive paragraphs introducing the scene and you jumped right into the action without sacrificing setting. Well done.

    Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us!

    I’m sorry to hear about the Salmonella! That can be a violently disruptive illness and I know you must have been suffering tremendously. I hope you are on the mend now. Way to go, channeling your suffering into this work.

    As far as Castleville goes, I’m a recovering Farmville addict, so I get it. I’m just glad you posted again on your blog. We Faryna addicts needed our fix too!

  4. Whoa, where did my original reply go? Did you can it?

  5. […] This is a continuation of the story that I had originally written for Betsy Cross’ genealogy writing contest. Click the linked text to read Act One of What’s in a name? […]

  6. […] Elizabeth Cross Betsy is mostly interested in genealogy and family history, but she’s a prolific commenter of blogs too. Also, Betsy inspired me to try my hand at genealogy-related fiction, What’s in a Name? […]

Speak from your heart!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: