2007 -- [sample] Unfinished Novel

Oh, it was so long ago...



Read PostAmeriKa if you want to understand what takes place in the Post-Soviet Russia.




2008 ? Что же ты об Америке по-русски не писал, когда надо было?
Personal Politics Liberty is always unfinished business. --anonymous


Second Death

Смерть Вторая
A guest-page from my American Site, which I am not working on anymore (bad on-line editor at Delphi). Most of the files are at American Book: War and follow the links. If you are visitor, go to my other websites, which are updated. Writing Guide at Sellassie WWW (African Book).

If you're after an easy reading, I will post the chapters from my unfinished novel "Russian Museum" (If I ever manage to get back to this project I don't want to publish it under my name "Anatoly"; no, I'll get some real writer's name, something like "Dostoevsky").

I don't know why I write, but I know why I paint. Every time I bitch about life I know that I'll miss it. My children, my wife, light, morning, darkness, smell, touch, pain, myself... It's hard to be an American, it's hard to be virtual... who doesn't want to be real?
I taught summer classes, i.e. I worked on Film 600

Russian Museum

[Chapters from novel]


October always was a bad month in Russian history, and October of 1993 was no exception. Time of coming Russian winter, time to die and revolt.

They saw the news on TV. Paratroopers, armed crowds, tanks. CNN. Attack on TV Center. Midnight at the City Hall. Shooting the Parliament. Driving through Moscow and Arbat snipers...
He and she saw it.

Boris knew both of them; Rogov and Wolf. There were two of them. The Russian in Boris was still alive. Very much so. Rogov made a deal with Wolf; they both were going to Russia.

Before they began shooting on Moscow streets as Victor predicted, Ivanoffs went to Russia. Because it was his time. To speel the blood.
Mishka Ivanoff was back, in Russia he was a king.
And he was dead. He didn't know about it. The only two souls on earth knew it -- Rogov and Wolf.


	Tata saw it for the second time in two nights.  She saw the
same dream twice already.  She thought about him and saw
pictures, scenes, like she was day-dreaming at night.  He was on
her, and she was covered with blood.  She cried and woke up.
	"What did you see?" he came to her bedroom.
	"Did I scream?"
	"Second time."
	"How come I do know you?  I saw you and myself.  Again."
	"Was it so bad?"
	"There was blood on me.  I didn't see much.  And you know, I
saw it already before I met you.  That's why I thought I saw you
before.  I saw you in my dream before I met you.  I can't stay in
dream.  I feel like I'm dying.  Do you know this feeling?"
	"Turn on the light?"
	"No, no, I don't want.  I'm fine now."
	"What's on your mind?"
	"I can't tell it."
	"Please, I have to know." 
	"I'll say something I shouldn't."
	"You can and should say anything you feel."
	""I want you to give away your business.  You did it because
you had nothing else.  Now you have your family.  You did it
before to come here.  You are here."
	"I don't know how to do it."

	"I thought you would angry with me saying this."
	"I don't know how I can leave it.  It's me."
	"I don't know too, I feel that now you can't do it anymore. 
You're different, and it should be different too..."

	Fascists were getting arms at the White House...

	"I see myself walking in Moscow.  With you.  Do you see
Russia in your dreams?"
	"I don't have dreams."

	Empty Parliament, smoke. Arrests.
	Halloween time in America.  In American Embassy -- Dracula,

	"I hate it.  I hate America."
	"I know this feeling.  It's not America, it's your pain from
Russia.  And you had a rough start here.  It's over now.  First
time you leave America, you have no idea how much you would miss
it and wish to be back.  Nobody leaves this country."
	"Like with Russia."
	"No, it's different."
	"Why don't you want to go back?  Nobody cares about your
past anymore.  And I hate to do it, but I can ask my father, he
still has his connections.  You know, the KGB.  He was a
	"You didn't tell me this."
	"I don't like to remember about it."

	"Don't you have your family photos?"
	"I don't have any.  Victor might."
	"Where were you born?"
	"In St.Petersburg.  I told you.  I'm from Leningrad.  Is
something the matter?"
	"Did you have your dacha at Fox's Nose?"
	"No, we had it at Repino.  Why?"
	"Nothing.  I have different memories of Leningrad."

	Divorce papers!  He went to his desk and opened the file
with her papers as if he needed to see her madden name with his
own eyes.  It was there -- the last name he remembered.  The
world went red, and he remembered nothing.  He got his dark hour.
	He woke up in her arms.

	He didn't know yet that in 1968 they had their dacha at
Fox's Nose.  And they moved to Repino when she was born.

	They were killing him from monday morning till friday
afternoon.  On weekends the prison guards were at home with their
families.  There was no real conflict between him and the guards. 
They would come to him and he would not rise.  At first they
didn't make a big deal out of it, they beat him up and left. 
When they came back he didn't rise again.  And this beating went
on and on.  There was no point in all of it, simply clash of
their wills and his will.  When he, in blood, couldn't get up, it
was understandable, and they would let him get better to try his
will again.  The whole prison watched when he would give up.  The
guards didn't want to kill him, they wanted to crash him.  It was
easy to break bones, they knew how to do it, it was much more
interesting to break somebody's spirit.  That was how Rogov got
his character.
	Boris was afraid that he will lose her.  He forgot this
feeling of being in fear.  In his world he feared nothing, more
so, he welcomed danger, he liked the challenge.  He was a
fighter.  With her he was lost, how do you fight for somebody's

	She never looked like her father.  And another thing, her
ears.  He knew her body better than she did.  This curve her ear
had.  They say our ears are like fingertips.  This curve with the
special turn at the top.  Rogov had the same curve, the same

	He didn't rape her mother.  Rogov came to kill the man who
made him a prisoner for twenty two years.  Rogov came to rape
her, who said that he did it.  Veronica recognized him.  She
remembered his first visit and what Andrey did to this man.  She
testified that this man raped her.  Andrey wanted her to say it,
Andrey wanted this man to be in jail.  Why did he come then?  She
knew why he came back now.  This time he came to kill Andrey. 
Her husband wasn't home.  She was alone.  He ran from prison and
he was sick.  He was in pain and he collapsed there, he was in
agony.  She held his big strong body in her hands till the peace
came to his heart.  She did it, she kissed him, she gave herself
to him.  That was the last time she saw him.  He left not to come
again.  It was over for him.  He didn't want Andrey to be dead
anymore.  He wanted nothing.  She even never leant his name.  The
man left.  And she was pregnant at 42.  For the first time.

	They went to the past.  Never to the future.  They didn't
know how.

	It was October.  A bad time for Russia.


	He noticed that they both had the same eyes, it was most
striking when they thought about each other.  Victor knew when
they were thinking about each other.  Once he looked at them on
the back seat and he saw a father and his daughter.  He
remembered that the thought was so strong, the picture was so

	"I know she can't love this man.  It must be something else
there.  I'll show you.  I got it in the hospital.  This is his
medical record, and this is her file."

	Victor put on his desk two files.  Garry looked at Victor,
he went through a lot of changes, he was different.

	"How did you get it?" asked Garry.

	"It was stolen.  I did it.  Doesn't matter.  Look, this is
her blood test, and here's his.  They have the sam,e type!  I
went through all the papers with a doctor, friend of mine.  I
didn't say anything why and who, but he said -- yes, they're
relatives, close relatives."
	"What do you say, Vic?"
	"They are related."
	"She is his daughter.  I have the facts.  When was she born,
where was he at that time?  Everything!"
	"You're crazy."
	"Wouldn't you be crazy?"
	"What do you want to prove?"
	"I did.  I know who he is."
	"And what do you want to do next?"
	"I don't know."
	Garry knew that it's better not to get into this and not to
argue with the guy.
	"You want to tell them?  To send them your files?"
	"I said I don't know.  Tell me what I should do?"
	"Nothing.  Forget the whole thing."
	"I can't."
	"Even if you are right and they are father and daughter,
what difference does it make now?"
	"They wouldn't stay together.  I know. The thought would eat
them alive."
	"Then go and tell them."
	"It can kill her."
	"So what do you want me to do?  Why did you tell me this
	"You tell me what to do in this situation."
	"How would I know?"
	"Oh God, you don't believe me!  Look at the records, at the
tests.  You tell her.  Because if I tell her, I won't have her
	"You won't have her back anyway.  And I don't want to get
into this story.  I don't understand it."
	"What don't you understand?  This is an incest."
	"A crime."
	"And you are a priest or what?"
	"Don't you see I am lost."
	"I see it.  Maybe there is a chance that you are wrong.  A
small chance?"
	"Yes, I could be wrong.  Prove it, you are the
	"You have no money to hire an investigator and I don't want
this case."
	"I'll lose my mind.  I know it.  Listen, you can let him
know about this and it will break his heart.  He'll kill himself. 
You're after him, you can get him this way."
	"Shut up!  You're coming here with your stupid stories
instead of information on criminals.  Did I tell you that you're
	"You did."
	"You are!  You're nuts!  Get out of my face!"

	Victor was silent for a moment, he took back his files.

	"Don't you understand that it means something?" he said.
	"What does it mean?"
	"I'm afraid to tell you. You'll think I lost my mind."
	"You did.  What else?  What else do you have in your twisted
	"I think that what happened to them is the reason why Russia
is dying."
	"That's it!"
	"I knew you'll think I am crazy.  I knew you wouldn't
listen.  I knew it's too much for you."
	"Victor, where are you getting all those ideas?"
	"I think, I observe, I analyze."
	"I see.  Because of them Russia is in trouble."
	"I knew you'll understand me."
	"And everything what's going on in Russia happened because
of those two?"
	Victor looked at Garry and got a new cigarette.
	"I understand that it's difficult even for you to
comprehend, but I can explain.  It's not fantasies, I know who
she is, and now I know who he is."
	"Who is she?"
	"Don't get mad, Garry."
	"I won't."
	"You promise me?"
	"I promise."
	"She is Russia.  She is the soul of Russia."

	Garry didn't say anything.  He was thinking.  He was looking
at Victor and thinking that the guy took this too far.

	"You're not mad at me?"
	"Do you believe me?"
	"If you think so, let it be this way.  Let her be the soul
of Russia.  Fine with me."
	"I can demonstrate my point, Garry.  It's not a theory."
	"You can't be serious, Victor?  I know that you write, and
this is quite a story you came with.  But how do you plane to
demonstrate, God save your soul, the devil only knows."
	"There'll be war in Russia."
	"We all know that."
	"In October there will be a fight in Moscow.  I can give you
the dates.  October the first."
	"How do you know?"
	"I don't, they do.  She and him.  I see them all the time. 
I can see what's going on."
	"What's going on?  What's going on besides you being in love
with her?  Listen, you should get out of this.  I didn't realize
that with your constitution this could be too much for you.  Why
don't you ask him to let you do some other work.  You shouldn't
be around them.  You'll blow your cover."
	"I can't stop it now.  It's in them, Russia's life is in
	Garry looked at his eyes, he was serious and his eyes were
sad, not mad.
	"I'm listening," Garry said. "I'm here.  Relax.  Get a
	"I have nobody to talk about it."
	"All right.  You tell me, tell me what you think."
	"His or her thoughts, their moods, they are responsible for
what's happening in Russia.  I can see it in them, I see it --
and next morning it's in the papers and on TV.  That's why they
are together.  Father and daughter."
	"Do they know it?"
	"No.  They don't.  She is sick now."
	"She is pregnant."
	"How do you know?"
	"Just a guess."
	"That's what I meant.  The blood in Russia."
	"In Moscow?"
	"It's not only her.  It's him.  He has it.  The dark eye. 
He can make you sick.  He wishes no good to Russia now.  Because
of her.  You'll see, there'll be blood on the streets.  Meet with
him, Garry, you'll understand what I mean."

	Garry changed his mind about Victor, he wasn't a Soviet, he
wasn't like all of them.

	"I will," Garry said. "I want you to leave the city for a
few days.  I'll send you on a business trip.  Could you take a
few days off?"
	"They don't need me.  They even do not notice that I exist. 
Do you know what they do?  They hold each other and don't move. 
Without a word.  For hours.  As if they are dead."
	"What else?"
	"They fly."
	"They disappear and fly.  It gets dark at such moments, hard
to see."
	"And they don't know about it too?"
	"They don't."
	"Vic, you go tomorrow morning to Virginia with Larry.  We
have one case in Virginia.  Don't tell him anything you told me."
	"I won't.  Larry wouldn't understand it."
	"Good.  Don't tell anybody.  And I promise I'll think
something while you're in Virginia.  I'll see him."
	"Maybe you're right.  Maybe they shouldn't be told."
	"Right.  Not now.  Not at this point."

	Garry let Victor stay at his place.  Victor got himself on
the sofa and was looking at Garry from the corner.  Garry knew
that the guy was right.  Not in the same words, but there was
something between those two.

	"I won't talk about this anymore," said Victor when he came
back from Virginia.  "Remember, the conversation we had before? 
I want you to forget about it.  I wasn't well.  Even Larry said
it, and he's crazy himself.  I made everything up.  It's my
imagination, nothing else.  Could I have my files back?"
	Vic wasn't looking at Garry.
	Garry didn't tell him that he had been listening to tapes of
the phone conversations between Rogov and Tatyana and there were
some strange sounds on the back ground.  Garry studied their
photos and there were some shadows he didn't understand.  Garry
gave the files back to Victor.  He made the copies for himself. 
Blood tests and other descriptions.
	"I'll burn them," said Victor. "I'll burn the files."
	"Right," said Garry. "Do it."

	The phone rang.  Garry knew who it was.
	Garry cursed the day when he introduced those two to each
other.  At first it seamed to be a neat idea.  The
taxist-philosopher was collecting Soviet jokes.  He wanted to
publish several scholastic books on this subject.  Before they
will be gone.  And somebody, him, has to save this treasure, the
Soviet folklore.  And the Soviet Museum must be established.  If
not in Russia, at least in New York.  Perfect nut case for Larry
Silvester.  Garry thought that Larry would get off his back with
his Russian jokes.
	It was a mistake.
	"Listen.  Question: 'Is it true that under Communism, you
could order food by phone?'"
	"Look, partner, I beat you are using our mobile phone,
buddy.  We pay a dollar a minute, remember the bill?"
     "It's a phone joke, Garry!  And the answer?  The answer:
'Absolutely, but you would be receiving it by television set.' 
Don't hung up on me!  Did you like it?"
	"Where did you get it?  Oh, let me guess!"
	"Garry, the man is a walking encyclopedia!  I'll call you
back, Garry.  Bye!"
	But Larry hang up already.  And there was another call.
	"Silvester and Zuker," Garry answered the phone.
     "Final examination at the medical institute..."
	"Larry, you just called!"
	"Relax, I'm calling from the public phone.  You're happy,
cheap Russian?  Now, Professor asks the student:  "There are two
skeletons in front of you.  What can you say about them?"  The
student is puzzled.  Professor:  "Well, tell me who they belong
to."  Student:  "I don't know."  Professor: "Jesus Christ!  What
did they teach you all the six years?"  Student:  "No!  I can't
believe it!  This is Marx and Angels?!"
	"That's what he said 'Jesus Christ'?"
	"A Soviet professor said 'Jesus Christ'?"
	"Well, I don't know.  Maybe he said 'Oh God!'"
	"A Soviet?"
	"I have to make his jokes more American like.  Understand? 
Maybe he said something in Russian, I don't know.  In English
'Jesus Christ' or 'Christ!' sounds right."
	"And that is why you are calling me?"
	"Picky, picky, picky!  Are you Russian or Jewish, Garry?"
	"I'm in the office, Mr. Silvester!  Working?  You know,
doing our work?"
	"Do you want to hear another joke about skeletons?"
	"Do the two of you have already a special section of Russian
skeleton jokes?"
	"I'm telling you, the man is full of knowledge.  Tell me
--What is a skeleton?"
	"I don't know."
	"It's a Soviet man who gave everything to the Party."
	Larry was laughing on the other side of the line.
	"Where are you now?" asked Garry.
	"A Soviet man who gave everything to the Party!" said Larry. 
"Too bad communism collapsed.  Where will I get such new quality
	"Did you do what I asked you?"
	"Relax, captain.  It's done."
	"Did you see them?"
	"Everything is under control.  I'll brief you when I'll be
in the office." 
	"When will that be?"
	"When I'll get to New York."
	"What?  You're not in the city?"
	"I'm in a city.  Jersey City."
	"And this is a long distance call?"
	"Listen, another short one.  Conversation on the eve of
JFK's death..."
	"I have to hung up on you, Larry." 
	"Wait!  One Russian to another: 'Did you hear?  They killed
their president!'"
	"Bye, Larry!"
	"The Second reacts: 'God dammit!  Those Americans beat us
	"Tomorrow you go to Virginia and you take Vic with you. 
	Garry hung up the phone.
	It was late evening.  On Friday.

	There was another call, from the philosopher, for Larry.
	"Yes, this is Garry," said Garry. "Could I take a message?"
	"Yes, write it down."
	"Yes, I'm ready."
	"Question: 'Is it really possible to build Communism?' Did
you write it?"
	"Yes," said Garry. "And what is the answer?"
	"You don't know?  The answer is 'Yes, it's possible to
build, but impossible to live under.'  Make a note -- this is a
joke number '35 B'."
	"35 B?  "B" as in Bob?  How urgent is this message?"
	"He asked me to call right away with jokes on communism.  I
could fax it to you, what is your fax number?"
	"No, thank you.  Mr. Silvester will get your message today."
	"Thanks, Garry.  I'll be calling."
	"Listen," said Garry. "What's your name?"
	"What do you mean?"
	"I've known you for a while and I don't know your name.  You
have a name, don't you?"
	"I don't like it.  Do you like your new name?"
	"It's okey.  Better this way.  Garry Zuker -- it's not
really me.  Just a name."
	"I thought about it, but I could not make up my mind.  I
can't call myself Plato or Aristotle."
	"Why not?"
	"Too pretentious."
	"No, they will think you are from Greece."
	"I don't want it."
	"Take care."
	He hung up and Garry noticed that he liked the man.  He was
ridiculous.  He had his own world.  Too bad he can't call himself
Diogenes, the one who lived in a barrel and walked with a lamp
during the day.  He was searching for answers.  Don't we all?


	...Regret is the fruit of pity.  Don't pity and you won't
regret.  If you don't understand it, you didn't live yet.  Rogov
lived.  He had his long life in Russia.  Wolf had his life in
America.  He didn't want to go back.  She needed it.  She was
talking in her sleep.  And he watched her like he would watched a
	Sometimes she called him 'Wolf', sometimes 'Rogov',
sometimes 'Boris'.  And never 'Bob'.

	They called it 'epileptic seizure'.  He had it since he
remembered himself.  But he didn't remember himself when he
happen to have those incidents.  He remembered nothing.  The red
wall would cover everything and he saw nothing.  He remembered
that he doesn't remember what was with him during those moments. 
He would come back different.  He was grievously changed in
physical appearance for a while.  His once-bright eyes were
glazed and dull.  He had to recall everything.  The world would
come back little by little, piece by piece.

	They put him to a prolonged death; they broke his bones one
by one, then quartered him alive.  During his ordeal he made no
outcry and he refused to acknowledge that he was guilty of any
crime.  Stubborn endurance is admired by all Russians.  Including
Rogov-Wolf.  That is how Razin ended his life on the Red Square.

	Rogov didn't immigrate, he crossed the border.  First, the
Soviet, after that the Finish border, and from Sweden he came to
the States with Polish passport as an immigrant.  He spoke some
	According to his official papers he was Stanislav Wolf from
Lodzi, a truck driver.  Rogov knew how to operate a truck.  He
became Wolf.  He was a wolf all his life.
	He had been crossing the state border many times before. 
This time he was on different business, he was leaving Russia. 
He was leaving Russia for good.

	Sometimes he would stare for hours at nothing.  Just
spacing.  You can call him, ask him -- he's not here, God knows,
where he is at such moments.
	They have to hold each other because she would go into a
frenzy, hitting herself, throwing her body against the walls,
screaming -- so much pain was in her.  She never knew how much. 
It came out of her only now when she discovered that she could
allow herself to feel herself.  Because it happen to him as well, 
It was epilepsy but anguish.  Pain collected for so long, for
years.  She was crying for hours, for days.
	Nobody but she only could help him.  Nobody even knew about
his madness.  Possessed.  White foam in his mouth.
	Alex knew about it.  Venya knew and two of them would hold
Wolf during his rage.  He saw dreams but they were so horrible
that his brain refused top remember what he saw.  In one of such
moment he broke the glass wall in his country house, he ran
through the wall to the dark forest down the hill.
	She would hold his body on the floor, feeling with her body
the agony and the waves of madness in his big body.  She knew
that if she would get weak he would kill himself without
remembering it.  Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great had such
attacks of madness.  It was Russia struggling in him with
	Such moments would come when they were most happy.  And
nothing was there to warn them.  Sometime in their sleep.  Their
sleep was deep as they were dead.  And then It would come.  And
he and she would see and hear nothing, only the voices of
millions dead souls.

	Tata was singing the old Russian song.  Very old.  Men's
song.  And sang it alone, she sang it slow.  The song about a
Russian man.  Or the Russia man -- Stenyka Razin.  Every Russian
knows this song, because it's very Russian song.  About the head
of the river gang, the head of cossacks, Stephen Razin, who
having captured a beautiful Persian girl and spent only one night
with her.  She was a princess too.  Beautiful, young and royal. 
And they are aboard of his hand-painted leading ship.  But he
hears his men murmuring that he is becoming soft.  And she is
next to him.  And here is where the Russian chivalry takes place. 
And only a Russian understands it.  And only in Russia.  Men and
women, they understand it.  "In a fellowship of free men, never
shall a quarrel rise.  Volga, Volga, Mother Volga, take the
beauty as your prize," he says - and with that he throws the girl
into the river to drown.  Razin, the man, throws the princess,
not even glancing backward.  And he suffers.  And all Russians
understand it.  Never mind the girl.
	And she was that girl, young and beautiful.  And she
understood the song.  She sang it with a push and with a light
smile.  Because what kind of man was he, Razin?  A boy.  And
Russian woman knows it about Russian man.  Tatyana was Russian.
She was born and raised in Russia.
	Rogov saw her smile and Wolf understood this smile.
	She was asleep.

In her dream she saw that she gave birth to a monster, an idiot. Not a boy or a girl, but something impossible to describe... She woke up, sweating and screaming.

"We're going to Russia," he said. "Sleep."

* antohin