256 Words

Dostoyevsky's Dead. He Can't Sue Me.
It's a Good Book Despite the Fact.

M. Stanley Bubien

The drunk began his tale.

"Drunkenness is no virtue, but destitution, my dear sir, destitution is certainly a vice."

And in his tale I too would experience this vice.

"My wife is a lady... I know myself that when she pulls my hair, she does so out of pity... We have three small children, and she works at them morning and night... but has a weak chest and tendency to consumption. And you know I feel this. Oh, don't I feel it? The more I drink the more I feel it."

I steeled myself.

"The daughter of my first marriage grew up meanwhile... As for my poor Sonia's upbringing, as you may well imagine, she had none... Do you think a poor but honorable girl can earn much by honest labor...? She will not... Sonia had to register as a prostitute..."

Against my will I wondered... Could it get any worse?

"And if the children should burst out weeping... Right away their mother starts to beat them... I look and see my Sonia... She puts on her cape and kerchief and leaves the apartment... She returned three hours later, walked straight up to my wife, and quietly put the money on the table... And Sonia hid her head and face and lay down on the bed with her face to the wall. And I lay there, just as I was... yes, sir, but I... I, sir, was lying there drunk."

I screamed and cast the book aside. Sometimes that Russian literature just gets too depressing.

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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June, 1996
Issue #3

256 Words