[IRINA imagines a prison cell. Her BROTHER, a charmer tries hard to scribble a letter. He has a hangover.]
My Dear Sister from America:
Know that the other day both our parents died in their sleep and I’m right now already across the border heading to the Canadian Consulate in Budapest to ask for visa for Canada since many people from home went to Canada. I have several high school pals now living in Montreal who admired me since I was the best in our class at algebra and often let them copy the answers to the midterm tests and finals; actually all of the tests. They gave me cigarettes in return, of course. I’ll be heading towards Canada, so I won’t be at the funeral, but I thought you should know what’s going on before our sister, the doctor, calls you.
[He stops writing.]
The lies she always tells concerning me!The other day she started to roll the so-called “Persian” rug from the guest room to take it to her new backwoods husband and I told her it was not hers, it was yours, but she said it wasn’t true and I was a drunk and she knew all I waited for was for our parents to die so that I can get it and sell it for nickels to my good-for-nothing drunk muggers. Sell it for a bottle of plum brandy, such an excellent rug! I don’t even drink plum brandy anymore, for that matter, and the rug was not hers! But she thinks she can do whatever she likes just because she got married again and is a doctor. I’m a highly educated chap myself, as you know, and though it took me ten years to graduate from the National Aircraft Design Institute, I did it in the end, though I wanted to drop out every so often. You know I hated it. What’s the point in designing airplanes, helicopters nowadays? What’s the deal? Work on a military base, an obscure one of course, where the captain didn’t even finish his primary school but got to be a captain because he had a healthy social origin and kissed the right communist party asses. And have all those buggers order me around? No, thanks. Or go to work for the Russians? No, thanks. It’s not that the money won’t be good, but the first time they wanted us to practice piloting and parachuting, I vomited my guts from fear and that was the end of my highly elevated career.
I will never forget how I saw those cabbage patches from up there, like skulls of all those former hopeful souls that were protecting the father land from the capitalist aggressors, and I had a vertigo and puked on my instructor who hollered at me Sunofabitch! Yellow faggot! You’ll never graduate from my course, you idiot! Daisy faggot!
I’m not a faggot! Half of our town young ladies can testify to it! I’m a stud! Anyway, I paid for the dry cleaning, and father brought him ten bottles of plum brandy. You know mother and father, pushing me to graduate, and nagging me to death, so I finished it, slowly… It was okay. I would have dropped it altogether but I liked night-life in the capital.
But you know all that, what’s the point of this recap? I just wanted you to know that while you’re there meeting famous people, I’m on my way too; and to give you the news about our poor mother and father. Such an unfortunate event! You should have seen how she fell on the rug, like a cotton-filled doll. Didn’t even squeak. I was amazed this was so easy! Well, at least now we don’t need to wait until they die to squabble over the house and garden. I can’t tell for sure, but I think our doctor-sister made them sign the will that she would inherit the house. Now I know for a fact, as well as I know my name, that mother don’t want to do that! She said this is the parents’ house, each of us should have a place to come home, each of us should have a room. But then our dear sister cornered her while I was hung-over after a one-week festivity and told her she was the one who would take care of her and father, obviously, not me, since I was a drunk, or you, who went to America to become rich and famous!
I have a splitting headache. I need a shot of plum brandy, but they don’t let me out of the detention center until they finish fingerprinting and interrogating. They say,--listen to them!--that they called home and my sister told them I killed our parents! I told them I did not, it was our sister who did it! Mother was on the rug, saying to her, You’ll have this rug only over my dead body! and the sister said Very well, then, and went to the kitchen, grabbed the rolling pin and hit her in the head, and poor old woman fell on the rug saying, Your American sister will take care of you two, scoundrels! She’ll take care! You’ll be punished by the appropriate authorities, and she gasped and died. Her nightgown with lavender flower pattern was rolled above her knees and her skin was alabaster white and smooth like a baby’s.
I immediately took off, let your sister roll the carpet and take our mom into the woods and bury her, or chop her with the axe and give her to the pigs, whatever, I’m out of here! The only thing that made me stay in that town was her. Not that I helped her a lot, but I just couldn’t get the courage to go away, so much she nagged me! I wanted to be a rock star, but she said I had the voice of a bullfrog. Drinking, I can drink, I can drink, I’m a king at drinking! When I drink I don’t need to answer foolish questions, I just drink and am happy. I get my booze whichever way I can. Lie to her, steal it from papa’s cellar, talk my pals into buying some for me, anything. The women, oh, they love to drink with me. Then, they want to reform me! But still they give me some money to cheer up so that I can jump their bones. Which I do. I do very well. I’m a king at it! I’m a stud!Anyway, this is crap! I just wanted you to know the truth about our parents.
Father died yesterday, too. None of my fault there either. He came home dead drunk and gave me a sermon about how a drunk pig like me should be ashamed and is a curse on his old days. I should go and work, he doesn’t need my help in the market. For all the help I give him, he loses money on the days I carry bananas for him in the market. I denied it, but it might be true. I always pinch a bit of money when I deliver the bananas and he is busy with the boxes and counting the fruit bunches and plastic bags and checking the invoice. I get some dough and whistle to the pub. What does he want? I’m a man! I know what I’m doing! And I don’t pinch that much!So he was pissing me off and I told him to shut up! Our dear mother was dead. I just hit her by accident with the rolling pin and she fell flat, bleeding on your rug, yelling at me I was a murderer! Me, who was protecting her from my sister who hit her with the rolling pin!
I told him Shut up, if you please! Shut up! He screaming like that in my brains! and he didn’t shut up, ‘cause he had to say how I was a miserable parasite and I could pee on my airplane diploma, I could fly on a broom to Canada, for as much as he cared and I told him to shut up! but he went on how at my age he had a family and kids and his own house and was well respected. Crap like that makes me see red! So I took that rolling pin and cracked his fucking bald head! He looks like an ostrich! Hope I won’t look like that. Didn’t take much, one fine melon bash! Hit him once more to get him on the floor and I let the fucking Madam doctor deal with the stained carpet.
I had to go. I told them I’d leave three nights before. Cross the green border to Hungary in the night with my buddies, then go by boat. Warned them. Mother was again bitching with the neighbor on the porch that Young people fall drunk on the street! It’s full of them. It’s a painful misfortune. He has weak will. The doctor said his liver is huge, he should stop drinking. I don’t think so. That day I get up. I tell her I’d not drink this time, but in an hour all was crappy so I go, tell the old woman I’m going somewhere to fetch something, meet some buddy on urgent business, but I go for a stinky shot at the Cherry Brandy Tavern and I decide it’s time to have some action: To Canada, my friends! I tell mom! The nasty sister says she’ll take the rug then! Everybody goes to Canada, goes to the USA, she’ll at least take the rug for herself. Feather her nest. We should just all go to Canada, let her take care of the old folks! Let her bury them and feed them when they’d be all slobbering, paralyzed around the house. Yeah, right! She can’t wait for them to die so that she can put her big butt in the house and kick me out.
I haven’t killed our parents.
Please, dear sister, expedite the visa for Canada for me, and help me get out of here. I’ll give you my share of parents’ house, or take care of your kid, teach him how to be a man! I’ll sleep in the kitchen if you don’t have much space there in the USA, and we’ll be one happy family again, until I find an Asian girl for myself, what do you think? I’m still good looking! I’m your little brother who loves you, though you don’t write home and don’t call as a good, nice daughter and sister should.
So if the detention authorities call you, tell them I’m an okay guy and didn’t murder our parents! Please vouch for me, and get me out of here so I can establish myself a grand future like you did.God help us all.
Well, here you have it: If you’d like to throw a bit of money my way to keep my endeavors going, and also enable me to spread the money to my various causes, witnessing democracy, freedom of speech and engineering social change thru art being one of them, I’d be grateful.
June 10th, 2013