Jul 31, 2010

Roman Grimiko: "I was never very good with money.."

It was about ten in the morning.

Roman Grimiko, sweaty and uncombed, waited for his son and daughter to arrive.

He prayed and talked to himself as he loosely scrambled eggs with some butter in a hot pan.

your mother and I will always be okay

For a second he considered making hash, but mindlessly ate the eggs while thinking of things to do with them.

Still he peered into the fridge:

Carrots. Milk. A bean soup from yesterday.

Cold, rare sliced beef.

A small cube of cheese floating unappealingly in its brine.

Mustard. Pickles.

An apricot nectar in a can.

It was all so beautiful.

Can you ever forgive me

Roman had lost his check book over four months ago.

He only realized it was missing this morning. He telephoned the bank (finally, at their repeated request) and wasn't actually certain until that moment which bank it was that he and his wife kept their life savings.

It was bad. Their money was gone. Close to a quarter of a million dollars.

That's close to a quarter of a million things they did and didn't do since 1963 in order to save that money.

Money that no one ever touched, except to pay the few bills they still had.

Roman's checkbook, covered in a cracked, dark red leather case, had always been in the middlemost desk drawer for as long as he could remember.

The checkbook had, in fact, been the only thing in that desk drawer, save for a pen, for well over forty years.

It was a bic pen.

A bic pen that had been obviously chewed on one end.

A bic pen that now rolled freely around the middlemost drawer, happy at last.

Roman remembered right then the pass-code written (for his convenience in his own longhand) on the flap of paper situated right above the checks themselves.

How he could see that checkbook now. So clearly in his mind. He could almost summon it back into the drawer, where it belonged:

back, back, back you go

It was late last winter that the Grimikos needed a new dryer. Of course, this requred a check.

Stan's Used Furniture & Appliances

Of course. It all made sense, now.

The bank had continually asked him to address his over drafts via hundreds of voicemail messages.

Messages he never checked. That is, until today.

Because Roman Grimiko never uses the telephone.

So now he waits. For his son and daughter to arrive.

They would be calm, he thought.

They would laugh. They would remedy this with their computers in five seconds and think he was silly.

Yes. It would be great!

Only, he had to tell them what had happened first.

And the thought paralyzed him.

lord, god, нет никакой возможности избежать реальность!

He poured some cold apricot nectar halfway into a glass, then added an equal amount of vodka. He noticed how the vodka rested on top of the nectar as though it were impermeable.

How, then, the vodka tore through the nectar in a slow, terrible way.

It reminded Roman of egg whites and blood. Of blood separating into several other liquids upon death.

He drank it down.

Right then, keys rattled in the kitchen door and Roman's eldest daughter, Nat, was suddenly in the kitchen sifting through a pile of mail.

A combination citrus and cigarette scent trailed around her. She was noisy even though she didn't say a word.

It was her gum popping; her many bracelets, her cell phone - her continuous clinking and trinkling. Her suntan without any sun; her laugh without any smile.

Roman noticed a huge gold ornament swinging on a narrow chain from her handbag. An ornament that certainly meant something.

Dad, it's so fricking hot in here. Can we please turn on the AC?

Hello, my darling. Is it hot?

Um. Yeah. It's gotta be 90 degrees in here.

I'm sorry, pumpkin (kiss on the forehead), you know mommy doesn't care too much about the heat. I'll close everything up. Do you want some tea?


Okay. I'll get the upstairs windows. Will you check the parlor?

Yeah, so, what's going on?


Why "must we talk" before mom gets home?

Let's wait for Alex, shall we?

Al 's at work. Didn't you get his message?




Did you bring it with you, your computer?

No. Why?

(and less than a minute later)

Daddy. What's going on?

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