By Veronica Foy

In Russian: “Swine, tart, _____!, Blood of Satan”

Russian GirlThe bald headed Russian and his pretty girlfriend, Olya, must have quarrelled. Here he comes, his face as red as a fire engine, his stomach bulging through his Hawaiian flowered shirt, sweating and puffing down the path. He is muttering under his breath and doesn’t look up or say ‘hello.’ It’s easy to see he’s swearing, even if you don’t speak Russian.

Olya remained at the table drinking lassi in the busy outdoor breakfast area of Goa’s posh Taj Hotel on the southern coast.. She is trying to look unperturbed by the scene that Yuri had created, ending in his departure in an angry huff. She salted her watermelon with long fingers ending in tapered nails dusted with pink sequins. Her full red lips broke into a brief smile. What did she care? Her pink pearl drop ear rings jingled as she sawed at the pineapple and papaya with the knife in her left hand.

Olya knew she was being admired by the other male guests. They were thinking how lucky Yuri was. They envied him for having a sexy companion with long legs, slender waist, and flaxen hair…not to mention her ample bosom. ‘A statuesque beauty,’ is what the American writer at the next table was thinking to himself. He caught her eye and pointing to the book he was reading, with a silly grin, said, “Chekhov!”

Olya looked confused. She smiled weakly and looked away quickly.

Olya knew that behind her back eyebrows were being raised. One weathered woman in shorts from Birmingham gestured toward Olya, whispering to her travelling mates, “Russian.”   Two of the women in her Monarch Tour group turned and looked around at Olya. They nodded disapprovingly. Their husbands acted like they hadn’t heard. “What?” one husband asked innocently, as if he hadn’t noticed Olya.

Olya and Yuri were the classic older, fat Russian and showgirl blond.

Even the crows knew what is going on. A crow sitting on the back of a near-by chair cried out impolitely, “Caw, Caw!” Then he swooped and picked up a slice of bacon Yuri had left on his plate. Olya laughed.  That crow will find out soon enough that the bacon was disgusting

Yuri couldn’t get it through his thick head that Goans didn’t eat bacon and eggs for breakfast. Of course, it wouldn’t taste good. It disgusted her to think of the pigs she saw eating rubbish and worse! Why not stick to fruit and yogurt, or the delicious marsala omelette one of the chefs was making? Be sensible. No, Yuri ordered scrambled eggs and grilled bacon every morning. Every morning he complained that the eggs didn’t tast like eggs and the bacon tasted sour. Still he ate most of what he was served.

Olya rose and sauntered through the canopied veranda where a fleet of waiters were serving every conceivable variety of breakfast…Goan, Mediterranean, or full English. She took the long, scenic route through the tables to show she was unruffled by the wave of disapproval which circulated in the breeze from the ceiling fan.

“Families come here with children. It’s disgusting to see these Russians with their tarts!”

Amul and the other Goan waiters smiled. They had seen it all before, many times. Super rich Russians flocked to these expensive resorts to show off their ‘trophies,’ who were long-legged and young. They left their yachts in an Arabian Sea port and came to the hotel for beach life. “They aren’t nice people,” was Amul’s usual refrain. Russians had been known to push the waiters around. They certainly didn’t have good manners. You would think they would be big tippers, but they weren’t. Au contraire, they’ve very mean.

Still Olya was an unusual specimen, and her theatrics lightened the mood in the open air area also filled with tourists on cheap package holidays. She was a favourite with Amul and the other waiters.

“Too bad Yuri refuses to drink lassi,” thought Olya as she meandered through the palms and oleanders back to their bungalow. It would settle his stomach and calm down his temper. She laughed, muttering “swine.” Shaking off her thoughts, she turned to more pleasant topics, like painting her toenails and sipping the champagne she would order when she got to her plunge pool. She would get slightly mellow. She could put up with Yuri that way. She would order proper expensive champagne, not the lukewarm Cava they serve in the breakfast area.

A noisy racket of birdsong and twittering greeted her as she walked down the path. It came from a palm that stood like a tall dark native with kis arms akimbo, defiant in the wind. If only Yuri looked like that, tall and thin and wavy hair. Olya’s skinny stilettos clicked and clacked on the path, scaring the serpents into the foliage. An orange feral cat that looked like a tiny lynx stopped in its tracks and perched for a moment on three legs, eyeing her nervously. Olya’s stilettos made that noise he hated. Her shocking pink toenails glistened like semi-precious stones scattered on the stone path. “Wow, look at those toes,” said a pale salesman from Norwich, nudging his wife as they walked past.

This morning over his breakfast of soggy eggs and sour tasting bacon Yuri had exploded. This was just after Olya had handed him an editorial in the local paper, The Navhind Times, ‘Ill Gotten Money.’ She agreed with the Goan editor, “There is a new class of people for whom money is God. The word ‘corruption’ has lost its’ meaning. They drive their companies and countries into the red, bankrupt economies and institutions. These people continue to enjoy excessive wealth, and even get a bonus!”

“Ungrateful whore!” (in Russian)Yuri had hissed into his breakfast Cava, handing her back the newspaper. His face was purple, no puce. The other guests were staring at them. Olya had laughed contemptuously. Then she put her hand over her mouth, stifling a yawn. Poor Yuri, he couldn’t take a joke. Yuri had looked like a kettle rattling and about to start steaming.

Olya waved her arms shooing away a flock of buzzards in the palms above the plunge pool. “Who cares!” she shouted as the buzzards panicked and flew off. Their wings sounded like shutters slamming shut as they took flight. Olya, like most Russians, worried about death, eternity and God. She didn’t worry about Yuri. A gypsy had told her that a fat, older man would be her destiny. “A fat slob,” was how the gypsy described him, laughing and winking at Olya. “But very rich.”

She dove into the pool. She had Yuri wrapped around her bright pink little toes. She ducked down into the cold water and swam away from these annoying thoughts. A bottle of Crystal sat cooling in an ice bucket. After all it was her holiday. That was the point. Life with Yuri was a holiday. Her destiny was to be on a permanent holiday.

On a happier note Olay wondered if the crow had died from eating Yuri’s bacon.






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