I Am Rusty Zeprodalovitz


The American president returned to his tropical shores today, leaving those of us in Murmansk to scavenge for beets in our filthy underpants. Did he take this one great opportunity to lay his fist on scoundrel Putin's brow? One must assume that he did not, since the evening found him standing with the cursed one himself, smiling like a dingo with a meatbone in his mouth.

The Bush said great devil Putin had declared his absolute support for democracy in Russia. Bah. What does democracy mean to a man with no shoes? No, that is not me, but there are many souls in our village who are reduced to such a meager life. I am more fortunate than most, possessing both shoes and socks. My hut has windows and a door, and I am owner of an empty Coke machine, which the state awarded me when a high Moscow official drove his truck into my spine.

What about the first paragraph? No, the beets are not in our filthy underpants. That is what we wear when we scour the frozen tundra in search of them. Do not blame Rusty Zeprodalovitz for your lack of skill in reading. Bah. Even though we are poor, we are entrenched deeply in the art of literature, most unlike the 'civilized' west where the average man struggles to comprehend a book of comics. Our lives are the very stuff of literature, of this there must be little doubt.

Radio Murmansk announced today's weather and radiation forecast. The sun shines brightly and the temperature has already risen to four, but alas, the Geiger count is high, so I must don the lead boots once again. They torture so my stubby feet, but as you are aware, the salt mine never sleeps.

My daughter Donia does not know yet the meanness of the world, even though she radiates with orange light. For her I sacrifice my all. Tonight she'll have a cup of broth! Let her enjoy these carefree days, for age will bring her sorrow plenty. There is much truth in the proverb of the peasants - 'The boys don't like the girls who glow'.


2005, Mark Hoback