never came across my mug
    in no hard copy's back cover?
  neither did I, yet – relax!
this here autograph tells more
         than a pic no one cares for...

The Ficuses in the Open

:from the personal
a graphomanic


head header

December 29

No gas, no electricity... Once upon a time in my heady youth, I was ardently revealing to what-was-his-name that no life is possible without playing the guitar three evenings a week at the dance-floor. However, in my later curriculum vitae, I did manage to survive without so an indispensable necessity sometimes for years at a stretch. How long can one last out without gas and electricity?

Missile attacks and artillery shelling raged all the day. Random shell bursts are most unnerving. Scattered glass splinters spread the sidewalks; walls of the buildings cracked open with meter-wide holes. Axes sound all over the town. People fell trees in the streets to get fuel for their tin woodburners.

From the morning and till four pm, I shoveled clay planing the Site's layout. When I came back, the mother-in-law was baking breads on a round sheet of iron put over the open fire in the yard.

Sahtik and the kids spent all the day in the Underground. It's dark and dusty down there. Galloping rats. Smoking lamps.

Perversely, I felt some kind of smug satisfaction out of the thought that our kids had seen not only all that but also the glimmer of a Christmas Tree lights.

The mother-in-law trusted me with the delivery of hot bread to Carina and Orliana. I ran the errand willingly and gladly. Desolate streets. Din of bursts. A cloth placard 'All to vote!' wired over the street trembling in the sharp wind. The gaudy slippers in the much too wide Department Store windows looked ridiculously defenseless.

Sashic responded to the delivered bread by sending over a baton of sausage and a jar of bland.

On my way back, I caught up with Valeric, a worker from the pipeline construction firm. Stately strutted we uphill together, talking of things through the peals of thundering cannonade. He narrated how the day before yesterday a couple of local cops were beating inside their windowless mini-bus two Azeri prisoners of war bleeding with wounds, freshly captured by phedayees PHEDAYEE —
     (Armenian borrowing from Greek) "freedom fighter".
in Krkjan.

'Well,' commented I, 'the policemen don't take part in combat actions, but they also hanker to be heroes.'

He also related of six Armenian youths killed yesterday by a shell exploding in a house next to his.

Entering our yard, I saw my mother-in-law helping Mrs. Nvard, the paper's queen in disguise, to bake her breads on the mother-in-law's sheet of iron. The world is a small place indeed—their compartments in the Underground are opposite to each other.

Slavic the Moscovite was inside our one-but-spacious-room flat waiting for me. He started to complain of his unhappy family life and begged vodka.

Instead of spirits he got a piece of reasoning that I had no desire to become an accomplice in killing him. Under the circumstances you have to keep your eye both peeled and off booze. I really didn't want him to walk into a bullet or a suchlike impediment. So I wouldn't put his dear life at risk by helping him get drunk. Then, I saw him out of the yard.

After yoga, supper and bringing water, I visited the Underground. Ahshaut and my mother-in-law were asleep. Roozahna rabbiting on from the bed. Sahtik complained of aching feet.

It's eleven-to-ten pm. Fog reinforced darkness outdoors.

P.S.: About a minute ago cracks of shooting started up in the street. I went out. It was a nearby house on fire. Now I know that the roof-slates breaking up in flames produce shot-like cracks.

Let's call it a day.

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