“Dicks” by Zarina Zabrisky, read by Angus Gallagher


Performed at “Shadow & Substance” on February 25, 2019.

Sergey woke up one morning without his dick. He remembered reading a story about something like this in school—it was by Gogol—and in the story, a guy’s nose ran away. But this was not his nose. This was his dick. What did this make him, thought Sergey, a woman?
He jumped up, put on his Adidas tracksuit—green as an alligator!—thought a little, changed it for his best glittery jacket the color of overripe raspberry, with big Armani logo embroiled on his chest in golden letters and ran down the stairs to start his car.
Sergey was a bandit. It was 1991. Bandits in Leningrad in the 90s wore jackets like this, carried guns in the pockets and drove Russian-made cars the color of overripe raspberry. It was cool.
It was winter, it was cold, and the dick was not anywhere to be seen. There was, however, a beautiful young woman in a short red skirt and high heel boots. She had long legs and her blonde hair was flowing in the wind. Sergey stopped and waved to her. He always gave rides to girls like that and most of the times got lucky with them one way or another. This girl, however, was crying. Plus, Sergey remembered that he did not have a dick. “Fuck,” thought Sergey, “why did I pick her up?” But he did not like crying girls so he asked, “What’s wrong, little sister?”
“Little sister” meant that he did not intend to rape her right there and then. In general, in Leningrad, in the 90s, the bandits used words like this. For instance, they called each other “brothers.” Everyone else called them “little brothers” although they certainly were anything but little. They all did martial arts and they were big. I mean, really big. Big guys in alligator green tracksuits and bruised raspberry jackets and cars, they drove all around town and took money from people who sold apples, pickled herring, jeans made in China and coffins. Although in fairness, there were very few apples and herrings or any food at the time—everything was rationed—but plenty of jeans made in China and coffins. Lots of coffins. At the rate the “little brothers” killed each other, they needed coffins more than apples. But anyway, the girl said that her name was Anya, that she wanted to go to America and that something gross and horrible just happened to her. Then, Anya told him a story that made him stop the car and stare at her.
Turned out that about two hours before that Anya flagged a gypsy cab to go to work. It was a black Volga, a government car with a government number plate. It drove her to a military factory she worked at but on the way, the driver in a bruised plum suit turned out to be a dick. And not in the way you think, said Anya. He literally turned into a giant dick the size of a man.
“Remember Gogol? Like that,” said Anya.
“Fuck,” said Sergey. “Where did he go? I must find him! Now.”
“He went to Olgino,” said Anya.
Sergey dropped her by her house and said, “Good luck in America, little sister.”

Then he drove through to Olgino—didn’t find the dick. He drove all around Leningrad—didn’t find the dick. He asked all his little brothers about the black Volga with the government numbers and a dick in a plum suit, and everyone said there were too many of them and could he be more specific, but then he found out that the dick worked in the Mayor’s office, supervised the casinos there and some coffin businesses, too. Sergey drove to the Mayor’s office, and–lo and behold!–saw the dick running up the stairs—but it was too late.
One of the little brothers in a canary yellow track suit walked to Sergey, put a plastic bag over his head, pushed him into the car the color of overripe plum, and pulled on the strings. He buried Sergey in a forest, in Olgino.
Sergey’s dick moved to Moscow, to the Kremlin, and became the president of Russia. Anya also did well. She did move to America, studied law in Berkeley and worked at a brothel in Fruitville to pay bills. She said it all was good but she had nightmares and the shadows of little brothers and big dicks haunted her. Not just that. A giant dark bloody thundercloud in a shape of the Kremlin always hung somewhere in the back of her mind, eating her inside out, she said. Bringing trouble. Bringing plague. I told her to go to therapy and try to be more optimistic. I told her there is too much darkness in a Russian soul. She said I was right and she would try and work on it because life was beautiful no matter what and there were whales, sea lions and dolphins in the ocean and a lot to live for.
Then, they threw Anya off the bridge. She knew too much. A week before that happened she told me this story and said that someone came and trashed her door and sent her scary texts messages. She said, “This bloody shadow is getting close, every day. They are everywhere, and I don’t know if it is in my head or for real. I don’t know what’s real anymore,” she said.

Now I am afraid they will kill me because they always kill people who know too much but before I go I want you to know this: the president of Russia is a dick. A small bandit dick. He put all the other dicks from Leningrad in the Kremlin so they take money from people who sell apples, herrings, jeans, coffins and pretty much everything else. He even installed the dicks to rule other countries. And soon, if we don’t do anything about it—we all will be fucked.

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