NEW Story: The Greek
His hand was hurting bad, but no one asked him about it the day after. Moise always had a temper, and now he had a reputation. He got no words of sympathy from the other seniors of Lola 8th School.
Considering his bluntness and irritability, it was funny that he could only make good friends with women. His father was a bastard and his mother was in Greece, so his sister took their place. His closest friend was Tzipora, the boyish miracle child who helped him lose weight. His love was Coretti, his high school sweetheart and, a little further along, his wife.
Coretti was the daughter of Congolese scientists, but was born and raised in the Soviet Union. She had a typical brief for Afro-Russians — her father had worked with the Congo Water Company, and later was brought over for the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture and Food. She spent her early years in the relative wealth of the Basmanny District.
The arrangement collapsed quickly after the coup in Congo and the death of Party Secretary Shchusev. The office her father worked for disappeared, and the family emigrated to Vekllei when she was six. Vekllei was full of displaced people with displaced heritage. After all, Moise was himself the son of wealthy Greek folk, his mother a fascist in the shadow party there. The way their identities intersected brought about difficult dimensions to their character — often empowering, occasionally suffocating, and sometimes resurrecting ghosts from their past.
Moise was graduating this year with Coretti, and had already landed a gig running cameras for Dovo Studios, a big deal for someone his age. His real passion was filmmaking — the creation of dreams. That was on hold, after last night.
Some shithead assistant-to-an-assistant was mouthing off about him to the C.A., telling him he had an attitude. Moise didn’t know what this guy’s problem was, and he kept picking at him all night. Moise didn’t take shit, and got up in his face.
He looked at his right hand, which was swollen so fat he couldn’t tuck his fingers in. It’d be right in a couple days, maybe a week. But he was off the set for now.
Coretti hated his fighting. Tzipora, ever the contrarian by way of instinct, admired him for it. It was like those cartoons with the angels and devils on your shoulders.
“I hate it when you fight,” says Coretti, in a white gown and halo. “You’re a better man than that, I know it in your heart.”
“Is that right?” Tzipora says, with horns and a tail. “Seems to me he’s proved exactly who he’s better than.”
He’d lost his job and got in trouble again, but as Moise lit a cig and sat back, the whole afternoon ahead of him, he felt pretty good.
“Yeah,” he said, and took a drag. “Serves me right.”