letter from russia

entanglement of unity, oil on canvas, 30"x24"
*****

my friend dear artist from canada,

i should like to tell about first encounter with man known as grigori n. chant. it was on cold november night with rain, snow, fog mixture. it was sunday 3rd week november meaning my turn for rest, heat and food in alley behind excellent restaurant in moscow latin quarter. this particular restaurant is known to homeless people because main chef is man who also has golden heart, collects secretly leftovers in kitchen during cooking time and gives out after place is closing. also, beside back door is  abandoned fire escape with heating pipe from furnace system giving warmth with comfort. homeless people in latin quarter rotate for turns like time-share condo during month and it is on this day that i meet grigori n. chant. i am walking down alley, i see large shadow of man who is maybe almost 7 feet tall. i keep walking, but beginning to feel man is maybe dangerous, aggressive. finally he talks, making demand for me to go back, to go away, holding up walking stick like weapon making blocking motion. but because i am hungry, starving, freezing i do not back down, telling him i do not want trouble, only want to pass by without harm. he says no, that i must fight to get past. i become angry, see broken ski pole, hockey stick in garbage beside me,  pick them up, go forward in attacking position. we fight. he wins. quickly, easily. i am laying on back in maybe 2 seconds, breathing short quick breaths with him holding walking stick on my neck. what happens next changes everything, what happens next makes us brothers, on the same team, friends for life: a gang of thugs arrive making circle around us, laughing at us, saying terrible comments, making demands for us to give up money, food even demanding my jacket. grigori n. chant winks at me with small curled up smile on lips, helps me up, we fight with our sticks, mostly him fighting like kung fu master, scaring away gang. he extends hand to me telling "i am grigori n. chant, who are you?"  i reply, "people call me schtee, schtee l. fromrich", then i say, "come with me grigori n. chant, tonight we eat like kings, sleep like babies."

this is my writing for the day, canadian artist. i must leave quick now as this internet cafe is starting to notice the old strange combination rags of clothes and body odor that is smelling off from me.

i always look forward to your next letters.

your russian confidante friend,

schtee l. fromrich

*****


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