Archive for the ‘Oedipus Wrecks’ Category

Oedipus Wrecks

It is a huge pleasure to announce the arrival of the latest edition of Games Perverts Play. The theme this time is Oedipus Wrecks. Family and childhood are universal, and universally complex. I knew our writers would come up with something to meet the subject matter and they did.

I have put Marc Nash  ‘s new piece next to an essay by The Daddy of family romance, Sigmund Freud. Because I think Siggy would appreciate Marc’s take on that age-old dilemma parents have about talking to their kids about sex. And because there is something in the density and ‘clinical’ precision of both writers that is worth comparing.

I am delighted to be publishing two pieces of work by the inimitable Slava  Mogutin, who tells of childhood as trauma, and as sexual awakening. And as history on a small or larger scale.

New to GPP, bringing some poignant poems to shift the tone, are Bruce Coker and Danni Antagonist. And Christopher Herz hints at  family problems in an extract from his novel Pharmacology.

Not content with writing a short piece of work, the unstoppable Magda Sullivan has given us an extract of a novel that just flowed out of her, when she was given this theme to get her head round. I can’t wait to read the whole thing judging by this teaser.

What to say about Penny Goring ‘s contribution? It’s another tour de force from one of our (our meaning the world’s) most original voices at the moment.

As for me, unlike the other writers featured here, I was overwhelmed and defeated by the enormity of the subject I chose this time. Maybe I used up all my oedipal energy in my debut novella, Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls, and so I give an extract of that.

They do indeed fuck you up, your mum and dad. But judging from  Oedipus Wrecks, they also provide perverse writers with a hell of a lot of good material.

A special mention goes to Dan Holloway for continuing to bring brilliant writers to my attention.

Your editor,

Quiet Riot Girl

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Father And Son Sit Down For ‘That’ Conversation By Marc Nash

“Oedipussy. Come on then Oediwuss! Show me what you got. We all know when Oedipus comes to shove, you haven’t got the bollocks to take me on. You don’t dare tackle me, cos you know I’ll crush you like a bug. Little Oedipussyhole, not that you’ll ever get near any hole. Let alone that of your Ma’s. You non-motherfucker. Cos first you’d have to get past me. You and whose army? With your pop gun there. Firing capped blanks. How’s any woman gonna stand for that? They won’t even know you’re inside ‘em with a prick that tiny. Maybe that’s it. Maybe they’ll be senseless all round. Rohypnol the only way you’ll get them horizontal. And if by some chance, some unlikely conjunction of fate, an improbable alignment of planetary bodies that allows you to flop your body on that of some unresponsive, blitzed out female, then I’d take her off you. I’d break her in first, though being a gent I’d wait until she woke up from the mickey finn you’d slipped her. I’d slip her some skin, all natural. I might even let you have your fifteen seconds of immaterial poking and prodding first, until you’d roll off all played out. Since let’s face it, wouldn’t make one scrap of difference, rend not one ripple in the fabric of the earth, let alone hers. Nought point none on the Richter Scale of tectonic movement. Then I’d move in and displace you. Show her a real man. Split her in two and snap off your cock with my free hand and stuff it in your mouth for good measure. Make a woman of you. Bind you and make you watch. Like the voyeur you are. Don’t think I haven’t caught you peeking- that’s double ‘e’ by the way, same as in Peeping Tom. Who knows, watching me you might pick up some tips. The advantage of age and experience. Not that you’d ever be able to act on them. You credit you could cut mine off first? There isn’t a blade big enough. Certainly nothing you could wield within the span of your weak little hands. Miniscule, scaled to cup your miserable organ. I’ll shear it off, with my incisors, but what I’d also need is a microscope to bleedin’ find it in the first place. Maybe you could build up the strength by rubbing yourself all day and every day. Only action your pecker’s likely to see.

Come on then, let’s go at it one on one. Man to man. Only you’re a boy. A mere sapling who bends in the lightest of breezes. A zephyr where I am a barnstorming tempest. I see you shrinking before my very eyes. You want a piece of me? A little slither about the size of your cock? A dribble. Maybe a scrape to adorn your voodoo doll for your black magic. A shaving for your fanciful witchy-poo power over me. In your dreams buster. Or your nightmares to come, since I shall infect and inhabit them. No, you’ll need to go up against all of me. To beat all of me down. This is not some dominance obtained by spinning a whole new tractable being from a fragment of rib. To weave yourself a poppet. A ragged arse moppet and his slutty mopsey. This is flesh and bone and sinew and muscle you have to get across and overcome. Strength against strength. Puissance against puissance. And I back mine over yours any day. And for an eternity. Since yours is laughable. A single drip of pre-cum. You little squirt!

Maybe in your fantasies you imagined I’d be all sweetness and light. The archetypical family man and provider. That we could maybe go on a double date. Like father like son. Me and your Ma, you and your unlikely girlie. Double bubble. There’s two chances of that, slim and none. Cos I’d do both of them of course. Double bubble burst. I’d be forced to after your unimpressive fumbling. So she didn’t have her nose put out of joint, looking over your humping shoulder while I deliver a consummate seeing to your mother. It would only be the polite thing. One can’t have a guest leave feeling dissatisfied. Of course you couldn’t have your Ma in return. Flip her over after I’d run her ragged and stick your woodwormy maggot inside her? You wouldn’t have the spunk, you with perennial wormwoody lack of wood. Oh I’ve clocked your sly glances at her. When you think neither she nor I can see you. But you can barely disguise it, you haven’t got the wit. Led by your recessed cock and shrunken balls, your poor panting body betrays you every time.

And what do you credit that does to your mother? Your worn out, dried up Ma. The poor old stick. You ruined her when you emerged from inside her, you know that don’t you? How she could have no more offspring after you. Her fruitful, burgeoning womb all cankered. Her efflorescence degraded, the petals wilted and withered on the stamen. All through contact with you. Your germ-laden germination. With your overweening jealousy. Your corrupt desire to possess her even then. She’s not been not been the same woman since you emerged and stretched her out down there, sucked her dry and shrivelled her tits. You’ve wanted to keep her all to yourself since day one. You the selfish little homunculus who saw to it that no-one could follow goblin you from her racked body. Perish the thought you might have to share her with a sibling. I bet you even did for your older sister didn’t you? Reached out from the womb to snatch her back and into death. You little terrorist cell you. Blastocyster bye-bye. Prevented her from ever seeing the light of day. From gazing lovingly on her mother’s visage and lighting up each other’s hearts even once. Sent one into kingdom come and the other into kingdom gone. I bet she wishes you had been forever incarcerated in kingcondom. Is that a smirk on your face? I’ll wipe it clean off you. I’ll knock your bleedin’ block off from your chippy shoulders. I’ll rip your head off your neck and spit in the hole. No, it’s gone again. No trace of it. Once again I confront the frightened eyes of a child only.

Do you feel guilty for the blood on your hands? Those digits blooded while they were still unformed buds? Well the stakes are a bit different now you’re up against me. I won’t submit quite so easily. Look at your so-called manhood there, shrivelling up in fear. Even a Greek sculptor couldn’t render you any flattering favours. No your guilt headed south straight for your nether regions and colonised them in prostrated tyranny. You conceive you can throw off their repressive yoke? Think again Sonny Jism. What makes you believe she ever wanted you, let alone now? She was desperate for progeny, something, anything, after she lost her first stillborn. It looked for so long that she wouldn’t be able to conceive again. Oh no, don’t go aggrandising yourself into some sort of miracle. You are here through her willpower not yours. You filled her need superficially. As a tot. A helpless babe to lavish her maternal love on. But you have grown ugly to her now. And she knows there is nothing she can do about it from here on in. She can’t replenish and renew through having another child. That you are her one and only and a blight at that. A huge bitter pill for her to swallow. You tore out her heart, left her with a bloodied cicatrix that wouldn’t heal. The scar tissue of her scion entering the world. So I ask myself which of those two gashes do you indeed hanker after? The natural one, nub of her sex, or that of your own imprimatur, where you reckon you indelibly marked her as yours? Some perverse sadistic desire to savour afresh the pain you impressed upon her. Newsflash, you stand to inherit neither”.

Father, dear father, so now we have it.

“What’s that look in your eye? A fleeting flash, a glimmer? Was it anger? Have I finally moved you to an adult emotion? Provoked you enough to make you a man?”

You’d like to think so wouldn’t you? But out of this farrago of bluster, your maiden speech to me, delivered with the shrillness of a virago it has to be said, the truth comes leaching out from the ill-fitting tampon of your mouth. Way I heard it told, reading between the wrinkles in your forehead, the ‘try your strength’ indicator of your Adam’s Apple bobbing furiously up and down, the pulsing vein in your neck lighting up your red face like an electrical circuit, Mother found it so hard to conceive after your tryst with a clap dancer. That’s the sole infection you have brought home to roost. The dirty little secret at the heart and hearth of our family. Of this generation of it at least. When I am of the next generation.

“Not a smirk this time, but a timid little smile of acknowledgement. So you do recognise you want to take after me? To be strong and powerful and to stand up for yourself in the face of others? Good. Now you can identify with me as a father, an elder and a man? Then my work is done here. I’ve fittingly tempered you. I’m glad we had this little chat. Remember, I’m always here. Guarding the entrance to the family hearth”.

THE SEXUAL LATENCY PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD AND ITS INTERRUPTIONS By Sigmund Freud

The extraordinary frequent discoveries of apparently abnormal and exceptional sexual manifestations in childhood, as well as the discovery of infantile reminiscences in neurotics, which were hitherto unconscious, allow us to sketch the following picture of the sexual behavior of childhood.[5]

It seems certain that the newborn child brings with it the germs of sexual feelings which continue to develop for some time and then succumb to a progressive suppression, which is in turn broken through by the proper advances of the sexual development and which can be checked by individual idiosyncrasies. Nothing is known concerning the laws and periodicity of this oscillating course of development. It seems, however, that the sexual life of the child mostly manifests itself in the third or fourth year in some form accessible to observation.[6]

The Sexual Inhibition.—It is during this period of total or at least partial latency that the psychic forces develop which later act as inhibitions on the sexual life, and narrow its direction like dams. These psychic forces are loathing, shame, and moral and esthetic ideal demands. We may gain the impression that the erection of these dams in the civilized child is the work of education; and surely education contributes much to it. In reality, however, this development is organically determined and can occasionally be produced without the help of education. Indeed education remains properly within its assigned realm only if it strictly follows the path of the organic determinant and impresses it somewhat cleaner and deeper.

Reaction Formation and Sublimation.—What are the means that accomplish these very important constructions so significant for the later personal culture and normality? They are probably brought about at the cost of the infantile sexuality itself, the influx of which has not stopped even in this latency period—the energy of which indeed has been turned away either wholly or partially from sexual utilization and conducted to other aims. The historians of civilization seem to be unanimous in the opinion that such deviation of sexual motive powers from sexual aims to new aims, a process which merits the name of sublimation, has furnished powerful components for all cultural accomplishments. We will therefore add that the same process acts in the development of every individual, and that it begins to act in the sexual latency period.[7]

We can also venture an opinion about the mechanisms of such sublimation. The sexual feelings of these infantile years on the one hand could not be utilizable, since the procreating functions are postponed,—this is the chief character of the latency period; on the other hand, they would in themselves be perverse, as they would emanate from erogenous zones and would be born of impulses which in the individual’s course of development could only evoke a feeling of displeasure. They therefore awaken contrary forces (feelings of reaction), which in order to suppress such displeasure, build up the above mentioned psychic dams: loathing, shame, and morality.[8]

The Interruptions of the Latency Period.—Without deluding ourselves as to the hypothetical nature and deficient clearness of our understanding regarding the infantile period of latency and delay, we will return to reality and state that such a utilization of the infantile sexuality represents an ideal bringing up from which the development of the individual usually deviates in some measure and often very considerably. A portion of the sexual manifestation which has withdrawn from sublimation occasionally breaks through, or a sexual activity remains throughout the whole duration of the latency period until the reinforced breaking through of the sexual impulse in puberty. In so far as they have paid any attention to infantile sexuality the educators behave as if they shared our views concerning the formation of the moral forces of defence at the cost of sexuality, and as if they knew that sexual activity makes the child uneducable; for the educators consider all sexual manifestations of the child as an “evil” in the face of which little can be accomplished. We have, however, every reason for directing our attention to those phenomena so much feared by the educators, for we expect to find in them the solution of the primitive formation of the sexual impulse.

__________________________

This is an extract from Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: II Infantile Sexuality http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14969/14969-h/14969-h.htm

The Triumph of the Family By Slava Mogutin

this dreadful gray constancy

replaces for me today all colors

green blue red—what other ones are there?

i don’t find a place for me here don’t know where to sit

what to drink and to eat

 

was it long ago that daddy amused himself with his sonny?

the triumph of the family happened

mother was entertaining herself with the daughter

opening her mouth in the vicinity of hers

 

saliva poured slowly from here into there

never before two related bodies

were as close as then

green blue red

gray constancy

 

the identical you will never write like the different one

you were gone gone and the heart was beating

into the armpit like an exploded point

here is this one and here’s another one completely different

you are getting used to signs of differentiation silly

are you getting completely assimilated?

 

while father was amusing himself

mother was entertaining herself

the triumph of the family happened

green blue red

 

the russian word for “family” comes from the word for “pig”

 

1990, Moscow

Translated from the Russian by Vitaly Chernetsky

http://slavamogutin.squarespace.com/the-triumph-of-the-family/

Guitar by Bruce Coker

 

I took my father’s guitar from the wall

where it had always brooded;

cradled the soot-black wood, hewn

from an oak that lost heart and died;

struck life into the brutal piano-wire

strings that stung my plump,

pink-fleshed fingers as I

strummed a fragile minor chord.

 

I picked a trembling, defiant arpeggio

that somehow scaled a forbidding rise.

The instrument opened its throat, swallowed once,

and sang again its unforgiving songs.

The booming bass crowed of Jay and his Rooks,

as sharpened accidentals, lacking sustain,

faded unresolved into the diminishing history

of a foreigner at home, a stranger to me.

 

It sang of piano-key teeth cracking

a syncopated smile, chewing

on a chicken-town sandwich. My father,

raising his ragged red flag over a broken castle;

laughing, uncomprehending,

at green Picasso beads. My father,

with my mother’s friends; slaking his thirst

with stagnant water,

and singing only of the past.

 

Extract From Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls by Quiet Riot Girl

 

‘The faults of husbands are often caused by the excess virtues of their wives’ S. G. Colette

1960 is a difficult year for Mr and Mrs Foucault. And also it is the year their daughter is born. They never admit it to themselves, but the arrival of a baby into their lives at this particular point in time is felt by both of them, especially Michel, to be  more than a minor inconvenience.

Michel is in the process of finishing Madness and Civilisation. It has taken its toll. How can you address the subject of Madness, and Civilisation, without facing up to your own demons? His wife is worried about him. But she is pregnant and he doesn’t seem that worried about her. Such is their marriage. As Colette, Madame Foucault’s favourite writer, once said: ‘a woman who thinks she is intelligent seeks equality with men; an intelligent woman gives up’. She gave up a long time ago.

But something about being pregnant has rekindled an old fire in Anne Foucault’s belly. Maybe the fire is the baby itself. There develops  an unspoken battle over which will be born first, the baby or the book. Neither has any choice in the matter of course, but the battle is on all the same. A psychic battle, the worst kind, between husband and wife. It seems like a long time since the pair had enough passion to fight. But now, they are fighting each other once more, not out of love or hate or desire, but simply over the things they are fighting for: Anne for her unborn child, Michel for his ‘great work’.

Mother and baby ‘win’ the battle, and their daughter is born in May 1960, a couple of months before Foucault finally finishes his masterpiece. He is not there at the birth, as he has work to do. He always does. His daughter will learn this soon enough.

But the philosopher is able to spare some energy for another battle: over their daughter’s name. He wanted to call her Eleanor, after Marx’s daughter. But his wife is tired of Marx. And she knows enough to know that Eleanor had not had a happy life. She wants to call their child Colette, after her favourite novelist. Colette had not had the easiest life either, but it had been long and full of self-expression, sensuality and such beautiful writing. Something clicks inside her and she will not give in. Foucault argues and cajoles her, but he only makes it worse. Lectures in Marxist history from your all but estranged husband are not much fun at the best of times. When you are exhausted from giving birth they are more than a woman can take. His last ditch attempt to spread the impact of power is to try and get her to compromise, by calling the baby Colette Eleanor. But that seems the worst option of all. It would be a constant reminder of the fact they couldn’t agree on such a basic l thing as their daughter’s name. The mother stands firm. She gets her way and Colette is born.

The first couple of months are hard. Foucault is preoccupied with finishing his book, and his wife is restless, tentative about looking after such a fragile thing as a new life. She feels alone. That is because she is.

The shadow that hangs over the couple is darker and bigger than either of them realise. This is the year that Paul Mirguet changes the law in France, and erodes the precious ‘Code Penal’. New legislation means that homosexuals are to be included in a list of ‘scourges’ against French society, which also includes ‘whores, alcoholism and transvestism’, and punished accordingly, if they dare express their perversion openly.

This will come to matter greatly to Foucault as he is a passionate defender of the principles of the republic. Well, the ones he agrees with anyway. Nothing is fundamental. But it will matter to him more, because, despite the image to the contrary given by his wife and sudden, beautiful baby girl, he too is a homosexual. His wife is well aware of this fact. How could she not be? It is written all over his sorry French ass.

Mirguet’s law doesn’t affect Foucault immediately in the direct sense. He is too busy with his book, and trying to maintain the facade of a marriage to be much of a pederaste in the active sense at this time.  But there is something about the repressive nature of it, the closing in of a regulatory discourse on sexuality, on people’s freedoms, that has a subconscious perverse effect on the man. You could put it down to a panic at becoming a father, or the coming to an end of his great project, but Foucault, without even realising it, reacts to Mirguet’s Law in quite an unexpected way.

One cool night, when his wife and baby are asleep, Michel leaves his books open on his desk and goes out. He does not have a plan, he just wants to breathe the night air. In the end he finds himself on one of his local haunts, a dingy bar on a side street near the river. He orders a cognac and sits by the window. He notices out of the corner of his eye, a young man coming into the bar, tall, thick set, a bit rough looking, possibly a labourer. The man looks at Michel and Michel looks back through his glasses, suddenly feeling very intellectual and fey. But the man does not seem concerned. He nods at Foucault and then walks past him in a very suggestive manner, clenching his buttocks. He sits at a table a little way from Michel, downs a biere and then leaves, passing Michel’s table again, doing his butt clenching thing. So Foucault takes the hint this time and follows the man out of the bar and down the street, keeping a few paces behind. He sees him turn right into a street, find a square, climb over the fence and into the bushes. Foucault follows, trying not to lose his glasses, his footing, his cool. He makes out the man in the shadows and approaches. But he is not sure what to do. Who will take the lead? Is it supposed to be him? The man decides for the both of them. He undoes his trousers and pushes Michel unceremoniously down onto his knees, guiding his head towards his cock.. Michel Foucault, philosopher, husband, father, kneels and sucks on an anonymous cock.. And, despite everything that suggests its opposite, he feels like this is a ceremony. He might be drinking communion wine, not a stranger’s spunk. Foucault swallows the sticky wordless substance silently. The man moans a little then does up his trousers and disappears into the night.

There is no going back now.

When he returns home, he  goes to his daughter’s room, and stands by her crib, watching her sleep. There is no shortage of love in his heart for this tiny bundle of bits of him and bits of his wife. He stands there and prays to a God he knows does not exist, prays that she will not suffer, not too much, in the coming years that he suddenly realises are going to be full of upheaval. For him, his wife, their daughter, and also the world beyond their little domestic sphere, for France.

The novelist, Colette, once said : ‘a happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts’. This child, her namesake,  is going to be very well prepared indeed.

 —————————————————

Q: Assuming that we aren’t doomed, chained to sex as our destiny: and from childhood as they say…

MF: Exactly; look at what’s happening in the case of children. They say the life of children is their sexual life. From the bottle to puberty, that’s all they talk about. Behind the desire to learn to read or a liking for comic strips there is still, always, sexuality. Are you sure that this type of discourse is in fact a liberating one? Are you sure it doesn’t enclose children in a sort of sexual insularity? And what if after all they didn’t give a damn? What if the freedom of not being adult consisted precisely in not being subject to the law, the principle, the commonplace which ends up by being so boring, of sexuality? If there could be polymorphous relationships with things, people, bodies, wouldn’t that be childhood?  Adults call this polymorphousness perversity to reassure themselves, and in so doing colour it with the monotonous tint of their own sex[i].

‘The child had a wooden reel with a piece of string tied around it. It never occurred to him to pull it along the floor behind him, for instance, and play at its being a carriage. What he did was to hold the reel by the string and very skilfully throw it over the edge of his curtained cot, so that it disappeared into it, at the same time uttering his expressive “o-o-o-o.” He then pulled the reel again by the string and hailed its reappearance with a joyful “da” [there]. This, then, was the complete gameódisappearance and return. As a rule one only witnessed its first act, which was repeated untiringly as a game in itself, though there is no doubt that the greater pleasure was attached to the second act. The interpretation of the game then became obvious. It was related to the child’s great cultural achievement — the instinctual renunciation (that is, the renunciation of instinctual satisfaction) which he had made in allowing his mother to go away without protesting’ Sigmund Freud  “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (Standard Edition, Vol. 18, pp. 14-15)[ii]

One of Collette’s favourite things is a ball, a red, rubber ball. She plays with it, throwing it against the wall at the back of the house, and catching it. When her parents are arguing she goes out to the yard and throws the ball against the wall and counts in her head: ‘un, deux, trois’… to see how far she can get before she drops it. This repetitive action calms her, and drowns out the sound of the shouting and banging indoors. ‘Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq…’ She does not know what it is that has made her parents so angry at each other, as if they are enemies. Sometimes she worries it is her, that she has done something wrong that made everything go like this. That she is a bad girl and her parents are angry at her. She throws the ball and she counts in her head and she pretends that she is happy, that her maman and papa love each other and will call her in any moment, to tell her supper is ready, or that it is time to get ready to go out on a trip, to the park, or the zoo. They never call her. She just keeps throwing the ball and counting. ‘Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six…’

Once she lost the ball at nursery- she threw it too high and it got stuck on the roof of a shed. She was distraught. She could not contemplate life without her red ball. It made her feel sick to think about the loss. She screamed so piercingly and persistently that the caretaker was called from his day off specially to retrieve the ball and placate the child, a tiny hint of a smile peeking through her tears when he handed it to her. If Doctor Freud had have been there to witness this trauma, he may have concluded she was continuing to play the ‘fort-da’ game, where a baby throws something – perhaps out of its cot – and then delights in the fact that someone, a parent usually, retrieves it, before throwing the object again and thus repeating the process. This, argued Freud, could be a sign of how children learn to repeat traumatic experiences, to relive them, as if to take control, or to turn them into something which they can derive pleasure from, albeit perversely. It could also, said Sigmund, relate to the triumph the child feels at allowing its mother to leave the room without protesting. But Colette was born into a traumatic situation and her childhood was littered with separations and losses. She  has not learned to trust that if her mother or father leaves the room, they are ever going to re –appear. What evidence have they given her, that this is true? What reassurance of their consistency? In the absence of certainty she takes an unhealthy pleasure in those things she can count on, like a red ball obeying the laws of gravity. She throws the ball into the air, ‘Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit’….

It seems so young for a girl to have found a single activity that enables her to relax and forget her problems, the way adults say they do when they go swimming, or walk in the countryside, or have sex. She is a child. Her whole existence should be about joy and wonder and play, with the occasional moment of anxiety or upset. Not the other way round. Not isolated moments of sunshine, free from anxiety, throwing a ball against a wall. She doesn’t articulate this incongruity in her experience, not until much later, when she looks back on her early years with incredulity, and not a little contempt for her parents. But she knows at the time, deep in her heart, that something about her childhood is very wrong. She throws the ball, she throws herself out of her cot, waiting to see if anyone will catch her. She counts in her head, and inside the house her parents keep her subject to the law of sex. ‘Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix’.


[i] From an interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, 1977, Reprinted in translation in The Oxford Literary Review, vol 4, no.2 1980

[ii] http://www.ncspp.org/fortda/index.html

_________________________________

Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls at smashwords (Free!)

Curious Family By Slava Mogutin

In a tiny one-bedroom apartment there lived in misery one family. This family was far from ordinary: both father, mother, and daughter were all boys, and all of them were tough cookies. The boy-father would often send the boy-daughter to get salt: “My dear daughter, go get some salt from the third shelf!”

“But daddy,” the boy-daughter would say, “I have already gone twice to get salt today.” “And you will do so even three times if your father tells you to!” the father would say, irritated. And the obedient boy-daughter would get up on the stool trying to reach the salt. The boy-father and the boy-mother would then run up to the stool and kick it from under the boy-daughter’s feet and start beating her up, screaming, “You damn boy! We’ll tear your balls off!”

They beat her up frequently and brutally, because the daughter was a boy, and also because, due to the fact that the entire family was of the same gender, the government wouldn’t give them a new two-room apartment. But one fine day the boy-daughter realized she was a goose and flew away. It was right on time, because otherwise she would have been simply thrown out of the thirteenth floor window, where the poor family was residing.

1989, Moscow
Translated from the Russian by Vitaly Chernetsky

All rights reserved © Slava Mogutin, 2012

http://slavamogutin.squarespace.com/curious-family/