Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’

“A Kapitany”, a novel. Chapter 27

June 6, 2017

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WARNING:  SEX SCENE AND OTHER STUFF  YOU DON’T WANT THE KITTIES TO READ.

 

Eight years ago I started to research and write this novel.  It was an encounter between an American woman and a Hungarian man that blossomed more than expected by this writer.   She was innocent of all knowledge about this setting, and he was a Dom.  Not any way innocent of the BDSM scene, world.  In a year and a half I learned more about this ‘scene’ than I wanted to.  Now I can laugh at the presumptuousness of  men who claim to be Doms….the women are more able to evoke sympathy from me. Sometimes. It is hard to watch a women subject herself to  form of slavery.

In any case, I set this story in Hungary and Paris.  Vadas Dohendy is in his early 60’s, tired of life, and an art thief.  He doesn’t break into museums at his stage of life, but it’s basically a well oiled insurance fraud scheme.  Elizabeth is in her 50’s and bound up unexpectedly in the snares and personality of Vadas. In Vadas’ attempt to leave the field of art thievery, Elizabeth is abducted by his arch enemy, Miklos.  A man he has worked with for over 30 years.  Elizabeth is recovering but the ‘insult’ to Elizabeth (almost killing her) is seen as beyond the pale by Vadas.  Hence, warfare breaks out in Eger, Paris and other places in Hungary.

This was a lot of fun to write….and I finally finished it 2 years ago. But I haven’t done a proper editing and will have to  soon.

Soffia is a character from Vadas’ past.  A Domme, but has become friends with Elizabeth.

Lady Nyo

 

A Kapitany, Chapter 27

 

“Soffia, I need a favor, darling. Yes, I know, your Vadas only calls when he needs a favor. Soffia, listen to me. I must come to Budapest.”

Vadas grimaced and pulled at his cigarette. Soffia could be a hard ass and right now she was being just that. He shifted the phone on his shoulder and stretched his legs.

“I have several things to do in Budapest. What I need is you to come here and stay with Elizabeth. No, she is much better, she is walking around. Yes, she is better, but I don’t want to leave her alone right now. I still don’t know where Miklos is, and I don’t want him showing up here when I am gone. No, I have men posted to watch, but I don’t want to alarm her.”
Vadas held the phone from his ear. Soffia was full of grievances this morning. He wasn’t in a mood to listen.

“No, darling, I haven’t told her yet you are coming. I thought I should ask first. Yes, I know, Soffia, I take great advantage of you. I will make it up. What? You pick. You know your Vadas will buy what you desire. I always have, darling.”
Vadas blew smoke towards the ceiling. “Listen, Soffia, Elizabeth has agreed to marry. Yes, I am speaking the truth. No, I didn’t burn her passport. No, I didn’t break her arm, funny lady.”

He rolled his eyes. Soffia was chattering on. “Look, you can help with planning the wedding. What? Yes, it will be a wedding. A big wedding. You will be maid of honor or whatever they call the woman next to the bride. Where? Some church in Eger. You take her around and show things. You can buy the dress, and another one for you. Yes, like last time. I trust you, Soffia. She will be a pretty bride. You both will be pretty brides. What? I’ll marry you off to one of my men, ok? You will like living in the countryside. No, I am teasing, Soffia. I know you are too sophisticated for these men around here.”

A few more minutes and Vadas got what he wanted. Soffia was coming out by car and would stay with Elizabeth for a few days. This would give him the time to go to Paris, see his lawyers and visit the old aunties. They were his only living relatives. It was crucial he at least visit and invite them in person. They held some important purse strings.

At lunch Vadas asked Elizabeth what should be done with the frescos.

“For now? Nothing, Vadas. First secure the roof. Anything done before that would be pointless. Then fix the plaster in the ceilings. It’s rather scary lying under that ceiling in the bed. It could all give in at any moment. But the frescos should not be touched. They are too valuable and historic for any hands besides professional conservators. And that would cost a lot of money.”

Elizabeth pushed around her salad. She still wasn’t eating much.

“Probably the damp in the house doesn’t help. Fix the windows in the rooms where there are frescos. Where there aren’t, board them up properly. They will be costly to fix anyway. Those sashes have to be custom made.”

Vadas smiled over his coffee. “You have been thinking, no? You speak good sense, Elizabeth. Now, I have a plan. You do that stuff on the internet, you know, press those buttons, and find the people who can fix the roof first. You can go into Eger and ask. I would start there first.”

Elizabeth looked doubtful. “Vadas, do you remember I don’t speak Hungarian? They would laugh at me first, and then throw me out.”

“Well, I have a solution. I have asked Soffia to come up for a couple of days. Now, listen to me, Elizabeth. I have to go to Budapest for a couple of days, on business only and no you can’t come. I will be racing all over and you will not be able to keep up. Plus, I have to call upon my old aunties and invite them to the wedding. You and Soffia can plan the wedding, you two girls. This is woman stuff, and it best left in your capable hands. Four capable hands.”

Elizabeth still looked doubtful. In fact, she looked upset. Vadas guessed what was worrying her.

“Listen, Elizabeth. Soffia has promised to be good. She has promised not to get you under her or whatever she does. Ok? No hanky panky from her. Plus, she is Hungarian and can help arrange the workmen. It will be fun. You won’t even miss me and I will be back before you do.”

Elizabeth said nothing. She continued to push her food around the plate.
Vadas sat back and watched. “Do you remember, Elizabeth, when I told you I would feed you? That you would eat from my hand only? Do I have to do that now? You are going to look like a scarecrow at your wedding. What man wants to sleep with a woman who is skin and bones? The winter, Elizabeth, is hard in these hills.”

Vadas had no trouble with his own appetite. He cut up his meat and held out his fork. “You come here, Elizabeth. You eat this. Then you eat another mouthful.”
Elizabeth looked at him, her eyes filling with tears. “Vadas, I’m scared.”

“What? You are scared of meat?”

“You know, you must know. What if Miklos comes back when you are gone? What if he comes here? Soffia is no defense against him. You know that.”

Vadas sat back and patted his knee. “You come here Elizabeth and I will explain something.”

Elizabeth knew his behavior made her look like a child, a ‘good girl’ in his terms. But she was scared and the news he was going away put her on edge.
She sat on his lap and Vadas wrapped his arms around her. He had this habit of humming off key when she was close by, and Elizabeth found it strangely comforting.

“Now look, Elizabeth. You and Soffia will be safe. I have men here you won’t see. But anyone who approaches by foot or car will be known. These men are hunters and they know this particular prey. And you are wrong about Soffia. I would rather go up against two men than Soffia. She is a good shot, too. I will give her a gun. Hell, you can have a gun, too. Ok? Dry your tears and eat this good food.”

“Vadas, I can handle a gun. I have before.”

“What? You know how to shoot? I will sleep with one eye open from now on. Eat another piece of meat.”

Just to see if she was telling the truth, Vadas took her out behind the lodge where there was a meadow. He set up some bottles as targets and loaded a large pistol. Standing behind her with his hands around hers, he told her to gently squeeze the trigger. She missed.

“Ok, we do this again. You hold the gun steady, Elizabeth. You are jerking the gun.”

“Vadas. Let me do this without your hands all over. Let me try, please.”

Vadas backed off and Elizabeth considered the target. She closed one eye and aimed carefully. The bottle exploded.

“Good girl! That was beginner’s luck. You try again.” Elizabeth hit the bottle but the gun was heavy. It wasn’t a light pistol, but a heavy European model. The sound scared her.

“Enough, Vadas. My wrist hurts. I have shot a gun before. I don’t use pistols, so this was hard. I have my own shotgun.”

“What? You have a shotgun? What, a lady’s gun? Maybe a small gauge? Something for mice?”

Elizabeth laughed. “No, Vadas, I have a 12 gauge for bird hunting. I have another, a breech loader, I use with skeet.”

“Oh, skeet don’t taste good, Elizabeth.  Each day I learn something new about you. This is good, Elizabeth. By the time we are married I will know all your secrets.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Don’t bet on it, Vadas. I have lived a long life. I have many secrets.”

Vadas took the gun and put it in one of the larger vest pockets. He put his arm around Elizabeth’s shoulder and they went back to the lodge.

That evening Elizabeth asked him. “So when are you leaving and when is Soffia coming?”

Vadas looked up from his paper. “Are you pushing me out the door? Well, Soffia is coming tomorrow and I thought I would hang around until she got here. Then I can read her the riot act again.” Vadas went back to his paper.
When Soffia arrived, Vadas brought her into his study and closed the door. They were in there for a while and Elizabeth decided to take a walk. She would see if she could spy these men lingering about. Vadas said they would be invisible, but she wanted to see for herself. When she came back in the lodge, Vadas and Soffia were by the fire drinking whisky.

“Ah, Elizabeth darling! You look good! So much better than those first few days in hospital.”

“Hello, Soffia.” Elizabeth went and kissed her on both cheeks. “It’s good to see you again.” She sat down on a small sofa. Vadas held out his whisky to her and she shook her head.

“Vadas has given me a list of things we can do and things we can’t do,” Soffia said brightly. “But we can spend his money and that is the best thing.”
Vadas sighed. “Always you women spend my money. That is constant.”

He took a deep pull on his drink. “Now Elizabeth, I have explained to Soffia something. You two go up to the house, but always take one of my men. Better to take two. One inside and one outside watching. Soffia knows who, so she leads. You go into Eger, Soffia will drive, and you will be safe there. But I have given specific orders to Soffia and you are to obey, ok?”

Elizabeth looked at Soffia. She was met by a big grin. It was clear to Elizabeth Soffia had her own plans.

Vadas must have caught something. He clucked his tongue at her. “You remember Rule Number One, Soffia. You don’t forget it.”

That night Soffia slept in Elizabeth’s bedroom. Vadas was up working on some papers and came upstairs late. Elizabeth had gone to bed and was just falling off to sleep. She tried to stay awake until he came up, but the day’s activities and Soffia coming had worn her out. Vadas undressed by a small lamp and came in bed.

“Elizabeth, I know you are awake. I can tell by your breathing. Now listen. Soffia has her orders. She will be good company for you. I will be gone three, maybe five days, but I will be back before you know it.”

“Ok, Vadas”, she said with a yawn. “Soffia has her orders, I hear you.” Sitting up, she asked. “Vadas, listen to me. You made a promise about Miklos. Are you going after him and this is why you are leaving now?”

“Elizabeth. You don’t worry about what I am doing. I’m seeing lawyers, old aunties and wine clients. You will learn I have business that doesn’t concern you. Now, you be a good girl and behave with Soffia. At least tell me you will behave.” Vadas switched out the little lamp.

Sliding down the bed he pulled Elizabeth towards him. He began kissing her neck and worked his way down to her breast.

“You are warm and soft. You eat more and the bed will be warmer this winter.” He had an erection and pulled one of her legs over his hip.

 

“Now, Elizabeth, we go slow. Just a little and you tell me if I hurt you.”     Elizabeth shifted in his arms. After a few minutes, she was ready enough.
Vadas didn’t lose any time. He gently pushed into her. Not meeting objections, he began to make love with his old vigor. He rolled over on her and sat back, pulling her hips up onto his thighs. Elizabeth moaned and watched him illuminated only from the feeble moonlight that came from the windows. Here was her old Vadas, as strong as a horse.

“Ah, fuck me, Elizabeth.”

It didn’t take long for either of them,  with Vadas rocking into her and Elizabeth lifting her hips to meet him. Panting, Vadas lay over her, drained of energy. Elizabeth smiled. Miklos hadn’t won. She had healed and picked up the important pieces of her life. Vadas tonight proved that. His cock was one of those important pieces. Oh, how she had missed it!

“Elizabeth”, Vadas said quietly. “How come you never ask me for anything? You know I will give it.”

Elizabeth was half asleep, wrapped in his arms under a blanket. The heat from his body almost made it unnecessary. She wondered what she should say.
“I don’t need anything, Vadas. You are generous enough to me. What do I have to want?”

“Soffia always gets something when she asks. You know I have a soft spot for women. I can’t say no. You want a car? I will buy you a nice Mercedes. I will give you a driver so you won’t get lost.

“Vadas, go to sleep. I want nothing. Perhaps when we marry we can bring my Aunt Irene over for the wedding?”

“Of course, that would be nice. But you know you can ask me for anything, Elizabeth. A husband takes care of his wife.”

“I’m not your wife yet, Vadas. I will be expensive enough when we are wed. Think of the cost of all those sheep and a trained sheep dog. You will howl at the price.”

Vadas laughed, a deep rumbling sound in the night. “I am thinking of roast lamb right now, with a good bottle of wine.”

“Vadas, go to sleep. You are always thinking of your stomach.”

Vadas fell asleep, snoring loudly. Elizabeth fell asleep but not before she thought of what he said. She really didn’t have anything to want for, except for her safety from Miklos. She already knew Vadas would not listen to her. She knew he would continue to go after him. She knew as long as she stuck close to his side, she would be safe. If he could do this, Vadas could do anything. She wanted for nothing, really. Vadas always pays.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2017

 

 

“Recipe for Life from a Hungarian Grandmother”

December 6, 2016

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(Watercolor of a Coal Barge, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2006)

The prompt over at dversepoets pub is ‘recipe’…but not just of cookery.  There are many recipes in life.  Check out the poems this prompt has brought forth from poets. A very fruitful prompt indeed at a particular time of the Season.

 

How do you measure another life?

By  success, or fortitude or some sort

Of battle-field glory?

Grandmother Elizabeth,

The woman I am named for,

Must have been made of steel,

Blind courage and all the above.

 

From Hungary on a boat

Steerage of course, in the darkness part

Of the ship, where air and comfort were

Paid for by donations from the village,

Where expectations of survival were bleak

If the ship sprang a leak,

Yet this sixteen year old girl made the trip

From some village in Hungary,

(and went back five times pregnant, steerage of course, 

to bring out  family from oppression and famine).

 

Registered at Ellis Island,

She was a pretty

Young woman

Met my grandfather straight

Off the boat.

 

They broke the bed,

that first night of married life

And the gossips in the tenement said

She would be fruitful, with dark hair and dark eyes

A Magyar, but not a gypsy, as if that mattered.

 

Fruitful enough, with thirteen children born,

Enough survived to build a clan.

One son, my father, cut down his own father,

Hanging from the rafters.

Poverty and cares must have made him

Choose this over life.

Elizabeth went on

And raised her children

And no one starved

And everyone became fruitful

In the course of their own lives…

 

She made satin quilts,

That slipped off  beds

Braided rugs from rags

Precious cloth not to be thrown away,

To  be, as we say now: ‘repurposed”.

 

Sitting on the treadle of her sewing machine

As it went up and down to the rhythm of her labor

Seeing her stockings rolled up beneath her knees

Tied with cloth, and that rhythm and those knees

Were the security of love that was missing from home.

 

Large glass jars on the floor grates in her kitchen,

Where milk was curdled for sour cream

Half lemon stopper we competed to squeeze

The smell of boiled cabbage permeated the house

Like the comforting scent of an old woman

With embracing arms and a wrinkled bosom.

 

She died when I was twelve,

Taught me to make quilts and kiflies

A buttery pastry filled with fruit, nuts.

 

Every  Christmas and Easter

I roll out the dough and fill the pastry

With love remembered from an old woman

Whose name I carry and whose heart

I can only hope to.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

Grandmother Elizabeth’s Kiflie Recipe.

 

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (full fat, please)

2 sticks of butter (don’t cheat and use margarine)

3 cups of unbleached flour (scant)

Get a good husband to knead into dough, or use a mixer. Chill.

Roll out and cut into squares.

Fill with Levar (prune paste) or apricot paste (simmer both separately until pasty)

Or crush walnuts, mix with egg white and scant sugar,

Fold over the squares and bake for 20 minutes in 350 oven (not too fast an oven)

When cool…sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Bet you can’t eat just one!

Merry Xmas and all other holidays at this time of the year!

 

…..STEAL THIS RECIPE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has the World Gone Batshit Crazy?

March 3, 2016

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Chris Christie …..

 

I’m not going to make any friends with this blog entry, but I am past that concern.

I’ll say it:  Trump is Crazy, Clinton I don’t trust, Cruz wraps himself in the Bible and I can’t find one person to vote for with confidence.  I liked Ben Carson, but he’s asleep, and probably our nation needs a  good neurosurgeon more than  another crazy politician.

Trump is a scoundrel, a misogynist, a pathological narcissist and I know my extreme narcissists when I see them.  God Almighty.  This guy’s platform is nothing but brio and insults.  Can you imagine Trump at an international conference in Europe, yelling, thumping the table with his shoe, acting like an ass?

Someone ‘important’ called Trump an ‘unstable narcissist’.  Well, that wouldn’t be so offensive IF he didn’t have a mighty military at his command.  But he would and then the fun begins.  Look out world.

I am as concerned about the Muslim invasion of Europe as much as anyone. People constantly ask where are the ‘moderate’ Muslims when terror happens by Islamic extremists?  Hiding under their beds, or claiming they are the real victims.  Bullshit.  These Muslims are as afraid of what would be in store for them IF they peeked out from their closets, etc.  They know that the sword of Islamic terrorists would take their heads as fast as any other person or group of people.

Hungary has been slammed for being right wing, putting up fences against the masses of Syrians, et al, but Hungary has long experience with Muslims.  Over the centuries, they have been invaded by Muslims many times. My Aunt Jean, who died in 2014 at the age of 102, and was Hungarian, said that our family were ‘pure’ Magyars…lovely, but I think we should remember all those invasions.

And about Turkey?  3 billion dollars were promised to Turkey to ‘try’ to keep these Syrian, etc. people in the settlement camps of Turkey, but now the head honcho of Turkey says it’s going to cost Europe 10 billion.  Of course it will.

Germany seems to be stuck in the guilt of Nazism and WWII.  So Merkel’s plan is to repopulate Germany with Muslims who in the main, have no interest in assimilating into German culture.  Merkel has fallen to the myth that 500,000 or 1 million Muslims is going to ‘repair’ what is wrong with Germany.  Fat chance.  What we see all over Europe today is truly troubling.  The rapes of women and children by young (and not so young)  Muslim men is beyond troubling.  Civil war is looming in Europe, and this is the root of WWIII.

I spent three years reading “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”.  Just finished it this last fall.  The lessons in this remarkable book should be taken seriously.  Especially about the Brown Shirts.  I feel that Trump is possibly the ‘new” Hitler and the vicious, violent Brown Shirts can be either from the Left or Right.

So what is there to vote for?  Hillary scares me, she’s just a typical Washington politician,  and fat-ass Chris Christie looks like an expectant gopher ….expecting crumbs as a faithful servant of Trump.

I’ve had my rounds with ‘devote’ Christians.  I have two brothers who consider themselves Christians, but I wouldn’t.  Misogyny, arrogance and a lack of real humility is more to their methods, or brand of Christianity.  So Cruz and Rubio wrapping themselves in the Bible doesn’t get much from me.  I trust certain Christians as much as I trust Islamic terrorists. That goes for certain Jews of my knowledge.   Have I missed some group to insult?  Let me think…..The Buddhists in Indonesia aren’t so peaceful  lately.

Thirty years ago I would have voted for Bernie Sanders.  But now?  What the hell has he been doing?  Sitting amongst Vermont cheese rounds?

The real question  to me is this:  When will our country pull out of all these damn wars?  Trump and Clinton will continue these wars wherever there a foothold and we will not be free of this blight.

A thought on our southern migrants.  Trump wants to create a wall and Mexico is supposed to pay for it…Hah!  The money sent back to Mexico by illegals tops 30 billion a year) to stop this migration,  but almost all the farm workers that pick the crops, plant the crops, and are the only farm labor in this country…come from Mexico and lower on the map.  Farmers are very much against Trump because they see this policy as ruining American agriculture.  Certainly the middle level farms.  And further, farmers say that they can’t get Americans to do these jobs.  They just won’t do them.

Huh.

Last night I tuned in, by accident, to a Congresswoman from Hawaii.  She put it thus:  Sanders seems to be the only candidate who wants to break this war cycle.  I don’t know how he is going to do this, and his other proposals make me  queasy, but in the end….it seems that we are no closer to peace in our lifetimes than our parents were with WWII.

I don’t know.  Right now, I feel the only thing I can do is to plan the garden and read as much as my eyes will allow.  To be grateful to Nature surrounding me and to try to live my life in a more Peaceful way, avoiding human irritants, family or not,  ignoring the chaos that courses around me.  There is such confusion and corruption in life today. It makes it necessary to detach and fine values again.  This world is crazy and crazy-making.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 20

October 9, 2015
from website: halfhearted dude...and thank you.

from website: halfhearted dude…and thank you.

About 8 years ago, I started writing a novel.  I had a vague idea about the story, but a stronger idea about the characters.  It started out as a novel about BDSM, but I knew nothing about the subject.  However, I did know a real sadist: a ‘sexual’ sadist as he claimed, and not ‘your usual garden variety sadist.” (His words).

I had joined an online writer’s group.  You find all sorts of people in these things.  Some normal and some very strange.  Some good writers and some hacks.  You learn a lot about other worlds out there and if you are lucky, you learn something about writing.

Corresponding with some of these writers gave me the opportunity to observe human nature or perhaps the sadder side of human nature.  It did give me a few characters for the novel, and perhaps those two years were worth it, if only for that.  As one good friend said: “Can you afford the therapy you will need just knowing these folk?”   He was right: they do leave nightmares.

Chapter 20 of “A Kapitany” (which I used to think meant  “Master”  in Hungarian, but I have been informed means “Captain”…..still works) sets a scene between the two antagonists:  Vadas Dohendy and Milkos Fargas  (Vadas in Hungarian loosely means “Hunter”,  and Fargas means “Wolf”) have been partners in art crime for a least 30 years in Europe.

 Vadas has met a woman (Elizabeth) and wants out:  He is tired of the life, and wants to settle down with Elizabeth and his vineyard in Eger, Hungary.  They are both ‘Doms’, but Milkos is even more of a control freak. A dangerous man, indeed.

He is out to hit Vadas where it will hurt most.

Writing  chapters of sex and violence was a challenge.  The extreme nature of both themes was unknown territory.  However, the book is now completed, and except for the usual rewriting of chapters, will be published next year.

Lady Nyo

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 20

It was well after one in the morning when they met in Miklos’ study. Vadas always liked this room, with its dark wood paneling, book cabinets, and the long windows that gave an almost panoramic view of the countryside. They were on the second floor of the house, in a corner room, with Miklos sitting behind an antique desk. He had placed a bottle of whisky before them. Both were into their second drink.

“This little woman, this Elizabeth. She is a bit different from what you usually have on your arm, no?”

Vadas swallowed his drink before answering. “She is, Miklos. She is different. She is deeper than the usual fare.”

Miklos laughed. “Ah, my friend, if you are looking for this ‘deep’ you must be feeling the creep of age in your bones.”

“I am, Miklos. It’s been coming on for years. My life has caught up with me.”

Miklos finished his drink and poured another for both of them.

“So”, Miklos said quietly. “You are feeling old. We all get to feel old if we are lucky. To be lucky is not to die young.”

Vadas raised his glass to Miklos.

Miklos drummed his fingers on the surface before him. “You were good with the women, Vadas. They flocked to you like pigeons in the park. You had more than your share if I remember right.”

Vadas smiled and sipped his drink. Miklos always drank heavily and could hold his liquor. Vadas drank sparingly with Miklos because he knew his game. Tonight he needed his wits about him.

“I see this Elizabeth is wearing Marta’s bracelet. No other woman in my memory has been seen with it. So, tell me, Vadas, what is so special with this girl?”

“Nothing much. She’s a woman innocent of our ways. She has no experience in these things. That has a certain charm.”

“But to give her that bracelet, Vadas? This means more than she has charmed you with her innocence. I hear she wasn’t the best of submissives, so you think making her your wife will improve her behavior?”

“What you have heard is probably from those two jackals who keep circling about. They know little, and Alexandra knows nothing.”

Miklos laughed. “They are rather like jackals, my friend. They move in for the kill before it is decent. They themselves were bad slaves as I remember.”

Vadas gave a wry smile. “Considering you trained Alexandra and I Soffia, I think the failing was on our side.”

“Well,” said Miklos with a shrug, “both of them have served a purpose, wouldn’t you agree?”

Vadas laughed. “Everyone in our lives, Miklos, has served a purpose.”

“But what about this Elizabeth? Why would she of all women interest you?”

Vadas pondered his answer. “I don’t know, Miklos. She was just the usual girl at first. I had my way with her, but something else developed. I won’t say love, but then again, what is love to us? Over time she was willing to trust me. She trusted my decisions for her, even to take her from her home. Not to say she wasn’t a brat at times, but she was pliable.”

Vadas sipped his drink. He had not said much but knew Miklos could read between the lines.

Miklos looked through half closed eyes at Vadas.

“So you are saying you were training her for yourself, and not someone else? “

“Yes. It was an indulgence and also an experiment. She charmed me how she saw the world. She wasn’t jaded. Our society, our friends, Miklos, they are too corrupted, too deep in the mire. Elizabeth was, well, just innocent of our lives. She probably never will understand what we are. Or what I have done with women. Or why.”

“You think you can recapture your life through the innocence of this woman?”

“It’s more about changing my life, Miklos, and this is why we are talking tonight.”

“What is it you want from me?”

“I want out, Miklos. I don’t want to work for you anymore. I don’t want to fence art and I don’t want the continued risk to life. I want to retire to my vineyard and I want to grow old in the hills above Eger.”

“And this Elizabeth has agreed to be with you?”

“Elizabeth has not agreed to anything, Miklos.” Vadas put his glass down on the desk and scowled.

“Hah! That is a strange place for a man like you to be. Perhaps you can persuade her with a little pressure applied at the right places?”

Vadas laughed. “That ‘little pressure’ you are talking of would send her scurrying back to the States.”

“So, it seems you have lost your interest in dominating her? You are expecting a different kind of relationship and life with her?”

“I don’t know what the future holds, Miklos, but I do know that I am tired, bone weary of life as it is.”

Vadas finished his drink. “What do you want Miklos? What do you want from me for my part in the business?”

“What do I want? Ah, Vadas my old friend. Why would you think I would want anything? You have grown rich from our partnership and so have many others. I am stunned you would want to leave what we have built up so carefully. Do you really think you can walk away from all this and be happy and contented among your vines?”

“We have both grown rich, Miklos, and so many others, as you say. We have kept ourselves in very good fashion, but for me it’s over. I am too old for this. Let Alexandra or Soffia take up my place in the business. They will be good at it. Perhaps it is a time for a change here, no?”

Miklos leaned back in his leather chair. “You are not going to walk away so fast, my dear Vadas. You might be having a mid-life crisis. Have you considered this?”

“Miklos, bottom line. What do you want for my leaving? If I can, I will give it to you.”

“What do I want? One, I am deeply hurt you would want to leave our partnership. Two, if you are serious, I want an exchange for losing you. I don’t want money, I want property. You decide on what property.”

“Let me think on this, Miklos. This whisky is clouding my brain. I will give you an answer as to what I feel fair in a few days. Let me think on this. And I am serious, Miklos. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m not.”

Vadas left Miklos in his study and went back to what remained of the party. Some of the guests had departed, and some had disappeared into the guest rooms above the main floor. He spotted Soffia and walked up to her. She was yawning and looked tired.

“So, you were with Miklos a long time, Vadas. I hope your conversation was cordial. You know how both of you are together. Two wolves with very bad dispositions.” Soffia laughed. “I can smell you were drinking.”

“You don’t sit down with Miklos without a drink to steady your hand.”

“Well, did you get what you wanted out of him, Vadas? You know how hard he is to best.”

“What we discussed is between two men, Soffia. You are a Domme, but you still are a woman.”

“Oh! Am I to take that as an insult, Vadas? You men are so full of yourselves. Perhaps a woman knows more about women than men ever will know?”

Vadas pulled Soffia to him and kissed her on the forehead. “You know, Soffia, I respect you and admire you. In fact, I pushed for you to replace me.”

“Replace you? What do you mean?”

“I want out, Soffia. I want another life, a quiet life, one with Elizabeth and my grapes. I am too old and tired to continue to do what Miklos demands. I want to be my own man, with no attachments to my old life. Can you understand this?”

“How did Miklos take this news?”

“I don’t know, Soffia. I will find out in a few days when we talk again.”

“What if Elizabeth refuses to marry you, Vadas? All this will be for naught.”

“If she refuses to marry me, I will be very persuasive. You know I can be, Soffia. And even if I can’t get her to marry me, I will still do this.”

Soffia thought a moment. “I have no doubt about your persuasiveness, Vadas. I remember some of that in the past.”

Vadas left around 4am, tired and sick of the company. There were a few still drinking and loudly laughing, among them Miklos. They kept apart, each knowing the other could be moved to violence if tested. Or just given the chance.

Vadas called up one of his men and was met by a car as he walked down the gravel driveway. He could fall asleep he was so tired but too much was on his brain. He would have to consider his losses with Miklos. He knew they would be heavy. It was just one trade off for another. At least he would be starting something different. The allure of that was headier than the whisky he had drunk this night. It was time he was his own man. Miklos be damned.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

Europe, Immigrants and “Children of Aleppo”, a poem.

September 16, 2015

No one can ignore what is happening in Europe these days. Perhaps if you live under a rock you can, but most of us don’t. I am more than concerned, alarmed actually, at the news stream of photos we see of massive immigrants travelling by sea and walking over countries with babies and children in tow.

80% of these immigrants are young men, from 18-35, single, looking for economic opportunities. Most are from Syria. They yell and curse the US and the world for “not overthrowing Assad and ISIS”, yet they leave Syria, etc. because ‘they want a better life’. Many say they have left their wives and children behind.  Seems that Syrian women, etc. are just chattel to Muslim men. The majority of these men are educated  saying they are doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, and they can’t get a ‘better life’ in their home countries. Well, yes, there is a civil war going on, and they want no part of it. Though some say, ‘when it is safe’, they will return to Syria because they love their home country. Just not enough to organize and fight for it. For others to shoulder the burden.  They should be handed  a white feather.

Mother Merkel said they will take 800,000 of the immigrants. Germany is smart because these are the more ‘acceptable’ of the immigrants: more middle class, even upper class Syrians, educated, the professional class.   What  is left behind in the camps in Jordan, Turkey, etc. are the people who are too poor to pay smugglers to get them to the EU.  The elderly, the sick, the women, the children.

This is the ‘real’ crisis that the news keep writing about and they are legion.  Some 4 million in these camps.

Of course, we don’t know what the German people think of this, but I would think it would be along the lines of “Um…no.” And as far as ‘why don’t the Saudis take these Islamic people in their own country? (Along with Kuwait, Qatar, etc.) These immigrants are the ‘wrong type’ of religious Muslims to the Saudis. Splitting hairs to me.

Two or so years ago I read “Savage Continent” by Keith Lowe. It detailed the mass migrations across Europe and the Balkans after WWII. War basically started in the Balkans, and it looks like history will repeat itself. For anyone seriously concerned about what is happening right now, I would strongly suggest reading this powerful and disturbing book.

My greatest concerns are for the children, dragged across countries, babies and small children, and some who drown in the open seas and die of disease along the road. They are the true refugees. They are innocent of all politics. In my opinion, that is where our concern should be placed.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

=

The Children of Aleppo

 

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

There are little martyrs-in-the-making

Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds

Wish for a ‘family death’

Where they can die together

With their parents

Where they live in peace in Heaven

Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth-

-.

There is no childhood in Aleppo.

The children haunt the abandoned dwellings

Of friends who have fled the city.

There they find abandoned teddy bears

While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.

“Oh, the poor thing!”

A dead canary in his cage

Abandoned by its owners

They flee the rockets, bombs

And mortars.

In the face of daily death

The sight of this bird

Evokes a child’s sorrow.

But the gunfire outside continues

(They are used to the noise)

And huddle in the pockmarked

Halls until safe to scatter.

The children of Aleppo

Have no teachers, doctors.

These have fled the cities, schools

But they still pine for ice cream,

For music in the streets,

For curtains not torn by violence,

For books and toys

And gardens and flowers,

For friends that have not died

Innocent blood splattering

The dirty cobble stones

At their feet.

The children of Aleppo

Are free and children again

Only in their dreams,

And perhaps, if you believe so,

After death.

How do you put back the brains

Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?

How do you soothe the howls of the mothers

The groans of the fathers in grief?

How do you comfort the left-alive siblings?

The children of Aleppo

Have no future as children.

Suffer the little children here,

They are the sacrifice of parents

And factions,

And politicians

All with the blood of

10,000 children

Who have died

In a country torn

By immeasurable violence.

The beautiful children of Aleppo

Like children everywhere

Still want to chase each other

In the gardens, on playgrounds,

Want to dance in the streets,

Want to pluck flowers for their mothers

And they still pine for ice cream.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

“Children of Allepo” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Createspace, Amazon.com, 2014

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 27 from the novel.

July 1, 2015

de la Motte house

In 2007, I started writing “A Kapitany”.   A number of books got in the way, but last year I finished it.  Revising, reconsidering, etc. is now and hopefully this violent and graphic novel will be published next year.  The theme is this:  Vadas Dohendy owns a rundown vineyard near Eger, Hungary, an area famous for wine production. He also has inherited a 300 year chateau that is unlivable, and a  hunting lodge where he lives, with intermittent electricity (that haunts most of NE Hungary) and a really old Aga that backfires like a gun.

Vadas is also an art thief, a half-hearted Dom (now that he has fallen in love), and attempting to put most of that 30 year career behind him. He wants to leave the sordid life of crime and marry Elizabeth. He wants to recover his vineyard and at 60 he doesn’t want to look over his shoulder every day.  Soffia is one of his ‘henchmen’ though she is a woman.  They have worked many years together and have a long history.  Vadas is overbearing, Hungarian and no fool.  Elizabeth has been tortured, raped by his partner, Miklos Farkas. Both haveheir own gangs of men and are hunting each other.     (Vadas sort of means “hunter” in Hungarian, Farkas means ‘wolf”)

Violence and guns play a role in this novel and I drew from my own experience.  Guns are not something I like, but I have them.  Shotguns and pistols.  I used to shoot skeet, and wasn’t very good.   If you have guns you should learn how to use them and learn the safety rules.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

July 4th, 2015…may it be a peaceful one.

Kapitany, Chapter 27

“Soffia, I need a favor, darling. Yes, I know, your Vadas only calls when he needs a favor. Soffia, listen to me. I must come to Budapest.”

Vadas grimaced and pulled at his cigarette. Soffia could be a hard ass and right now she was being just that. He shifted the phone on his shoulder and stretched his legs.

“I have several things to do in Budapest. What I need is you to come here and stay with Elizabeth. No, she is much better, she is walking around. Yes, she is better, but I don’t want to leave her alone right now. I still don’t know where Miklos is, and I don’t want him showing up here when I am gone. No, I have men posted to watch, but I don’t want to alarm her.”

Vadas held the phone from his ear. Soffia was full of grievances this morning. He wasn’t in a mood to listen.

“No, darling, I haven’t told her yet you are coming. I thought I should ask first. Yes, I know, Soffia, I take great advantage of you. I will make it up. What? You pick. You know your Vadas will buy what you desire. I always have, darling.”

Vadas blew smoke towards the ceiling. “Listen, Soffia, Elizabeth has agreed to marry. Yes, I am speaking the truth. No, I didn’t burn her passport. No, I didn’t break her arm, funny lady.”
He rolled his eyes. Soffia was chattering on. “Look, you can help with planning the wedding. What? Yes, it will be a wedding. A big wedding. You will be maid of honor or whatever they call the woman next to the bride. Where? Some church in Eger. You take her around and show things. You can buy the dress, and another one for you. Yes, like last time. I trust you, Soffia. She will be a pretty bride. You both will be pretty brides. What? I’ll marry you off to one of my men, ok? You will like living in the countryside. No, I am teasing, Soffia. I know you are too sophisticated for these men around here.”

A few more minutes and Vadas got what he wanted. Soffia was coming out by car and would stay with Elizabeth for a few days. This would give him the time to go to Paris, see his lawyers and visit the old aunties. They were his only living relatives. It was crucial he at least visit and invite them in person. They held some important purse strings.

At lunch Vadas asked Elizabeth what should be done with the frescos.

“For now? Nothing, Vadas. First secure the roof. Anything done before that would be pointless. Then fix the plaster in the ceilings. It’s rather scary lying under that ceiling in the bed. It could all give in at any moment. But the frescos should not be touched. They are too valuable and historic for any hands besides professional conservators. And that would cost a lot of money.”

Elizabeth pushed around her salad. She still wasn’t eating much.

“Probably the damp in the house doesn’t help. Fix the windows in the rooms where there are frescos. Where there aren’t, board them up properly. They will be costly to fix anyway. Those sashes have to be custom made.”

Vadas smiled over his coffee. “You have been thinking, no? You speak good sense, Elizabeth. Now, I have a plan. You do that stuff on the internet, you know, press those buttons, and find the people who can fix the roof first. You can go into Eger and ask. I would start there first.”

Elizabeth looked doubtful. “Vadas, do you remember I don’t speak Hungarian? They would laugh at me first, and then throw me out.”

“Well, I have a solution. I have asked Soffia to come up for a couple of days. Now, listen to me, Elizabeth. I have to go to Budapest for a couple of days, on business only and no you can’t come. I will be racing all over and you will not be able to keep up. Plus, I have to call upon my old aunties and invite them to the wedding. You and Soffia can plan the wedding, you two girls. This is woman stuff, and it best left in your capable hands. Four capable hands.”

Elizabeth still looked doubtful. In fact, she looked upset. Vadas guessed what was worrying her.

“Listen, Elizabeth. Soffia has promised to be good. She has promised not to get you under her or whatever she does. Ok? No hanky panky from her. Plus, she is Hungarian and can help arrange the workmen. It will be fun. You won’t even miss me and I will be back before you do.”

Elizabeth said nothing. She continued to push her food around the plate.

Vadas sat back and watched. “Do you remember, Elizabeth, when I told you I would feed you? That you would eat from my hand only? Do I have to do that now? You are going to look like a scarecrow at your wedding. What man wants to sleep with a woman who is skin and bones? The winter, Elizabeth, is hard in these hills.”

Vadas had no trouble with his own appetite. He cut up his meat and held out his fork. “You come here, Elizabeth. You eat this. Then you eat another mouthful.”

Elizabeth looked at him, her eyes filling with tears. “Vadas, I’m scared.”

“What? You  scared of meat?”

“You know, you must know. What if Miklos comes back when you are gone? What if he comes here? Soffia is no defense against him. You know that.”

Vadas sat back and patted his knee. “You come here Elizabeth and I will explain something.”

Elizabeth knew his behavior made her look like a child, a ‘good girl’ in his terms. But she was scared and the news he was going away put her on edge.

She sat on his lap and Vadas wrapped his arms around her. He had this habit of humming off key when she was close by, and Elizabeth found it strangely comforting.

“Now look, Elizabeth. You and Soffia will be safe. I have men here you won’t see. But anyone who approaches by foot or car will be known. These men are hunters and they know this particular prey. And you are wrong about Soffia. I would rather go up against two men than Soffia. She is a good shot, too. I will give her a gun. Hell, you can have a gun, too. Ok? Dry your tears and eat this good food.”

“Vadas, I can handle a gun. I have before.”

“What? You know how to shoot? I will sleep with one eye open from now on. Eat another piece of meat.”

Just to see if she was telling the truth, Vadas took her out behind the lodge where there was a meadow. He set up some bottles as targets and loaded a large pistol. Standing behind her with his hands around hers, he told her to gently squeeze the trigger. She missed.

“Ok, we do this again. You hold the gun steady, Elizabeth. You are jerking when it went off.”

“Vadas. Let me do this without your hands all over. Let me try, please.”

Vadas backed off and Elizabeth considered the target. She closed one eye and aimed carefully. The bottle exploded.

“Good girl! That was beginner’s luck. You try again.” Elizabeth hit the bottle but the gun was heavy. It wasn’t a light pistol, but a heavy European model. The sound scared her.

“Enough, Vadas. My wrist hurts. I have shot a gun before. I don’t use pistols, so this was hard. I have my own shotgun.”

“What? You have a shotgun? What, a lady’s gun? Maybe a small gauge? Something for mice?”

Elizabeth laughed. “No, Vadas, I have a 12 gauge for bird hunting. I have another, a breech loader, I use with skeet.”

“Oh, skeet don’t taste good, Elizabeth.” Vadas was laughing.

“Each day I learn something new about you. This is good, Elizabeth. By the time we are married I will know all your secrets.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Don’t bet on it, Vadas. I have lived a long life. I have many secrets.”

Vadas took the gun from Elizabeth. He put his arm  around her shoulder and they went back to the lodge.

That evening Elizabeth asked him. “So when are you leaving and when is Soffia coming?”

Vadas looked up from his paper. “Are you pushing me out the door? Well, Soffia is coming tomorrow and I thought I would hang around until she got here. Then I can read her the riot act again.” Vadas went back to his paper.

When Soffia arrived, Vadas brought her into his study and closed the door. They were in there for a while and Elizabeth decided to take a walk. She would see if she could spy these men lingering about. Vadas said they would be invisible, but she wanted to see for herself. When she came back in the lodge, Vadas and Soffia were by the fire drinking whisky.

“Ah, Elizabeth darling! You look good! So much better than those first few days in hospital.”

“Hello, Soffia.” Elizabeth went and kissed her on both cheeks. “It’s good to see you again.” She sat down on a small sofa. Vadas held out his whisky to her and she shook her head.

“Vadas has given me a list of things we can do and things we can’t do,” Soffia said brightly. “But we can spend his money and that is the best thing.”

Vadas sighed. “Always you women spend my money. That is constant.”

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2015

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 25

October 9, 2014

It’s probably confusing to post a novel in bits and pieces, but right now this book is in the state of rewrite.

It’s a novel I started 7 years ago, and didn’t ever think I could finish it, but then last year did.  It’s an ‘erotic novel’ or something that has a fair amount of sex in it, but hopefully it feeds the storyline. 

Vadas Dohendy is an art thief in the employ of a very dangerous man, Miklos Farkas. They have worked together for decades, mostly in this ‘business’.  Over the past 5 years Vadas, who owns a vineyard near Eger, Hungary, has moved away from Miklos’ illegal business and wants out. Elizabeth is American, though half Hungarian.  Vadas is Hungarian and lives in Paris and Hungary.  He has brought Elizabeth with him to Hungary, and in spite of all else, has managed to fall in love with Elizabeth.  She isn’t so sure about this man, and his activities have placed her in great danger. Miklos Farkas has raped and assaulted her, and Vadas and his men are looking for Miklos. Zoltan (an employee and friend of Vadas) was also shot by Miklos’ men in their kidnapping of Elizabeth.  Miklos was sending a loud message to Vadas in his abducting and brutalization of Elizabeth for Vadas daring to leave his business. Vadas will attempt to hunt Miklos to the ends of the earth for what he has done to Elizabeth.  Vadas in Hungarian means “the hunter” (sort of…) and Farkas means wolf.

Lady Nyo

Three days after Elizabeth was hospitalized, Vadas visited Zoltan in a different hospital. He was careful not to link Zoltan and Elizabeth’s circumstances. To do so would ignite suspicions, or make connections in the heads of the police. He needed time to figure out what to do about all this. Since Zoltan was shot, the police would have been notified, a report made, perhaps even an investigation begun. They would connect the dots soon enough.

A grizzled man with a hat pulled over his eyes visited Zoltan one morning. Either Peti or Sami watched over Zoltan. They didn’t think Zoltan was in any danger from Miklos’ men. At least not right now. They were probably scattered and hiding. At least Vadas and his men hoped so. They needed time.

It was Vadas who entered Zoltan’s room and sat in a chair by the bed. Zoltan looked pale. He had lost enough blood to need transfusions. He would be in hospital for at least another week. Zoltan turned his head from the window when Vadas came in. His face crinkled with a weak attempt at laughter.

“Even without a shave and that hat I could tell it was you.”

“How are you, my brother? Are you feeling stronger? Peti tells me you will be out of here within a week.”

“I’m weak, Vadas, like a kitten. I am sorry about Elizabeth. The men told me about her. I could do little to protect her, Vadas.”

“Of course, Zoltan, the bastards shot you. At least you didn’t die. Elizabeth is alive, but it was close.”

“Vadas, this shit is serious, this shit with Miklos. What happened there? Not for a moment did I think he would take such a risk.”

Vadas grimaced and pulled his hat off, brushing his hand through his hair. “He will pay for it. Now tell me, Zoltan, can you remember any of Miklos’ men? Do you think you know who shot you? Who acted in charge here?”

“I told Sami I thought it was the man called “the Romanian”. I heard someone say that name. He’s a big, bullet-headed man, Vadas. He was in charge. He knew what he was doing.”

Vadas cursed softly. “That sounds like Miklos. He would have a Romanian as his top man. Probably a relative.”

“I heard what you did to Barna.” Zoltan laughed softly. “I think you will take more than a finger from Miklos when you catch him.”

“Yeah, Miklos is living on borrowed time. You know, Zoltan, we can’t find him. At least not now. We think he might have been warned by Barna after we left him. We should have taken his cell. Barna probably called someone and they warned Miklos. Miklos had time to escape as we drove back. It’s like he disappeared into air.”

“Well, he’ll surface, Vadas. He won’t stay underground for long. He can’t. He’s got a business to run. Several.”

Zoltan sighed and lay back in the pillows. “You need more men, Vadas, you know that. You should go to Eger and call them together. You know what will happen here. Miklos will be doing the same thing. You don’t want to be short gunned as nasty as this has turned out.”

Vadas was thinking. Zoltan always gave good advice. They had been friends, worked together in the vineyards for over forty years. They had been boys, hunting and making trouble in Eger. Zoltan was one man Vadas trusted completely. He was right. He needed more men.

“So, how is your Elizabeth doing? Peti said her injuries were severe. What is known of Miklos, I would imagine she didn’t get off lightly.”

“An understatement, Zoltan. Her wrist is broken, she was raped and tortured. I found her hanging from a hook, out of it. Miklos left her there to die. He knew I would find her, sooner or later.  The doctors sedated her, but she’s awake and talking now. She’s in a lot of pain but the body will heal. Her mind?” Vadas pointed to his head. “Another story.”

Zoltan shook his head. He knew Miklos as long as Vadas. The level of hatred Miklos had in him-well, he would pay with his life. Miklos was somewhere on earth. Vadas would hunt him down like the boar.

“Elizabeth told me Alexandra was involved. She caned Elizabeth. They will pay. The offense was intended for both of us.”

Zoltan crossed himself. “Alexandra was always a ringyo. She hid behind Miklos in the early days, and she still jumps to serve him. She is jealous of your woman, Vadas. That is obvious to anyone looking.”

Vadas shoved the hat back on his head as he stood to leave.

“Well, my friend, you are out of the fight for now. You get better, Zoltan. Stronger. You come back to Eger and rest. I’m going to take Elizabeth there, if she will come. Right now? I don’t know what she will do, and of course, I can’t force her. A man has limits on what he can make a woman do. She can be stubborn like a mule. Like all women, no?”

Zoltan shifted in the bed and groaned. “You care for this woman. It’s been a long time since I saw that. She’s a good woman, Vadas, but you go slow. She has some shock and can’t think straight right now. If forced, she will bolt. Better hide her passport.”

Vadas laughed. He had already considered that. Elizabeth was an American, traveling under an American passport. He needed to keep her name from the eyes and ears of the American embassy in Budapest. That would be another can of worms for him. Better she marry him, and soon. At least it would change some things, and would provide some protection for her. And he would be protected in ways, too.

It was less than a week and Vadas was in Eger with Elizabeth. He wondered where to put her, since she was clearly in pain and needed help with the most basic things. He decided on his bedroom. He would sleep on a couch there, comfortable enough. He would sleep in his bed but for that damn cast. He was afraid of turning over on her.

His bathroom was better than the one attached to her bedroom. She would need help bathing and dressing. Maria Kovacs would help. He knew Soffia could be there periodically. He still wanted to run the show, to watch over Elizabeth’s recovery. He had brought her into this shit. A some point he had to concentrate on Miklos. And soon. And by him, not the police. He needed a plan. His hatred for Miklos was eating a hole in his gut. Miklos was still breathing air, not in the ground. This was an outrage he could not swallow.

********

Seven men were sitting at the table in the dining room one night. Vadas sat at the head of the table and studied each man. There were empty wine bottles all over and the men were getting pleasantly drunk.

Vadas knew they could be trusted. He had known most of them for decades. If not them, who else? All had worked in the planting of the vines and the harvest for years. A few had worked on other things, too, not legal. He was the last to cast stones. He had made his money illegally. With some of these men, he had few secrets. At times they had been part of his operations.

They were all strong and independent men, good men at heart. They were closed- mouthed men and he needed help in capturing Miklos.  They could dig for information, talk to men hanging in the taverns around Esztergom, grease some palms. He would pay well for this information. If they could, they would get it.

Andor spoke up, knocking back his wine and setting the heavy glass back on the table with a bang.

“Miklos must have gone insane. For him to do what he did? No man would tolerate it.” He turned and addressed Vadas.

“I can understand Zoltan being shot. He’s a man. He knows violence. He was in the way of what they wanted. But I saw the condition of your woman when we found her. Jesus Christ! What man would do this except a wild animal?”

Vadas looked up at the ceiling and pulled on his cigarette.

“When a man does this to a woman, he insults and injures not only the woman, but the man. He did this (Vadas made a vulgar thrusting motion with his hips) to fuck with me. With this, he defiled Elizabeth, but he also defiled me. Elizabeth was just a way to fuck with me.”

The men were silent, some nodding their heads. What Miklos did would not be tolerated by any man in the room. Some wondered at the calmness of Vadas, but those who knew him best knew Vadas never moved without a plan. The stakes were too high and dangerous.

Markus spoke. “This Romanian? Who is he? Has he been with Miklos long? I never heard of him. Barna, I did, but Barna wasn’t a leader. He was just a thug. This Romanian worries me, Vadas.”

“He worries me too.” Vadas took a long pull at his wine. “Sounds like he is a professional. Miklos is smart that way. He would size up what he wanted and get the man who could get the task done. This Romanian got the task done.”

Miklos wasn’t seen in Budapest. Vadas had his own men there and there were no reports of Miklos. It was thought he could have run back to Romania. He had many people there. Then again, he could have been in Paris. No one knew where he was.

Suddenly the room quieted. Elizabeth was standing in the wide doorway to the room. She was wearing a bathrobe and barefoot. Vadas turned and jumped out of his chair.

“Elizabeth, you shouldn’t be down here. You go back upstairs. Tonight is for the men and you are not to be down here. Understand?”

Elizabeth waved her hand in front of her face. “The smoke in this room would kill me, anyway. I heard the noise and I got nervous. I’ll go back upstairs and leave you to your drinking.”

She turned to go back and wobbled a bit. Vadas caught her and carried her upstairs.

“Look. The men are drinking and it’s no place for a woman. Get in bed and I will be up later.”

“Oh Vadas. I’m just nervous. I heard noise and I didn’t know what was happening downstairs.”

“You are not to worry, Elizabeth.” Vadas placed her on the bed, and kissed her on the forehead.

“Soffia told me you went to see Zoltan. How is he?”

“He is recovering, Elizabeth. He asked about you. Now, we will talk later. I must go back to the men.”

Vadas turned at the doorway and looked at Elizabeth on the big bed. She looked so small and defenseless. She looked like a child.

“Elizabeth, if you feel up to it, tomorrow we go to the house. You will like it. And the murals, of course. Do you have strength enough to walk around the house?”

“Yes. I feel so pointless sitting here, doing nothing. That would be lovely. Tomorrow morning?”

“Ok, I’ll be up later. I have work to do right now. You are ok now, you dream of your sheep.”

Vadas went back to the men and they argued and plotted until 2am. They were all pretty drunk when they left, but had at least agreed on a plan.

Vadas climbed the stairs knowing Elizabeth was long asleep and would ask no questions. Well, tomorrow was another day. Perhaps seeing the house would give her something to look towards. It needed a lot of work, but would take up her energies. He didn’t need Elizabeth hanging on his trousers with fear. Women were all a bother, with some interesting parts. Luckily the vines looked good, going into summer. The grapes had sense enough to grow on their own.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2014

“9-11”,….. a poem dedicated to my aunt Jean.

September 10, 2014

This poem was the favorite of my Aunt Jean Kohut, who died at almost 102 July 28, 2014. She was from Hungary and this courageous young woman at 24 years old, sailed back on the Queen Mary to Hungary to defend her parent’s property rights before the Hungarian court. In 1936 all state institutions, courts, etc. were already taken over by the Nazis. Of course she lost, but the miracle was her courage in facing these circumstances. She could have been jailed or shot.

Aunt Jean knew most of the Astronauts and had signed photos framed on her walls. To say that she was patriotic is an understatement. She was buried in her favorite lavender pants suit, wearing her USA tee shirt. She was a fierce intellectual, and a rare woman at that. She wrote extensively of her love for her new country.

Lady Nyo

 

Painting by Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2006"Eagle" Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2005

 

9-11

 

That beautiful morning–

Teasing taste of early Autumn

The unthinkable happened

And our world stopped turning

I saw the plane, I saw the fire

I saw the smoke descend like

A blanket of blinding grief

Too late to spare those on the ground

The sight of Armageddon.

 

 

Mortar-grey people transformed

Into gritty moving statues,

Holding hands, blinded by smoke,

Move down streets where

Paper, bricks, metal, glass rained down

Like the Devil’s Ticket Parade,

Walked in silence towards the bridges,

Barely a moan I am told,

An Exodus unexpected on this

Morning of such seasonal promise.

 

I saw worse.

I saw people jump

From the ledges, holding hands,

Some with briefcases

And all I could do

Was howl:

 

“I will catch you!

Jump into my arms

I will not drop you.

Do not be afraid,

Aim for my embracing arms,

With the last of my life—

I will catch you.”

 

That day of fire and ash,

Inexplicable funeral pyre,

Of brave souls rushing in

And frightened souls rushing out

And the ash, the ash, the ash,

Covered everything like a silent September snow.

 

Thirteen years later

Grieving when this day approaches,

I hear the words well up in me:

 

“We will catch you!

Jump into our arms,

We will not drop you.

You will not be forgotten,

With the last of our breath–

We will catch you.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 9-11-2011-2014

“A Kapitany” (The Captain), Chapter 33

February 9, 2013

pict0174

I started “A Kapitany” in 2007, left it and only came back to it this late fall. The general theme of bdsm had changed, had blossomed into something very different. Doing a lot of research on Europe and especially Hungary after WWII, and especially reading Keith Lowe’s book: “Savage Continent” made an impact. It also gave me a framework to revamp and complete this novel. To say that it changed is understating it. I became more interested in what was happening post Nazi, post Soviet, with the people of Hungary. It gave rewards in what had become a love story deepened. The influence of Be Bop, popular music of the 50’s and 60’s on Hungarian people was also interesting to me. This chapter has a nod towards that.

I think the strength of the Hungarian people and these characters comes from what happened to Hungary. War tears up society, but it also reshapes it. There is a caution though: today the rise of the right wing in Hungarian society and politics is is showing it’s head again. It stands as a warning to all of us that the destruction of WWII could happen again.

Lady Nyo

A Kapitany, Chapter 33

It was after three in the afternoon when Vadas returned from seeing Zoltan. He walked into the kitchen, looking for Elizabeth. Maria was stirring a pot on the stove.

“Maria, have you seen Elizabeth around?” He threw himself in a chair and bumped his shin on the stretchers of the oak table. It was scarred with knife cuts and pot burns. He remembered adding his own carvings with a knife Janos had given him when he was ten years old. Vadas traced a ‘bad word’ with his finger. He got belted from Janos for that trick. Maria had to cook and look at that all day, Janos said.

“Elizabeth was here in the kitchen, but my English and her Hungarian weren’t good enough to talk. She did knead some dough. Her wrist is hurting her, Vadas. She needs to take better care of it.”

“Yeah, she needs to stop beating me up. That will help her wrist.” Maria laughed.

“Perhaps if you speak only Hungarian she will learn faster?”

Maria poured a cup of coffee for him from the percolator on the back of the big stove. Vadas wanted to replace that old Aga with a new electric one, but Maria wouldn’t hear of it. She was used to this stove and too old to change. Janos kept a low fire burning in it throughout the night. Maria claimed only good bread, decent enough to eat could come from these old stoves. The new stoves made ‘store bought’ bread.

“Where have you been all day? The girl wasn’t easy with you gone.”

“I was seeing Zoltan, Maria.”

“And how is he?” Maria wiped her hands on her apron and sat down at the table.

“He’s doing pretty well. He’s lost weight and is pale, but his spirits are good.”

Vadas sipped at his hot coffee. He liked it strong and black. Maria was the only one who made decent coffee, strong enough for him.

“When I was visiting the aunties, they told me something. Zoltan is my half brother.”

“I knew.”

“What! Am I the only person on earth who doesn’t?” Vadas put his cup down and splattered the table.

“I nursed him as I nursed you.” Maria wiped up the coffee. “Your mother didn’t have enough milk when either of you were born. Let me see. Zoltan is about four years older? I forget. And you were born after your father returned from that work camp.”

“What happened to your baby, Maria?”

“They both died, Vadas. I was raped by a Russian soldier after the war. The baby was stillborn. I had milk but not much else. Zoltan’s father hunted in the mountains. He saved a lot of people around here. All the other men were either off fighting the war, or in the labor camps, like the one your father was in. But that was later. I was too young to carry that first baby. But I had milk. I was given Zoltan. Years later, when your mother had you, I moved in with her and your father and nursed you. You were a fat baby then.” Maria looked at Vadas over her cup. “You’re getting fat again.”

Vadas pounded his stomach. “It’s all muscle. Women get fat. Men get muscle.” Maria laughed.

“Tell me more, Maria. Tell me about those early years.”

“So much happened during the war years, Vadas. There were no men around. We did all the labor, plus the work of women. I was so young then, not even seventeen, and after the first baby? Well, I was lonely, too. So many had died around me. The old people were dying off from disease and the famine. There were no doctors. I thought if I had a baby I wouldn’t be so alone. This second baby died, and then not long after I met Janos. He was coming home from the war. He walked for months, hiding out in forests and caves. It was a miracle he made it back. So many didn’t. Your father came home but he was a broken man.” Maria sipped her coffee.

“But you never had another child?”

“No, those two were all I had in me. I grew attached to Zoltan. They took him away. Some aunt raised him.”

She sighed. “I was attached to you, too, but your aunties took you to France with your mother. You were just a baby. I cried so much, but I wasn’t wanted by them. I begged and pleaded to take me. When your mother came back with you after a few years, you had grown into a little boy and didn’t remember your old nurse. You were scared of everyone. You cried at the drop of a feather.”

“Living with Aunt Margit probably gave me reason.” Vadas laughed uneasily.

“It’s God’s miracle, Vadas, that both of you boys survived. More than half of the children in Noszvaj didn’t. I remember gathering grass and boiling it with any roots we could find to make soup. Some of the barn cats, the ones we could catch, went into the soup. We ate up the kittens first, then the rats. We ate anything to survive, shoe leather and bits of old harness. But we stopped that in winter when we had no more shoes.”

Vadas looked at the fat, old grey cat sitting on the ledge of the window. Maria smiled and sipped her coffee.

“You know, Vadas. Your Elizabeth will never know or understand what happened here, or what happened across Europe. The war was terrible, but after the war? It was worse than hell. It never really ended. Not for another ten years. It was sect after sect, different militias battling each other. We were in the middle. We were expendable. Partisans took their revenge on everyone. One village raided and slaughtered another. I saw men and women tied together by the Red army soldiers and thrown in the river to drown. We were rounded up and made to watch this. Men had their eyes gouged out and bugs put in their sockets and then sewn up. There were always enough ‘others’ to slaughter for no reason. Even the priests were hung. I remember women and children from another village locked in a church and set on fire. What happened after war was madness. This whole country reverted to savages. That was what we lived with. Your Elizabeth will never understand this, even if she reads a hundred books.”

Vadas shook his head. He knew the stories. The older people, they couldn’t forget them, and why should they? Perhaps in the remembering, in the telling, it made them grateful for life, for survival. Perhaps they also didn’t want to let old wounds heal, either. He wondered. They were the fallow ground, just waiting for blood, these memories, these stories, the next ethnic cleansing, and the next war. He was a man, had served a short time in the defense force. He knew how brutal men were. It could happen again.

No, this wasn’t Elizabeth’s war. And they weren’t her memories. But as she learned the language and lived here, she would hear them. He knew the resentment the Americans didn’t stop any of this. How could they? Hungary was Russia’s spoils of war.

Maria poured more coffee. They sipped in silence, thinking of the past.

“I asked Zoltan to move in here. He refused. He says he’s comfortable where he is and too old to move. I will deed over the lodge to him. Of course, you and Janos will live here until you die. You are as much part of this family as he.”

“We know, Vadas,” said Maria patting his hand. “You always have been good to us. Janos and I have no worries about that. We do worry about your woman. She’s been through a lot, yes?”

“I will deal with it. Talking with Zoltan today gives me new ideas.”

“You protect yourself, Vadas. Whatever it is you are planning, you protect yourself. You will have a new wife. Maria crossed herself. “Don’t leave this one a widow.”

Vadas changed the subject. “We have been talking about bringing her old auntie over from the States. She won’t want to live in Hungary. Elizabeth says she will stay probably a month. I can’t see her elderly auntie making that trip for just a month.”

“As long as she stays out of my kitchen, I will make her welcome.”

Vadas laughed. Two women in one kitchen was trouble. Three? God Almighty. He would move in with Zoltan.
“I have a lot of work to do, Maria.” Vadas got up, leaned over Maria and kissed her on the forehead. The things he learned in the last 24 hours! Ah, life was complex and too many secrets were kept in the dark.

He looked in on Elizabeth and found her sleeping. She looked tired even in sleep. Watching her he saw her mouth move and hear her murmurings. She was dreaming of something.

He sat down at his desk. There was much to do for the vines, always the vines. He needed to calculate the amount of fertilizer to use. Zoltan usually did that, not by a process of math, but by experience. He had rows and hills stretching out across the valley, almost to the foot of the mountains. He needed around thirty pounds of actual nitrogen to spread per acre, not too close to the vines. Grapes were deep rooted fruit. They went down five feet or more, some of the older vines. He needed to plant more new rows, and replace those vines not producing well.
Vadas worked on his calculations. The nitrogen he used was ammonium nitrate, which was 33% nitrogen. You multiplied the weight of a 50 pound bag which gave you 16 pounds of actual nitrogen. Three 50 pound bags gave you 50 pounds of nitrogen. He had acres of vines to consider. Ah, God!

He hated math. It always screwed with him. Only with the needs of the vines had he been able to do this. But he still hated math.

Of course, too much nitrogen would damage the grapes. Compared to other crops, grapes didn’t have a high nitrogen requirement. A high nitrogen dump late in the season would affect the vines ability to withstand winter. Up here at the foot of the Matra mountains, the winters were always severe.

Too much or too little, like wine and women, would unbalance life. Something was always screwing with him.

After a few hours of this, he had enough. He would have to dig deep for the fertilizer next year, between bud and bloom season, but for now, this year, he had it covered.

He moved to a club chair, first poking up the fire. Janos had a good supply of wood stored under a roof, but he needed more before winter. It was always winter when things broke down, stopped working or died. Vadas had only been attending the vines for the last five years and now? It was a make or break deal. If it was dry tomorrow he would take Elizabeth out to inspect the grapes. They would be small green bullets, but growing. He made a mental note to call around to his clients in Paris and Budapest. There were enough barrels and bottles in the caves to supply them now. He would also have to secure more buyers for the wine. Ah God, it never ends, he thought. It’s a race between weather and demands of the soil and fruit.

Vadas was happy. The news about Zoltan made him happy. He decided to listen to his favorite music: American rock and roll. He had a collection of old records he bought during visits to the States. It was rare he had a chance to settle and enjoy this music. He put on “Under the Boardwalk” by the Drifters. He lit a cigarette and stretched out, drawing the smoke in deeply.

Elizabeth stood at the entrance of the room.

She started to laugh. “I didn’t know you liked this kind of music.”

“Ah! My dance partner has arrived!” Vadas threw his cigarette into the fireplace and grabbed Elizabeth around the waist. He danced her around the room, dipping and swaying, twirling her around like a 50’s jitterbug. He was quite happy with himself.

After a few minutes, she was tired out, but Vadas continued to dance, putting on a show, one hand on his stomach, the other waving in the air, his feet gliding about. Elizabeth laughed at his antics, glad to see him in such a mood. Finally he flopped down in his chair, beaming at her.

“Wherever you went it certainly made you happy.”

Vadas turned off the phonograph. “I saw Zoltan.”

“And how is he?”

“Good. In fact, better than ever.”

“Oh, that’s so good to hear. He’s a sweet man.”

“Yes he is.” Vadas started to light another cigarette, and then thought the better of it. Elizabeth was around and he didn’t want her nagging. He would hold the ‘good news’ about Zoltan until they went to bed. Then he would tell her, when he could weave the tale.

“Come here, Elizabeth.” He padded the chair.

“There’s no room, Vadas”, said Elizabeth, laughing.

“There’s always room for you, Mouse.”

Elizabeth sat on his lap. Vadas pulled her into his arms. She tucked her head under his chin, as he looked outside at the trees. The afternoon had slipped away and dusk was falling. The rain was heavier. The night would be a good one for sleeping. Lying in bed, he would hear the pounding of the rain. It always comforted, lulled him to sleep.
Nothing was solved, and Miklos was still out there. But he had seen Zoltan. In less than a day he had gained a brother, some family. He felt happy. The woman in his lap was a big part of that. Whatever tomorrow would bring, he could face it. He knew Zoltan would have his back. Then again, Zoltan always did. It just was a bit different now.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

Lady Nyo

Lady Nyo

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 32, and a Haiku each day….

January 31, 2013

This is Natiional Haiku Month I am told: Write a haiku a day.

I will not shed tears
Let the tall murasaki
wet my silken sleeves.

Outside the window
there is a world of chaos
Inside, warm fire.

A swirl of blossoms
Caught in the water’s current
Begins the season.

The north wind blows hard
Chills both man and animal
Life is not certain.

Haiku (classical form) is done as 5-7-5. There are many who creatively write ‘outside the box’. I still count on my fingers, and squeeze the ‘haiku’ into the box.


Lady Nyo


A Kapitany, Chapter 32

Vadas knew where Zoltan lived, though he hadn’t been there in a long time. He passed through a small village behind Noszvaj, where the road cut through a dense forest. Zoltan had a small cottage, down from the village, off the road. Vadas could see smoke from a small chimney.

All of this region was poor, and had been since it was settled. The war didn’t help and they survived much as they had after the war, scratching out an existence from the earth. Many of the people hunted in the forest for deer and boar to feed their families. They planted cabbage and millet, the poorest of grains. There was the forest for fuel, the way people heated their houses. This region of the northeast Hungary was poorly served by natural gas and electricity. Unemployment was high.

Vadas stopped his Jeep in front of the small path that led to the cottage. A dog came off the porch, barking wildly. A woman, not young, came from inside and yelled at the dog. It went behind the house where it quieted down. She smiled at Vadas, showing missing teeth. She must be a relative of Zoltan’s, thought Vadas.

The woman stood aside and held the door for him. He entered a room where he saw Zoltan sitting, his feet propped on the woodstove. Zoltan was smoking. Vadas embraced him, kissing him on both cheeks.

“You look good, Zoltan. How do you feel?”

“Like I dodged a bullet”, said Zoltan with a wide smile, his eyes twinkling.

Vadas laughed. “Well, you didn’t dodge the bullet, but you live another day.”

Zoltan offered him a cigarette from his pack. Vadas hesitated. He had cut down smoking, and mostly didn’t when Elizabeth was around. Elizabeth wasn’t around.

Lighting up, he drew in the smoke. Ah, he missed this. It was good to be around others who did.

They sat in silence. The woman, a cousin of Zoltan’s, brought in a tray of glasses, wine and sausage. She poured a glass for each of them then went back into the kitchen.

“How is your woman?”

“She is recovering, Zoltan. She’s is a bit cracked in the head right now.”

Vadas twirled his fingers near his temple, like Soffia had that morning.

Zoltan looked at the woodstove and grunted. “To be expected. She went through hell with Miklos.”

Vadas took a long drag on his cigarette. He looked at the glowing end. It was good to smoke again.

“I still don’t know where that bastard is. He hasn’t surfaced. I got all sorts of men looking and nothing. It’s driving me crazy. It’s also driving the woman crazy. She’s jumpy and cries a lot. This morning she tried to beat me up. I’m sore now, and tomorrow? I’ll be bruised like a kicked dog.”

They both laughed, Zoltan staring at Vadas. “You got one bold woman, there, Vadas. Either she’s bold or you’re getting soft.”

“I’m getting soft in the head. Ah God. And I am marrying her. Yes, soft in the head. She’s softening me up for the kill.”

“You know she tried to save me, Vadas? She told me to stay where I was. She started to leap out of the back door. She was going to deal with them. Her dress and heels slowed her down.” Zoltan shook his head and laughed softly.

Vadas drew on his cigarette. “I didn’t know that. I’m not surprised. She’s smarter than she looks.”

“Well, women, Vadas, you know?” Zoltan shrugged his shoulders and picked up his wine.

“To life and death, Vadas. To the death of Miklos. In time.”

Vadas tipped his glass to Zoltan. He could drink to that.

“How are the grapes?” Zoltan had his own vines. Vadas could see them stretching down the hill behind Zoltan’s cottage.

“Good. We need more rain. Always more rain.”

“How’s your cabbage?”

“Small, Vadas, but the woman spread manure, and they are growing, but slow.”

Vadas finished his glass and put it on the tray.

“Look, Zullie. I came to talk to you about something important. Something I just found out.”

“I’m all ears. Look me in the eye and speak, Vadas.”

Vadas sighed and shook his head.

“When I was visiting the old aunties yesterday, they told me something. Seems my mother was yours. We are brothers, Zullie.”

Zoltan shifted his weight and smiled. “I knew, Vadas. I knew years ago. Not officially. I heard the whispering when I was a boy.”

Vadas leaned forward and snubbed out his cigarette on the tray. His voice was cracked with emotion.

“What in hell made you silent? No family to speak of, just these two old biddies, and here under my nose I had a brother? What the fuck, Zoltan? Why didn’t you say?”

“There didn’t seem to be reason, Vadas. Life was fine without knowing. Would it really make any difference?”

Vadas stood up, ran his hand through his hair and sat down.

“Difference? Hell, yes, it would have made a difference. I could have done more, I could have done something. Look, Zullie, you are my flesh and blood. Do you know what that means? I’ve not had that. I’ve been thinking I was alone in this world. You could have been part, an important part of my life.”

Zoltan laughed softly. “What would have changed? I’ve been a part of your life. When we have need, we know where to find each other. Look, Vadas, I’m not like you. I’m a peasant. I’m a simple man. I have no education and I am comfortable. I don’t have your responsibilities. What do I need? I have this cottage, these vines. I got plenty of wood for the stove. I even got a cellphone.” Zoltan laughed, his heavy eyebrows going up and down.

“No, Zullie. It’s not that simple. You are my flesh, my blood. I have that house and the lodge and money in the bank. Sure, without Miklos’ business, and the need of the vineyard, the money won’t last. But fuck, Zullie. I have something more than that with you. I got family right under my nose and I didn’t know.”

Zoltan smiled. “Vadas, has anything changed between us with this news? No. We are the same as before. You need me, you find me. I need you, I find you.”

“Look, Zullie. I don’t care what you say. I have to make this right. It’s something I do. I want you to have the lodge. I am going to deed it over to you, understand? You get the lodge and the land around it, ok?”

“Vadas, are you cracked in the head like Elizabeth? What the fuck would I do with that place? It’s too big. Besides, my vines are here. My cousin takes good care of me. I am set in my ways. What else do I need?”

Vadas sighed and passed his hand through his hair. “You may not need much now, but I am still going to deed the lodge over. No argument from you, Zullie. Whether you live there or not, it’s your inheritance.”

“You live there, Vadas, you live there with Elizabeth. That house is going to eat you up. Too expensive to fix up and what would you do with all those rooms? No, you stay in the lodge, and whatever the future brings, well, the future will be here soon enough.”

Vadas was out of words and argument with him for now. He changed the subject.

“How’s your wound? Are you in pain?”

“Nah, I’m fine, plus I got these pills. They take the edge off life, Vadas. You might need them after marriage.”

Vadas laughed. “I might need them now. That woman runs circles around me. You wouldn’t believe how strong she is. I don’t want to be on the getting side of her bad moods. I’m going to be black and blue tomorrow.”

They smoked a while in silence, Vadas filling their glasses.

“That woodstove? Heats pretty good? Maybe I put one in the lodge. That place is cold. Elizabeth is going to freeze her nipples off this winter. She isn’t used to the winters up here.”

“She will adjust, Vadas, but I think you need to keep her warm. That will sour a woman fast, being cold. We can take it better. And the whining when they are cold! Jesus Christ, they can whine.”

Vadas laughed. “Yeah, Elizabeth is going to have to make a lot of adjustments. This first year will tell. I expect her to buy and hide a ticket back to the states. This winter will say a lot about her devotion to me.”

They drank their wine and Vadas filled their glasses again.

“You know she wants to raise sheep? Not for meat, but for wool. What the hell?”

Zoltan laughed. “Be thankful she is doing just that. She could be sitting around spending your money on crap. A few sheep? Not bad for a new wife. Sounds good to me. You can always kill a lamb and blame it on a dog.”

“We will see, Zullie, we will see. Right now I worry about Miklos, where he will pop up. Elizabeth is so spooked she doesn’t want a wedding. She wants to get married in a civil service.”

“Not a bad plan, Vadas. Think of the money you will save.”

“Oh! I want you to be witness. You and Soffia.”

Zoltan laughed. “As long as I don’t have to be near that hellcat long. Even standing next to her gives me the creeps.”

Vadas laughed. “Lesbians. I don’t understand it. What can they do without a man?”

“I’m sure plenty. Perhaps they paint each others toenails?”

Vadas laughed. “I don’t want to think. But I have to about Miklos. I have to figure out where the fuck that bastard is hiding. I thought by now I would have a clue. I don’t and I have a number of men on the payroll. Nothing yet.”

“Ah, Vadas, you know Miklos. He’s a tricky bastard. But he will surface for air. Just be patient.”

“Yeah, and quiet Elizabeth. She’s afraid Miklos will come through the window like a wolf.”

“He might. I wouldn’t leave her alone again.”

“I got men watching but Miklos has men, too. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

“Just a thought, Vadas. Miklos might try to strike before the wedding. Or at it. You find him first before he finds you.”

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2007-2013


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