Posts Tagged ‘Vadas Dohendy’

“Bull’s Blood”, part of Chapter One

June 18, 2019

Cover for Bull's Blood

Chapter 1



Aunt Irene was on the phone. Although Irene was born in Hungary, long ago she picked up a New Jersey accent. Every sentence was now a whine, interspersed with more Hungarian whining.

“Come to dinner with me. Oh, you would love this restaurant. Such good people are here. It’s like Thanksgiving with the white linen. Dress nice like a good girl. Make me proud of my family, and don’t wear those tight jeans. Wear the pantsuit I gave you last Christmas.”

Uncle Izsák died the year before and Irene was lonely. She was also the closest of family to Elizabeth. If she was honest, she would admit to being lonely, too. Elizabeth had been divorced for nine years. She fled the south where she had lived for the past three decades to the dull north of her youth. It was now alien territory, but at least it wasn’t the south. A fresh start well above the age of fifty was still a fresh start.

Elizabeth considered what to wear. She should make an effort for Aunt Irene’s approval. That would mean her Christmas gift of the horrible print pantsuit and the necklace with tiny elephants made of faux ivory.

She decided to please herself with a bit of compromise. Dressing for dinner, she rolled black sheer thigh-highs, topped with lace onto her legs. It was a sensuous act, the silky nylons outlining her painted toes, clinging to her ankles and still shapely thighs. She adjusted the lace at the top. They came all the way to her crotch, a bit too long. Feeling around her lingerie drawer, she looked for a modest bra, not a push-up. That style of bra would draw some disapproving clucks from Irene. Elizabeth’s dressing for dinner became a game: one piece for her aunt, one piece for her. A calf-long black skirt (for Irene) and an ivory silk blouse (for Elizabeth) was compromise enough. She would wear her silly ivory elephant necklace, just because it was a gift from her favorite aunt. With all the dying-off in her family, Aunt Irene was about the only family left. Aunt Irene had two sometimes rotten sons, and always wanted a daughter. That was fine with Elizabeth: she had always wanted a mother.

It was early spring, and though it was drizzling outside, she decided on a bright yellow shawl. It was a striking color, hard, almost neon yellow. The shawl was like a beacon in the rain, something no cabbie could miss.

The restaurant was in an older part of town, the city bleak from the gray color of the stone buildings, a remnant of a century ago. This part of New Jersey had been an industrial town, the stone and brick buildings pitted by acid rain. There was little greenery. The rain didn’t help. Springs were later in the north, sometimes six weeks later than the south. This was something Elizabeth had forgotten. She missed the azaleas of an early southern spring. The dogwoods, too. There didn’t seem to be any up north.

Elizabeth was surprised at the place Irene picked for dinner. Irene was in her mid-eighties and venturing beyond cafés, cafeterias and casinos was rare. This restaurant was the one Elizabeth’s father took her to when she was very young. Much had changed in New Brunswick, but this little street in the drab north of her childhood was still the same. Dull brownstones, bakeries, bookstores, and a tavern on every corner. Centuries ago, it had been a settlement of the wily Dutch. Now it was populated by Hungarians, Russians, Romanians, Poles and other central European immigrants.

Her mother had fumed when she heard this. It was barbaric, just what she expected from Elizabeth’s Hungarian father. Elizabeth and her father were locked in a conspiracy against her mother until her father died and then she had to go it alone. She was never easy with her mother. Conflict was always there or right around the corner.

Now she was looking for Aunt Irene in the same restaurant fifty years later. Her hair was touched by rain and despite the bright yellow shawl, the silk of her blouse was spotted. She stood at the entrance to the dining room and wondered at its rebirth. It looked like someone’s idea of Budapest, but a Budapest before World War I. When she was here with her father, it was very different. The long counter where food was picked up by old waitresses was gone. The little two-seater tables were gone, the dingy lace café curtains had disappeared. She was very young, but she remembered the customers being older men. She also remembered an incident when a handsome, grey-haired man stopped at their table and addressed her father in Hungarian. He rose and they kissed on both cheeks. Then the man grabbed Elizabeth’s hand and kissed it. He wore a large gold ring, studded with diamonds. He pointed to one diamond (a rather small one as she remembered) and said that when she was older, he would carve that diamond out of his ring and give it to her. Her father said something to the man in a low, sharp voice and in a language she couldn’t understand. The man bowed and quickly left them.

Elizabeth now saw a transformed room. Red- and gold-brocaded walls with dark red velvet drapes puddling before the high windows, gleaming black floors and rose-tinted lamps upon each white, linen-covered table. Hungarians were such romantic people. The tinted shades cast the best light on aging Hungarian skin. The women were vain that way, and Hungarian complexions were known to be some of the best in Europe.

The hostess, a woman almost as old as her aunt, knew Irene and pointed her out. Irene was at a small table by one of the long windows past the middle of the room. Elizabeth had to walk through the room, being careful to avoid the closely placed tables. She clutched her shawl around her, afraid of sweeping the tables with the ends. Aunt Irene looked up with her usual, careful smile. Her wrinkles had deepened since the last time Elizabeth saw her.

“Hello, kis galamb”. Aunt Irene’s eyes shone with sadness.

Elizabeth was surprised how old Irene had grown, how thin, and that she had missed her. They held hands across the table as Irene told Elizabeth what she had been doing. Not a lot, but she had gone to Atlantic City with her girlfriends and lost money on the slots there. Elizabeth’s shawl was too warm for the room and she flipped it over the back of her chair. Aunt Irene clucked her tongue and laughed. The rain had made her silk blouse almost transparent in places. Good she was wearing a bra. Most times she didn’t.

Elizabeth looked around as Irene greeted an elderly woman at the next table, apparently a friend. The restaurant was full. Perhaps it was the rain. There were the usual men and women of Irene’s age, and some younger couples. At one table, three men were eating, burly men, in dark suits. They had finished three bottles of wine and a server was opening a fourth. One man looked straight at Elizabeth, and for a moment she returned his gaze. Dark hair shot with gray, not a slender man, wearing a charcoal gray suit. His face startled her for some reason. She broke contact with his eyes and to her surprise, blushed and looked down. What a crock! Why should a man make her blush? Hasn’t she seen the worst with two failed marriages? Yet there was something in his appearance that made her pause. His face was striking, beautiful and brutal at the same time. A sensuality hung about him that she could not define.

Elizabeth glanced back and found the man was still watching. She tried to look haughty. He passed his hand over his mouth and smiled behind it. It was a mocking and seductive gesture, and his eyes expressed a boldness that annoyed her. Too cocksure, this man. Elizabeth turned back to listen to Irene, determined not to look at him. They were served, Irene telling her about gambling luck and aging friends.

After dinner, when they were drinking coffee, Elizabeth had to pee. The combination of rain and coffee conspired against her. She excused herself and went in the direction Aunt Irene pointed. The bathroom was occupied, so she waited, leaning against the wall, staring at her toes peeking out of her heels. Suddenly, she felt a presence and looked up. It was the man from the dining room. Elizabeth straightened from a slouch, feeling a bit apprehensive, for she had been thinking of him, trying to dismiss him and not being able to do so. He was about four feet away, looking at her, smiling. He put one hand above him on the wall, came closer, turning his body towards hers. It was a very confident move, but he did it so naturally she didn’t have time to react. She was confused by his presence. He disturbed her and she didn’t know why.

“You look miserable with your…what? Aunt? Mother’s friend?” He was smoking, which was still allowed in these ethnic restaurants. The smoke from his cigarette floated above his head creating a halo around him in the dim hall light.

“I’m not miserable. Why would you say that?” Elizabeth sounded defensive.

His eyes were dark brown, rimmed with thick lashes. Black brows and a generous mouth, lips almost too full. He radiated confidence, or perhaps she hadn’t been in the presence of a man so sensual for a while.

Elizabeth looked at him, her voice changing. “She’s my Aunt Irene,” she said softly. He continued to smoke, blowing the smoke to the side, but holding his gaze on her. He looked like he was contemplating something, making a decision as he blew out the smoke in a sharp stream. He dropped the cigarette to the floor tile and ground it beneath his black loafer.

Then, almost before she knew it, the man pivoted his body, his broad chest pushing her into the wall, his pelvis up against her. He spread both his arms outward against the wall, trapping her. His mouth swept down on her lips. He kissed her hard and only at the end did he part her lips with his tongue and push it into her mouth. She moaned, weakened, her legs feeling like water, her arms spread against the wall behind her. His chest and pelvis were hard against her, pinning her to the wall. He was broad enough to cover her and bringing his hands down, he sought her ass, digging his fingers into each cheek, pulling her to him. Elizabeth groaned, lost in the surprise of his behavior, lost in the surprise of her own behavior.

For a moment, Elizabeth forgot her surroundings. She didn’t care where she was or that Aunt Irene was sitting in the dining room awaiting her. This was raw, a kind of passion she didn’t know, because she had never had it. Her body jumped, aching with the sudden rush of arousal. Their clothes didn’t matter, they were no barrier. There was lightning between them, an electrical charge. She was almost dizzy. She felt alive.

The man broke off his kiss and whispered in Elizabeth’s ear, still pressing his pelvis to hers, holding her tight in his arms. “Go kiss Auntie goodbye and walk to the front door. I’ll have her taken home by a man at my table. She will be pleased.”

“What? How do you mean–”

He put his hand gently over her mouth and smiled. The overly confident pursing of his lips drew her eyes like a magnet.

“Don’t ask questions. Obey, like a good girl.” He smiled, pressed a card into her hand and walked away. Elizabeth heard the water of the bathroom sink turn off and a woman walked out, adjusting her waistband. They exchanged brief smiles. She was thankful for not being caught.

Elizabeth looked at the card in her hand. It had a name “V. Dohendy” and just the words Budapest and Paris. Obviously, a business card, but it meant nothing to her. One kiss from this man and she was acting like a slut. Enough to want to break her bones on the cock she felt pressing her into the wall. She was ready to be a bad girl. Not a good girl.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2019

“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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