DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Best Worst Opening Chapter I Will Ever Write

Present Day
Odessa, Ukraine

I don’t like hairy armpits. I really don’t. I don’t know why. It wasn’t something I asked to find objectionable. When I was sliding down the birth canal and handed my sack of genes, no one asked my armpit preference. Had they proffered such a request I think I should have placed an order for a spoonful of ‘moderate toleration.’ Moderate over minimal is always more preferable as one never knows in what country one might be spewed out of the vagina into.

In my case, having been denied the grace of compassion for those with pits adorned with grape vines, I was fortunate enough to be born in the States where most of the female members of acceptable society - certainly not all anymore unfortunately, and certainly not the majority of the men as the advent of the tank top t-shirt so unfortunately reveals - routinely and thankfully shave. God bless them.

That is the United States of America that I am referring to. I clarify that now for those who are cognizant that other nations are also comprised of states, which may or may not be so united, but still must depend upon a central government nonetheless for their fortitude.

One would think it odd, and I admit, I am of that persuasion, that given such a predetermined repulsion to unshaven pits, that I would be drawn to those of Vlad - ‘Vlad Pit’ as I have anointed him. Though, admittedly, never when I thought he could hear. Vlad is not one given to humor and I have doubt as to his capability to understand sarcasm, even at the most shallow of levels.

It is not that I am attracted to the armpits or any other slope, curve, or protuberance of the male genus. To fully explain the curiosity and revelry that those pits inspire, I suspect one would actually have to be within viewing range of the young man when he lifts his arms, as he is so prone to do, and shares with the voyeur within us all his flaxen shafts of hair. The animal magnetism of those magnificent fields of golden fluff is that they are not his by birth. Vlad, for some reason that I certainly could never fathom, created or, I believe, had created for him, as I do not suspect him to posses the skills of the craftsman required to manufacture such an exquisite example, wears armpit wigs. True as a cat in heat in an alley. The mounds of silken sunshine are not the fruit of his body.

I requested my landlady, Nadia, a sordid tart of questionable past, with her own prime example of unshavenry – I am prone, at times, to utilize the vocabulary that Webster has yet to discover, and, as I am not an educated man, yet with a semblance, or at a minimum, a shadow of intelligence, shall, almost as often, willfully fail to interject the proper word or terminology, choosing instead a declaration that I enjoy the sound of; the way it rolls from the tongue and embraces my palate - instruct me how to ask for the name of the gifted individual who had mastered this heretofore unknown art so that I might… I’m still not sure what I ‘might’ with such information, but it felt like it was some bit of obscurity – a future trivia question perhaps? - I needed to know, thusly, to impress those not so informed, and thereby gain an advantage during an eve of embarrassingly trivial trivia in the hopeful expectation one of the maids might be so inspired as to be inclined to drop to her knees and polish my scepter with Revlon lips while her less than shining knight was otherwise occupied.

Still, in my mind, given the feeling of nausea when such exhibitions occur within my line of sight, it may have been solely for the purpose of removing such an adeptly skilled individual from this world of the living, though as I bespoke, I remain quite undecided. I have no doubt that eye color would have played an integral role in the final decision. Or shoe size.

Examine the ape that Darwin contends we as human beings are descended from. Had the oaf truly and accurately studied the creatures, he most assuredly would have declared his premise to be flawed. The ape has hairless pits, thereby outranking us on the primal ladder. It may be the ape has descended from man as it obviously is far more advanced, physiologically speaking. I have yet to meet a man who could champion an arm wrestling contest against a chimpanzee a third of his stature.

And with my aforementioned disdain for the woolen crop some fail to sheer, one might find it even more obscure that I have resided for the last several weeks in Ukraine, well known as a vestige for many of the most beautiful women in the world who are not aware that the glistening, sweaty strands peeking out from under their sleek and, I mention here, hairless arms, does not an erection stimulate for one such as I.

But therein lies my ego – that I should even embrace the errant perception that any of these ladies would be attracted to a forty-six year old American with pouched belly, declining health which I do not admit to anyone, thinning hair, though I take undeserved pride that most of it anyway is still atop my head, and a moderately acceptable income as an author of literary tales of tolerably lazy suspense and liquefied mayhem. Still, they, one in reality, are, is, the reason I sojourned here, though definitely not the reason I remain.

The reason I remain here, a mono-languaged weed amongst perfumed flowers capable of speech in not only Russian and Ukrainian, but also passable communicative segments of English and or German as well, is complicated. The government customs officials put it in much more succinct, simplistic terms when I attempted to depart of my own accord and escape home to my nation of birth: “You have no passport. No passport. No exit.”

And so here I am in Odessa, which also requires explanation, as my attempted port of departure, and the abode of Svetlana, the angelic persona for whom I Marco Poloed to the other side of the world to bask in her splendor, is Kiev. Be rest assured that that is the abrupt, cliff notes version. The long version consists of trying to explain to disdainful authority figures the location my passport was discovered to be in repose. The longer version still is what I have to do to get it back. Or preferably, one that belonged to someone else now incapable of such possession and my photo shall replace theirs so I might embark upon a plane and leave this land of braided pits, as it has become somewhat evidentiary – I prefer that melodious term to the cardboard sound of “evident” - that my own government has formulated the opinion that it might be more conducive to their own devices that I no longer walk the paths of my New England ancestors.

And so I came here on this less than glorious morning - the air is as heavy as an anvil and the stench of dead fish floating atop the pollution of the Black Sea has elected to entertain my olfactory sense, though the leaking diesel fuel from a freighter in port may be considered a viable contender for the odiferously-pungent award of the day - to the Richelieu steps, known to vintage movie aficionados and Ukrainians still adrift in the vestiges of the Soviet era as the misnomered Potemkin Stairs to meet with Vlad Pit as instructed. It is not the first time, as otherwise I might not have known of the tremendous bounty to be found under his arms.

Unfortunately for us both, today he is not displaying those mounds of spun straw. A major disappointment for me, but I dare say, a disastrous dilemma for him, as Vlad cannot raise his arms to display that which he has invested in as miserly as Americans invest in IRAs, for Vlad I do believe is amongst the unexpectedly departed. The trickle of blood from his left ear, dribbling below his mirrored sunglasses, down his pimpled throat, and staining the lime green tank top he is attired in to signal that it is safe for me to approach – alas, poor Vlad, might he have been color blind? – has provided me with a most obvious clue, while his termination appears oblivious to those traversing the one-hundred ninety-two steps past the deceased young man - I employ the funicular when it is operable, which of course today it has chosen not to be - that all is not well, and that I shall never again enjoy the vision of his armpit coiffeur.

I should have asked for the manufacturer’s name sooner, as now, I must confess, regrettably, the artisan shall no doubt continue in his or her repugnant enterprise until I, unsuspectingly to us both, stumble upon his… or her… habitat and release his… or her… soul from this earth.

I mean, what the hell? It wouldn’t be the first gullet I’ve gashed since I’ve been marooned here. But I digress…


  1. Holy hell. You are off your rocker. Never get up. I gotta go take a shower now. Ick.

  2. Hi, Margie.
    We all have our moments =)
    Yeah, this whatever it is, is pretty out there.