April 11, 2012
MY novel THE PROVIDER is about the struggle to achieve the American Dream. Some characters deal with the struggle; others avoid it. All of the characters in the novel act as refracting mirrors around the concept.
I omitted the gigolo. But I miss him. I am considering his inclusion for two pages in the next printing. As follows—
On the third weekend following the funeral, there was a knock at the door. Alexis opened it to see an older gentleman smiling and bowing slightly. “I am Vitali Grenkov, the brother of Mrs. Soya Luchinsky.”
“Come in.” She gestured toward the living room.” I’ll tell my mother you’re here.”
“Thank you, young lady.” He bowed again and scurried to the sofa.
Alexis receded into another part of the house to tell her mother that Soya’s brother was in the living room.
“What for?” Rosa said with a frown.
Alexis shrugged her shoulders.
Both women knew certain things about him. Soya who boasted that she saved money by drinking water out of a jam jar, at the same time complained that her brother Vitali “is tight with his money.” He worked part-time in the movie studios in the costume department. He was once married to a rich spinster and was “kept” until she died. She left $500 in her will, and he had said, “I am satisfied. After all, I did not do very much. I was her escort for tea. My appetite is not great for money or work. I just want to get by.”
Rosa and Alexis, arm in arm, walked out to the living room together.
Vitali stood up and bowed. “How do you do, Mrs. Voronv. I am Vitali Grenkov, brother to Soya Luchinsky. How do you do.” He turned to Alexis, “And Miss Voronov. How do you do?”
He shook their hands. His skin was dry, cool.
“Sit down, please,” said Rosa. She gestured toward the sofa.
He sat down again.
“I have come to offer my condolences on the recent loss of your husband, Sanya Voronov.”
The two women looked at his hair dyed a lusterless black, as died hair always is, and his matching eyebrows and moustache. They looked very carefully: did he use black mascara on his eyelashes?
“Thank you. That is nice of you,” said Rosa. “Did you know my husband?”
“No.” He waited a moment.
He shuffled his feet. “I too have suffered a recent loss. My wife.”
“Is that so?” said Rosa.
“I know that it is not good to be alone. I have come to offer my services.”
“And what kind of services do you mean?”
“As I said, it is not good to be alone. People sometimes become depressed. I offer my company.”
“Your company. Aha. Are you saying you have come to court me?”
He began to giggle. “If you want to consider that, I am agreeable.”
“Mr. Grenkov, is it not perhaps too soon? My husband is still warm in his grave.”
“Mrs. Voronov, may I be blunt?”
“That is the method I myself use.”
“Well then, you are a very beautiful woman. You have a home of your own. You are a career woman. In other words, Mrs. Voronov, you are desirable in many ways. Men will come calling soon enough and—”
“And you want to keep the riffraff away. You are here to protect me.”
He sat up straight and clapped his hands with glee. “You understand me perfectly.”
“I certainly do, Mr. Grenkov.”
She stood up. He, therefore, stood up.
She took his arm and gently guided him toward the door. “I want to thank you for coming. I do understand you perfectly.” She opened the front door. “But you see, for companionship, I am planning on getting a dog. Goodbye Mr. Grenkov.”