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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Guy Simser


Dues 1945

By the port village rail-crossing stood a small, weathered wood, candy shack; behind the grimy counter, an old stooped lady with a large neck mole. We could never understand her. Mom said the cloth on her head was a “babushka”. Fishermen, gutting their catch at the dock told us the crafty old bohunk stowed a big can of loot in her hut.

On our way to a Cub Pack meeting, three of us jostled into her shack through the warped screen door. Giggling, we dropped our clattering Cub dues on her glass counter. As always, she nodded and smiled. Mimicking her garlic tongue, we pointed to her hand-wrapped bubblegum balls …

Sticking a pin
through the Monarch’s neck…
his Collector’s Badge

The next morning, gossip said someone near the tracks heard screams in the night; that police found floorboards ripped up and a metal coin box smashed open near her dented babushka. Beside it was a crowbar, half-covered with brains.

The evening paper spelled her unpronounceable name, told us her husband, a railroad union worker had a week before been hauled away to a detention camp “somewhere up north.” He was, they said, a Communist who could never be trusted.




crane