Nov 20, 2009 by

Round 11 Challenge –  Put your main character in danger in a new and hostile environment. There should be a struggle for survival through which new aspects of his or her personality are revealed  (Word limit – 1500 words)

Read COCO 10 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)

Sea is sparkling outside airport window when my eyes open. Airport guard is on each side of me holding me up and carrying me along hallway. I see my feet dragging along floor and long brown hair hanging. This confuse me until I remember wig Frank give me. I feel weak so I let them carry me. Like drunk touristes I see on Limasol streets after cabaret closes.

Thinking about cabaret make me remember Yianni’s death. I make realisation I’m in most danger of my life. Cabaret owners is like mafia in Cyprus. Usually they just do car bombs to scare each other but when someone die its real trouble. No matter if Yiannis was trying to kill Frank or me I know they’ll try kill me. For them I’m just package of shiskebab meat from butcher. When shiskebab go bad they throw it out. Easy for them to make new order.

They take me into room and bring me glass of water. Long interrogation is coming. Its not Philipina and Romana who was killed. Death of foreigners like that don’t matter. Its Cypriot dead. And may be American too. Sorrow take me and not only because Yiannis shot Frank. I almost escape cabaret life and last minute my hope was killed. Now I’ll go to prison again little while and then mafiosos will hunt me down like pack of dogs to finish Yianni’s job.

Guard give me napkin to wipe tears. Sorry about your husband he say.

Lucky I’m looking down because it hide my surprise. I can’t believe. They think I’m wife of Frank. Suddenly hope return. Tiny hope but enough. Every bonfire begin with flame. Important thing is keeping flame alive until you find place for it to spread.

Other guard begin arguing with him. My Greek isn’t too much good but I know he’s saying Be quiet. I think he also say We don’t know for sure who she is.

Everything now depend on how well I can make pretend as wife of Frank. If they discover I’m cabaret woman I’m finished. Even if no one kill me something inside will die. Then permanent Ukraine winter where no fire can ever burn will take over my soul. To feel that cold freeze in warm relaxation country like Cyprus is worst kind of suffering. When others live with your misery its more easy. You carry each other’s trouble. But suffering in isolation where everyone is comfortable makes burden to much.

Footsteps come from hallway and two guards jump up with arms straight at sides like wood puppet. A police chief come in followed by three policewoman. He wave for guards to leave. Despair crush me. Its police chief from Limasol who brought Frank to me in prison. Its over.

But he doesn’t recognise me with wig. His eyes drop to my breasts and then back up. I make big desperate eyes to blind him with desire. This I know how to do.

I stand and lean forward so he can see down my blousa and touch him lightly on arm. He make flex under my touch. Men do this always to show how strong they are.

Please tell me. How’s my husband?

Sorry. He’s dead.

I cry out and fall forward with my head on his chest. Police chief pats my back and then begin stroking it.

Policewomen are looking at him and he pull away. He motion me to sit. Please he say. We must ask few questions.

He start talking in low voice to three policewomen. Their expressions tell me they suspect. Maybe he knows I’m not Frank’s wife but needs proof. Flirting was wrong thing. Situation require different acting from me. Police chief give crocodile smile and leaves room.

Policewomen sit around me. One has tape recorder. All have hair pulled back tight and lips pressed tight together. Like caricaturas of each other. I’m in very bad position. Men I can manipulate but women is more difficult. Their more smart. And in group more vicious too. Policewomen have suspicion and hate in their eye like I’m witch for burning.

They ask me same questions customs officer asked. I tell them I met Frank in Donetsk and he took me to America for marriage. That I came to assist him with his assignment. They don’t believe. My voice is turning quieter and weaker. I feel myself shrinking into myself.

No chance they’ll believe I’m rich wife of American detective if I continue like this. They start making whispers. I hear one say Butana. Their ready to close in on me like wolves. So I take risk.

I stand up. With voice like ice I say You call me butana? You think I don’t know this word? Cypriot man kills my husband and you dare call me whore!

Policewoman’s eyes open wide and now she’s one shrinking back. Never have I been good to make lies. But I know now my only chance is to make biggest lie of my life. Like its not truth that will set me free but a lie. Because when your hole life consist of lies then sometimes only bigger lie can escape you.

I stand over woman and pull out heart necklace Frank gave me. I say Does cheap whore wear Swarovski? I know all about Russian women who come to your country to make sex with your husbands. Don’t make association to me with these butanas! Their rotten inside. Like dried pomegranate. Pretty outside but inside dry and hollow. Without soul.

Policewomen are nervous not knowing what to speak.

I continue. Why you think I left Ukraine? Because its in their blood to be whores. Thank God I escape. I pity you here in Cyprus. Whores everywhere here. Polluting your country.

One policewoman nods and make murmur agreeing.

God is watching I say. Watching these whores who open their legs to any man with euros in wallet. They forget Christ know everything. God have mercy to their souls.

Policewomen nod and one makes cross twice. Her eyes are on my Swarovski. Other two women see her and they quickly do crosses too.

I never knew I had capacity to make lie like this. But I imagine what it must feel if I was Frank’s wife. Fury rise in me. So really feeling is true. Anyway what’s truth but the lie you believe in most?

I feel incredible strength rising inside me. Like realisation in sea this morning I have power over my life. Like existence is wet clay for me to shape any way. Like I can make anything happen I want.

Police chief return and I point finger at him. My husband is killed because of useless airport security and all you do is leave me for questioning by women calling me butana!

Policewomen start protesting in Greek but I continue. I say You know how powerful my husband is. Put me on next flight for Washington or I make trouble for you. You know Frank’s connections.

Police chief can’t hide his fear. He begin to argue about murder investigation. I tell him they can send Frank’s body tomorrow but to keep his job I better leave now.

Three hour later I’m in first class seat heading to Washington. When plane takeoff all my strength drain. Remembering what I say to policewomen make me vomit in bathroom until nothing left inside me. In seat I stare out window so noone see my crying. But not even sadness I feel. Just confusion. Too many strange unreal things happening.

Now I’m convinced I’m involved in something bigger than myself. Something behind crazy events. American detective tries taking Ukrainian from Cyprus cabaret to America as wife and then is killed in airport but she manage to go alone anyway… Sound like novella you buy in plastic wrap at kiosk in Cyprus. But since this is reality not fiction then greater purpose must exist. I don’t mean like God. Anyway better chance of Devil than God. One glance at world shows who’s been busy and who’s been taking permanent vacation after only six days work.

I feel this like intuition. May be it’s cliché but really I know it inside my heart. Understanding for me come not from head but heart. I know purpose have connection with Frank. But not just Frank. He is catalyst. Like first domino pushed to knock down wall of confusion.

I remember how Frank dive on me to protect me from bullets. Like its more important I live than he do. How he say Open your heart before dying. I thought it was from affection but maybe that’s just fantasia I wanted to believe. Maybe other reason he try protect me.

I rub my thumb over heart necklace he give me. I feel ridge in middle where crystal and silver part meet. Then I realise. I pull each half of heart and they separate. Attached to silver half is USB memory key.

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  1. This is your best yet Coco. Your imagery and your social comment is on fire. I had to laugh at your reference to God:

    “One glance at world shows who’s been busy and who’s been taking permanent vacation after only six days work.”

    Ivana has really stepped up to take control and you have left us with a brilliant cliff hanger. Can’t help but wonder just what colour Tuck might be going reading all this.

    • D’oh! Hit the wrong button before I was finished. You definitely deserve to be here in the final two Coco. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

  2. Coco, had the voting remained as it was at the start of this contest I would have voted you out last time around. I’m glad I did not, it would have been a mistake. What you have done all along is to create something different, especially in terms of the style you have used. For a time you perhaps dwelled too long in the sleazy clubs of Cyprus, which perhaps restricted your ability to express your greater potential – something that I think this last submission has come to the fore.

    I also think that your development of Tuck’s original intrusion into your story line with the character of Frank has been excellent – I originally thought it was a mistake.

    I wonder who you really are, are you Ukrainian, is your limited mastery of English feigned? Lots of questions.

    I’ve not voted yet but the novelty of approach to your novella, your style and your ability to maintain interest are all in your favour at the moment.

    Making choices when the products on offer are so different is very difficult; you are not making judgements on the same attributes.

    Great input – well done.

  3. Kathy

    I just finished reading your post Coco…Your narrative was indeed intriguing to the end…My compliments on your skills and effort of how you shaped the story lines with such involved details to form a suspenseful narrative. Thank you for sharing this with all the readers who also anticipated a splendid climax to the continuing events of your fictional story.

  4. Jen

    Coco, I have never much liked your main character, and yet when she stands up for herself here I found myself grinning. What a coup! I wanted to cheer for her! A gripping episode, well written.

  5. Coco loco… what to say! Ivana is a beautiful woman with a beautiful inner world. Her metaphors’ simplicity betray a complicated and very deeply human soul. It makes me want all the best for her as if she were part of me!

    Good luck for this next round, you may just be the winner of this contest :)

  6. I’ve been having excitement all weekend about this. Never could I imagine to be here when it started. I was hoping just not to be first for the elimination! Thanks too much to all of you.

    Yes Jodi Frank may be dead but at least he survive longer than Tuck! I miss Tuck you know. Really if I had bring Tuck back shirt I would wear it!

    JD of course its pretend I’m making to you. Dont you know I am rich wife of American spy? 😉

    • You’re here because you deserve to be here, Coco. I wish I could vote for both of you…

      Maybe we should ALL get official Bring Back Tuck t-shirts? (c:

      Coco – I thought there was something going on with the pendant, but the “open your heart” thing was brilliance.

      I also loved the moment where Ivana stood up for herself to the policewomen – then was physically sick moments later.

      Can’t wait to find out what’s on that sparkly Swarovski USB drive (I think Tess and I will both be wanting one of those!!) and what’s waiting for Ivana in America.

      Best of luck Coco. Hope you’re having a great week…

  7. Coco, my incredible, fantastic dear Coco! I wasn’t a fan since the very beginning, and now I regret that. Because you’re absolutely amazing!

    Now I’m your number 1 fan. Sometimes it take me too long to comment, but it’s just the lack of time…

    Your images are pure poetry. I’ve already said that, but it’s never enough. As Anna, I keep thinking about Ivanna’s destiny, as if she was a friend of mine.

    And this part, for me, was spectacular:

    “Because when your hole life consist of lies then sometimes only bigger lie can escape you. ”

    I can’t express in words how much I want to read the end of your story. For me, this contest already has a winner – YOU.

    • Dearest Renata you will make me happy all week for this comment! I can’t either express it how much. I can’t wait to see video of you :)

  8. “For them I’m just package of shiskebab meat from butcher. When shiskebab go bad they throw it out. Easy for them to make new order”

    You are frighteningly clairvoyant Coco.. 😉

  9. Coco — I am thrilled with this entry. I completely agree with the other comments, especially Jodi’s, with her quoting your line about God/Devil, which was wonderful. It is those wise and funny comments of Ivana’s that make her stand out as a three-dimensional character in this competition. And I, unlike Renata, really have liked Ivana from the start. Her attitude and no-BS approach to life, given the hardships she’s suffered, really make her appealing to me. I’m glad she’s out of Cyprus and I can’t wait to find out what’s on the USB drive. I loved Utah’s entry, too, this time, but I’m voting now for the overall effort and story line.

  10. Coco, you certainly came with your A-game this week. Others have called out quotes and I could add a few more to the list. It’s obvious you put a lot of passion into your writing. I wish you the best of luck.

  11. Thank you Kaylie and Chris! I too hope Ivana have chance to plug memory key in computer. Interesting about Fourth Fiction is how it make storey keep changing every round because you have plan but then because of challenge you have to do something you don’t want. Its like life really. Like how you have your own dreams you want to make happen but then life with all its challenges and trouble either change or ruin them.

    • tetra

      some say that its through the cracks that the light comes through

      blessed are…

      what do you say Coco?

      • Yes tetra I once heard wise old house builder say same thing. You see he had too much free time on his hands to make philosophy because nobody would ever hire him! 😉

  12. About the kebab: see? Always good to be a vegetarian!! :)

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