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Coco’s novella-in-progress

Opening Sentence – (Round 1):

The old man payed Yiannis 300 euros which is how much it costs for two of us for hole night at 150 each (its more cheaper during day – 60 for sex one time and 80 for twice) and then drove us to a village house outside Limassol which didn’t have even air conditioning so by the time we go to bedroom he was dripping and we could see all the black curly hairs on his back squashed under his sweaty white underwear shirt.

Opening paragraph about interactions on the Web – 300 words (Round 2):

An icon of Virgin Mary the Protectress hangs over his bed which makes it even more horrible as I take off dress because her sad eyes remind me of being girl in Donetsk when babushka would take me to church and say Light candle Ivana and pray to meet good man who can bring us food and new clothes. The old man sees me staring at icon so he removes it and puts it on floor facing wall. Then he takes pants off but leaves shirt on and sits naked on bed, his hairy belly sticking out under his shirt. He tells Rodica and me he give us extra 100 euros to make video. Since three years now it happens too often. Always this video. Its because they watch homemade porno on internet. Young men old men even dedushkas in Pafos villages all have digital cameras now because they want to make video and put on web like sex star. To read comments like “wow bravo your so lucky” and feel like real man even though their just pathetic creep with some money in the pocket. Rodica says 200 euros. 100 each. And now he gets angry and I know he’s maybe not going to do it. So I check with Rodica in Russian and she says yes so I tell him 200 and you can film and even do sperma once in our face. Thats all you need to say and they throw there wallets at you. And in the end he didn’t anyway have any juice in him but we made usual faces and oohs and aahs like he was god of verility to keep the fool happy and then went back next morning with extra 100 euros each in our purses.

Incorporate the death of a dog – 400 words (Round 3):

It is not life you can live for long time. Since three years I’m coming to Cyprus. I’m not woman who came innocent when I landed first time in Paphos. I knew what was the life waiting for me. Most women now who come from Russia and Ukraine and Romania they know. But some still don’t know. Especially Philipinas. In there country someone tells them “you should go be dancer in Cyprus, its very nice, then after go work in Spain”.

Sometimes I wonder how stupid they can be to believe lies like that. But I also feel sorry because they come not knowing anybody and only way to pay back money for tickets and visa is to do sex. I know women who are watched all the time by cameras and even with binoculars if they go to beach. First time I came was like that for me. Some are even locked up inside and only let out for ten minutes to go to kiosk. The stories I can tell you wouldn’t believe.

Yes I choose this life, if you can choose when you have no other choices, but doesn’t mean I like it. Down road from cabaret in other way from sea there is a dog outside in rusty cage. I pass him when I go sometimes for walk. In Cyprus they keep dogs for hunting in cages like rabbits. This dog he always barks. Bark bark bark. So would I in horrible cage like that. But I like this dog very much and he likes me. I always feel little bit like him. I don’t like to feel bad for myself. I’m not in cage but to make metaphor maybe a little I am.

Then few days ago I see cage is empty. I think maybe owner took him hunting. But yesterday same thing, empty cage. I ask Yiannis and he say neighbour poisoned dog because of barking.

When I hear that I know this is very bad sign. I always thought one day I will get out of this life. I say to myself Yes Ivana you can cut this part of your life out and throw away. Take it out like rotting bored in house and put in new one. But maybe you can’t. Maybe rotting bored stays there and rots everything else. Like poison.

My mobile is ringing. Its Stavros.

Weave an element of Fyor’s story into your passage – 450 words (Round 4)

Every time Stavros calls during day I know he wants domination. At night when I go with him after cabaret he is like other men wanting usual sex. But in daytime he wants me to make him commands he must obey. He never even touched me once in daytime. Most cabaret women because they don’t understand dominatrix don’t go with Stavros. But me I can do that. I’ve seen more stranger things.

Ya sou Stavro I say in phone

Maria you are free? he says. I need to see you.

Yes now is okay. You want me to take taxi or you come get me?

Fifteen minutes I’ll be there. Bring your shoes with the spikes.

Me too before cabaret I liked to have man who could throw me on bed and pin my arms down and make it to me rough. Not anymore. Now I always make it cold and no passion like machine. Like carnival horse that men put in coins to ride for little while. Its why I say Maria is my name. So they don’t touch Ivana. To make my mind believe I am like actress in movie. But problem is movie is so long that soon I can’t tell where Maria stops and Ivana begins. That’s why some women doing cabaret for long time don’t use different name. They know it doesn’t matter.

Usually man who likes dominatrix is from business or politics with too much power on others and so has fantasia to have others do control and domination to him. Those men you don’t need psychologia study to understand why they like it to be yelled and whipped. But Stavros is little different. His mother died few years ago. In Cyprus mother is very strong over the son her hole life so I think Stavros craves a woman to order him. Maybe he feels guilty for her death too so he thinks he deserves punishment. Maybe not but I like to try analysis. Its like exercise for brain.

I put shoes in bag and then cross road to beach where its’ more private. They used to pick me up next to cabaret but the woman next door at kiosk would always stare at me like saying You dirty hoar don’t you have shame? Maybe if I was her husband I would go to cabaret too.

How hot today is. He drives up in his black sunglasses. Hello Maria he says. Whole way to his apartment he says nothing else. He is bit strange today.

He unlocks front door and we go inside. Usually his dog makes barking and runs over but it is very quiet.

Stavro, I ask him, where is Frodo?

Fourth Fiction Challenge 5Incorporate this image into your next passage – 500 words (Round 5)

There is black cloud suddenly over his face and he turns away. I know now something is wrong.

Sometimes he make me coffee or food on veranda first but not this time. I follow him to bathroom. He say to leave light on. Usually we go to bedroom with metal shutters down and candles for light.

I put on spike heels as he undress. In sink is rope and the ducktape.

Are you sure you want to lie here? I say. Floor is filthy.

What did I say? he say angry. Ate Maria! Tie it tight. Ate!

He is shouting. Now I want to tie him because of bad feeling I have. I tie his wrists ankles arms legs everything. I tie hard and make knots too much strong. Then I tape around his head three four times to shut his mouth. That way neighbours don’t hear cries.

First he lie on stomach and I step all over until he’s covered in red marks. Then he rolls over. This part is more pain for him. I step up on his legs then up zhopa to his belly and chest. He has tears now but eyes don’t show pain. Normally they pop out now.

Normally for me its okay doing this. Everyone have different pleasure. But this time feels bad. I can see when man has darkness inside. The bright bathroom light give his face yellow colour and make shadows under eyes. But most scarey is his eyes. Something dark and still in them. Too much dark.

I see many eyes of men because many try look at you when they make sex. Some hope your having pleasure and some want to see pain. Depend on man. I know how to make face they want to keep them coming back. Dangerous man always is who’s eyes don’t change. Like two marbles of ice. Stavros have this now. Like he’s accepted he deserve punishment so he’s calm in his suffering.

Even when I pinch his nose shut (he like suffocation) his eyes don’t change. Even his body start shaking first. That’s when my foot slips. The spike slides down side of his stomach and rip skin off. Not dangerous but horrible still.

I panic little and try to remove tape from his mouth but he jerk head away like he want tape on. So I clean with hot water. Finally bleeding stops but blood is all over floor. I go to balcony for mop.

I don’t see poor Frodo right away but when I do I almost collapse. For moment I can’t breath. Frodo is tied dead to closeline hanging between Stavro’s socks from his paws.  And then I scream and scream and scream. All horror of my life is there. Like nightmare that come alive. Like message from God that its not Frodo hanging there but me. Although if God allow such things maybe his messages don’t deserve hearing.

I run out to street. That’s where police find me.

Incorporate a White Russian and the words “over the line” into your next passage – 500 words (Round 6)

Police ask me if Stavros is man who pays for sex with me. Like they care. Even they go to cabaret for sex. I know stories of police doing sex with marked money and making arrest after if you can believe it. Taxes pay for police to do sex with the butana and then they tell journalistes that Cyprus police fight human traffic.

They put me in prison room and tell me American detective wants interview. I sit on bed to wait. After Frodo I begin thinking about my life. About routina. Every night I go to cabaret at 8 and do dance and consumatsia until 2 or 3 in morning. If man pay Yiannis for me then after cabaret close he take me to house or motel. Then I don’t get to my apartment above cabaret where Yiannis have six of us living until 11 or 12 next day. I rest there because I never sleep good in strangers bed. But sometimes CyTA phone rings from man who want sex after lunch. In daytime its more cheap for them and for me to better because I keep all the money and it sometimes take only one hour.

Different prices for different sex. Overnight sex more expensive and then sex inside cabaret cheaper and daytime sex cheapest. They give more if you let them put it in the zhopa or make sperma on you or take video or do it without condom which is where I draw line and never go over because Ukrainian girl last year got AIDS hear in Limasol. I am lucky not to be beaten yet because many girls I know who refuse to go without condom get beating or rape. Its like that.

Then I begin to think about men. In uniform or outside uniform or husband boyfriend single they are all same. Because always same thing hangs there inside there legs. Maybe this life ruin me for believing in man again. I start to make these thoughts. Because in cabaret man doesn’t just fuck your body. Body can replace itself and forget. But mind does not replace. Mind only buries memory and memories make radiation like Chornobyl. Even when it’s over its not.

Soon police chief walk in with American. I almost laugh. His chest is sticking out and arms out at sides like perspirant is burning him. Its too much funny because he thinks Cyprus police admire him but they call him poushtoamericano and americanaki. Even his name is funny. Frank.

Police chief leave and Frank ask me ridiculous questions about conspiracy but I know really want he wants. Finally he says it. He asks name of my cabaret and I tell him. Venus de Limassol. I tell him I work there tonight and he must come and buy me drink. He tries to make joke about white russian and I laugh because he sound like teenager.

He remind me of Donetsk schoolboys. I like him very much. If man can make me laugh that is very good for me. No matter if I’m laughing at him. Maybe I convince him to take me to America.

Incorporate Dostoyevsky– (taken from Igor’s story) – 600 words – Round 7

When I get back to our apartment at nine o’clock the other women are already at cabaret. Police like I expected don’t even give me ticket. Police are mostly men and every man likes cabaret. Even ones who don’t go still want cabarets around. To feel it is possibility if they want to try it tomorrow.

Its Cypriot woman who hate the cabaret. I wouldn’t either want to have so many young woman come to my country to make sex to my men. Now you have the marriages between older Cyprus man and young cabaret woman from Russia or Romania. Although there is also joke that cabaret help Cypriot man to stay with Cypriot wife. But really most of us only joke from bitterness for not having marriage. In our countries when you don’t marry young you are finished. Like milk that goes bad. In poor countries they throw milk out even when its still good.

Its Tuesday so cabaret is quiet. Rodica and Svetlana and others are sitting on bar stools in lingerie waiting for man to walk in. This is most of cabaret job. To sit half naked and bored under disco ball listening to same pop songs over and over. At least its not Greek rembetika music like they play in barakia.

Yiannis is counting money behind bar. He knows about police because I called him from station.

You ok Ivana? he say still counting money.


Did you tell them anything?


About the cabaret. About the sex. Don’t lie to me Ivana. I will find out. If you lie you know what happens.

I didn’t tell anything.

He nods but makes face like he shit himself. Why did you wait for police on street?

They found me. What should I do? My clothes was still in apartment

Yiannis starts counting money faster which means he’s angry.

Ivana next time you avoid police.

But Stavros was tied up. And bleeding.

Shut up. Next time you come to me first. Okay? Okay?


Good. Go.

Yiannis always he is like this. And he expects everyone of us to make sex with him anytime he feel like it. But he never once hit me. It could be worse. That’s what I say.

I sit next to Rodica and tell her about Stavros and Frodo. She doesn’t say much. We’ve all seen too much strange things. Nothing effect us anymore. The stories are to much to believe sometimes. I have crazy dream to someday be writer and describe what it is the cabaret life. Because to many books are selling that have not interesting story.

It help me to think this way. Like maybe I suffer now but find redemption later. Not from God but maybe through writing. Maybe I do this now to create deep spaces inside me. Like deep well you must go down for the sweet and clear water. Like Dostoevski after he came out of Siberian prison and after they took him out to shoot him in freezing snow. His masterpieces like Brat’ya Karamazovy came from this misery and suffering.

I am not Dostoevski. I know that. But when you need help you grab onto whatever life throw to you.

A young man walks in and sits on couch. The others look at me. Because of my trouble today they give him to me.  I walk over and sit beside him and put my hand on his leg and say Hello. What is your name. What do you do.

I wonder if Frank will come. I hope yes.

Incorporate a glimmer of light / hope through the character of Frank (given by Kaylie Jones), Include an interaction with a wild Cyprus donkey (given by Vasia Markides), and Incorporate a Brazilian girl named Renata (given by Renata) – 600 words  – Round 8

Young man nods his head when I ask if he’s been to cabaret before. I put his hand on my leg. He is little shy so he doesn’t move his hand around. Some old men squeeze half your zhopa before you even say hello how are you.

I am wearing tanga so I lift leg to make him excited and buy me drink (fake drink – 20 euros for small glass of grape juice). I begin to rub his arm while looking him in eye. Trick always is make man centre of attention. Not like you need prostitute to tell you that.

He is Shamus from Ireland. A writer who want to learn about cabaret life to tell world. Only tourist would say that. Cypriots anyway they don’t write. They come only for the sex.

Shamus ask me questions for five minutes until Christos bring his beer. When he pay Christos doesn’t give change right away. Its so dark some men don’t know how much they give. But Shamus knows and waits for change so Christo finally gives it.

Drink for the lady? he asks.

I’ll wait for now.

Christos walks off. I stand up. Have a nice day.

Few minutes later Svetlana goes and sits with Shamus. He buys her the drink. We all have to get certain number of drinks each week. Maybe Svetlana is better for talking to. It’s competition here between women. Like in jungle with females all trying to get the male. Except we don’t want sperma or protection. Only money. Which maybe is not so much different.

I sit next to Renata. She is redhead from Brazil. I don’t know other Brazil girls in Cyprus and specially not in cabaret. But Renata anyway is different.

The bastardo! she says. He think he can write about cabaret life after few questions? Did you ask him about Ireland so you can write Irish history book?

She is very clever Renata. She have life in her. Not like some who sit empty with dead eyes like half naked Matryoshka dolls with no one inside.

I tell Renata about Stavros. To cheer me up she tells funny story about man who paid for her for whole two days once and drove her to golden sand beach in Turkish side. (I never had anything like that. The men they like Renata because with some she can show real pleasure. Me I can’t. Even when I make orgasm I hide the look. This they can’t buy from me. This I save.) On beach they saw wild donkey with penis long as his forearm. Silly man got so insecure he couldn’t make sex that night!

I begin laughing so hard Yiannis tells me to go dance. They don’t like it when we have fun. It is not real pole dance what we do. Just swinging around with one arm like child in playground. Here it is bordello not stripclub. Pole is just for pretend that cabaret is about looking not touching.

Frank walks in. I feel my heartbeat in my throat. But I can’t leave pole. Natasha sits with him but not for long. After my dance finish Yiannis tells me Frank requested me.

I suddenly feel ashamed wearing thonga and clear platform heels. Maybe I am wrong but I think Frank is too. First time I feel shame in long time. I am happy for it. To be ashamed means to be conscious. Which means you are alive.


My name isn’t Coco.

Ok. Ivana. Want to join me on a little trip tomorrow?

1) Incorporate a hoax; 2) Incorporate a revelation ; 3) Incorporate the number four; 4) Incorporate Stephen Colbert – 444 words (Round 9)

I’m mistress for men in Cyprus but in Ukraine I have husband. I tell this to Frank after cabaret in his hotel.

Why are you telling me?

Don’t know. I never tell nobody.

Where is he now?

Donetsk. His name is Steven Colbert. Horrible man. And so fat he needs cane to walk. My father made me marry him because he’s American. But Steven don’t even like America. He say its full of assholes. Still I wanted to go. So I run away and come for new life here.

Frank makes sex to me rough. Not to hurt me but maybe to drive out previous ones. Men think like this. I start to cry. Maybe still Stavros effect me. Also maybe hormones because my bleeding is coming soon. I put sea sponge inside just in case.

I pretend cries are pleasure but its to obvious so I tell Frank to do from behind. That way he can’t see me cry. Usually I do like that because I don’t want to look at men and they like it more anyway. But with Frank I wish to be looking at him.

I cry almost hole night while Frank snores. By the time I finally sleep Frank shakes me awake.

Come on.

What’s wrong? I say. Clock says 4:44.


We drive in dark towards Pafos along coast road. Its getting light when we stop at beach with big rock sticking up from water. Normally beach is too much packed with tourists taking fotos but its beautiful now because its empty. Frank sits on pebbles and I go naked into water.

There is little dirty foam near shore but water deeper is clear as crystal. I float on my back. All sadness of last few days wash away. Making bath is like this for me. Like making body pure again. And soul too.

Sunrise makes like sparkling carpet on water. Makes me to realise beauty of world is greater than all my troubles. To see I have as much right to enjoy world as anyone. Maybe it sound strange but rising up naked and dripping from sea I feel reborn. Feeling power over my own life. Feeling like nobody owns me. Not Yiannis. Not Steven. Not Frank. Its revelation really. Because without this feeling life crushes you.

We continue driving. Frank goes left at roundabout.

This is airport road I say.

I’m sorry Ivana. Steven hired me. I’m putting you on flight to Donetsk.

I laugh. Maybe next time try better hoax.

Frank smiles. Like boy’s smile. I’m happy he make joke about Steven.

O.K. I lied.  Nobody sent me. And its Washington not Donetsk.

Kill off one of your characters (Round 10) – 1200 words

Say bye to Cyprus Frank says. He look at me and then back at road. You don’t believe me do you? About Washington.

I laugh again but this time also am little sad. Biggest dream I have is to leave here and go to America and make new life. Easy to believe in dream when chance of it to happen is far away but not when close to happening. Because it can kill your dream. Anyone can hope for impossible. More hard to believe when it have chance to come true.

Sun rising behind us and hole earth glowing. I can’t remember last time I been outside early in morning. Only time I see warm light like this any more is when sun go down. Always this is before cabaret so colour of light like this carry bad feeling for me.

Ahead of us airplane make take off. Airport soon appears. Frank turns into car rental place and parks car.

You don’t believe I take you to Washington? he say. I shake my head. He reaches in his bag and hands to me American passport. Open he says.

I open. Inside is foto of me. Under it say Ivana Braun.

We’ll have to make pretend like your my wife. Its not best fake passport but we need only to get you out of Cyprus. Into America isn’t problem. I have the special clearance for that.

Its crazy what he’s saying. Like I’m having fantasia about man coming from America to take me away and its coming true. Ok maybe not so much romantic man like in fantasia but also that make it more real. Like piece of good meat. Raw it look better without fat but never taste as good after you cook it. And anyway once you cook meat you can cut fat away always.

Frank looks outside. I don’t have time to explain detail. Stavros and Yiannis are mixed up in something too much big and we need you in America to make testemony. Don’t worry. We protect you there.

Frank reach back into his bag and pull out a Louise Ferre wig of long brown straight hair. He put it on my head. I look in mirror. Incredible how real it looks.

Its real human hair he say. You don’t find these in Cyprus.

Then he get from his bag a necklace. It has heart of half pink crystal and half silver. He place it over my neck.

I turn heart round in my fingers. Crystal is very much pretty. Swarovski. Why do you give this to me I say?

Just keep it close to your heart.

Then Frank take my hand and places wedding ring over my finger. His hand a little it shakes. I stare at his face while he slides ring. He avoids to look back. Almost like shy. Then he goes to drop off car keys.

Now I know he’s not making pretend about America. It make no sense to me but I decide no matter what reason he want to fly me I’ll go. I did long enough the cabaret. I’m ready for change. For new adventure. My passport and everything is back in my room but its okay for me this. When you own nothing you have nothing to lose. When you want new identity you don’t need old passport.

For half hour Frank practice with me our pretend story about when we did the marriage and where we live and detail like that in case security ask. He make quiz to me and have me repeat everything back so I know it correct.

I tell him it sound like we have boring life together. He make a smile. It will get more exciting I promise he say. Then he look away almost like ashamed to have shown little emotion to me.

In airport we go to desk for the Business Class. I can’t believe. Frank gets our tickets and we walk to security.

Let me make the talking Frank whisper as he take my hand. My hand feels small in his. He holds strong but not dominational. Not like grip of man trying to own me. His thumb make small caress on my fingers. Maybe just my imagination and fantasia. But walking towards security holding his hand I feel for moment like he’s really my husband and we’re just hear in Cyprus on vacation and now returning to Washington. Really I believe this. To believe in lie is not so hard when you want too much to believe its reality.

Security guard examine our passports and ask Frank some few questions. I stand looking around at airport and suddenly have big fear my husband Steven will show up. Fear he has come from Ukraine to find me and will catch me here with Frank and bring in police for arrest to take me back to hopeless life in Donetsk. Fear always come to me like this any time something good might happen. Maybe its how I prepare myself if something bad go wrong.

But of course life isn’t like bad action movie. Steven is in Donetsk. Security guard ask few questions then wave us inside. I squeeze Frank’s hand and we walk toward x ray machines. That’s when I hear someone yell Ivana.

Frank pull my hand back like warning but its too late. I make mistake to turn head back and make eye contact with Yiannis. He’s wearing jacketa with silk shirt opened half way down chest. When he sees its me his eyes open wide and anger take his face like I never seen before. Not look you want to see. Look of violencia.

Yiannis start running at us and pulls out gun from inside jacketa. He shoots. First shot goes over our head as woman screams.

Frank pulls me to ground and throw himself on top of me like to protect me. More shots and people shouting. This time Frank’s body jerk into me with each shot and I know bullets are hitting him. Then I hear few more shots except from more far away. Shooting stops and I only hear yelling and running.

Frank’s hand moves shaking and trembling over my chest to necklace. He grabs it and squeezes hard.

Open your heart Ivana he gasp to me. He’s making choking sounds. Open your heart.

Then he puts necklace under my blousa like to hide it. Like it’s important nobody else know about it.

I see boots running toward me. They pull Frank off me. His arms and head hang down loose when they pull him away. Then suddenly whole scene go silent. Around me people running and shouting except everything slow motion and without sound. Almost like peaceful scene except everyone have expression of panic.

Yiannis is nearby face down in his own blood where police shot him dead. Police are kneeling over Frank. I try to see more but can’t too much well because my fingers make blocked my vision. Then I realise I’m kneeling with my hands covering my face. And then from this silence I hear my own cries and sobbing. But only for moment. Then everything go black.

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 – Round 11 (Word limit – 1500 words)

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.