Squeezebox
 
1.
He lies on the bare wood floor, accordion on his chest, and plays a tarantella, the same one he performed last week for the Merida Symphony Orchestra. He’s a round man with a florid Slavic face, the kind that warns: Step back! Heart attack! He sweats like a pig when he plays, even in an air-conditioned hall, as if his body is only attuned to the humid world outside, with its slice of moon.

2.
Sally wants to watch my downfall in 3D, see every one of my pores emit fear, see the fear transform into pain.
She wants to sip a sloe gin fizz as she watches. She’s like a victim’s father watching an Oklahoma execution, in which three chemical compounds combine to create death. Sally wants to toss kernels of popcorn at the screen of my demise
 
3.
The natives call him “the Waterfall.” His wife never sweats. She is afraid to, afraid that if she starts she will never stop and will run away like a river to Argentina or the South Pole.
 
4.
A Russian court will determine my fate soon. It’s all been fixed, well in advance. Sally has connections.
I put on my bright pink dress and matching baklava and hope I will not be judged too harshly. I am a man. I am not even a homosexual, so you may ask: why is he dressed so?
Sally did this to me. Sally betrayed me.
 
5.
Their friends celebrate him, the way he lies on the floor and pulls the bellows in and out. He’s a local novelty. Through association, he enhances their status. He was a chemist, but now he’s returned to the love of his youth, the instrument his Rumanian grandfather taught him. He’s forgotten all the chemistry now.
He’s a lot older than his wife. She’s chronically depressed, but it’s not his fault. Her brothers live in northern woods like animals and sometimes she thinks of them, in Idaho and Minnesota, and wonders how they got that way and what she’s doing so far from them, in the Yucatan.

6.
My father risks looking weak if I walk free. My father is dead. Figure that out.
I am no hooligan motivated by religious hatred, though I hate religion. I am vilified by the state media, though I use ivory soap and am always clean, even in my jail cell.
Sally always used fancy boutique soaps, scented with lemongrass and patchouli.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois