POETRY
A Minor Inconvenience by Anne McClintock
FICTION
Mikhail and Zakhar – A Russian Romance – David Hutchison

A Minor Inconvenience

A pool of still water,

Pale yellow reflections

Auguring the presence of street lamps.

In the distance the relentless coo coo cooing

Of collard doves

And pigeons beloved in some back yard.


Tiny pattering feet and a louder, heavier tread

Tell of a dog taking his master for a walk.

Its tiny feet barely ruffle the surface.

The cold drips on her master’s trainer

A very minor inconvenience.


A deliveroo driver, too close to the kerb,

Waterfalls his way over the pool.

The result, for the driver, an expletive reaction.

It’s a minor inconvenience of the job.


The rainy days give way to summer

People, enjoying the heat, emerge from lock down

And cautiously react once more to the sound of traffic.


The pool dries out.

Leaving only a dip in the road

And the dry cracked surface of a pothole.

Drivers curse as they jolt their way past.

It’s a daily inconvenience to them all.


On the other side of the Earth a man sleeps.

His body is emaciated, his swollen belly weighed down

By the burden of no food.

His sightless eyes look out on a cracked landscape from which rain has departed

Perhaps for ever.

It is dotted here and there by crumpled heaps of humanity

Dead. Or waiting to die.


Above him, in the relentless heat scavengers wait.

Fiesta has arrived.

For a short time they will eat, drink and be merry

But when the carnival is over

Their music to will fall silent.


As men and beasts depart,

The Earth will revive, grow green

And support its own re-birth.

If a few carnivores remain to fight and destroy each other

They will be, at worst, a minor inconvenience

The planet, left to itself will survive.

mikhail and zakhar

A BARN IN RUSSIA

ZAKHAR,17 and MIKHAIL,18 look out the window to down below. A mob of people surround the barn.

ZAKHAR We have to get out of this.

MIKHAIL Why do you say that?

ZAKHAR Look around.

MIKHAIL How could this happen?

FLASHBACK 10 MINUTES AGO.

Zakhar brushes down Carefree, a black pony. He steals a look across at Mikhail who stacks bales of hay at the far end of the barn. Zakhar is fascinated by Mikhail’s stocky body and curly dark hair. Mikhail turns round and catches Zakhar staring.

MIKHAIL What?

Zakhar is embarrassed. He brushes the pony too hard. The pony NEIGHS. Mikhail drops his bale. He comes up to Zakhar. Mikhail takes the brush from Zakhar.

MIKHAIL You’re doing it wrong! Here look like this.

Mikhail brushes the pony with long steady strokes. Mikhail pats the pony’s neck. He passes the brush back to Zakhar.

MIKHAIL  Right you do it.

Zakhar takes the brush and starts to brush the pony. Mikhail firmly places his hand on top of Zakhar’s.

MIKHAIL Gently!

Zakhar brushes along the pony with Mikhail’s hand on top. Zakhar turns to face Mikhail.

ZAKHAR I..

Mikhail takes Zakhar in his arms and they kiss passionately. The brush drops to the ground. Suddenly an accusing scream is heard.

DARYA Queers!

Mikhail and Zakhar let go each other and turn. A young woman DARYA scowls and marches out of the barn.

ZAKHAR She’ll tell! We’ll go to prison.

MIKHAIL No she won’t.

ZAKHAR She will.

We should run away . Now!

MIKHAIL And go where?

ZAKHAR My neighbour’s cousin, he’s in America. He has a husband. They’re married.

MIKHAIL Shut up. Let me think.

ZAKHAR I’ll give her money and ..

SOUND of people SHOUTING.

ZAKHAR I told you she’d tell.

Mikhail quickly takes his shirt off.

ZAKHAR What are you doing?

MIKHAIL Take your shirt off!

ZAKHAR Why?

MIKHAIL Just do it.

END OF FLASHBACK

SOUND of CROWD louder. Mikhail pulls of his T-shirt and is left bare-chested. He helps Zakhar to pull his T-shirt off. Mikhail takes Carefree out of the stall. He throws a saddle over the horse.

MIKHAIL Come on, help me!

Zakhar helps Mikhail to secure the saddle on the horse. Mikhail jumps up into the saddle.

MIKHAIL Come on!

Zakhar jumps up behind him. The CROWD wrench the doors open. 

ZAKHAR We’ll never get out.

MIKHAIL That’s what you think. Watch this!

ZAKHAR Don’t!

Mikhail clicks the pony’s legs. Carefree slowly trots out of the barn with the two bare-chested young men.

Mikhail raises his hand in a salute.

MIKHAIL Hail Vladmir Putin , our beloved leader!

The crowd part, unsure. The pony gallops off down the field and into the trees. Mikhail stops the pony. He turns and kisses Zakhar.

ZAKHAR Are you happy now?