“Nochoy gorshok!”* the Soupster heard a man’s excited voice on the other side of the stout door saying. “Pazhalusta!”** Then came short, sharp knocks.
The Soupster looked around in a panic. Where was he? He was in a room where there was a short bed and a cabinet made of thick wood. He opened the door of the cabinet and it was empty, save for an old-style chamber pot.
The Soupster thought “What does this man want so badly? What is he saying?” The knocking continued. And somehow the Soupster knew he was in Alexander Baranof’s bedroom and the manager of all of Russian-America needed his chamber pot.
And then the Soupster was taken up in a swirl that reminded him of the part of the Wizard of Oz with Dorothy’s house in the tornado. When he got his bearings he was back in Our Town, only the whole place was overrun with American servicemen. The Soupster could see his sister up the street, surrounded by soldiers and sailors offering to place their coats over a puddle for her and there were more GIs and seamen than puddles.
A newspaper blowing down the street caught against the Soupster’s shin. He glimpsed the date – September 20, 1942 – before the same wind that propelled the paper swept the Soupster in the same swirl as before and he ended up in the crater of a dormant volcano. Mt. Edgecumbe?
He looked up at the blue sky. A fine spring day. And the Soupster was just starting to think about which side to climb up to get out of the crater, when he was almost hit by one, then another, large vehicle tire.
The air was saturated with the insect drone of a helicopter. Another tire fell from it. The helicopter kicked up dust that became a swirl and again carried the Soupster, this time back to town, with pavement beneath his feet.
The Soupster was surrounded by people. And he and they all had something over their head. Some kind of shroud. The Soupster could see light coming in from the bottom of the shroud. Nearly everybody wore X-tra Tuffs. “Where are we?” he whispered to the women next to him in the dark.
“What do you mean `Where are we?’” she said. “You’re in the Whalefest life-size whale. How did you get here, anyway” she said, to what by that time was only thin air, because the swirl took the Soupster to…
… his friends Corey and Barb’s house for Thanksgiving. The Soupster sat at the dinner table as Barb piled his plate high with slices of halmoncod, the turkey-shaped fish dish made from halibut (white meat), salmon (dark meat) with a bit of black cod on the rump.
She gave him so much halmoncod that he had to beg to take most his portion home. “So I can savor it more when I am not so full,” he begged Barb, who relented as the swirl once again came for the Soupster and brought him back to his own bed.
The Soupster opened his eyes, ending the dream. He was definitely back at home and it was three weeks before Christmas. After finishing the last of the leftover halmoncod at nearly midnight, shoveling it into his mouth in front of a great old movie, of course he got indigestion!
Well, he was awake now. “Might as well use the nochoy gorshok.” He said out loud. “Now what does that mean?” he wondered.
* Russian for “chamber pot. ** Russian for “please!”
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