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Fiction Fantasy Mystery

Boris is a short guy with a mean streak. He likes to talk alot about how bad he is, but he has a secret.


He is afraid of his job.


Boris comes from Russia and he has thirteen brothers and fifteen sisters and they all have to work collecting rent money from the shopkeepers and drifters. Boris hears Papa's voice inside his head saying, "Don't feel sorry for them. They will cry, plead, get down on their knees. They will beg for more time! Take out your bat and that is their answer. Work! Collect Rent. Being home bacon to Papa!"

"Yes, Papa", Boris replies, but inside he is a sniveling bowl of jelly. He is afraid of his job.

Mama shakes her head at Papa. "You are mean. Nobody likes you. Do you want your sons and daughters to be hated like you?" "Be quiet woman and work!" Papa yells back. Mama's red eyes and withered hands speak of days washing dishes and weeping. Boris feels mean in his belly, but he is afraid to tell Papa that he hates his job. He likes his neighbors. He wants to give them lots of time. He wants someone to stand up to Papa. Boris doesn't really want to break knees and punch noses for lack of rent money. Boris would rather pick daisies or bake a nice pie to bring over to them to bring a smile to their lips. Boris is afraid that he will disappoint Papa, but Mama takes his hand in hers and reminds him that "He is Goodinov" being himself. Boris is afraid of being a Badinov.


But Papa says, "Work!" "Collect Rent!" "Bring home bacon!"


Many nights, Boris suffers from terrible nightmares. Tonight, however, he is dreaming that he bakes the most fragrant and delicious pies. He puts the pies out on the windowsill of his bakery and the fragrance wafts up into the sky and even the birds cry the smell is so beautiful. Boris wants to be a baker, not a bully. His pillow is wet with tears of shame and fear.


"I must tell Papa I refuse to break another knee over rent!"


"I must walk up to Papa and tell him I am born to be a pie maker!"


Boris is not Badinov to be a bully. His knees are quivering and he breaks out in a cold sweat because he knows what he must do. As the dawn breaks, he hears his brothers and sisters waking up and getting breakfast. They are ready for battle. They are ready for rent collection in Russia town of no name. Armed with bats and arrogance, a stomach full of porridge and the will to collect rent, the Badinovs march into the day.


But is Boris Badinov?


The first stop is the florist. Mr. Shmirnoff, a veteran flower grower, is a gentle soul. He wouldn't hurt a fly and he has been faithful to monthly rent collection. "We here for rent, Mr. S., hand over the money now!", Hertzog Badinov grunts to the florist, with his fist in the air. "I have your money, but if I give it to you now, we shall go without supper for a week, is that what you really want, for me and my family to go without food?"

Hertzog shrugs, gazes at Mr. Shmirnoff, pats his belly and says, "You could lose a few pounds and your fat wife is ugly."

"What? You are heartless. Take the money and leave!"

Hertzog counts the money and laughs. "What stupid fools. They never push back. They just give,give, give. I would give anything to have someone stand up to me."

The second stop is the liquor store. Mr. Borscht is the owner and he and a few clerks are stocking the shelves with vodka and other liquors. "Time for rent collection!", Boris Badinov shouts loudly. "Be quick and I won't have to take out my bat!" Mr. Borscht shuffles over to Boris with tears in his eyes". I have no money for you today. We had a large shipment of vodka and I already paid the supplier. Perhaps you should be in the liquor supply business instead?"

Boris is lost in thought, hesitating, Hertzog suddenly shoves Boris aside and signals his brothers and sisters to trash the liquor store. Smashing liquor bottles and laughing. "Now you have no liquor. Now you have no money. You want I smash your knees or your elbows?"

"Stop! Stop this madness! What are they doing to you, Hertzog? These are our neighbors, this is our community! You are a thug, is that what you want to be your whole life? ", Boris went off on this wild ramble and finally shouts. "I want out of this cruel bully business of collecting rent. I can't eat, I can't sleep. I am afraid of my job. Afraid of my neighbors. One day they will stand up to us and they will be a group of angry neighbors. I want friends, I want to grow flowers. I want to bake a pie. I want to not be afraid of my job! I want to be a baker, not a bully, Hertzog!"


"You stupid fool, Boris! You humiliate me in front of our rent collections? How dare you. I tell Papa what a coward you are."

Hertzog slaps Boris across the face, but Boris just stares at him.


"Go ahead and tell Papa. Tell the whole neighborhood that there will be a new bakery in town. And you can collect the rent from ME. I am not afraid of you. I am afraid of not doing what I love. I love baking pies. I will bake pies.", Boris declares.


Hertzog along with his brothers and sisters laugh loudly.


"Boris is a weakling! He bakes pies. He is afraid of his job. He refuses to bash knees and collect rent! What a coward Boris is!"


The townspeople gather around and clap for Boris. "We forgive Boris for he is as much of a victim as we are. Your brothers and sisters are victims of your Papa's arrogance. Break free from him and do something kind for your neighbors instead. Just try."


Hertzog and his brothers and sisters stare at Boris and shake their heads. "Going to tell Papa what a coward Boris is. Go bake a pie Boris, but don't come home, ever again!"


"I am home! I am with friends I love. I won't ever bully again. I love to bake pies and grow flowers. I am a lucky guy."


Maybe you, Hertzog, will see you are afraid too but too scared to say. "Never! Never will I say what I feel inside. I am Badinov and I am bully."


"I feel sorry for you then. You won't have friends and you won't have peace if you keep listening to Papa. He only loves you when you are mean to others. Don't you see that?", Boris reminds Hertzog.


Boris Badinov has many brothers and sisters. Too many to remember but that very day, they all stop in their shoes and turn around, look up at the sky and start crying for the life they are missing because they are afraid of their job, their Papa and most of all they are afraid that their neighbors will become the bully instead of a friend. They want friends but are afraid to try.


Only Hertzog went home to Papa that day. "Where are your brothers and sisters? Did you collect the rent? Give me the money!"


Hertzog looks at the floor in shame.


I lost my brothers and sisters because I wanted to be like you Papa.


Are you proud?


"Collect Rent. Collect Money!"


"You do it Papa. You are the only one Badinov for the job!"







February 26, 2022 21:08

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7 comments

Graham Kinross
10:38 Sep 04, 2022

That pun at the end, I could hear my dad telling it. Classic dad style joke. I like the strength showed by the characters against bullying. It's hard when it's people you live with.

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Kendall Defoe
18:05 Mar 05, 2022

Rocky and Bullwinkle, call your office! I really liked this one. And I wondered if Natasha was about to appear... :(

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19:08 Mar 05, 2022

Thank you! I doubt if Natasha would like Papa! He's too grumpy and look how he treats Mama!

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Tricia Shulist
13:41 Mar 05, 2022

What a fun story! I liked the cadence — it was like a fairy tale. But I do miss Moose and Squirrel😁. Thanks for this.

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Naduni De Silva
18:18 Feb 27, 2022

A simple story but gives a good lesson that everyone should learn! i'm glad Boris and his brothers and sisters decided to stand up to their father and decided to do what they think was the good thing. it takes courage and some people lack it so much in reality and end up doing the bad thing again and again

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20:28 Feb 27, 2022

Thank you for reading my story! Yes, brothers and sisters should stand up to their father and especially a rotten father like this one! LOL

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07:00 Feb 27, 2022

I like the nice clear writing and plot and lots of interesting details, good work.

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