I wake up with Khrushchev’s brass left eye staring me down. His look is angry, as if I’m the one who extracted half his nose. The desk clerk explains: moments after the ESSR collapsed, a mob stormed the room where the Premier had once slept. They brought clubs and hammers to room 14; left free to vandalize their own buildings as they saw fit, jubilant Estonians planned on hacking his commemorative bronze profile right off the wall. They pummeled his nose into submission and left a few nicks on his cheek before some falling plaster and a sagging windowpane taught them it was the bolts of his plaque that kept half the building vertical. Thwarted by Khrushchev, they took off toward lower hanging fruit and decapitated a stone Lenin at the riverside park.

“Say what you will about Soviets,” the clerk says. “They had a knack for utility.”

About the author

Brooks Rexroat lives and teaches writing in Cincinnati, Ohio, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing from Southern Illinois University…

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Issue 13 · September 2011

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