Fragments from books that don’t exist: Will Garen’s Man on the John


Dmitri Arkady Zhobotnik was not the smoothest operator. Sturd had no trouble tracking him down or keeping up once he did. Zhobotnik was the ultimate creature of habit, never varying the slightest from his daily routine. He awoke at three in the morning, played solitaire in his room until four, then vigorously rubbed a teaspoon of table salt under his chin, traded his pajama bottoms for a pair of bahama shorts, slipped on his sandals and ventured out and down the rickety staircase to the first floor of the boarding house, where he attempted and failed to kick the cat, Pushkin, on his way to the front door. Once on the street, he turned left and hurled insults at the pigeons who trotted along beside him, expecting treats. He called them ‘ungrateful urchins’ and ‘peasant vagabond blood moppers’, or at least that’s what Sturd thought he called them. Sturd’s Russian could have been better. Zhobotnik headed straight for the same park bench, where he planted his big fat ass and remained unmoving until eleven thirteen. He spoke to no one aside from the pigeons who now picked at the popcorn kernels stuck to his shoelaces. At eleven thirteen he rose and returned to the boarding house, where he grabbed a freshly baked ham pirogue from Natasha’s baking pan. He carried it up to his room, still piping hot, where he let it cool for seven minutes precisely. Sturd felt his own once perfectly taut masculine frame sagging and going to waste each day he remained on this tedious assignment.


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