Prologue

From the Story Arc: The Bearer of Strashnyjj, Strashnyjj News

Next Story in the Arc: The Gift by Commie Cowgirl (Friday, February 10, 2006)

(posted Friday, February 10, 2006)

“Tarnation!” Commie Cowgirl wanted to holler. She refrained, not from any sense of propriety, but from being fifteen feet underwater in a tank of sharks. Mako sharks, Kristof Taylor had informed her before shoving her in. Aggressive and underfed. She counted five ten footers in the bloody, chum-strewn water.

She’d also lost her hat.

She wasn’t sure what galled her most: the lost hat, the sharks circling her, or the betrayal of Kurt’s brother, who turned out to be meaner’n a rattler in the proletariat latrine. With kin like that, who needs enemies?

A solid red shape floated past, more substantial than the fish guts in the water: her hat, a gift from Kurt. Without hesitating she kicked off from the bottom of the tank, arms outstretched to seize the hat. As she did, the largest of the sharks broke from the pack and shot towards her like a living, toothy torpedo. Oksana stretched her body to reach out; the hat was so close, inches away, tossed by the current created by the massive swimming predators.

The bull opened his hideous maw to take a bite of his rootin’ tootin’ communist lunch.