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Smells like victory

Oksana Marafioti Archive

Oksana Marafioti

The Time I Walked Away from Mel Gibson

October 26th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

When I was twenty-eight I saw Jesus Christ give a speech from the back of a pickup truck.

Immediately I called my husband and told him to get his ass over there so that, like me, he might also bask in the glory of Christ. Plus, I needed a witness. Someone my family trusted.

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Oksana Marafioti

A Thousand Words: On the Film Set

September 14th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

My cousin and I are sitting on a kitchen windowsill, smoking. We’re seven.

Outside, Moscow is blooming. Inside, we’re extras in a WWII-themed flick called Sisters, or Girlfriends. I can’t remember for sure. In this scene two women argue about so many damn Gypsies running around town. It’s intense. My cousin and I are supposed be acting like we’re talking, smoking, laughing. We’re so excited we can barely do that.

One of the two women is a famous Soviet actress. She’s crying. We can’t help admiring her skills, but we’re actors, too. So, we talk and smile, and we make sure to smoke as much as possible during the scene, because our parents would break our fingers if we tried it for real. In the name of art, we light one cigarette after another.

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Oksana Marafioti

Cats, Sex, and Reincarnation

August 15th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

I have this cat. His name is Trotter, dubbed so after a character from a really lame pirate flick, The Cutthroat Island. Well, there is nothing pirate or cutthroat about Trotter the cat. He’s rather ordinary, although like all felines he believes in perfection that is himself. Black and white, slim and amber eyed, he spent his street-reformed kittyhood in a shelter. He licks his non-existent manhood, he drinks from the toilet, he sprawls on your desk when you’re trying to write.

When happy, he drools on your clothes.

I’m perfectly fine with Trotter’s sometimes devious ways of sneaking an occasional waffle off the table. When he catches a pigeon, and drags it by its broken neck into the living room, I praise him on his hunting skills and toss out the poor bird when he’s not looking.

But there is one thing he does that I can not get used to.

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Oksana Marafioti

The Case of Runaway Lovers

June 23rd, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

With a delicate caress of the bow, the Gypsy violin begins its song. The Taborny Dance starts off slow, with a woman’s graceful hands and the froth of her emerald skirts. I watch the audience from my usual spot just behind the right curtain. When Rubina goes center stage, people lean forward in their wooden seats. Her cat-like eyes slant at the corners as she smiles down at the crowd, like a royal queen at her subjects. Most of the men in the band are either in love or in lust with her. At least that is what my grandmother, Ksenia says. She does not approve, but since Rubina is one of the most talented dancers, grandmother keeps her opinions to herself.

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Oksana Marafioti

Zoological Bullocks

June 12th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

We board the train to Kazakhstan in the middle of the night; thirty of us stuffed canned-food-style into the last three cars. Once the ticket agent at the Moscow central station found out she was dealing with performers and Gypsies, all the good tickets mysteriously sold out. We were stuck riding the back where everything swerved and rattled and swayed from side to side, like a shark’s tail.

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Oksana Marafioti

Interpretation of the Water Closet

May 23rd, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

Do you ever wonder what your bathroom says about you? When a visiting friend excuses himself/herself, are they’re checking out your medicine cabinet after washing their hands? Do they peak around your shower curtain, shriek on the inside when they discover the hair clump monster you’d left behind.

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Oksana Marafioti

Fun Facts About Life in the Former USSR

May 8th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV -

I moved to the States nineteen years ago, a year before USSR went extinct. Since then, I’ve been so busy morphing into an American version of my previous Gypsy-Armenian-Russian-Ukrainian-Mongolian self, that I have almost forgotten the old life.

Almost, but not quite.

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Oksana Marafioti

Bless me Boris!

April 26th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV -

My father turned on the speakerphone, then dialed the number. His long, recently dyed hair shone black against the sunlight streaming through our Los Angeles apartment windows.

I glanced at my stepmother, Natali. She winked, a pair of golden teeth gleaming at me. She loved meddling, gossiping, trouble of any kind. So did her teeth.

Lyda–a retired hair dresser from across the hall–stood behind my father, arms crossed at the elbows, lips moving in worried waves.

I couldn’t believe they were actually doing this. But they would not listen to reason, so I hoped nobody was home. And then it came, the answer on the other end of the line. “Hello?”

Natali jumped in her seat. Lyda looked like a ripe tomato at a food festival, happy and terrified at the same time.

“Bless me, Boris,” my father said, motioning for us to stay quiet.

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Oksana Marafioti

I Write Because of Freddy Krueger

March 18th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

Most people have wonderful, magical stories about how they started to write. These often involve inspirational moments that urged them to spill their passions into the pages of diaries, and later, books.

Some people are just naturals. They probably woke up one day from their cute baby naps, needing a diaper change and some ink to write the next bestseller.

My beginnings do not fit neatly into any category. I don’t write out of blind infatuation with my first boyfriend, or as a consequence of a grade school language assignment.

I picked up a pen because of Freddy Krueger.

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Oksana Marafioti

I Used to be a George Michael Junky

March 6th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti

LAS VEGAS, NV-

At the age of twelve, I suddenly developed a crush on George Michael. I was still living in Russia, and spoke not a word of English. The miles separating me from my love only increased the fierce desire to worship him in the three languages I did know.

At the time, everything Western barely trickled in through the cracks of the strict Soviet censure. But the harder the government worked to keep us away from the ‘Devils Across the Ocean’, the more successfully it failed.

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