War Whore

By M.J. Politis

CHAPTER 1
Sept, 1939

Karen Lubinska looked around at the room, waking up from an uneasy, but interesting night of dreaming. Maybe her 26 going on 56 year old spirit was more tired than she thought. Or maybe she had aged 30 years overnight without realizing it. Such was life in the ‘hotel room’ as she called it.

It could have been worse. It could have been a cell in C-Block where rats were pets, and roaches an evening imperatif. It could have been B-Block, where visitations from men were not only allowed, but encouraged, particularly if they wore badges. Or it could have been anywhere with anyone else.

“The hotel room” was a single occupancy no frills special measuring 6 by 7 feet squared with the yardstick, but it could be bigger if you thought beyond it. “Gee, it looks like another cloudy day outside,” she said gazing at the grewy wall that, on some days, looked bright blue, some days sunny and on some days resembled a Rembrandt. But today, the weather outside was ‘grey and cloudy’. She could feel it, and see it when she looked into the mirror.

“Hmmm”, she reflected tossing the blonde mop away from her bloodshot eyes. “Ten more grey hairs this morning. But I still HAVE hair,” she thought. “Not like Cathy in B block who didn’t please her man, and guard, enough. It’ll take her another three years to grow it back. Then again, the redneck assholes don’t like women with crew cuts, so maybe she’s luckier than she thinks. But it’ll make it harder for her to find love from another woman in here. And women in here is where it counts…or used to.” Karen reflected, then gazed down to the crack in the corner. “Hey!” she screamed at the black figure coming out of it like a ghost from another time, place and dimension. “What do YOU think about all this, Carlos.”
Even Karen was surprised that she called her pet Cockroach Carlos. Maybe it was a she, deserving to be called Carlito. But Carlito or Carlos, it came back to the same source. “Carlos. Nice to see you in a life form I can talk to, and dominate. Now, I talk, and you listen. And if I want to, I can crush you like a bug, since you treated me like a maggot, you mother fuckin…” Carlos made a run for the breakfast tray snuck under the door. It was a piece of stale toast, moldy jam and butter that smelled like something that had been eaten by the cook first, but it was breakfast. And Karen wouldn’t let Carlos beat her to the punch again.

“It’s mine!” she screamed out, grabbing the tray, throwing the roach up in the air and against a wall. The bug went splat, then fell to the floor. Then, a tear from her eyes. The first time in months that she expressed any emotions except rage or depression, or despondency. “Carlos, I’m sorry,” she lamented, stroking the bug. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I love you, I really do…” With her soul held hostage by guilt, grief and regret, the bug made its move, hoping onto the toast, making itself comfortable in a bed of something that was supposed to resemble butter and jam in the softest part of the bread.
“I guess you win, again,” she said, feeling her belly ache with hunger again. Hoping that this day would go fast, or that the next 20 years would magically transpire in the next two hours so she could get on with her life.

Behind the walls, somewhere above her, she heard an angelic choir. “Glory be to God in the Highest” rang out from voices with renewed strength, vision and revealing between the notes and within the lines, an emotion seldom expressed, or felt, at Randerhart Prison— “Hope, Carlos. The voices are hopeful this time.” She sighed, opening up her diary, picking up a pencil that had been worn down to a three-inch stub, and drew the symbol that landed her in the hole in the first place. “Hammer and sickle, Comrade Cochroach. It isn’t written anywhere that Jesus condemns Communist New York hookers to 25 years in an Alabama jail. And I think that Jesus would have been a Bolshevik. Certainly a Trostyite. And He would have been the first one on the battle lines in 1917 to tear down the palaces of gold crucifixes paid for by the suffering of ‘God Fearing’ Christians whose children died of starvation while they died of grief. But what about you, Carlos?” The bug sat there and ate. Nothing from him, and everything from the voices above her head, echoing in her mind like a knife ready to tear open her heart and her soul. “Stop that! Stop that! For the Love of Humanity! Religion is poison! Poison! Poison!”
But the choir got louder. Karen shook with fear, a coldness overtaking her that was not just another early morning chill on a floor as hard as rock and twice as impersonal. On every other Sunday, she knew it was the early morning service where God-fearing prisoners could express themselves in song with emotions they dared not reveal in words, or actions, the rest of the week. Maybe if Karen feared God, she would be rewarded, too. But the God who existed behind the alters of the God that everyone else worshipped demanded that Karen remain Alive in a dead or dying world.

“I know! I know!” she yelled at the other end of the hotel room, to another wall, beyond which another friend lived on a good day. “Merlina, I know that you want me to make the world a freer place! I know that you want me to take the sword and cut the chains of Capitalistic oppression. And I know that you’re there to help me. You have to be. But why me? And why did I wing up here? And why with a brain that could outthink Einstein and a body that could make Mary Pickford look like a Hereford cow, did I land up here?” The answer was obvious. “Carlos,” she said to the bug. “It was you out there, and in her. Adam lost his perspective to a babe offering him an apple, and me…all it took was a touch of your gentle fingers on my cheek, lips, breasts and…”

The rest of the details were best forgotten. As was what Caros set her up for. For the bust, and the information on the other Socialists in Greenwich Village, Carlos became the first Mexican-American FBI agent to make the rank of Inspector. Karen was the first Socialist Whore busted for soliciting and conspiracy. As for the offspring of their love, once the courts and Carlos’ father’s plantation money came into the picture…
She lamented on it, then thought about what the judge said. “I’ll see you die in jail, young lady,” he scolded from the back of the bench. “You will die unheard, un-noticed, and alone,” the final prophesy.
“He was right, Carlos,” she said. “Or maybe I should make it right.”

The tool to make everything right lay in a crack under the East wall. A small sliver of metal no bigger than a nail file but sharp as a razor. One slash and it would be over, as long as it was fast, and deep, and she didn’t scream.
Maybe it was the dream the night before, or maybe the life before the nightmare with Carlos. But this was the time, and this was the place. She picked up the sliver of silver-plated ‘sharp’, closed her eyes, and said a silent prayer to her three heroes. “Buddha, Lenin and Jesus. the real Jesus. I wrote down everything I have to say in this diary. The last chapter, we’ll write in blood, together, right? I don’t want to die insane, so while I still know what I’m doing all this for, of think that I know why I’m continuing the struggle for Global Liberation—” Karen’s silent prayers were always cluttered with words, as was her heart always infiltrated with thoughts and re-assessments. It made her the most interesting hooker below 23rd Street, and the most dangerous. But it was time for—

“Okay, fellas, lets do this thing right!” she said taking the hand-crafted knife and making the first slit. But as she made the first light mark, from above…silence.

“They stopped, Carlos!” she noted. “In the middle of the—” A knock echoed in from the door, no eyes behind it. “Karen, open the door,” a calm, intelligent male voice beckoned her. Was this the incarnation of the Godhead and the Godheart come to rescue her? No one had spoken to her in such a human tone, and called her by her Christian-Jewish name. And it was a man! Woman sought, and often obtained, Karen’s affection in a carnal way while in the joint. She gave them compassion, but never love. That was reserved for…the Man Upstairs, or Inside. Was he knocking at her door, saving her from killing herself, in the nick of time. The door clicked. “It’s open. Please open the door,” he said again.

Carlos fled into the woodwork, or rather cement-cracks. Karen’s mind raced as fast as it could to intuit who it was, and why. Her maternal Jewish genetics said it was like when Abraham stood above his beloved son with a knife to his throat, prepared to sacrifice him to the Heavenly Father, who called the deal off once he saw that Old Abe was willing to do the ultimate sacrifice for His will. Her paternal Polish Catholic side said it was the Virgin Mary saying that everything really WILL be okay on the other side. But on the other side of what? After Karen became overcome with a universal compassion for humanity, the notion of Heaven or Hell became irrelevant. And as for the man, or Spirit, on the other side of the now open door— “Who are you?” she inquired with all the bravado she could muster, holding the knife in her clenched fist, prepared to use it on herself if Buddha demanded it, or on the Devil if that was who was inviting her into the next—

The door swing open, the figure entering. He was clad in black from head to toe, the look of determined indifference in his eyes, but still, determination. His eyes were cold brown, his complexion pale, his face chiseled in a classic form that said ‘official’. “Karen Lubinski?” he asked.

“Yeah. That’s still me, I think.”

“You’re coming with me,” he said firmly.

“And if I don’t want to?”

“You’re coming with me,” he repeated, offering her an open door. Guards behind him had their weapons holstered. No cuffs, no rifles. An offer that couldn’t be refused, for any normal revolutionary radical idealist. But Karen had to ask…
“No cuffs, no irons?”

The visitor showed no emotion, the worse emotion of all.

“No non-sense under the sheets!” she asserted, a volcano of fear under the veneer of calm she had learned to wear like a paper-thin coat against the snow-blowing wind. The visitor smiled, looked downward and took out a newspaper. He threw it to her. She opened it up, reading the headlines “Germany attacks Poland, Stalin and Hitler sign non-aggression Pact.” Even Karen’s heart-broken heart dropped to the floor. Nazis invading her father’s homeland. And Comrade Stalin just letting him do it. She suspected that Stalin was more of a Bolshevik than a Socialist, and that Trotsky should have inherited the throne of the only country that could save the world from a greed-is-good Capitalism that would destroy humanity. But Mother Russia friends with the Fatherland that vowed to kill so many Jews, and others…Her heart asked the question, “What can I do?”
“Your country needs you,” the visitor said, reading the question in her tear-soaked, shell-shocked face.

MJ Politis, Ph.D., D.V.M., H.B.A.R.P. (human being, aspiring Rennaisance person)

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