Kseniya had always fancied a pool
and one of those old Citizen Kane-style
mansions shielded from the Boulevard,
should she be so lucky some oligarch
sweep her off her Pretty Woman feet
one fine day. Zhenya can come with.
rests one middle finger on the wheel,
as Kseniya looks out through 1950s
shades at residences of the well-
to-do. “Stop right there, kid!” she barks sharply
and takes a snap of the pharmacist’s.
“Let’s drive on up the hill,” Zhenya grumbles
but obeys her friend. The old car grunts
up the steep secluded private hill-
side drive in too high a gear. The tires crunch
over the gravel forecourt.
steps out headscarved and takes another snap
of the old place. Zhenya sits arms crossed
and stares tediously out through the wind-
screen and the haze of chemical smog
draped over the tinsel town horizon
like a poorly executed fake
eyebrow under the scorching LA sun.
“Are you the girls from casting?” booms out
the voice of an overweight African-
American security guard.
“Yes, we are!” Kseniya pipes up, lowering
her shades and fluttering her eyelids,
as Zhenya firmly barks out “No!”
heels stumble on the steps leading up
to the dream house. The heavy oak front door
eases ajar. A portly old care-
worn man’s balding head looks out after her,
in wine-stained opened dress shirt, grinning
through bad drooling teeth, and beckons her in.