by Kevin Tosca


It was when Ilinca, Moldavian by birth, French by choice, terrifically peasant by nature and soul, was making one of her notorious nostalgia meals and I was struggling with a difficult text on the philosophical over- and underpinnings of Daniil Kharms’ collected works that the pesky and malicious onion molecules wafted through the air and sneak-attacked my eyes.

God damn you to hell! I thought, having had enough of the tears, the onions, the men, the foreign policies and the fromage, so I shouted “Rice paper!” and whipped my pen, book, and patience across the room. My whipping caused smacking which, in turn, caused knocking and whimpering and farting.

The whipped pen, book, and patience smacked the front door, knocked Jesus off his nail. I had bought this Jesus at a brocante in 1999. Jesus had been, as the butchers say, une bonne affaire. Jesus did not break (Jesus never breaks), but this smacking and his knocking did nothing for poor Rambo’s frayed nerves.

My frail whippet whimpered and farted simultaneously. Continued to fart the kind of heartworm-reminiscent farts that force you, whether you’ve been outside or not, to check (with scrunched nose and much contempt of face) the soles of your feet. This is not absurd. Rambo was, after all, a serial—an incorrigible—farter. A fart machine, if you will. An industrial wonder, all the more wonderful because he was 100% organic.

I then opened the windows closest to the desk where I had been conducting my futile cognitive labors, opened them not in order to air the fouled air (impossible!), but to vault myself chin first over our balcony’s fourth floor railing.

And that, my friends, was the end of my unwise flirtation with professional Ping-Pong and fine Scottish tweed.

The meal was, as usual, delicious.



Kevin Tosca lives in Paris.