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What’s your dream job?

Well, I think writing is pretty darn dreamy. But if I were to do something else I’d be in a rock band.

 

Really?

You sound surprised.

 

I just didn’t expect that answer from someone of your cultural background.

If I had a choice of rock bands I’d be with AC/DC playing a tambourine alongside Angus Young. Does that sound more like what you expected?

In our apartment life was a rotten potato lost between the fridge and the counter. No matter where you went, the stink followed. But at Dad’s, excitement and novelty made our troubles invisible. My step-mother proved a riveting distraction, a mischievous sprite out to grab your soul. I understood why Roxy shot down the stairs like an arrow every time Dad came to pick us up, but I was still avoiding his house as much as possible.

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.