Sal Buttaci is bee-neath the surface, fighting sweaty dreams!

Knees and bees - so much to say. I'll leave it to you.







In Sleep He Again Returned to Siberia

by Sal Buttaci

Jacob Nye, armed with a swatter, waited for the sweat bees to alight on whatever sweetness they could find. Few weekends this summer were this hot. Even the oppressive humidity seemed welcomed in the absence of ubiquitous rain. Taking advantage of the last-minute weather, he stood outdoors swatting at the sweat bees.

Few neighbors liked him, wondering what childhood misery robbed him of joy and replaced it with dark cynicism. Nye would never reveal those secrets bottled up inside him.

Yakov Abramovich Pokrovsky. He had abandoned his name in the burned-down dilapidation that had been his Siberian home near where his father labored at the salt mines. There, in the bowels of the earth, Abram Pokrovsky in a perilous moment, shared his disgust of Stalin with somebody he naively considered a friend. That somebody told the NKVD. Somebody came with a gun and shot his father and mother and little sister Irina Abramalovna Pokrovsky. Narrowly Yakov had escaped.

Years later Jacob Nye was a free man in New York. Free but imprisoned within the darkness of himself. He lived alone. He trusted no one. Even when Beria poisoned Stalin, he suspected the KGB would hunt him down.

Jacob did not see the sweat bees hovering above the rim of his soda can dive into the sugared waters below. He drank from it.

In sleep he again returned to Siberia. Bloodying his fingertips digging beneath the burnt soil, he called to Irina, “I’ve come to save you!” Sharp stones cut away at his hands and arms. When he awoke, he could see in the near darkness red welts everywhere puffing on his flesh. He stumbled to the bathroom. Flipped on the light.

The sweat bees were squeezing themselves free of his pores. In his head a deafening buzz of wings. He thought of the salt mines. His father picking away at the white rock. Now the sweat bees under the dermal surface of his body were devouring him. Shredding the secrets.

Up close he could see the rivulets of blood filling the squared perimeters of the white tiled floor.


12 thoughts on “Sal Buttaci is bee-neath the surface, fighting sweaty dreams!

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Outstanding to the theme, original and stings at the core of this reader’s soul, because “In Sleep He Again Returned to Siberia” is the Russian nightmare of being eaten alive by a bear named Stalin one bite at a time from an internal tortured hive of guilt-based memories.

  2. Tiffany V says:

    Sal, you’ve done it again. This story is off-putting and reminiscent of my childhood understanding of Gorbachev. It’s a complete story, with plot action from start to finish. As my understanding of writing deepens, I appreciate your works more and more!

  3. Jean Rodenbough says:

    Another good one, Sal. This time there is a depth that carries it beyond your previous pieces. This requires a bit of thinking: during and after reading it. That’s the mark of a true writer.

  4. Micki Peluso says:

    Every time I read something written by Sal, I am certain it’s the best–until I read the next one. He s a master of the short short story, bringing depth and meaning in few words. This story reflects so vividly what past tortuous memories can do to one’s soul and makes it clear that they can never be completely diminished. When one thinks they have let them go, Sal relates how quickly they can sting again . . . and again.

  5. kyle katz says:

    Anyone who wants to know how to craft a short story. Sal is the go to man. have learned a lot over the years by reading his shorts……does that sound right?

  6. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    I am overwhelmed by your comments. Writing is only half the pleasure; being read is the other half. It amounts to an encouragement to write more so that more can be read. This is true for all of us who will argue to the death that the pen is truly mightier than the sword, that more can be gained and kept by a word or turn of a phrase than all the wild aggression of wars.

    • Michael Stang says:

      Didn’t somebody say they will never remember you for who you were but what you said?
      Where it is written, you know, everything about everybody down to the last bit, there is a book sized appendix that grows without stop: particular consideration to be given to a one Salvatore Buttaci. The great ones pause and look at each other, knowing this guy will be remembered on both accounts.

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