This is the twelfth in a series of posts that will preview the upcoming issue of Absinthe, our 17th, focused on Bulgaria. In this post we present an excerpt from a novel by Vladislav Todorov.
A sense of profuse powdering, a funky smell of powder, cotton ball rubbing powder into oily pores, cheeks, temples, nose, chin, nostrils . . . His face lost its greasy luster and became a breathing fresco.
A sudden thought made him smile, but on the inside, with the back of his face lest the powder should spill — the thought of how Marie Antoinette’s profusely powdered face rolled at the executioner’s feet.
“You’ve got perfect skin.” A coquettish female voice brought him back within the mirrored confines of the makeup room, “oily and elastic.”
“Skin,” he thought, “that’s what’s left of me.”
The powdered man glanced through the door crack of the makeup room into the studio of the popular television show “Scaffold.” The audience had taken their seats and now observed how the stage workers tested the joints of the Scaffold — a light fiberglass construction, a postmodern installation of sorts.
The former diva Vera Pavlov was the talk-show host. She had been reassigned to the National Television owing to advanced-stage bilateral flat feet. This explained her army shoes and the haircut that matched the shoes. Her eyes — wet and loving — revealed her giving nature and constant readiness to breastfeed the starving populace. Vera had characteristically high cheekbones, plump lips, and a vibrant windpipe that could project her voice in the most acoustic ways. Her bust, secured in a tight corset, looked like a pair of river stones mounted on her otherwise fragile frame. A silver-clad ruby teardrop lodged peacefully in its massive groove. The hostess, frugally beautified, had the manners of a bashful yet sexually proficient headmistress. Two glands pulsated on her snow-white neck. Her entire organism was growing visibly agitated.
READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.
Learn more about Vladislav Todorov and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.