Phil Doran


Matryona Grigorierna Rasputina loved the jellied heads of Moscovite children her father had the Winter Palace cook prepare. The macula was softer than Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy infected brain tissue, but not so bitter. Her father would clutch the head behind the ears, the only part you could grasp hold of without it slipping out of your hands, and bury his face into the child’s head like a rabid dog. The squelch that the monk made as he sucked out lonely eyes from their sockets always reminded Matryona of happier times.

In her twenties she ended up a night club dancer in Bucharest, then toured Europe and America as a lion tamer. The Daughter Of Famous Mad Monk Whose Feats Astonished Russia And World! would later get mauled by a bear in Peru under direct orders from Stalin. She stayed with the circus however until it reached Miami Florida, where she quit and began work as a riveter in a shipyard. One night she met KGB agent Georgie Bernadsky, second generation American Russian. In the mid-50’s he worked the plants as a trade union buster and McCarthyite stooge until he switched sides. He stayed married to Matryona for six months at the behest of the Soviet secret police. Settling permanently in the US to put clear Atlantic between her and her ex, Matryona was politically and sexually inactive in 1968 Summer Of Degeneracy, when she claimed to be a psychic. Betty Ford came to her in a dream with a recipe Spiridon Putin had cooked at the Astoria Hotel in February 1915 for Tsar Nicholas II. Spiridon, grandfather of Vladimir, went on to be the only Russian to have cooked for Lenin and Stalin.

Georgie died after eating the Kuhlich that Matryona had baked for Russian Orthodox Easter. Not receiving any of the State pension she would have been entitled to, had she stayed in Soviet Union, she was forced to work for CIA as babysitter of weapons and illegal narcotics in return for green card and keeping Interpol and KGB off her back.

The recipe remain classfied, but Matryona looked at the copy she had kept. For old time’s sake. She was sentimental like that. Just like her father.

Phil Doran (b. Liverpool 1963) is a stand-up poet, comedian, writer and teacher. He has been published by Cerebral Catalyst, Zygote In My Coffee, The Beat, The Times, Tenerife Holiday Magazine, Insurance Age, Midweek and The Liverpool Echo. He is a regular contributor to Sein Und Werden. He is the author of the two bumper collections of flash fiction and short stories: Spaghetti Fiction and Spaghetti Fiction Too. He is working on his new books Auntie Pastie (Twenty years of spoken word) and Spaghetti Fiction Freed. He lives on a 23ft narrowboat. 

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