Flurries fell on the pebbled concrete of the New York sidewalk. The city was slow and quiet. Anna passed a shop she had not seen before. In the window was a photo of old Leningrad, next to portraits of famous Russian writers. Anna loved literature from the Soviet Union. Her breath fogged the glass as she peered inside.
The shop door was old and damaged. Anna fantasized that it led upstairs to a one room apartment. Inside was steamy and disheveled. Vladivostok was covered in Russian frost. She imagined a worn mattress on a metal cot in the corner. By the window was a lonely table. On top was a bottle of vodka and a half-eaten sausage.
The door groaned as Anna pushed her way in to the shop. A man at the desk made eye contact but left her to browse the merchandise. The shelf to her left displayed a new edition of a Nabokov’s Lolita. A creepy feeling formed in her navel and she turned away.
On a display case were different releases of Dostoyevsky. Anna ran her finger over a hard spine, while imagining his time in Omsk. He had spent four years inside prison walls. There, the voices of stories erected. He had penetrated into the darkest recesses of Anna’s being. She flushed. But she had spent too much time communing with him. She needed something else.
Outside snow was collecting. The city was bathed in a white glow.
There were lots of TolsToys in the shop. Sometimes he kept her awake all night. Somewhere between happiness and suffering. Anna missed that, but no.
“Can I help you?” The man from the desk appeared at her side.
“Umm,” said Anna uncomfortably.
“I think I might have something you haven’t seen before,” suggested the man. He got a box from a mantle behind the desk. “It’s Chekhov’s Unicorn. Spanking new and the perfect shape,” said the man as he opened the box.
Anna lifted out the device. The horn was pale pink silicone. G-spot was written on the unicorn’s mane. She pressed the On button. The toy vibrated with a soft purr.
“Perfect,” said Anna, handing over her credit card.
Anna pounded home through the snow. She couldn’t wait to please herself.