This weekend I am reposting my (portions rewritten) three part series, Frostbite: A Mafia Family Christmas, about the Kaszinov Family. I had fun last year imagining what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a Russian Mafia family, well, at least a goofy one. These posts were my first #FridayFlash-es.
Tasha Kaszinov never imagined her first Christmas back home in Budapest in over fifteen years would come to this. Every swear word in her vocabulary swirled through her head as she grabbed her sixty-two year old Mama tightly with both arms and pulled her off Great Aunt Urola.
Mama waved her arms wildly, “You never should have come here you old bat! I don’t care what promises Rudolf gave to you, he’s dead! But my dying wish is…”
“Mama, stop it! Just look at yourself… it’s Christmas!” Tasha took a hold of Mama even harder, picked her up and placed her in the nearest chair. Great Aunt Urola sneaked a sly smile towards Mama.
After scowling at her Mama and Aunt Urola, Tasha helped the women prepare Christmas dinner. But, Aunt Urola wasn’t done. She picked up a huge dish of potatoes and threw it into the garbage.
“What are you doing?” Mama shouted and tried to grab her again. Tasha intervened just in time.
“Tasha! Stop it! SHE is the one who needs restraining!” Mama screeched in a horse voice.
“I’m not eating ANYTHING prepared by THEM!” Aunt Urola pointed to Great Uncle Ermil’s family members. “You know what they did.” She was trembling with rage and stormed into the livingroom.
The women in the kitchen followed to watch the excitement. The men in the livingroom halted their conversations and all eyes turned towards Aunt Urola, who was ready to explode.
Tasha’s Papa, Viktor, the head of the Kaszinov Family, grabbed her. “Urola, calm down! I’ve had enough of your fits! Every Christmas it’s the same damn thing!” Viktor hated his Aunt Urola, but promised his father, Rudolf, on his death bed that he would take care of his sister.
“You are just as bad as THEY are, Viktor! Why don’t you be a man and stand up to them. You are a disgrace to your father. One of these days you will be sorry.” Aunt Urola wagged her finger at him.
The veins in Papa’s neck bulged and his face turned a deep shade of red. “You crazy old woman, you sit down and be quiet or I’ll give you something to complain about!”
Aunt Urola spun on her heels and returned to the kitchen. The women quickly followed to make sure the food was safe from her rage.
Tasha reluctantly walked to the kitchen and collapsed in a chair. The women ignored Aunt Urola, who was standing with her arms crossed in the middle of the kitchen, ready to pounce at the slightest provocation.
Memories of Tasha’s childhood and the crazy family gatherings of the past flooded her mind. Reality can get a little skewed when the family business is running a territory of the Russian Mafia from a family compound located in the Hungarian countryside. Tasha eagerly moved to the United States to attend law school and became a criminal trial attorney in Chicago. Since her departure, she had never visited her family in Budapest, until now. Tasha was beginning to think she had made a mistake but she was determined to accomplish her mission.
Eventually the table was set and Christmas dinner was served. The men toasted the reunion of the two families. The women shot icy stares at Aunt Urola. Tasha’s cousins diverted their attention by talking amongst themselves and occupying their children. Aunt Urola inserted criticisms into every conversation. Everyone could feel the tension grow.
Later that night, Tasha shivered as she heard the icy winds blow through the hills making travel impossible. The Kaszinov Family mansion accommodated the entire family for the night. Tasha was relieved to be rid of the family screaming and tension, but sleep was difficult for her as the howling wind transformed into gruesome noises.
When morning arrived, Tasha groggily went downstairs to find everyone awake and eating breakfast by seven o’clock. Her cousins served breakfast to their children.
“What would you like for breakfast?” Mama smiled at Tasha and touched her arm lovingly.
Both sides of the family were getting along splendidly this morning. Tasha’s relatives laughed as they drank their coffee. Relief entered her body as she watched this heart-warming scene.
“I want to go out and play in the snow with Aunt Urola!” Tasha’s neice looked out the window excitedly, and the other children jumped and shouted to join in.
“Okay, but just for a little while. I don’t want you to get too cold.” Mama smiled and helped the children put on their coats and snow pants.
Tasha sighed and smiled. That would certainly melt Aunt Urola’s heart. The magic of Christmas cheer can turn any grumble bumble around.
As the children opened the door and happily bounded into the newly fallen snow, Tasha felt their excitement. She went to the door to watch them play. Her face dropped and her mouth gaped open when she saw Great Aunt Urola’s hat and two shoes poking out of the snow. Her body lay in a snowbank stiff and frozen as the children began digging her out and throwing snowballs at her.
Continue with Part 2, (you won’t be sorry, hehe)…