Natasha's Alive & Living Well in Queens

My difficulties with Natasha started way before I delivered her first child. (Click here to read blog post.) Despite her beauty, she was what you may call a 'depressant.' She had a perpetual air of gloom and doom which was as scintillating as a wet fart.

I could only take her in small doses. After I delivered her first child, she developed into an even more demanding bitch which translated to irate, insane phone calls at dawn.

"Where were you last night?" she demanded in her thick, Russian accent. It sounded more like a threat than an inquiry.

"Who are you, my mother?" I responded, still groggy with sleep. "I don't need to check in."

Ignoring my statement, she railed, "What did you do? Who were you out with? The guys from Tarantula Arms?" Tarantula Arms was the neighborhood nickname for a building where the landlord placed his homeless friends including Natasha.

I moved out after two and a half years. I liked to call it my finishing school as the male tenants were gay and taught me decorating, fashion, gourmet cuisine and bitchiness. I passed with flying colors the last category for I learned from the best.

"Please, Natasha, you sound like a jealous lesbian lover." Right then, I had to hang up. She pulled that stunt way too often since she returned home from the hospital. We weren't friends, definitely not lovers as I'm straight. {Won't even venture to figure out her preference.} I considered her a mild acquaintance even though I delivered her son; it didn't mean I had to step in as father and husband.

Oh boy.

You, dear Reader, may question why I bothered with such a person. Besides my inherent attraction to lunatics, I'm also attracted to people who led a different life. I'm talking about those who are reluctant to impart their stories. It took years to weasel out Natasha's.

It's a bit of a doozie. And pre-dates her first pregnancy.

Before I got to know her as the despondent cashier at a local diner, I thought she was a hooker. I guess being picked up in limos and escorted by aging, decrepit men who resemble extras from The Sopranos kinda gave that impression. After a formal introduction at a brunch hosted by Chicory, another loser who lived as well in Tarantula Arms, Natasha and I met up from time to time.

One afternoon we flitted from boutique to boutique checking out high-end clothing. After leaving a store, I asked, "You wanna head back to Tarantula Arms? I'm getting wiped."

She gave me a shit-eating grin and yanked her pocketbook closer to her body.

"What's going on here?"

She looked over her shoulder at the boutique down the street and pulled from her pocketbook a huge decorative vase.


She said, "I saw you admiring it, so I took it for you."

In shock, I said, "What are you, a klepto? Listen, sticky fingers, bring it back!"

She stopped on the street. "No can do. I'll be arrested."

"You did steal it."

"For you!"

"I want no part of this," I said and resumed walking.

That was the beginning of my suspicions about the woman.

"I want to kill my husband," she raged one day. "Now I'm liable for all his debts!"

"You're married?" I said in shock. The woman never failed to amaze me. "When did this happen?"

"He was on the same flight as me to the US. I kinda took the flight at the last minute and met him.  Once we landed in New York, we fell in love and married. After seven years, he took off to Florida. I'm trying to find him to get a divorce."

The only positive thing I could say about her was that she didn't play the I'm a Russian Jew game in order to get citizenship.

Honestly, I had no idea whether she was an illegal alien or whatnot. I never understood her stories which had a tinge of surreal. Then again, I knew a Polish couple who emigrated here: the wife got her Green Card in seconds because she's a medical doctor; the husband was denied for 12 years although he's a PhD in finance. Go figure, right. One thing was clear: over 250,000 felons receive US citizenship annually so I knew Natasha would be a shoe-in after she told me her story in pieces.

"You do know I was a lawyer in Russia."

"If that's so, how can you work 10 years as a cashier in a local diner?" Not to mention her flightiness and lack of substance apart from her beauty. Yet, I could believe it because she did have sticky fingers. I let the matter drop until she was confronted with another issue.

"My husband, the bastard, phoned. He's threatening me to stop pursuing him. He actually remarried."

"Threats? Bigamy? WTF?"

She looked away, shamefaced. "Through a friend of his, we staged a car accident and I got $7,000 of proceeds."

I nearly fell off the chair. "Great. Impressive resume. Insurance fraud."

A few weeks later, she ranted and raged about another situation.

"My Russian passport's expiring!"

"So, go to the Embassy and renew it," I responded.

"I can't!" She cried. "I'm a bit of a felon."

Oh boy.

"Remember when I told you I flew to the US the last second? That was after I stole money from the company I worked for as a lawyer in Russia."

Oh boy.

"They want their money back, but I spent it all."

"Something tells me, Natasha, your US citizenship will be a slam dunk. You'll fit in perfectly with all the other felons they let in."

Although the woman lives in perpetual drama of her own making, dumb to the core, I do have to admit she's crafty and as sly as a fox. For she receives over $8,000 a month of child support from two baby daddies and spends her days shopping online for jewelry and designer dogs.

That's another story with several others wedged in. At the very least, lunatic fringes are an excellent source of blog fodder.

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