NR Digital

The Neutral Spirit

by James Lileks
With or without lard

Somewhere in St. Petersburg; don’t ask. Dark, stone walls, thick wooden tables. The waitress puts down a plate of coarse black bread, a slab of lard, and three shots. Points and names: Berry. Pickle. Horseradish.

I know I’m supposed to slam them. When in Rome, develop an ulcerated stomach lining like the Romans, and all that. Toss it back, gasp, have the bread, plot revolution, repeat, quote Pushkin, weep. But I sipped. Pickle. Delicious.

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