Kerry Shawn Keys minibio

“I don’t know who I am, but I have many names and live in Vilnius,” says Kerry Shawn Keys, an American living in Lithuania of nineteen years now. He is a human orchestra: translator, poet, prose writer, author of children’s books, dramatist. Kerry has already become part of the Vilnius landscape and culture. The poet Sigitas Geda said about him, “by his presence and participation in the everyday life of Lithuanian poetry, he has made us stronger as well.” Kerry, though, calls himself an “outsider”, and outsiders are generally better at seeing certain things than locals or those ensconced in everyday life, in the “system”. A view from the side is always interesting, and with that in mind, the Vilnius Review has decided to begin publishing Kerry’s short, witty essays about Lithuania and Lithuanians. So, here, each month you will find "A Palmer's Chronicle".

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reflections on belonging

Graphic Novels

Photo by Dainius Dirgėla

By Kerry Shawn Keys


inspired and laundered from a Woody Allen piece

No big news that organized and disorganized crime in Lithuania grossed over 900 million lolitas a season in the previous decades. Euros are even easier to launder. Quite a lot of loot, when you consider that criminals don’t pay taxes and can’t even deduct forensic payoffs and paid editorials. Reliable sources indicate that there was nothing laid out for personal stationary, and even less for gags, cement, and rope. In addition, the bosses are their own secretaries, and their headquarters are in opaque-glass micro-vans, which they share at times with the police, pizza, strippers, judges, and former KGB “co-operators” and their relatives now entrenched in positions of influence and power throughout Lithuania.

Last year, more than 111 folks were killed outright ( I don’t research my figures; I just know), including a few missing children, and the Mafiosi lent a helping hand in several hundred more by paying off cab drivers and sending boxes of poisoned sausages and carp to unsuspecting activists. Besides Death, other activities included pajama parties at City Hall, a chronic opening and closing of Italian restaurants, pole dancing, car demolition with the drivers inside, media payoffs, the hiring of over-qualified gorillas as bouncers at casinos, strip-club waivers, importing of firearms and pig by-products across the Belarus border, and the transportation of eels from Kaliningrad for immoral activities. Even the puritanical alcohol restrictions are great since that opens a huge black market. The gloved hands of this corrupt empire even reach into the Parliament and courts and Fake News Stations. Imagine that! Just a few months ago, two ex-ex-cons spent the night at the President’s Office and Prez, as a good hostess, slept in the Cathedral with one of the Sisters of Mercy.

A Brief Run-down on some history of Crime in Lithuania:

In 1993, Gaius ( the Red ) Beetroot and Jonas ( Judge ) Furrier tried to organize former Communists under the Soviets to infiltrate the Department of Justice. They ran into some serious roadblocks when Andrew ( the Cuban ) got involved and reputedly had one of Red’s right-hand men, Little Gaidys, assassinated by hanging him from one of the soldiers on the Green Bridge. Then Gaidys’ sister got ticked off and stole Andrew’s wife’s flute case after sticking a few of the latter’s fingers inside. Beetroot put a temporary end to the feud by burning to ashes the Cuban’s mistress, Laura, inside a straw dummy of the Witch of Winter on Ieva’s Hill. Good-naturedly, he had beforehand removed and frozen her heart, sending it to Andrew personal delivery the following Valentine’s Day. Her tongue was delivered to the Dominican Church to stick into the mouth of one of the violated, altar-boy mummies. These gifts, however generous, got things going again and another bloodbath ensued. Paul ( Big Dick) Dilling, a Herpetologist by Trade, killed Lucky Gayloonass with an icicle ( nicknamed Lucky since in a previous assassination attempt the bomb that was meant to kill him killed his pet Rottweiler instead, who also happened to be named Lucky Junior ) outside of the art school in Panevėžys. His corpse was taken by the police to an Auto Body Repair Shop, touched up with mascara and putty, and sent to the National Theatre as one of the props. Then about 1996, the Chicago Gang of Lithuanians returned from the stockyards under the direction of Adam the Wasteman Nutus, and tried to take over the potato vodka business from the Poles, but got beaten out by the Russian mafia kingpin, Abraham Shiner. However, Shiner soon ended up inside an Easter card envelope at the Dead Letter Office, but looking rather suspicious the envelope was steamed open and the ashes given an improper burial in Ponary. Meanwhile, Anthony Brutas (nickname Baloney) decided he wanted a piece of the action by cornering the Polish border market on sacred mushrooms until some members of the Yaga Club got wind of his intentions and brought him to their Carnival Party as a real-live skeleton to hang in the closet. Anthony’s brother, Counselor Seedbar, got a bit pissed off and took the Yaga Club to court for their role in a satanic, extra-judicial killing. He won his case but was killed outside the courthouse when one of the mayor’s boys popped a cherry bomb in his mouth when he was being interviewed by reporters. His Mercedes was towed away by the mayor’s tank. Meanwhile, Wasteman Nutas opened a CIA office at a local horse farm and started investigating possibilities in the kebob business. Paul the Dick was none too happy about this and demanded a cut of the business. Nutas had him castrated and his shriveled member sent to the Blue Mud Museum in Druskininkai right next door to the Little Heart Tavern. The rest of Paul’s apparatus was sent special delivery to the Austrian Boys’ Choir in Vienna.

Later on, things were really getting out of hand and there were fears that NATO might intervene and parachute George Bush in with some mercenaries from Blackwater. So Stasys the Scorpion Stinkyvicius called for a truce. All the members of the underworld, including a few masons and priests and members of the Knesset were summoned for a vegetarian dinner at the Glass Lounge in the former ghetto. Baked apples with potato sauce were served. They were told no more grey suits and sweat suits, and that they should all shake hands and French kiss and join a local sports clubs if they needed to work off some extra testosterone. Henceforth the turf for graft and killings and trafficking in children and duped job-seeking women would be divided up into the five ethnographic regions of Lithuania, and each of them would get their fair share of the loot under the guidance of the local municipal authorities. Stasys would keep the tiny region of Vilnius for himself. Kaunas would go to a rouge mobster, now a guru. They would call themselves the Family. Two days later, Stasys had stopped by Maxima to pick up a couple of flashlights and a shovel, when one of the clerks shoved a garden bucket over his head, and he was never seen again.

Despite this, the Family has somehow survived to today. There were some divorces and separations and a few disappearances and amputations, but, yes, they survived. They even joined the EU. Initiations were closely guarded secrets except for some images which escaped onto You Tube that showed a ceremony taking place at Caligula’s on Mound Street where all the novices were walking in a circle wearing oak leaf crowns and handing roses to each other. There were no women. No goldfish.

Nowadays, Organized and Disorganized Crime is so much a part of the mainstream society, that members even march in the Baltic Pride Parade and lunch at Hessburger’s. But they still vacation in Florida, Brussels, Mexico, and Moscow. Yet they remain a blight on our nation and national heritage! But don’t think it is an easy life. Money laundering has a lot of risks like being stuffed in a washing machine with a bottle of bleach if you screw up on the math. And a covert, macho lifestyle ain’t for sissies. Even though the Mob may be in the majority, they are heretics with questionable Baltic DNA. Identifying them is up to each of us, but don’t get involved publically. Keep your notebooks and video cameras to yourself. You can always spot a member by the company they keep – often enough there is a bloated body with reflective sunglasses lying next to them on the beach, or they drink whiskey instead of vodka, and often take quick round-trips to Brighton Beach. They don’t seem to use any sunblock. The best way of keeping yourself clean is to:

If a census taker knocks on your door, scream in Norwegian that you’re not at home.
Call an ambulance instead of the police if you see something suspicious.
Don’t eat out in pricey restaurants near Stulginskio Street
Never join a club called the Sons of Sicily or Daughters of Rotary.
Wash with holy water before and after meals, and say your prayers before going to bed.
Don’t pot poppies or chrysanthemums on your windowsill.
Never give your children names like Rico, Diamond, Mushroom or Buckwheat, or Rose.
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