Artemisia's Absinthe by WinonaCookie

T-Shirts & Hoodies

Clothing Style:
Available to buy on…

“Artemisia’s Absinthe” and her story have just been published in “Steampunk II: Reloaded”, an anthology of short stories and other wonderful things edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer. Check it out here:

From the time Anyushka Rutkauska was a young girl, chemistry was all she could think of. While it was difficult for girls to pursue such professions in Poland in those days, it was not impossible, and Anyushka was finishing up her PhD at the University of Warsaw when rumors of the war began bubbling out of lecture halls and cafés like a laboratory concoction gone awry. Perhaps she was prescient, or maybe just restless, but she packed her bags and took off for Paris the day she passed her oral exams. At the time she certainly regretted the decision, as her freshly minted diploma did not translate into French easily, or truth be told, at all. That is how Anyushka found herself tending bar at the Taverne Coeur Noir in the 6th Arrondissement. Despite what she told the proprietor, she had no experience with tending bar, but for a chemist, how difficult could it be? Certainly easier than pronouncing “Anyushka” in French – patrons simply dubbed her “Artemisia” after the potent wormwood-tinged cocktails that were the ruin of many a Coeur Noir customer. Indeed, it became a badly kept secret that Artemisia’s cocktails were the best in the City of Lights, and artists, courtesans, poets, academics and diplomats began to pour into the cramped little bar to sample her potent concoctions. The cocktails proved to be great equalizers, rendering the rogue as well as the statesman a blissful yet blithering mess by the end of the evening. Inevitably, a bombast of German soldiers blundered in, rude and imperious, and with a hard, cold glitter in her heavily kohl-rimmed eyes, Anyushka cooked up something very, very special for the lot of them. No sudden deaths, no, nothing as obvious as that. Permanent impotence, total hair loss, an unshakeable sense of dread, irretrievable madness, the firm conviction that one was really a woman – these were the subtle gifts Anyushka’s cocktails imparted to the German occupiers. Where no finger could be pointed, no credit could be given, either. Nonetheless, Artemisia was awarded a Medal of Honor at the end of the war, enjoying heroine status, and best of all, an appointment to the chemistry department at the Sorbonne.

This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2009. Copyright to this material is in no way transferrable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!

When Ramona Szczerba (a.k.a, Winona Cookie) is not being a psychologist in private practice in San Diego,she enjoys creating whimsical children’s illustrations in watercolor, but also loves working with collage and assemblage. Her artwork and short stories have appeared in several publications including The Steampunk Bible and can be seen at Originals available – check for availability.
Thanks for stopping by!

View Full Profile


  • WonderlandGlass
    WonderlandGlassalmost 5 years ago

    … and thus were born the neo-cons, who could then only multiply by nefarious darkly guarded secret means in caves and holes deep within the bowels of the earth, much as their predecessors, the Orcs did in Middle Earth. I was wondering how that all came to pass…. and now I know. As for my elixir of forgetfulness, I take mine with one lump of sugar please… Cheers!
    Ms Cookie, you have again made my day brighter by sharing your special gifts… thank you. Peace

  • Hmmm…I was wondering how they came to be!
    Cheers, Wonderland! ::clink::

    – WinonaCookie

  • Frances Perea
    Frances Pereaalmost 5 years ago

    Love it!

  • Jon Burke
    Jon Burkealmost 5 years ago

    Another fine piece of work.

  • WinonaCookie
    WinonaCookiealmost 5 years ago

    Thank you!

  • mmargot
    mmargotalmost 5 years ago

    Don’t know which I like more : the art or the writing!
    marvelous, marvelous, and absinthe is back, too…hmmm.

  • WinonaCookie
    WinonaCookiealmost 5 years ago

    Thanks, mmargot! Being Polish myself, I’m particularly partial to Anyush – Artemisia :-).

  • RobynLee
    RobynLeeover 4 years ago

    Love it! Your’e so imaginative:-)

  • Christine Oakley
    Christine Oakleyover 4 years ago

    Such wonderful pieces – I could get lost in each and every one…

  • Christine Oakley
    Christine Oakleyover 4 years ago

    Click on the image :)

    A slight derivation on the lyrics of the song “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…”
    And here’s to you – artists of the RB who continue to inspire me with incredible work and provide encouragement by taking an interest in my work. Thanks so much for allowing me to purchase a postcard of your extraordinary work, allowing me to hold a little piece of you!

Samsung Galaxy S5 Cases

Register your email address to be first in line

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.