сряда, 18 юни 2008 г.
Joro has been driving for a full day and now he absentmindedly turned the wheel, trying to avoid the holes on the road. Bumps and holes on Sofia beltway has doubled in number after the last reconstruction. It was spring now and Joro head ached. The pain was there for two straight years now. His wife, Stanka, has left him when he became a driver of a municipal bus on the 111 line. She took their child with her and re-married a cop from the 4th Precinct.
A horse cart with three gypsies in it and loaded with old tins was lingering in front of the bus. Something fell from the cart and just missed the windscreen of the bus. Joro started swearing. This took him two years back to the day when he and Stanka had this shouting raw. The insults they had told each other then started to re-emerge in his head like badly put road signs that could not stop the bad memories at all. „Joro, I don’t want you anymore. You cannot do anything else except to turn the wheel. You can’t even earn the money for the kid, damn you! I will go and live with Mitko, he’s a cop and he knows how to make money!”
After the divorce, only the uneven contours of the route of bus line 111, endlessly winding to the horizon, kept Joro away from suicide. He started to work overtime, sometimes taking the two daily shifts for four days in a row. He worked on all holidays. Soon, his eyes rounded and stuck out of their sockets. Joro became a long and a winding road. He resembled a large insect with tentacles tightly gripping the wheel. His co-werkers started calling him Grasshopper Joro. He decided never to have a girlfriend again. At least for an year. Suddenly, something tore him away from his thoughts.
May I come on your side of this bar!
A scantily clad schoolgirl has came on the bus on the last stop. She’s chewing a gum, makes pink balloons and looks at him lovingly. After riding the bus for a while without being noticed she finally decides to speak to the driver.
Come on over!
The girl raises herself over the bar and leans on the door.
You have very nice hands, they look skillful. And you turn that wheel really fast.
Joro has seen all kinds of passengers but this time he turns and has a look at the girl for the first time. Despite the heavy make-up, he manages to see that she not older than 13. he is imprased by the playful sparks in her eyes.
How old are you, young lady?
Alright, I’m fifteen. But I look older!
Cool. But now you have to go – you are distracting me!
So, you like me. If I am distracting you..!
Joro turns around to have a good look at her and the bus enters a series of bumps and holes.
I’m Gabriela. And I won’t bother you anymore. I shut up..
Dangerous thoughts fill Joro’s head. He likes the schoolgirl. He wants her. The otherwise comfortable driver seat suddenly becomes uncomfortable. He’s got nowhere to run.
Do you wanna fuck me in the ass.
The life-bitten people in the bus do not hear and do not notice anything around them. They just look out not to miss their stop. Suddenly the driver hits the breaks and passengers start murmuring that he drives as he was hauling potato sacks.
Keep your eyes on the road, driver!
Shouln’t you be at school now?
Watch the road, you’re gonna kill somebody. Seems to me I was wrong – you cannot drive at all.
Joro sinks into himself and forgets about the embarrassing, nasty girl. She had spit her gum into her hand and is now sticking it on the dashboard in front her. Then, she get over the bar and goes to take a seat in the back of the bus. Several stops down the road, Joro forgets about the schoolgirl and his own personal problems. The only thing he thinks about is the road in front of him...
On the last stop, during the last run, the driver gets out to buy some coffee from a vending machine. When he goes back to the bus, he sees the girl on the back seat.
You still here?
Joro sees the tears in girl’s eyes.
What happened to you?
Nobody wants me.
Go home, your parents must be worried.
A fat lady dispatcher comes to the bus and Joro stands still, startled.
Can I sleep over in your bus tonight? Just close the doors as I am not here.
The dispatcher get on the bus from the front door and looks curiously at the back seats where Joro talks to the schoolgirl.
Did you fill your day form, my shift is almost over?
Just a minute.
Please, mister, don’t throw me out. I have nowhere to go. They will beat me up at home for not bringing enough money.
How much you need?
Joro takes out his wallet and gives the girl a fifty-leva note.
Don’t you want me to please you!?
I’m tired. Please, get off now.
I’ll come back tomorrow!
The schoolgirl goes, but turns around and waves him good-bye. A happy smile is shining on her face.
The terrace door on the top floor of a luxury new building opens and a thin man in his fifties, dressed in a vest and Mickey Mouse-stamped shorts comes out. On the sidewalk below, an old lady with freshly dyed hair and a cane and with a newspaper in hand is walking a red cocker spaniel.
Ronnie! Ronnie! He’s gone again.
The dog dashes to the street between several new, ridiculously expensive cars that are parked on the sidewalk. The long tail of one of the cars makes a passing bus dangerously enter the other lane. The old lady tries to squeeze her large belly between the car and the building, fails to do that and instead goes on the street. She sways around the parked car, goes up on the sidewalk again and then enters a dark tunnel leading to the building’s backyard where Ronnie the dog had disappeared.
The terrace door on the seventh floor has been shut and now the man walks through a narrow hollway. He enters a toilet-turned-photo-lab and turns over the photos in the developing tray. The man transfers the photos into the fixing liquid with a pair of metal pincers and goes out on the other terrace which faces the back yard.
There is a playground in the yard and two branchless, dry poplar trees. Some stylishly furnished apartments can be seen on the other side of the yard. There are sun-beds on the terraces and pots with decorative palm trees. The two old chimneys of the old apartment building, squeezed between the two new buildings, break the visible luxury into two separate worlds. An airplane threateningly lowers above the roofs. A couple of pigeons fly off, startled by the noise and circle the back yard for a while. Finally, the birds land on the playground. A mentally impaired woman in her 30s is going down the children slide. Then, she starts chasing the spaniel, crying loudly and laughing hysterically. The old lady now sits on a bench and reads her newspaper. She seems not to care too much about her dog anymore. In the apartment on the other side, the tightly shut curtains suddenly open and show a luxurious bedroom with mahogany furniture and Chinese lamps on the floor. A 17 year old girl comes out from the bathroom in the back of the apartment. She is dressed in man’s shorts and a loose t-shirt. She moves uncertainly towards the window and her head is bowed down. She removes the towel and curtly flings her hair backwards. She looks right towards the man on the terrace then reaches across the bed to plug her hair-dryer. She starts drying her hair and occasionally casts looks that meet the eye of the man. He is embarrassed and pretends to be looking someplace else and goes back into his apartment...
The police station, next morning. A policeman is interviewing the man from the terrace.
-The Municipality sold me the attic at a very good price after I photographed the prom of the Minister of Culture’s daughter. I teach photography free lance at 135th High School. I am happy that I managed to woo a 20 year old teaching student with almond eyes and an innocent smile. I was the first man in her life and I was the first who had ever really noticed her. Iveta grew up with a military dad who hated women and a younger brother who was her mother’s favorite and she was longing for a caress. She had taste for art and was happy to join me to exhibition openings or to art-parties. I forgot to tell you that recently I celebrated my 56th birthday and all my friends envied me for the fragile flower I had under my wing. They also had short-term flirts with young models or acting students but all they did was to a wild, unrestrained session of sex after a lot of alcohol and drugs. My case was different as Iveta was in love and she was pure. She could not introduce me to her father who was military attaché in Belgrade and was rarely at home for she feared he might just shoot me. So, she told her parents I was some ten years younger and that I was her friend and photography teacher and that we had nothing going on. Her mother must have felt that this was not true but pretended to believe her.
Today I am especially happy because I finally have a shop of my own – all my life I had been renting one. I live with my elderly dad who is half-deaf and who never accepted the fact that chose to be a man of art. He worked in a heavy metal plant all his life. Our worlds were far apart – as far as the Sun and the Moon.
I am happy but I kinda get bored. I always wanted to have a young girlfriend, but now it is different. I have one and she calls me hundred times a day and her eyes ask for a more serious relationship. She pretends to joke that I am just a passing phase, until she is mature enough. But I know that it isn’t so and I am not that happy anymore. But tonight, I feel happier because Iveta has to study for some tests and will not join me for the party. These days, the fear of engagement is turning into fear of bad performance in bed. Besides, I have to take a leak right now. And I am preparing for a new show in France. I had invited some friends to help me choose which photos to show there.
Half an hour later, there are five of us. Two lonely lady reporters that write about art for major city newspapers and desperately hunt for a husband in the art circles and two of my rich colleagues who started shooting fashion models in their ateliers long time ago. The men selected the photos but the reporters argued that we must choose others. One of them quickly got drunk with wine and almost fell in my lap while praising my art. I felt her sweaty breath traced with mouth-freshener and gum that had been chewed for too long. My talent was so great that I was about to be world famous, she said. So far I simply hadn’t had a chance but tomorrow my fate was about to change, she said. I start wondering how will I get away from her – enough with these unsatisfied female journalists. I say that I have to go and get more booze and I go out though I know that a have some bottles in my photo storage upstairs. On the stairs I almost stumble in a girl that sits there, crying. I notice that she is wearing just shorts and a t-shirt, her feet are bare and she is shivering. I stop and go back.
-You have a problem, girl?
The girl doesn’t answer but she is not crying anymore and just stares at me with her big brown eyes. Suddenly, she jumps and hangs on my neck. The door to my apartment opens and my five year older colleague looks at us lustily and approvingly.
- Zaffy, get me a pack of smokes, will ya! And who’s the young lady?
-I’m Annie. I live on the other side!
The colleague had come closer and now extends his hand.
-Nice to meet you, name’s Angelov! It is not fair, Zaffy, you always get the good stuff!
The older of the two reporters, the one that I had just skipped, is now out at the stairs and looks at us with an open mouth and a quickly sobering gaze. Her make-up is smeared with drunken tears. Annie tugs at my sleeve.
My door closed and locked, come and help me. I have nowhere to go and we just might have to break the door.
We both go down the stairs. I don’t know for how long I had walked without a single word. I was holding Annie’s ice cold, sweating hand and wondered how to begin.
Have we met before?
Have we met before, Annie! Do not pretend that you do not know me.
Suddenly, I realized. Annie was in my photography class in 135th High School. I turn around and Annie’s gone. I bend down in front of the window of the basement shop for cigarettes, booze & snacks down the street.
A bottle of Svishtov Rosè and a pack of Bilbos.
I put the money on the plastic plate, while the lady is passing me the bag with the wine and the cigarettes when someone tugs at my sleeve strongly.
We dash through some bushes and remains of construction supplies that had left from the new buildings. Two blocks later, Annie finally stops. Just in time or I would kick the bucket. Annie sits on a broken children swing, hanging from one side.
I love you ever since our first photography class. But you chose to shoot Madlen naked.
What is that crap, Annie?
Annie takes out a picture from her t-shirt. On the pale light of the street light I see that it is a nude photo.
Chill, man, I forgive you! I even feel sorry for you – Madlen is a lowly bitch, I know she must’ve lied to you. I know what it is to be lied to!
The girl pretends to be turning the pages of an invisible notebook.
Information retrieved. Presently, Madlen is servicing Deyan Trayanov, member of parliament and father of the dumb, naïve and virgin Annie. But we can offer you this dumb, naïve and virgin Annie... You do like little sugars that never have been licked, don’t you.
I reach to slap Annie on the face but I feel dizzy and I fall from the swing.
I see only military boots around me. I haven’t seen so many since I was in the army, am I dreaming? My head feels sticky with something. A bunch of football hools stand around a children climber in the middle of the playground. One of them had stretched Annie on the ground and had taken off her shorts.
Now I am going to see what kinda man you are with these cool Mickey Mouse shorts.
I get up but it is very, very hard. I am ready to run off.
Look now, who woke up. Good morning, old faggot! You are too tanned, are you a gypsy?
Hey, Saw, Let’s fuck the gypsy!
I see a boot flying to meet my face...
I wake up in the morning in a pool of blood. Annie lies beside me with a broken bottle sticking from her stomach. Her shorts lay several meters away. A group of early seniors stands near by and poke me with their canes. When they see that I wake up they move away just in case. They whisper among themselves...
The tape in the tape recorder is over. The cop takes the thin man to his cell. The photographer stares at the damp stains on the wall under the pale light of the light bulb in the corner of the hallway.
This is the one that photographs small girls.
This is not him. This one is darker, a gypsy, a rapist!
Poor girl! I bet you a pack of yoghurt that the ambulance will not come before the police.
Police sirens sound and a jeep with roof lights on stops in the middle of the grass near the climber. I see boots walking around my head again.
You motherfucking gypsy! You dog! I’ll make you bark right now!
A boot flies to meet my head....
A quiet, sunny, summer morning. Senior citizens walk dogs around the old apartment buildings. An airplane flies over very low and heads to Western Europe.
A man in his fifties yawns on a terrace, full of empty boxes and jars. From the inside of the apartment comes out a girl, dressed and made up like a stripper.
See ya, I am late for school?
Before you go, honey, would you give me my glasses! I think a man was killed down there.
The large orange disk of the rising sun slowly turns into a small, 20-watt prison light bulb.
Пустинята се бунтуваше срещу незаспалите души. Тя не можеше да ги търпи повече в себе си. Пясъкът заличаваше всичко и всекиго, а тези, които не искаха, не продължиха да съществуват. Стаите на сънищата бяха дълбоко заспали и сънуваха живота на човеците в камерите на вечното спокойствие. Това беше гробището на системата Плантар. Тук се съхраняваха трупове, които в случай на война можеха да потрябват. Планетата бе потънала в забрава. На нея живееха само два хуманоида, грижещи се за хладилното помещение.
Мистър Брангкинг седеше припряно на стол мръсен и се цупеше с мръсна усмивка. Мръсник си беше и при – 1000 градуса по Целзий.
- Къде да отведа човека?
- Не знам.
- Аз мисля бързо и ще се сетя бързо.
- А кой е този в желязна кожа? И защо го водите тъй усърдно, вий съветнико?
Летеше слънцето Плънтар около важните хора.
Крилата пърхаха в дъжда. Дърглоу вървеше по плажа между пясъка и морето. Търсеше перли. Едни такива спокойни, каквито виждаше на небето...
Стигна до вълните и забеляза тъмнината. Тя криеше от него нещо за тях. Съзря да мърда с пръсти чудатият ветрец. Продължи към светлината на далечината. Тичаше. Очите му шареха по мъртвата гладка маса на вълните,където някой търкаляше топка. Играеше странната игра, наречена мълчание. Но Дърглоу не искаше да победи и извика:
- Исусе Христе! По дяволите как смърди това море! Не ми се спи сред мръсотиите! А вий, риби, останете си със здраве!
Когато тя мълчеше, едно око не се стърпя и замърда с уста. Рибата сспечели играта и се зарови в пясъка. Нагоре тъй изплуваха огромни синкави петна. Морето дишаше с някоя вълна. Перлите по небето си говореха за човека. Дърглоу изтича до отсрещния храст и се съблече. Реши да поплува. Стъпваше леко. Бе свикнал да не буди никого. Навлезе във водата. Синкавите петна го погълнаха и ръцете му се мъчеха с водораслите. Гъсти и лепкави мисли го обземаха и ужасът на хоризонта му се изплези. Изплаши се и тръгна към брега. В нощта той легна да се пече. По едно време извади крема за загар. Легна и замърда с пръстите на краката си. А пясъци пълзяха към водата. И разхлаждаха си те краката. И палмите се гледаха с небето “синьо”.
- Морето вода и пясък е!-поскърцваше самотна лодка, забравена от някой си рибар.
Дърглоу се надигна от пешкира. Изправи се. Почеса се по гърба и забеляза, че вятърът се усилваше и изпълваше ушите му. Вълните се връщаха, а пясъкът стопляше следите на хората.
В джунглата хвърчаха мухи. Доктор Ейсън седеше на един смолист камък. Наоколо нямаше никой. Слушаше шума на птиците. На тази планета не му понасяше. Но си спомняше за лошите години, когато живееше около трупове в камерите на мълчанието. Гледаше надолу как очи-червеи пълзят по пътеките. А те се взираха в него и се чудеха на това странно дърво, което беше откраднало някое от техните очи. Ейсън стана и тръгна към лагера, където го чакаше много работа по неизследваните планети от системата Плънтар. Когато влезе, видя човек в желязна кожа. Някой от жителите на тази планета. Трябваше да го психоанализира.
- Вие сте железен човек, нали? Не ви задължаваме, но можете да разкажете за себе си!
- Аз нямам живот. Вие нямате живот. Скала има живот. Ейсън пусна данните в компютъра, който забълва информация: Флософия. Човекът не живее истински. Това, което говори и върши не съществува реално. Мисълта на Вселената. Той има нещо общо с нас. Скалата живее най-истински. Ние не виждаме този живот.
- Нищо важно. Иди си почини, железни човече! Аз ще направя същото.
Последните новини от Земята бяха от Англия. Съобщаваха за смъртта на професор Дърглоу, намерен на брега на Атлантическия океан, близо до платформата за нефт на компанията “Уиндоуспейс”.
Перлите се вдигаха на война срещу човечеството и неговото завоевание. Не бяха съгласни тези твърде груби същества да покорят и техните планети. Който се опиташе да ги намери., се задушаваше от собствените си мръсотии, както бе станало и с професора. На хората им бяха нужни трупове. Безкрайно много трупове им трябваха за тази война, в която смятаха да победят. Даже и планетата.
Гробище не можеше да ги осигури. Наложи се да се организират експедиции за умъртвяване и замразяване на хора по всички населени от тях планети. Естествено щяха да бъдат убити тези, които не подозираха нищо. За пръв път планетата задържаше живот на себе си. А той винаги е съпътстван от хаоса. Навсякъде по каменната й плът сновяха хора, андроиди, роботи, биороботи, машинарии и още безброй куп бъркотии, без които човек не си представяше живота си. Бяха претърсени всички хладилни помещения, за да не би да се окажат достатъчно замразените трупове. Те им трябваха за специалното вещество Ъъъ-6, което можеше да се извлече единствено от дългозамразявани човешки мозъци.
Пустинята бе разровена и забравена. Същото стана и с бизбройните пещери на юг от нея. Никой не беше ходил на Запад, защото за това място не се знаеше нищо. Но сега всички пъплеха натам. Не намериха това, което търсеха. Вече бяха твърдо убедени, че трябва да се убива, за да се победи във войната. Човешкият живот полетя със своите машинарии и в Космоса, като остави тук хаоса. Можеше лесно да си го произведе и на друго място. Някъде, много далеч сред звездите, хората търсеха себе си.