Če vam je všeč življenje, kako vam bo šele smrt!

Janez Grm

 

Parkiram blizu cerkve.
Stoji nekje Bogu za hrbtom, zato me čudi njena velikost. Ela je rekla, da so velike cerkve v hribih pogosto cilj romarskih poti. Takrat sva sedela na pijači ob reki. Pil sem pivo, ona pa kokakolo in zraven zobala češnje. V usta je vtaknila celo češnjo in z jezikom zavila pecelj v zanko.
Spretna je, kot njen oče.
Potem je na hitro izpila kokakolo in od takrat je nisem videl. Pol leta nazaj je bilo. Sprašujem se, koliko je zrasla od takrat, najstnice hitro poganjajo.
Kot tile borovci okrog cerkve.
Pred mano cerkev in borovci, za mano griči z vinogradi. Odprem okno in vdihnem zrak. Slabo zaznavam aromo belega grozdja. Zaradi umetnega nosa imam delno zamašene nosnice. V ogledalu preverim umetni nos, umetne obrvi, umetne zobe. Če v gozdu naletim na koga, bo lahko pozneje policiji povedal, da je videl moškega z ukrivljenim nosom, ki je govoril v Italijanščini. Že nekajkrat sem bil na delu v Sloveniji. Vem, da na tem koncu nemško še kar razumejo, italijansko ne.
Stopim iz avta s tržaško registracijo. V notranjem žepu jakne čutim napolnjeno orodje. Preverim uro. Več dni se že peljem naokrog in opazujem tarčo pri džoganju. Na lokaciji bo čez 12 do 10 minut.
Ljudje smo bitja navade. Pri mojem delu to pride zelo prav. Navade trenutne tarče mi je zaupala stranka. Strank ne sprašujem po motivih za izbiro tarče, ne sprašujem po njihovem odnosu. A v tem primeru ni bilo težko odkriti povezave: stranka in tarča si delita priimek.
Oče je stranka, sin je tarča.
Ne vprašam, zakaj. In ne vprašam, koliko. Povem, koliko. Polovico vsote pred čiščenjem, polovico po njem. Zato zahtevam strankin priimek. Če se skuša izogniti plačilu, jo lahko naknadno izsiljujem. Nima smisla za kazen počistiti stranko. Mrtvi ne odplačujejo dolgov. To je moj glavni dohodek. Tisto, kar prodajam, je predvsem zaradi krinke. Za enkrat me še niso razkrili. Obvladam sedem jezikov. Nekoč so me zamenjali z lingvistom. Verjetno bi lahko učil na univerzi. Ampak plačan bi bil petkrat manj.
Tokrat zahtevam večje plačilo. Zaradi Ele. Rada bi šla potovat po Nemčiji. Zgodovina umetnosti jo zanima. Predvsem barok. Mislim, da je tale cerkev baročna. Stopim do nje, imam še 10 do 8 minut. Mogoče so notri kake razglednice ali brošure, Elo bi zanimale.
Stopim do vhoda. Zaklenjen je.
Hočem že zaviti v gozd, ko izza vogala pokuka debeluh z belim ovratnikom. Duhovnik. Vpraša, če si želim ogledati notranjost. V čisti Italijanščini rečem, da ga ne razumem. V polomljeni Italijanščini ponovi, kar je prej rekel v vzhodni Slovenščini.
Ne smem zbuditi sumov. Pristanem. Imam še 9 do 7 minut.
Brošur ni. Na stenah so še kar dobro ohranjene poslikave. Pokaže na ženski lik in reče, da gre za alegorijo življenja. Ženska je okrogla v obraz, okrogla v trebuh, okrogla v rit. Na Elino mamo spominja. Bila je res bedna deklina. Takrat sem bil še mlad, seksal sem vse, kar je padlo na moj ceneni kokain. Na srečo v Eli ne vidim njene mame.
Zdi pa se mi, da ima moje oči.
Strmim v alegorijo življenja, kar ovratničar interpretira kot naklonjenost do slike. Pokaže na neko drugo sliko in se nasmehne: »Če vam je všeč življenje, kako vam bo šele smrt!« Naslikana je alegorija smrti. To je okostnjak v capah, z gnijočimi kosi mesa. Grd je, umazan. Alegorija ni čisto pravična. Bližanje smrti zna biti grdo in umazano. A sama smrt je čista. Gladko odreže. Ni več pizdarij, ni več upov. Ni več vprašanj: sem dovolj dober zanjo? Kako bom živel čez deset let? Me ima foter rad? Smrt je edini mogoči odgovor. Gladko počisti z vsem sranjem.
Zastrmel sem se. Zahvalim se in se poslovim. Ko zaklepa vrata, izginem v gozd.
Tarča bo na lokaciji čez 4 do 3 minute.
Stezi se bom približal med borovci. Tarča bo tekla po stezi, ki se vije okrog hriba. Težko bi meril od spodaj, sonce se ravno dviga izza hriba, zato prečkam stezo in splezam po pobočju. Naslonim se na širok borovec, ki me zakriva. Sonce imam za hrbtom. Zlahka splezam navkreber. Dobro ohranjam kondicijo. Če bi šla lazit po nemških grajskih hribih, bi zlahka dohajal Elo. Sicer je nekaj vpila, da sem kriv za samomor njene mame, ampak ve, da nisem.
Nataknem si rokavice.
Tista ženska mi je zamolčala, da imava hčerko. Šele ko se je ubila, je Ela izvedela zame.
Iz žepa vzamem orodje.
Če bi šla skupaj na potovanje, bi videla, da nisem prasec. Bog ve, kaj vse ji je tista kurba pravila o meni.
Zaslišim hitre korake. To bo tarča.
Premaknem nogo za boljše ravnotežje. Nosnice imam še vedno zamašene. Zato ne zavoham dreka, na katerega stopim.
Spolzi mi.
Orodje mi pade iz rok.
Zdrsnem po pobočju, debla borovcev me odrgnejo.
Zaslišim sopihanje. Tarča je pritekla na lokacijo. Žal sem na tej lokaciji tudi jaz. Vpraša, če lahko kaj pomaga. Molčim in gledam za orodjem. Vpraša me, kaj je z mojim nosom. Čutim, da se je premaknil. Tudi obrvi so se premaknile. Tarča sledi mojemu pogledu. Oba zagledava orodje. Ob stezi leži. Tarča je močna in hitra kot jaz. Je pa tudi mlajša. Prvi pobere orodje in ga nameri vame.
Močan je, hiter je, mlad je. Je pa tudi nepozoren in prestrašen, orodje se mu trese. Brcnem mu ga iz rok, orodje odleti po pobočju navzdol. Moji brci sledi še udarec v obraz. Podere ga. Valja se po tleh in drži za krvavi nos. Prične kričati.
Čas je za improvizacijo. Ob stezi rase mlad borovec, pol metra v višino.
Kaj je že napravila Ela s pecljem?
Izrujem drevesce, s korenino vred. Zaradi rokavic me iglice in smola ne motijo. Počepnem nad tarčo in mu nastavim drevesce za tilnik. Premakne roke, da bi se branil. Takrat mu pričnem zavijati muževnato debelce okoli vratu. Kakršna hči, takšen oče. On poseže po mojem vratu in me skuša daviti. Tako blizu sva si, da lahko razločim barvo njegovih oči.
Vprašam se, če jih ima po očetu.
Mlad je, močne roke ima. Ampak on ni obljubil hčerki potovanja po Evropi. In ni ji prisegel, da je ne bo nikoli več pustil same.
Uspe mi napraviti zanko okrog vratu. Stiskam jo, da me zabolijo dlani.
Vpitje se neha. Opravljeno je. Tarča je počiščena.
Odvijem drevesce. Počiščeni tarči prestavim noge na stezo, glavo pa proti gozdu. Tako jo bodo zlahka opazili, če pa bi kdo po pomoti zapeljal čeznjo, ji ne bo poškodoval obraza. Zlahka jo morajo identificirati.
Spustim se po pobočju. Med podrastjo se sveti orodje. Poberem ga, vrnem se v smeri, iz katere sem prišel. Hitim mimo cerkve. Sedem v avto. Zaprem vrata.
Umirim se. Počasneje zadiham.
Obrnem ključ. Speljem. Pričnem si snemati nos, obrvi in zobe. Delo je opravljeno. Tarča je počiščena. Smrt je čista, gladka. Konec vsega. Ampak ne še zame. Poklicati moram stranko, da izve, da nima več sina. Čas je za preostalo plačilo. Potrebujem ga. Ela si močno želi iti na potovanje.
Česa vsega ne storimo za otroke.

Ni bila angel

Eddie Vega

Imela je krila, a ni bila angel, čeprav ji je bilo tako ime, Angel Jones, 26 let, stevardesa pri Kazakhstan Airways. Imela je fanta po imenu Grega, 53 let, bivšega profesionalnega igralca ragbija, ki je živel visoko v hribih okoli Slovenske Bistrice v Sloveniji.

Ko ga je obiskala, ji je pripravil čevapčiče v ogromnem sendviču, prijubljenem v teh koncih sveta. Na vrhu so običajno kocke surove čebule in blaga omaka iz paprike, a Grega ja zanjo uporabil svoj recept: paprika habanero, šilce viskija in čajna žlička opijeve paste. In ko je Angel Jones zagriznila vanj, je zamenjala žgoč občutek na jeziku za ljubezen.

Ta učinek nanjo ni bil Gregov namen, a je bil zadovoljen, ker je priskrbela opij in ker si je želel, da bi se pogosto vračala. Rad je imel njeno družbo, hrepenel pa je za opijem, tako da se je skoraj slinil. Seveda je Angel Jones, ko je videla izraz na njegovem obrazu, ko ji je odpiral vrata, zamenjala njegovo željo po opiju, ki ga je skrivala v krilu, za željo po njej.

Po čevapčičih je poljubila strelno rano pri vrhu njegove hrbtenice. To je storila nežno, saj je naboj bil še zmeraj tam, zataknjen za vratnim vretencem in vsak nenaden gib bi lahko povzročil takojšnjo paralizo, možgansko poškodbo ali smrt.

In vsakič ko je Angel Jones tja poljubila Grego, je rekla: “Hvala … hvala, dragi.” Zataknjen naboj je bil namenjen njej. Bil je eden od sedmih, ki so se zarili v njegovo telo, a edini, ki je ostal v njem, saj je bilo prenevarno, da bi ga skušali odstraniti zaradi bližine hrbtenice. Iz hvaležnosti je ogrožala svojo kariero in svobodo, ko je tihotapila opij, da bi pregnala bolečino, ki je uničevala njegovo telo. To je bila zgodba, ki jo je pogosto ponavljala. Ni imel razloga, da ji ne bi verjel, a je vseeno spraševal, včasih ista vprašanja.

Čeprav sta med njenimi obiski spala v isti postelji, nista počela nič, saj mu je kakršna koli oblika aktivnosti povzročala ostro bolečino ali pa je bil toliko pod vplivom zdravil, da ni mogel nič drugega, kot bolščati v prazno. Spala je mirno z glavo na njegovem ramenu in on je včasih smrčal kot vlažna pločevinasta piščalka, drugič pa kot trobenta z zamašenim ventilom.

Nekega jutra, ko je meglena slovenska svetloba napolnila sobo, je potegnila rjuhe. Hotela se je z roko sprehoditi po njegovem telesu, preden bi se zbudil, in ga užiti tako, da ga ne bi bolelo. Začela je na vratu z blazinicami prstov in risala nevidno črto, ki je povezovala vse brazgotine, okrogle od vhodnih ran ter dolge pokončne in diagonalne črte, ki jih je pustil kirurgov skalpel. Dve črti, ki sta potekali pravokotno ob lopaticah, sta bili začuda videti kot nekakšni brazgotini, ki bi lahko ostali angelu z odrezanimi krili.

Ko se je kasneje zbudil, mu je pomagala v voziček in ga porinila v kuhinjo, kjer mu je napolnila pipo z opijem in mu pripravila umešana jajca z na kocke narezano klobaso in češnjevim paradižnikom in mu jih postregla z 18-centimetrsko hrenovko.

“Tako dobra si z mano,” je rekel medlo, ko mu je vtaknila ustnik med ustnice. Jedel je brez slasti in med grižljaji puhal dimne obročke.

“Rešil si mi življenje,” je odgovorila.

“Ne spomnim se,” je rekel. “Včasih se v sanjah pojavi kak detajl, a ga ne morem z ničimer povezati. Vse si zapišem, a je brez smisla, vse je brez smisla. Streli, toliko jih je, zvoki razbitega stekla, stvari s truščem padajo na tla … Stokanje. In ti držiš metlo, s katere se kadi, kot da bi pometla ognjišče in v slamo ujela nekaj žerjavice. In jaz na tleh bolščim v par mrtvih oči.”

“Rop je bil,” je rekla.

“Točno,” je rekel.

“Tako si mi rekla leto kasneje, ko sem se zbudil iz kome.”

“Bili sta dve leti, dragi. Bila sem zraven, ko si se zbudil, držala sem te za roko.”

“Ampak nekaj je bilo,” je rekel obotavljaje, kot bi segal v temno luknjo, v kateri preži žival z ostrimi zobmi. Gledal je skoz okno, ko se je trudil, da bi končal stavek, da bi se spomnil dogodka, ki je končal obetavno športno kariero. Vrhovi hribov so metali sence čez pobočje v dolgo, ploščato dolino in mesto. “Bilo pa je nekaj, kar nima smisla.”

“Pomembno je, da si mi rešil življenje in zato sem ti hvaležna,” je rekla.

“Kako sem ti rešil življenje? Povej mi še enkrat,” je rekel.

“Skočil si pred mene, ko je ropar začel streljati,” je rekla.

“Točno, točno … Tako se je zgodilo. In povej mi še enkrat, kako je umrl, ” je rekel.

“Tudi ti si imel pištolo in si ga ustrelil v glavo. En strel, en uboj. Bilo je kot v filmu.”

“Če bi bil film, bi lahko še zmeraj hodil,” je rekel.

“Pokadi pipo in ne razmišljaj o tem,” je rekla.

“Ja. Tako bo najbolje. Kaj je še bilo?” je odgovoril. “Nekaj se ne ujema. Ne spomnim se, da bi se kdaj naučil streljati s pištolo. Nikoli nisem čutil potrebe, da bi jo imel.” Z rokami je nakazal boksarske gibe, direkt in aperkat.

“Pobral si jo s tal in besno ustrelil. Ampak zadel si ga naravnost v čelo. Naboj je odnesel koščke njegovih možganov skoz okno.”

“Kako je lahko bila pištola na tleh?”

“Dragi, zakaj si to delaš? Vse sva že obdelala.”

“Povej mi še enkrat, prosim.”

“Presenetila sem ga, ko je brskal po moji omari. Preizkušal je mojo obleko. Pištola je bila na tleh z njegovimi hlačami. Pognal si se proti njej in on ti jo je skušal izpuliti. In potem si ga ustrelil. To je to.”

Namrščil se je in pogledal stran. “Spomnim se obleke, poškropljene s krvjo.”

“Žal mi je …” je rekla.

“Ampak to ne razloži, kako sem lahko tako končal … Če sem ga ustrelil v glavo … Z enim strelom …” je rekel.

“Oh, dragi, tisočkrat sem ti že razložila,” ga je prekinila. “Zakaj si ne zapomniš? Najprej te je nekajkrat ustrelil on.”

Njen odgovor ga je še bolj zbegal in, čeprav s težavo, se je odločil, da bo zamenjal temo. “Zjutraj sem začutil, da mi je čez hrbet gomazela roka in povezovala brazgotine.”

“To sem bila jaz.”

“Zdelo se mi je, da sem sanjal.”

“Jaz sem bila. Resnična jaz. Vidiš, kako se lahko zmedeš?”

“Ja, ampak ko je roka povezala brazgotine, so se mi v mislih prikazal podobe – stala si pred mano, ko se je začelo streljanje, ropar pa je bil za mano in je kričal.”

“Bile so sanje … Grde sanje. Naj ti pripravim še eno pipo,” je rekla.

“Ne … ne. Premisliti moram,” je rekel.

Stala je za njim, mu položila roke na ramena in ga začela masirati. “Ali čutiš moje prste? Čutiš, kako zelo te ljubim?”

“Čutim samo bolečino, ki jo povzročajo tvoji prsti. Nehaj, prosim,” je rekel.

“Kako veš, da tega ne sanjaš? Kako veš, da ne ležiš nezavesten na kavču? Pokadil si več kot kilo, odkar sem prišla. Presenečena sem, da imaš lahko oči odprte.”

“Nisem nezavesten,” je rekel. “Oči imam odprte … Čakaj! Obleka, oseba v obleki …”

“Da, dragi, čutim, kako ti na vratu narašča napetost,” je rekla z globokim utrujenim glasom in skušala otipati brazgotinasto bulo, ki je nakazovala, kje se nahaja košček naboja, zataknjen v njegovi hrbtenici. Ko jo je našla, mu jo je začela masirati v hrbtenico. V nekaj trenutkih so se Gregovi možgani odklopili od telesa in edine delujoče mišice so bile tiste na obrazu, spačene zaradi popolnega spomina, groze, presenečenja, spoznanja.

“Jaz sem te ustrelila,” mu je šepnila na uho. “Saj se spomniš, ne? Seveda je bila nesreča. Hotela sem ustreliti osebo za tvojim hrbtom, osebo, ki si jo želel zaščititi. Ne bi mogel ljubiti svoje žene, če bi jo lahko tako hitro in za tako dolgo pozabil. Presenetilo me je, kako lahko te je bilo prepričati, da je bila ropar! A bila je prav to, ropar. Oropala me je tvojega časa …” Zasmejala se je svoji besedni igri.

Leto kasneje je Angel Jones, 34 let, bivša stevardesa in negovalka za poln delovni čas hranila Grego po intravenozni cevki. Njegovi možgani so slabeli, sprva hitro, potem počasneje do stopnje gomazeče žuželke. A vseeno je grulil kot dojenček, ko mu je pod nos pomolila čevapčiče po njegovem izvirnem receptu in mu na jezik nanesla malo pekoče omake. Grulil je in grulil. In obrisala je slino, ki mu je polzela po bradi s puloverjem njegove uniforme za ragbi.

In od takrat sta živela srečno na tistih hribih, dva temna angela, ki sta si odrezala lastna krila, da bi bila skupaj.

She Was No Angel

Eddie Vega

She wore wings but was no angel, yet that was her name, Angel Jones, 26, flight attendant for Kazakhstan Airways. She had a boyfriend named Grega, 53, a former professional rugby player, who lived high in the hills that surrounded Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia.

When she visited him, he made her čevapčiči, an oversized sausage sandwich popular in that part of the world. It was usually topped with blocks of raw onions and a mild pepper sauce, but Grega used his own recipe for the sauce, Habanero peppers, a dram of whiskey, and a teaspoon of opium paste. And when Angel Jones bit into it, she confused the burning sensation on her tongue with love.

Grega had not intended it to have that effect but was happy for it because she supplied the opium, and he wanted her to return often. He liked her company but it was the opium he pined for, almost to the point of drooling. Of course, when Angel Jones saw the look of his face as he opened the door to let her in, she confused his desire for the opium she had hidden up her skirt with a desire for her.

After the čevapčiči, she kissed the bullet scar near the top of his spine. She did it gently because the bullet was still there, lodged behind the cervical vertebra, and any jarring motion there might result in instant paralysis, brain damage, or death.

And every time Angel Jones kissed Grega there, she said, “Thank you… thank you, Baby.” The lodged bullet had been meant for her. It had been one of seven that had entered his body, but the only one that had remained because it had been too dangerous to remove given its proximity to the spine. It was out of gratitude that she risked her career and her freedom to smuggle the opium for him to quell the pain that wracked his body. It was a story she repeated often. He had no reason to disbelieve her account but still asked questions, sometimes the same ones.

Although they slept in the same bed during her visits, they did nothing else either because any form of activity caused him sharp pain or because he was so medicated he could do nothing but stare blankly into space. She slept peacefully with her head on his shoulder, and he snored at times like a wet tin whistle and at other times like a trumpet with a stuffed valve.

One morning, as the misty Slovenian light filled, the room, she pulled back the bedsheets. She had wanted to pass her hand along his body before he woke, to enjoy him in a way that caused no pain. She started at the neck with the tip of her finger and drew an invisible line that connected all of the scars, the round ones caused by entry wounds and the long vertical and diagonal lines left by the surgeon’s scalpel. Two lines that ran perpendicularly along the shoulder blades looked oddly like the kind of scars that might be left on an angel whose wings were cut.

Later when he woke, she helped him into his wheelchair and pushed him into the kitchen where she packed his opium pipe and made him scrambled eggs with diced franks, diced cherry tomatoes, and served with a 7-inch wiener.

“You are so good to me,” he said dimly, as she put the mouthpiece between his lips. He ate without relish and blew smoke rings between bites.

“You saved my life,” she replied.

“I don’t remember it,” he said. “Sometimes in my dreams a detail emerges but I can’t connect it to anything else. I write them all down but they don’t make sense, none of it makes sense. The gunshots, so many of them, the sound of breaking glass, things crashing on the floor… moaning. And you holding a smoking broom, as if you had swept the fireplace and caught some live embers in the straw. And I am on the floor staring at a set of dead eyes.”

“It was a robbery,” she said.

“Right,” he said. “That’s what you told me a year later when I came out of the coma.”

“It was two years, Baby. I was there when you woke up, holding your hand.”
“But there was something about it,” he said with hesitation, as if reaching into a dark hole where an animal with sharp teeth might lurk. He looked out the window as he struggled to complete the sentence, to remember the incident that ended a promising athletic career. The hilltops cast long shadows down the slope, into the long flat valley, and into the town. “There was something about it that does not make sense.”

“What matters is that you saved my life, and that I’m grateful,” she said.

“Just how did I save your life? Tell it to me again,” he said.

“You jumped in front of me as the robber began to shoot,” she said.

“Right, right… that’s how it happened. And tell me again how he died,” he said.

“You had a gun too and shot him in the head. One shot, one kill. It was like in a movie.”

“If it had been a movie, I’d still be able to walk,” he said.

“Smoke your pipe and don’t think about it,” she said.

“Yes. That’s best. What else is there?” he replied. “But there is something that does not fit. I don’t remember ever learning to shoot a gun. I never had a need for one.” He made boxing moves with his arms, a jab and an uppercut.

“You picked a gun up off the floor and shot wildly. But you hit him square in the forehead. The bullet sent parts of his brain through a window.”

“How was there a gun on the floor?”

“Baby, why do you do this to yourself? We’ve been through this.”

“Tell me again, please.”

“I surprised him while he was going through my closet. He was trying on my dresses. The gun was on the floor with his pants. You dove for it and he tried to wrench it from you. And you shot him. That’s it.”

He frowned and looked away. “I remember a dress covered in blood.”

“I’m sorry…” she said.

“But it doesn’t explain how I ended up like this… if I shot him in the head… with one shot…” he said.

“Oh, Baby, I’ve explained it a thousand times,” she interrupted. “Why can’t you remember? He shot you a few times first.”

Her answer left him more perplexed, and he decided to change the topic though he found it hard to do, “This morning. I felt a hand roaching across my back, connecting the scars.”

“That was me.”

“I thought I had dreamt it.”

“It was me. The real me. See how confused you get?”

“Yes, but as the hand connected the scars, images flashed across my mind—of you standing in front of me when the shooting began, the robber was behind me screaming.

“It was a dream… a bad dream. Let me fix you another pipe,” she said.

“No… no. I need to think this through,” he said.

She stood behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders, and began massaging them. “Can you feel my fingers, Baby? Can you feel how much I love you?”

“I can feel only the pain of your fingers are causing. Please stop,” he said.

“How do you know that you are not dreaming this? How do you know that you are not passed out on the couch? You’ve smoked over a kilo since my arrival. It amazes me you can keep your eyes open.”

“I’m not passed out,” he said. “My eyes are open… wait! The dress, the person in the dress…”

“Yes, Baby, I can feel the tension rising in your neck,” she said with a deeply tired voice, feeling for the little bump made of scar tissue that indicated the location of the bullet fragment lodged along his spine. After finding it, she began to massage it into the spine. In moments, Grega’s brain was disconnected from his body, and the only working muscles were those of his face, now contorted in full recollection, horror, surprise, realization.

“It was I who shot you,” she whispered in his ear. “You remember now don’t you? It was an accident of course. I was trying to shoot the person behind you, the person you were trying to protect. You could not have loved your wife if you could forget her so quickly and for so long. I was surprised at how easy it was to convince you she was a robber! But she was just that, a robber. She had robbed me of your time…” She laughed at her own wordplay.

A year later, Angel Jones, 34, former flight attendant and full-time caregiver, was feeding Grega via an IV tube. His brain function had deteriorated, quickly at first, then more slowly, to that of a crawling insect. Yet he cooed like a baby when she passed čevapčiči, made from his original recipe, under his nose and put a dab of the burning sauce on his tongue. And he cooed and cooed. And she wiped the drool that ran down his chin with the jersey of his old rugby uniform.

And they lived happily onward in those hills, two dark angels who had cut off their own wings to be together.

The Uninvited Guest

Neven Škrgatić

The summer was almost over. Nevertheless, the day was extremely hot, and Marc thought that this was probably the last time he would enjoy a rush of cold wind. He’d start hating it soon enough, he was sure of that. The weather forecast announced it was going to rain later in the day, and the cold front was approaching rapidly. Any kind of wind would become an unwanted hassle then. Marc spent the early afternoon of September 19th in the beach bar, resting his eyes on the empty beach.

He had no idea in the world how he was going to make it until October 1st in this place, in the empty summer camp, surrounded by the howling wind and all those suspicious, freaky sounds of animals from the forest nearby. Marc solemnly decided to cut down on the alcohol. Actually it was not much of a decision, since all the stores within five miles were closing in three days anyway.

He, or any man for that matter, couldn’t drink enough alcohol to make it worthwhile for any of those store owners to consider keeping their places open for additional weeks. They got rid of most of the booze by selling it to the local community for the annual fish party with its corny and predictable name: “Farewell to the summer.” The weather was going to get much worse soon, it was more than obvious. A flock of clouds was heading in his direction, and he watched them colliding chaotically, and as he thought, slightly neurotically. The wind shifted, and blew in from the sea. Marc sighed and slowly ran a hand through his brown hair. He reluctantly paid the bill, and waved to the waiter. The waiter never waved back, in his mind he was already someplace else.

He went back to the camp to meet the new guests, probably the last ones this season. Once he saw them, he was more than a little surprised. Especially when he saw her. They both looked happy and satisfied, full of energy, and even more full of themselves. She was quite tall, with the body of a fitness fanatic. Marc estimated that she was in her late twenties. She might have been thirty, but not much more than that. Her dress was pretty long, but he didn’t have to see more to know that she had a pair of great legs.

He introduced himself and extended his right hand for a hand shake. She looked at the hand for a moment, and shook it formally, without a smile. Marc didn’t like that, but he hadn’t said anything. He turned then toward her husband, and nodded slightly. Her husband was few years older, probably in his mid-thirties. He was a tall man, way over six feet. Marc thought this guy stood six foot three at least, and weighed no less than two thirty pounds. He was smiling, but that didn’t make him look any less dangerous. Marc gave him the keys, and returned to his bungalow.

Marc couldn’t stop thinking about this woman. He just couldn’t help himself, and the fact that he hadn’t been laid a single time in all of the five months he’d worked here, didn’t help much. He had no intention of ever getting back to this place once the season finally ended. From now on, he would avoid this resort. He decided never to visit this place again, and never to come near, if he could help it.

“It is time for me to have some fun,” he thought, smiling a sinister smile. He considered the stature and pure brute strength of the object of his desire’s husband and suddenly winced. Concerned, but not entirely discouraged, he almost forgot that lunch was ready. He sipped lukewarm chicken soup from an old mug and slowly got up from the chair. He turned on the radio and found a station with chamber music. This kind of music had always soothed him. He walked to the window and looked at their bungalow. The curtains were completely drawn, not letting even a single ray of light in.

“They gotta be fucking,” he thought with a mixture of excitement, envy and indignation. “Some people have it so easy, without pain and effort”, he contemplated bitterly. He took a bottle of beer from the fridge and drained half of the bottle in a single long, hungry gulp. The radio was playing one of the countless Chopin’s Nocturns when Marc turned it off, and left the bungalow. He took another glance toward their window, and went to the town.

At 5 pm the wind was quite noticeable, and by 6:30 it could no longer be ignored. The smell of grilled fish reminded him vaguely of the beginning of the summer when he first came here. At that time this place seemed calm, gentle and pleasant to live in. After a few hundred arrogant and ungrateful guests he changed his mind. He ordered a new beer and drank it slowly, and almost lazily. He chased the beer with a brandy. A dry, bitter taste, but a compelling one. He drank it in a single gulp, and swallowed with a grimace.

After he got fired in the bank for coming drunk to work one time too often this seemed like an ideal opportunity to start over; this appeared to be a job where nobody could control him. At least not as much as in the bank. The heat from the shot of brandy rushed through his body, and he finally began to feel better. At that moment, the couple from the camp passed next to him. She had seen him, and the disdain in her eyes was obvious. He knew her husband had spotted him, too. He heard her high-pitched laughter, and he would bet his six-months salary that it was him she was laughing at.

“This insult can not just be washed away! Not even with another double brandy,” he thought angrily. He looked at the sea in a state of a semi-trance, feeling as if he was floating. He couldn’t stop the waves of uncontrollable wrath. He thought of those five months in the camp and his whole body shook from feeling the lost time. The time he could never get back. He clenched his teeth, and managed to look away. He had probably never felt so alone in his life. His eyes blinked before looking away.

“She will pay for this arrogance,” he thought, and smiled drily. He felt better immediately . “Now the fish will tastes much better,” Marc grinned. “I am going to need a lot of energy tonight.” He was laughing loudly now, feeling a serenity he hadn’t felt for a long time.

When he came back to the camp in the evening, he felt calm and ten years younger. He opened another can of beer and waited. The old clock was ticking lazily, creating music in harmony with the rain drumming against the window. He tapped his fingers on the table in rhythm, taking larger and larger sips. He was calm. He was a man on a mission.

The old wooden clock on the wall struck ten times, and Marc was becoming nervous and perturbed. The storm was getting worse, and the husband never moved from the bungalow. Marc remembered how big this guy was, but he didn’t care anymore. The door suddenly opened and Marc was almost blinded by the bright light. When the big guy finally left the place, Marc refused to waste a single second.

He sprinted toward the bungalow, carried on the wings of anger, longing and half a dozen beers he had drunk. He pushed the door ajar. “Arrogant bitch did not even close it, she expects him to get back quickly,” he vaguely concluded. He dismissed the thought and went into the bedroom. Any sense of caution he still had left now completely faded out of his system.

She glanced at him, and inhaled sharply. Her body jerked abruptly, and her eyes had filled with terror. Marc enjoyed the fear in her eyes, he found it thrilling. If he could, he would’ve enjoyed it for hours, but there was no time for that. Without saying a word, he pushed her to the wall and tore off her dress.

“Get away from me,” she screamed, pushing him away. He didn’t say anything. The words were no longer important. He pressed against her more firmly, noticing how her breathing gradually changed. She tried to hit him with her left knee, but he blocked it easily. Marc held her firmly against the wall as he entered her. Her resistance weakened and her screams were transformed into sounds of pleasure. She whispered something he could not understand.

They continued increasingly fierce, and Marc had forgotten all about the husband, and even more so, he forgot all about the caution. With a sudden slam of the door husband rushed in and grabbed Marc’s shoulder. Rapidly and quite easily he threw him into the air, almost as he were a rag doll. Marc landed on the floor, half-unconscious, not really aware of what was going on. He covered his face with his hands, but her husband continued on beating him. He kicked him all over his body, and Marc started losing consciousness.

At one moment, the husband stopped beating Marc. There was a moment of silence. A moment of peace. A fly flew by. His eyes were fixed somewhere over Marc’s head. His eyes were filled with disbelief, and soon the void followed. It lasted only for two or three seconds, but to Marc it seemed like hours before the husband’s lifeless body fell to the carpet just a yard away from Marc’s head.

He lay dead, his body sprawled on the carpet. His empty eyes revealed nothing. The massive kitchen knife shone in his back. The knife flashed and reflected the lightning from the dark-grey sky. Marc glanced at the woman.

She absently wiped her hands. She looked at Marc, helped him to his feet and with a gleam in her eye she put out the light.

Nepovabljeni gost

Neven Škrgatić

Poletja je bilo skoraj konec. Dan je bil izjemno vroč in Mark je pomislil, da zadnjič uživa v pišu hladnega vetriča. Kmalu ga bo zasovražil, v to je bil prepričan. Vremenska napoved je že za jutri napovedovala dež in ohladitev, kakršen koli veter pa bo takrat postal nezaželena nadloga.

Dočakal je poldne tistega 19. septembra v baru in opazoval skoraj opustelo plažo. Trohice pojma ni imel, kako pričakati začetek desetega meseca v tem kraju, v praznem kampu, obkrožen z vetrom, dežjem in sumljivimi glasovi živali iz bližnjega gozda. Odločil se je, da bo zmanjšal vnos alkohola. Na njegovo srečo (ali nesrečo) ta odločitev niti ni bila težka, saj se čez tri dni v krogu osmih kilometrov zaprejo vse trgovine. Sam vseeno ni toliko spil ali zmogel spiti toliko, da bi se kateremu koli lastniku splačalo imeti odprto trgovino samo zaradi njega. Tako ali tako so se znebili večine zalog, ko so jih prodali mestu za ribiško zabavo z izrabljenim in predvidljivim naslovom “Slovo poletju“.

Očitno se je pripravljala velika sprememba vremena. Približevali so se oblaki in za trenutek je pomislil, kako kaotično in nevrotično trkajo eden v drugega, brez reda in smisla. Nejevoljno je plačal in pomahal natakarju, ki je v mislih že bil nekje drugje.

Vrnil se je v kamp zaradi prihoda novih gostov, verjetno zadnjih v tej sezoni. Bil je več kot presenečen, ko ju je zagledal. Še zlasti njo. Delovala sta zadovoljna, polna energije, še bolj pa samih sebe. Ona je bila precej visoka, s telesom fitness fanatika. Mark je ocenil, da je v poznih dvajsetih, največ zgodnjih tridesetih. Njena obleka je bila precej dolga, a ni mu bilo treba videti več kot to, da je ugotovil, da ima vrhunske noge.

Predstavil se je in iztegnil desno roko. Neuspešno je skušal vzpostaviti stik z očmi. Pogledala je roko in jo formalno stisnila, ne da bi se nasmehnila. Marku to ni bilo všeč, a ni rekel nič. Obrnil se je k možu in prikimal z glavo.

Njen mož je bil nekaj let starejši, močan in visok skoraj dva metra. Bil je nasmejan, a zaradi tega ni bil videti nič manj nevaren. Mark mu je predal ključe in se vrnil v svojo montažno hišico.

Ni mogel nehati misliti na njo. Da v vseh petih mesecih ni nobene nategnil, seveda ni niti najmanj pomagalo. Ni se nameraval vrniti v ta kraj in to službo, ko bo sezone končno konec. Od zdaj naprej se ga bo izogibal v krogu 50 kilometrov.

“Skrajni čas je, da se malo pozabavam,” je pomislil in se zlobno nasmehnil. Ko se je spomnil postave in čiste brutalne moči moža predmeta poželenja, se je zdrznil. Zaskrbljen, a ne povsem brez poguma, je skoraj pozabil na kosilo, ki si ga je pripravil. Pil je mlačno kurjo juho iz skodelice in počasi vstal. Prižgal je radio in našel postajo s komorno glasbo. Ta ga je vedno pomirjala. Stopil je k oknu in pogledal proti njuni hišici. Zavese so bile zagrnjene in niso prepustile niti enega sončnega žarka.

“Gotovo fukata,” je pomislil z mešanico vzburjenja, zavisti in ogorčenja. “Nekaterim vse pride na pladnju, brez muk in truda,” je grenko pomislil. Izvlekel je steklenico piva iz hladilnika in jo napol izpraznil z enim dolgim, pogoltnim požirkom. Radio je predvajal enega neštetih Chopinovih Nocturnov, ko je Mark ugasnil radio. Pogledal je še enkrat proti hišici novih gostov in se napotil v mesto.

Veter je bil ob petih popoldne že precej opazen, do pol sedmih pa ga ni bilo več mogoče ignorirati. Vonj pečenih rib ga je spomnil na začetek poletja, ko je komaj prispel sem. Takrat se mu je kraj zdel miren, nežen in prijeten. Po nekaj sto arogantnih in nehvaležnih gostih je spremenil mnenje. Naročil je novo pivo in ga pil počasi, skoraj lenobno. Odplaknil ga je z dvojnim žganjem in se stresel zaradi njegovega intenzivnega in grenkega okusa.

Po odpovedi na banki, ker je prepogosto prihajal pijan na delo, se mu je to zdela idealna priložnost, da začne znova nekje, kjer ga nihče ne bo mogel nadzorovati. Ali vsaj nadzorovati v taki meri. Toplota žganja se mu je širila po telesu in končno se je počutil bolje. V tistem trenutku je mimo njega šel par iz kampa. Videla ga je, a ga je očitno ignorirala. S kotičkom očesa je opazil, da ga mož pogleduje, in ko je zaslišal visokofrekvenčni hihot, je bil prepričan, da je bil namenjen njemu.

“Takšne žalitve ne opere niti dvojno žganje,” je jezno pomislil. V poltransu je gledal v morje in se počutil, kot da lebdi. V enem trenutku se mu je v glavi odvrtelo vseh pet mesecev v kampu in s celim telesom se je stresel od občutka izgubljenega časa, ki ga nikoli ne bo nazaj.

“Plačala mi bo to bahavost,” je pomislil in se suho nasmehnil. Takoj se je počutil bolje. “Zdaj bo še riba bolj prijala,” se je široko nasmehnil. “Tako ali tako bom nocoj potreboval veliko energije.” Zdaj se je že glasno smejal in čutil mir kot že dolgo ne.

Ko se je zvečer vrnil v kamp, se je počutil mirnega in deset let mlajšega. Odprl si je še eno pivo in čakal. Stara stenska ura je leno tiktakala in ustvarjala glasbo v harmoniji z bobnanjem dežja po šipi. Trkal je s prsti v ritmu in srkal vedno večje in daljše požirke. Bil je miren. Bil je človek s poslanstvom.

Ura je odbila deset in Mark je postal rahlo živčen in vznemirjen. Nevihta je postajala vedno hujša, mož pa se še vedno ni premaknil iz hišice. Dobro se je zavedal, kako ogromen je, a bilo mu je popolnoma vseeno. Njuna vrata so se naenkrat odprla in žarka svetloba ga je skoraj zaslepila. Ko je dvometraš končno odšel, ni Mark izgubil niti sekunde več.

Stekel je proti hišici, poganjali so ga bes, hrepenenje in popito pivo. Odrinil je priprta vrata. “Arogantna ženska jih ni niti zaprla, pričakuje, da bo takoj nazaj,” je megleno sklenil. Otresel se je misli in vstopil v spalnico. Previdnost je kot pojem popolnoma zbledela iz njegovega sistema.

Ko ga je zagledala, je globoko vdihnila. Njeno telo se je zdrznilo, oči pa so se napolnile z grozo. Všeč mu je bil strah v njenih očeh. Če bi lahko, bi v tem užival ure in ure, ampak ni bilo časa. Brez besed jo je porinil v steno in raztrgal obleko.

“Stran od mene!” je zavreščala in ga odrinila. Nič ni rekel. Besede niso bile več pomembne. Še močneje jo je pritisnil in opazil, kako se je njeno dihanje spremenilo. Poskusila ga je udariti s kolenom, a ji je z lahkoto preprečil. Močno jo je držal ob steni in hitro vstopil vanjo. Njen upor je postajal šibkejši in kriki so se spreminjali v glasove užitka. Šepnila je nekaj, česar ni razumel. Nadaljevala sta vse močneje in Mark je pozabil na vse okoli sebe, tudi na previdnost.

S hitrim treskom vrat je vstopil mož in zgrabil Marka za ramena. Z lahkoto ga je vrgel v zrak kot lutko iz cunj. Mark je pristal na tleh, ne da bi se prav zavedal, kaj se je zgodilo. Obraz si je zakril z dlanmi, mož pa je tolkel po njem. Brcal ga je po vsem telesu. Mark je čutil, da počasi izgublja zavest.

V nekem trenutku je mož obstal, s pogledom uprtim nekam nad Markovo glavo. V očeh je imel dvom in praznino. Trajalo je le dve ali tri sekunde, Marku pa se je zdelo, da so minile ure, preden je moževo telo padlo na preprogo brez znakov življenja samo meter od njegove glave. Ležal je mrtev v vsej svoji dolžini. V hrbtu mu je sijal ogromen kuhinjski nož. Bleščal se je in odseval strele z neba. Mark je pogledal mlado ženo.

Odsotno si je brisala roke. Pogledala je Marka, mu pomagala vstati in s sijajem v očeh ugasnila luč.

Opran s krvjo

Renato Bratkovič

Pride trenutek, ko moraš narediti nekaj, kar je popolnoma v nasprotju z zakonom — recimo viski pred deseto v mojih letih. Ker veš, da se je to prej ali slej moralo zgoditi. Ker veš, da ne moreš odlašati v nedogled. Ker veš, da si tip to zasluži!

Skozi prazen kozarec gledam proti vratom. Rekel je, da je prvič najtežje. Ubiti človeka, naprimer. Drugič je že rutina. Natakarju pokažem palec. Pokima.

* * *

Vstopil je tiho, prižgal luč v predsobi, nič hudega sluteč zbrcal čevlje z nog in izginil v kopalnico. Odprto okno je spuščalo v sobo šum dežja, ki se mu je pridružilo šumenje curka v školjki. Skozi priprta vrata se je razlivala svetloba iz predsobe, njegova senca se je splazila mimo in si vzela pivo iz hladilnika. Vzel si bo čas … Vedno si ga.

* * *

Drugi viski pristane pred mano na mizi, na kateri se namesto prta razprostira svetloba, razrezana na trakove skozi rolete. Razmišljam o tem, kar je rekel po tistem. Ni šans, je rekel. Oba bi ubil, je rekel. Sprašujem se, ali bi se v mojem primeru zdaj to štelo kot prvič in drugič? Pogladim se po trebuhu in zvrnem pijačo.

* * *

V dnevni sobi je nekaj časa naveličano preklapljal kanale, čeprav je vedno trdil, da je televizija obupen način zapravljanja časa. Kolikor ga poznam, ga bo zapravil še za eno pivo. Potem bo vstal, se vrnil v kopalnico in se stuširal. Potrpljenje me je počasi minevalo. Začel me je nažirati dvom. Dež je šumel.

* * *

Nisem tip za žganje, ampak danes se s trezno glavo ne morem soočiti z njim. Pogovorit se morava, je vse, kar je prišlo iz mojih ust. In kje. In kdaj. Dvignem kozarec in pokimam natakarju. Pogleda na uro in zavzdihne.

* * *

Grem res do konca? Ko se enkrat odločiš, potem je to najbrž to, čeprav gre za življenje. Ne zajebavaš se z življenjem. Zajebavaš se za življenje. Točno to — življenje! Zato ni več poti nazaj. Svetloba je pljusknila v sobo, njegova senca, dvakrat večja od njega, se je grozeče prilepila na steno in naslonila roke na boke.

Kaj delaš tu?! In kak si—

Skozi okno.

* * *

Kozarec obračam v roki in vedno manjši kocki ledu trkata ena ob drugo. Skoraj tako, kot sva midva trkala eden ob drugega vse te tedne, ko me je prepričeval, da je že skrajni čas, jaz pa … V tistem me obšine, kako se je naenkrat vse spremenilo. Čisto vse. Doma so se mi za vselej s treskom zaprla vrata, on pa s treskom odpre vrata bara in se napoti proti meni. Sede mi nasproti in me vprašujoče pogleda v oči.

Kaj mi maš za povedat?

* * *

Vleži se zraven mene.

Nekaj trenutkov je tehtal, ali naj me vrže ven ali sprejme mojo igro, a popolnoma naga in nedolžna šestnajstletnica na postelji je prevelika skušnjava … Še posebej, če se ti je prej tako dolgo upirala.

Si vzela tablete?

* * *

Si resno mislil, da bi naju ubil, oba?

Kak to misliš ubil oba? O čem govoriš, lubica, koga?

Izpod mize potegnem škatlico. V njej je uporabljen test nosečnosti. Njegove oči se zapičijo vame.

* * *

Pokazalo se je, da je res — za prvič je bilo težko. Po prvem sunku me je zvilo od pekočine. Naslednji so postajali znosnejši in začel se je užitek. Polnil me je z življenjem, oziroma, tak je bil načrt … Ko je končal, ga je potegnil ven, opranega s krvjo.

Washed In Blood

Renato Bratkovič

Every now and then comes the moment when you need to do something illegal – say, drink a whiskey before ten in the morning at my age. ‘Cause you know it was going to happen sooner or later. ‘Cause you know you can’t postpone it indefinitely. ‘Cause you know the guy deserves it! I watch the door through the empty glass. He said the first time was the hardest. To kill a guy, for instance. The second time it becomes routine. I show my thumb to the bartender. He nods.

* * *

He entered quietly, turned on the light, kicked his shoes off, and disappeared into the bathroom, unaware. The sound of rain came in through the open window, mixed with a jet pissing into the toilet. The light from the foyer was spilling into the room through the crack in the bedroom door, his shadow crawled past and fetched a beer from the fridge. He’d take his time … He always did.

* * *

Another whiskey lands on my table, where the light that shreds through the shades is spread instead of the tablecloth. I think about what he said afterward. No way, he said. I’d kill you both, he said. I wonder if, in my case, it would count as the first and the second time? I pat my belly and nock the drink back.

* * *

He wearily surfed the channels in the living room, although he had always thought TV was a terrible way to waste time. As long as I’d known him, he’d waste it more on another beer. Then he’d get up and take a shower. I started losing my patience. I started doubting. And the rain rustled.

* * *

I’m not the liquor type, but there’s no way I can face him sober today. We need to talk, is all that came from my mouth. And where. And when. I pick up my glass and nod to the bartender. He checks his wristwatch and sighs.

* * *

Am I really going all the way? Once you decide, that’s it, I guess, although it’s all about life. You don’t fuck with life. You fuck for life. Exactly – life! So there’s no turning back.

The light splashed into the bedroom, his shadow, twice as big as he was, stuck to the wall menacingly, with his hands on his hips.

What are you doing here?! How did you–

Through the window.

* * *

I turn the glass in my hand and two ice cubes knock against each other, getting smaller and smaller. Almost exactly like we were knocking against each other all those weeks when he was trying to convince me it was finally time to… It strikes me how everything’s changed so suddenly. Everything. At home the door has crashed closed for ever, while he crashes the door into the bar open and approaches me. He sits opposite me and looks into my eyes inquisitively.

What do you want to tell me?

* * *

Lie next to me.

He pondered a bit whether he should throw me out or accept my game, but a completely naked and innocent sixteen year old girl in his bed was too tempting… Especially if she had resisted for so long.

Did you take pills?

* * *

Did you really mean you’d kill us both?

What do you mean, kill you both? What are you talking about, honey?

I pull a little box from under the table. With a used pregnancy test inside. His eyes drill into me.

* * *

He was right – the first time was the hardest. After the first push I felt burning. The next ones were becoming tolerable and then the pleasure began. He filled me with life, or at least that was my plan… When he finished, he pulled it out, washed with blood.

Šepni mi še enkrat na uho

Paul D. Brazill

Ni bilo tako, kot so govorili, ampak tako ali tako je vsakdo imel svoj interes. Napeljati vodo na svoj mlin. Stisniti svoj mozolj. Nikakor niso začeli z nevtralne pozicije, to je gotovo.

Ampak, saj veste, Bum Bum Bailey ni bil take sorte persona, ki bi sprožal nevtralne občutke. Bil je nasilna baraba ali nakljuni junak, odvisno od tega, kako si pogledal na situacijo. Kot prizma ali kaj.

Ja, Bum Bum je Muckyju Sidu polomil obe roki, o tem ni nobenega dvoma. Zdrobil mu jih je z golimi rokami, kar zanj ni bilo posebno težko, ampak vzdevka Bum Bum si tudi ne prislužiš kar tako, ne? Bum Bum je bil velika, trda baraba in vedno je bil dober v prizadevanju bolečin ljudem. Včasih je lomil roke, noge in občutljivejše dele anatomije za zabavo. Včasih za denar. Ampak pri Muckyju Sidu Kilvingtonu je šlo bolj za javno dobro. Pa čeprav ga je odpeljal na farmo Jeda Brambla in z njim nakrmil prašiče. Na živo.

“Pizda si je to zaslužil,” je rekel Bum Bum. Sedel je na razmajanem barskem stolčku in žvečil svinjske ocvirke.

“Ja,” sem rekel.

Bil sem za šankom v Zgonjenem cucku, kjer sem nadomeščal običajnega natakarja, Kennyja Cokeheada, ki so ga prejšnjo noč spokali policaji.

“Vsi poznamo Sida …” je hlastnil Bum Bum. Zaletelo se mu je. Pljunil je. Napravil je še en požirek. “Vsi vemo, kaken je. Je bil.”

“Se strinjam,” sem rekel.

Pred Bum Buma postavim novo steklenico piva. Vem, da ima raje točeno, ampak glede na to, da nisem pravi barmen, nisem znal naliti pravega velikega piva. Na veliko razočaranje rednih gostov.

“Kar zadeva men,” sem rekel, “si nam vsem naredil uslugo.”

“No, hvala lepa za podporo, Ordy, ampak gospa na to ne gleda tako, ne?”

Odprem pločevinko Carlinda. Nagnem jo.

“No, saj ne more, ne? Bella je Sidova velika sestra. Vedno je bila zaščitniška do njega. Pa naj je bil pizda ali pa ne.”

S prsti je pobobnal po šanku.

“Predolgo je imel prost dostop.”

“Res je. Če bi padel v reko, bi prišel ven s polnimi žepi rib,” sem rekel.

“Ni pa pravično, Ordy,” je rekel Bum Bum.

“Kaj pa ima pravica s tem,” sem rekel.

Bum Bum se je zarežal.

“Pazi, niti zakrulil ni. Ponudil mi je svoj avto. Svojo hišo. Svojo gospo …”

Spačil sem se. Sidova žena, Janet, je bila raskava kot toast.

“Ampak veš,” je rekel Bum Bum,”bilo mi je v zadovoljstvo.”

Dokončal je pijačo.

Potegnil sem steklenico Johnnyja Walkerja z modro etiketo izpod šanka in mu jo dal.

“Hiša časti,” sem rekel.

Pomežiknil je z očmi.

“Veš, kaj mi je rekel?” je vprašal.

Odprl je viski. Povohal ga je in napravil velik požirek.

“Kaj ti je rekel? Cel princ Charles sem.”

Nagnil se je bliže in mi šepnil na uho.

Odskočil sem

“Kaj? Res?”

Bum Bum je še enkrat šepnil.

“Kaka … pizda,” sem rekel.

Bum Bum je prikimal.

“Nisem vedel, da je bil tako pokvarjen,” sem rekel.

Bum Bum je skomignil z rameni.

Nalil sem nama viski.

Sedela sva v tišini in poslušala Billyja Joela, ki je pel o New Yorku.

“Je pa fajn vsake toliko narediti kaj dobrega,” je rekel Bum Bum.

“Res je,” sem rekel. “A ne ustvari si iz tega kariere.”