Jutri ne obstaja

Johnny Shaw

Najneumnejša stvar, ki jo lahko naredi pameten človek, je, da neumnemu človeku reče, naj bo pametnejši. A obstaja kako stikalo, ki ga kar tako obrneš? Kako naj človek odgovori na to: “Zakaj se nisem tega sam spomnil? Od zdaj bom pa pametnejši.”

Vsako leto decembra gledam edini božični film, ki je kaj vreden: Umri pokončno. Najboljši del: neumni tip premaga pametnega tipa. Pa še Evropejca. Dvojna zmaga torej. Izraz na obrazu Hansa Gruberja, ko pada z Nakitomi Plaze je – no, zelo podoben tvojemu v tem trenutku. Kot bi gledal, kako jamski človek izvaja čarovnijo s kartami. Kot da ne razumeš, kaj se ti dogaja.

Težava z nekom, kot si ti, je v tem, da si samozavesten, ko si pameten. In mogoče si, a večinoma neumni ljudje prav tako mislijo, da so pametni. To je razkošje nevednih. Jaz pa, tu ni dvoma. Neumen sem in to vem. To je moja super moč.

Vem, da ne vem, kar vem, in vem, da ne vem, česa ne vem. Pa tudi briga me, kaj vem. Ali česa ne vem. Veš?

Izgubil sem se v štetju, kolikokrat se mi je roka zataknila v vrču ali eden od prstov v steklenici. In ne samo prst, če me razumeš. V hladnih osamljenih nočeh se zdi steklenica s pravimi oblinami sposobna ljubezni. A če sem iskren, se zdi kot steklen robot. Ne priporočam. Po tretjem poskusu sem se odločil, da to ni zame.

Nikoli ne bi rad bil tako pameten kot ti. Vse to razmišljanje. Ne naredi te spodobnega. Nič nima opraviti s spodobnostjo. Ne pomeni nič. Ko si pameten, nimaš nobenih izgovorov, ker bi moral vedno vedeti. Ne potrebujem razloga, da bi naredil kaj idiotskega. Neumnost je moj razlog. To je popolna obramba.

Ko te sodnik vpraša “Zakaj si nag sredi grede lubenic svizcem pel YMCA?”, ni pravega odgovora. Vse, kar sem lahko rekel, je “Ne vem, nisem se mogel spomniti besedila Dancing Queen.”

Si kdaj poskusil spustiti bencin skozi namakalnik za travo? Ne nastane fontana ognja, kot bi si mislil. Enostavno eksplodira in preden se zaveš, že vsi vpijejo in tvoj pes gori.

Včeraj sem ustrelil avto, ker ni vžgal. Saj niti nisem bil tako besen, ampak prascu nisem mogel dovoliti, da se izmaže. No, to je zdaj sreča zate. To je pomenilo več lukenj za dihanje, ko sem te zaprl v prtljažnik.

Izraz na tvojem obrazu. Ta izraz Hansa Gruberja med padanjem. Nisi pričakoval, da me boš videl, ko si odkorakal iz svoje velike poslovne zgradbe. Mislil si, da si varen, ker si pameten in imaš denar in večina ljudi misli, da to pomeni moč.

Moški v obleki. Moški z aktovko. Moški, ki pozna odvetnike in bankirje in poslovneže. Moški, ki misli, da podpisani papirji nekaj pomenijo. Moški, ki misli, da je denar pomemben.

Pameten tip kot ti najbrž analizira dogodke, ki so ga pripeljali do tega trenutka. Najbrž ti je moja kmetija padla v oči že pred časom. Morda zaradi zemlje ali pravice do vode, a mi nisi dal ponudbe. To bi bilo spodobno.

Namesto tega si čakal, da bom zamudil s plačilom obroka in mi kako zasegel opremo. Nisi pričakoval spodobnosti sosedov, ki so mi posodili traktor. Ko je bil moj sin poškodovan, me je to ustavilo. Ne morem dokazati, da si imel kar koli s tem, a to tukaj ni ravno sodna dvorana.

Potem si poslal tipa z listom papirja, na katerem je pisalo, da moja zemlja ni več moja zemlja. Zamujanje s plačilom ali nekaj takega. Boj s papirjem je boj, ki ga ne zmagaš. Nisem te niti srečal. Nisem te poznal. Ko sem prosil, da se srečava iz oči v oči, si me popolnoma zignoriral. Ko sem se prvič prikazal v tvoji pisarni, si me dal aretirati.

Se spomniš svojih vicev? Se spomniš, ko si mi rekel, da sem neumen? Se spomniš, da si se smejal s tistimi odvetniki, ko je bila obsodba razglašena?

Ko sem čez devetdeset dni prišel iz luknje, je moja žena – no, saj veš. Nekdo ti je moral povedati. Pogrešam jo. Še tako močna ženska se zlomi pot takim pritiskom. Krivim sebe. Pa tudi tebe.

Mislil si, da je konec, ampak jaz sem preneumen, da bi vedel, da sem bil premagan. Saj sem ti povedal. To je moja super moč.

Pričakuješ, da imajo ljudje razloge za svoja dejanja. Logika. Načrt. Nekakšna strategija. O vsem tem ne vem nič. Za pol stvari mi ni jasno, zakaj jih počnem. Ti vidiš sistem, ki ga poznaš, pravila, ki jih lahko nadzoruješ. Tukaj to ne pomeni nič. To je enostavneje. Saj niti ne igrava iste igre. Medtem ko ti igraš šah in si šest potez pred mano, jaz goljufam pri križcih in krožcih.

In tako, moj brihtni prijatelj, se znajdeš v starem septičnem tanku, v dvajsetih centimetrih sranja in scanja, prepojenega z bencinom, in prosiš za milost. V tem trenutku ni sodnikov. Ni odvetnikov. Ni policije. Ni pravil. In definitivno ni milosti. Samo neumnež, ki nima česa izgubiti. Ker si mu vse vzel.

Jaz tebi ne morem vzeti vsega. Ne vem, kako. Zagotovo pa vem, kako tebe vzeti vsemu.

Je to spodobno? Ne vem. Neumen sem, se spomniš?

Ti bi moral biti neumnejši. Bil bi srečnejši. Lahko bi se skupaj napila, ukradla rakete in naredila noč in pol. Zdaj pa ni časa. Danes je vse. To je vse, kar imaš. Jutri ne obstaja. Zate ne. Zame pa – no, nekdo mora napolniti to luknjo z drekom.

Kje imam vžigalnik?

 

Johnny Shaw je avtor šestih romanov, vključno s serijo Fiasco, v kateri nastopa Jimmy Veeder, in BIG MARIA, pustolovskim romanom, nagrajenim z Anthonyjem, ki se dogaja v jugozahodnih puščavskih področjih Združenih držav. Kratke zgodbe je objavljal v revijah Thuglit, Plots with Guns, Shotgun Honey, Blood & Tacos in številnih antologijah. Johnnyjev najnovejši roman THE UPPER HAND je zgodba o družini tatov in njihovem načrtu, da bi oropali televangelista. Johnny in njegova žena trenutno potujeta po Evropi kot nomada.

Advertisements

Tomorrow Doesn’t Exist

by
Johnny Shaw

 

The stupidest thing that smart people do is to tell a stupid person that they should be smarter. Do they think there’s a switch they can flip? How is the person going to answer, “Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just be smarter now.”

Every year in December, I watch the only Christmas movie worth half a shit: Die Hard. The best part: it’s about a dumb guy defeating a smart guy. And a European, so double win. The look on Hans Gruber’s face as he’s falling from Nakitomi Plaza is–well, very similar to the look on your face right now. It’s like you’re watching a caveman do a card trick. Like you can’t understand what’s happening to you.

The problem with someone like you is that you’re confident you’re smart. And you probably are, but most stupid people think they’re smart, too. It’s the luxury of the ignorant. Me, there’s no doubt. I’m dumb and I know it. It’s my superpower.

I know I don’t know what I know and I know I don’t know what I don’t know, but I also don’t care what I know. Or what I don’t know. You know?

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve gotten my hand stuck in a jar or one of my fingers stuck in a bottle. And not just my finger, if you know what I mean. On a cold, lonely night, a bottle with the right curves seems fully capable of love. But to be honest, it feels like a glass robot. I wouldn’t recommend it. After the third time, I decided it wasn’t for me.

I wouldn’t ever want to be smart like you. All that thinking. It doesn’t make you decent. It has nothing to do with decency. It doesn’t mean a thing. When you’re smart, you have no excuses, because you should always know better. I don’t need a reason for doing any idiotic thing. Stupid is my reason. It’s the perfect defense.

When the judge says, “Why were you naked in the middle of that watermelon patch singing YMCA to those gophers?” there isn’t a good answer. All I could say was “I don’t know. I couldn’t remember the words to Dancing Queen.”

Have you ever tried to run gasoline through a garden sprinkler? It doesn’t make a flame fountain, like you’d think. It just explodes and before you know it everyone’s yelling and your dog is on fire.

I shot my car yesterday because it wouldn’t start. I wasn’t even that mad, but I couldn’t let the bastard get away with it. Now that was lucky for you. It meant there were more holes for you to breathe through when I put you in the trunk.

The look on your face. That Hans Gruber falling look. You didn’t expect to see me when you walked out of your big office building. You thought you were safe because you’re smart and you have money and most people think that’s power.

A man in a suit. A man with a briefcase. A man who knows lawyers and bankers and businessmen. A man who thinks signed papers mean something. A man who thinks money is important.

A smart guy like you, you must be analyzing the events that led up to this moment. You obviously had your eye on my farm for awhile. Maybe for the land or the water rights, but you didn’t make me an offer. That would have been the decent thing to do.

Instead you waited for me to miss a payment and somehow had my equipment repossessed. You didn’t anticipate the decency of my neighbors who loaned me their tractor. When my boy got hurt, it put me behind. I can’t prove you had anything to do with that, but this isn’t exactly a courtroom.

Then you sent a man with a piece of paper that said my land was no longer my land. A default on a lien or something. A fight with paper is a fight I can’t win. I hadn’t ever met you. I didn’t know you. When I asked to meet with you face to face, you ignored me. When I showed up at your office the first time, you had me arrested.

Do you remember your jokes? Do you remember calling me stupid? Do you remember laughing with those lawyers when the verdict was read?

When I got out of jail ninety days later, my wife–well, you know about that. Someone must have told you. I miss her. Even a strong woman weakens under that kind of pressure. I blame myself. And I blame you.

You thought it was over, but I’m too dumb to know I’ve been beat. I told you. It’s my superpower.

You expect people to have reasons for doing things. Logic. A plan. Some kind of strategy. I don’t know nothing about any of that. I don’t know why I do half the shit I do. You see the system that you know, the rules that you can control. That means nothing here. This is simpler. We ain’t even playing the same game. While you’re playing chess, six moves ahead of me, I’m cheating at tic-tac-toe.

And that, my smart friend, is how you find yourself standing in an old septic tank in ten inches of shit and piss, soaked in gasoline, and begging for mercy. In this moment, there are no judges. No lawyers. No police. No rules. And definitely no mercy. Just a dumbass with nothing left to lose. Because you took it all away.

I can’t take everything away from you. I don’t know how. But I surely know how to take you away from everything.

Is this the decent thing to do? I don’t know. I’m stupid, remember?

You should’ve been dumber. You would’ve been happier. We could’ve gotten drunk, stolen some fireworks, and made a night of it. Now there isn’t time. Today is everything. It’s all you’ve got. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Not for you. For me–well, somebody has to fill in this hole with dirt.

Now where did I put my lighter?

 

Johnny Shaw is the author of six novels, including the Jimmy Veeder Fiasco series and the Anthony Award-winning adventure novel BIG MARIA, set in the southwestern desert regions of the United States. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Plots with Guns, Shotgun Honey, Blood & Tacos, and numerous anthologies. Johnny’s most recent novel THE UPPER HAND is the story of a family of thieves and their plan to rob a televangelist. Johnny and his wife currently live nomadically traveling throughout Europe.