Blesok no. 50, September-October, 2006

Pop's Drunk Again
– excerpt from the novel –

Dušan Čater

    Žužemberk met me with countless lights. Literally. I mean, nobody counted them and all that, but who could blame them for not counting, there were that many they were countless alright, especially around the old town castle. This ruin greeted me from afar, beckoning to me to come to its rampart for a shot of rum with diet soda. But, fuck it, I had no time for things like that. For sentimentality, memories and innate loves that with time turn into habit. No time. I parked in front of the only apartment building I knew, cut a line, just so, for strength and courage, and dashed up the stairs to the third floor. I wasn't sure I'd find anyone in the apartment, and frankly, I didn't care one way or the other. I mean, I'd rather there was no-one there than find the blue ribbon with POLICE printed on it across the door and the lock sealed, or maybe even some crime scene detectives inside the apartment, the Holmes and the Poirots, looking through their magnifying glasses for possible prints left behind by the murderers. Well, at least there was none of that. No seal on the door, no detectives. They'd probably had enough time to turn the place inside out and realize yet again that it was another shot in the dark, that they had no single trace of evidence, except… Fuck it, that's why I was standing in front of the door to that apartment.
    I rang the bell. I knocked and rang the bell.
    Ring-ring. Knock-knock and again ring-ring. I heard movement on the other side of the door, and in the peephole, as D. calls it, I saw an eye watching me. Then the key scraped, and none other than she herself appeared in the door.
    “I've been expecting you,” she said. “Come on in!”
    She stepped back from the door, checking with a quick look up and down the hall that we hadn't been seen. She pulled me into the apartment and quickly locked up behind me.
    “Take a seat,” she said, motioning toward the kitchen table where I'd sat before.
    Confused, and not only because of the dope, I sat down and looked at her. I pulled my gun out from under my belt and laid it on the table.
    “I came to kill you,” I said.
    “I know, I've been expecting you!”
    I mean, she was fucking nuts. We looked each other in the eye and kept nodding. She stood there in front of me, dressed in a nightgown, waiting to die. And a thing like that, my dear Quakers, was too much even for me. After a while when nothing happened, she said:
    “I'll make some coffee, okay?”
    I nodded.
    “Or would you rather have something stronger? I have some home-made schnapps,” she said.
    I nodded again. Her calm really blew my mind. She left the kitchen and I heard her open a squeaky cabinet door in the other room. High as I was, it occurred to me, check this out, that it would need oiling. That cabinet door. I mean, hey. She soon returned with a bottle of colorless liquid. She opened it and took a glass out of the sink. She poured a shot.
    “Here you go,” she said.
    I nodded and accepted the glass. I took a sip. It was one good schnapps. I knocked it back and put the glass on the table, and she poured me another. I thought she was trying to get me drunk. But I didn't care. Again I lifted the glass and knocked it back. She poured again and sat down across the table from me. I lit a cigarette.
    “May I?” she asked, motioning toward my pack of cigarettes.
    I nodded. She took out a cigarette, put it in her mouth and lit it. It was nice to behold. She had a fine way of smoking. And an even finer sight was how her enormous breasts rose when she inhaled, giving me a mighty tingling feeling down below.
    “The police were here for several days,” she started. “They ransacked the place and questioned me for hours. I didn't remember anything,” she said, winking significantly at me with the last words. “I told them I'd had a seizure and that I couldn't remember a thing!”
    She looked me straight in the eye, and I averted my eyes. It's not pleasant, my dear Quakers, to look a person in the eye just before you kill them, you can take my word for it.
    “I saw your picture on television, that time you hurt the son of that politician. And in the paper and … you were everywhere, Dušan. And I went to the library and took out your book. I have it on my bedstand, honest. I like it! I like the part where … Where you're cutting across Tivoli Park with a bag of pills and vitamins and you come across a woman who's having an epileptic fit and you offer her vitamins, ha-ha-ha. That's good, yeah,” she blabbered, “like you were writing about me.”
    I still didn't want to meet her eye and tried to remember which book that could be. I didn't remember ever having written anything like that.
    “And how you supported her head though you were …”
    “Okay, okay,” I cut her short. “I came here to kill you!”
    “I know,” she said again. “I've been expecting you!” Man, she was really fucking demented. “So, couldn't that wait a bit?”
    I looked at her. Now I no longer averted my eyes. I wanted to make her abundant flesh creep a bit. She was smoking, and her boobs rose and fell by half a meter, hey. I liked her. I grinned.
    “It can wait,” I said and raised the glass.

    “Great,” she said. “Go on, tell me, what was the deal with that politician? What was he doing in your building?”
    I was beginning to feel a little better. I even thought of doing another line. I shrugged at her question.
    “It's obvious what he was doing there, isn't it? There's whoring everywhere, Dušan, take my word for it!”
    Hey, man, now she's adopted a maternal attitude to me, I thought. She's really in the bag and up the pole. I kept nodding and grinning.
    “It's been that way since the beginning of time, Dušan. Go on, have another one, ha-ha, to steady your hand, ha-ha,” she came out with a combination of yokel common sense and black humor, and poured me another shot. “Yeah, yeah, they're all whore masters, and politics is nothing but a whore. You know what's the difference between electricity and politics? Huh? Politics is a whore, and electricity … Oh, darn, I forget … Wait, electricity is … electricity's a whore that… Right, a whore you can't touch, and politics … Oh, I can't remember, but it's funny and … It turns out in the end there's no difference.”
    I mean, it was really funny, no denying that. She got up and went to the sink. She took out a glass, rinsed it and put it down on the table next to the bottle of schnapps. She sat down, wriggled into a comfortable position, pushed out her enormous chest and said:
    “Go on, pour me a drink, will you? I'm a bit nervous, you know?”
    Naturally, I poured her one. And one for myself, because I was nervous too. She raised her glass and clinked it against mine. We drank to each other's health, man. She smiled sweetly as we did this, and I, really on edge with the situation and all, grabbed my gun nervously to finish, goddamit, what I had in mind and what I'd come to do in the first place. I aimed it at her. My hand shook like some damn country butcher's.
    “Are you in such a hurry?” she asked with a lump in her throat.
    I stared at her for a while and then rested my befuddled and weary head on my hand, which still held the gun. For a short time I even closed my eyes. I could hear nothing but her deep breathing and a clock ticking somewhere in the room. I opened my eyes again, looked at her and realized that I really was in no hurry at all. After all, I had the whole night before my flight. I shook my head no.
    “That's good,” she said and downed the glass she was still holding. Then she got out of her chair and went to the bedroom. A short while later some music came pouring out. Slow music, heartbreaking. Pathetic, corny. I finished my drink and poured another. For both of us. She came back from the bedroom and stopped in the doorway. She was twisting a rag in her hands and looking at me. Then she asked:
    “What's going to happen to this apartment now, Dušan?”
    I mean, talk about banal! The wench knows she's got one night left to live at the most, and she wants to know about the apartment? I mean, come on!
    “I don't know,” I said, and I wasn't lying.
    “Are you guys going to take it back, because, now that …” Her voice trailed off. Then she continued, a bit lower: “Now that Uroš is gone …”
    Another thing that got me down. Another fact. That is … Until then I hadn't even known the name of the kid we'd killed. I hadn't even known whom we'd killed.
    “What's your name?” I asked her.
    She told me. A stupid hick name. I nodded at her. She came up to me and proffered her hand. She really had bats in her belfry. Then she sat down across the table from me again and—my, what a sight—stuffed the rag she'd been twisting in her hands down her gargantuan bosom. I quickly downed my drink. She yammered on endlessly:
    “Now you'll never get your money back, no way. Were you thinking of claiming it from his family? They think it's their apartment now. But… ha-ha, if they knew what happened, they wouldn't want it, would they, Dušan? And I,” she said, and made a zipping motion across her mouth to show that it was sealed, “I'm keeping my mouth shut. But they tried, you know, Dušan, they tried to make me leave by force, though they never gave a penny for this place, while I contributed quite a lot, you know. But now this loan … Neither my family nor his family have that kind of money. Oh, darn, what's going to happen now, Dušan?”
    “I don't know,” I said, and to be honest, I couldn't care less. Now there were only two things going through my mind. Her enormous boobs and another line. I don't know why I got up and went to the bathroom to cut a line, but that's what I did. I locked myself in the fucking john, and cut a line on the water tank as though I was ashamed of my deeds in front of her. In front of the woman I'd come to kill. As though I'd never snorted coke at that kitchen table. Hey, man. And another thing: She could've easily run from the apartment, fuck it, and called the cops, or simply taken my gun, which I'd left on the table, and blown my brains out. I have no idea why I did that. Maybe I was stoned out of my mind by the schnapps and coke and the wine I'd been drinking all day, or maybe I just didn't give a damn about what happened to me and all that. I don't know, my dear Quakers, I really don't. To cut to the chase—when I returned, sniffing, my head aching so badly I thought it would burst, she was dancing in the bedroom. With her arms spread wide she twirled around the bed, while her loose nightgown revealed more than was sensible.

    I stepped up to her and threw her on the bed. Her nightgown opened without my assistance, displaying her two enormous melons, a truly magnificent sight, with two huge, pink, hard nipples, and the rag stuffed in between. My vision blurred. I buried my head between her boobs, blew the stupid rag out of the way and shook my head between her hooters until I had to come up for air. I rolled off her, and she first opened her nightgown and then pulled down my pants and my underwear to my knees. She got on top of me, mounting my larger-than-ever erection, and started riding me so hard it made her watermelons bounce up and down at least half a meter. I squeezed them, kneaded them, pulled her nipples until she cried out loud and bounced and bounced and bounced. Then I rolled her off of me and got her under me without pulling out. Like a maniac I rammed into her and groaned, I don't know who was louder, me or her. Either way, that was the noisiest fuck of my life. It was well into the night and the whole damn town of Žužemberk must've heard us. We yelled and huffed and puffed in a fucking frenzy. When she came, she sank her nails into my back, and I ejaculated all over her slightly pudgy stomach. I rolled off her and lay as still as a corpse. She scooped up my sperm from her stomach and spread it over me, covering my chest with it, then licking it off. As she did this, her boobs engulfed me, so that I felt like sticking it between her jugs, but my dick was too dead. I raised myself and took the coke out of my pants, which were now around my ankles. For a hard-on, I told myself, though my head ached like I had a thousand washing machines on spin cycle inside it. I sat on the edge of the bed to cut a line on the nightstand, but she laid a hand on my shoulder and said:
    “Is that it?”
    I looked at her and nodded, even though I didn't even know what it was.
    “Can I have some too?”
    I nodded and she raised herself and looked over my shoulder to see what I was doing.
    “Oh, heck, do it on my tit,” she said.
    I turned around and stared at her enormous boobs. The thought crossed my mind that a line across her entire boob would put me six feet under, it would blow out my black heart. Yet I couldn't help myself; I threw her back on the bed and actually started shaping two thin, long lines on one of her jugs. I even made an effort to curve them nicely around her pink nipple, one on each side. Then I took a banknote from my pants, rolled it up and offered her the first snort, the choice of lines. She chose the slightly smaller one. It went like clockwork. I mean, she had no difficulty whatsoever bending down to her boob, because her jugs were so enormous—I just couldn't get past this adjective. Then I bent over the other line and snorted it right up. And then … All I remember is that after that I licked up whatever remained of it on her enoooormous boob and … I don't know whether I fell asleep or simply passed out cold. I was swallowed by darkness! Probably the darkness from around the lit-up Žužemberk.
    It was a white darkness. It was a hallucination of a white horse. Loose and free. It galloped on green highlands at an altitude of some three thousand meters, its thick tail streaming out behind it. It raced on the very edge of a precipice. Far below a muddy river meandered. It snaked between the mountains of a range stretching southward for kilometers. Its strong current had carved a gorge in the rock, and it dropped precipitously toward some far-off villages of which my white delusion knew nothing. There, on the very top of the highlands, outside a dilapidated wooden shack, not exactly adorned by laundry drying on a rusty wire, yet it was there, there stood an old, toothless Indian with a tattered what-used-to-be-a-hat on his long, grizzled hair. The horse came up to him and the old man caressed its white mane gently and spoke to him. Then he extracted a small piece of something from his pocket and offered it to the horse. The white horse neighed and hastily munched the proffered tidbit. Then the old Indian entered his shack and chewed a few green leaves that looked like tea. It was getting dark and the white hallucination was slowly covered by darkness. The wind could be heard howling in the mountains, and the old Indian sank into a slumber, while his eyes gazed at the starry sky visible through a tear in the roof. He got up once during the night and stuck his grizzled head, now hatless, through the door. In the dark, only a patch of white was visible, which was probably the horse, and the old Indian lay back down on his creaking bed. When day broke, he opened his eyes and saw though the hole in the roof thousands upon thousands of birds, condors, sailing on their enormous wings above his ramshackle shed. He saw them circle and swoop, and he knew what had happened. He got up, put what used to be a hat on his head, and went outdoors. Then he sat down by the dead white horse outside his shack, on the top of the highlands, on the very edge of the precipice. He sat by the dead white horse, stuffed a few green tea-like leaves into his mouth, and told the horse a story: “Once there was a sun. He was the first, the only and the strongest sun. And because he soon grew bored, he decided to get married. He descended to the highlands and asked the snake to be his wife. The snake, coiled up, agreed and kept him company for a few days before the wedding. But even when fully extended, the snake was no less artful then when coiled, and she kept evading the sun and going her own ways, and every time the sun asked her not to run away from him, she hissed dangerously and, together with her coiled up sisters, showed him two fangs full of venom. Disappointed, the sun descended lower, down to the rainforest by the Big River, and asked a female jaguar for her paw in marriage. The female jaguar accepted, and for a while she and the sun were inseparable. The earth got as hot at that time as the inside of a volcano, and the trees started dying one after another. The female jaguar was a calculating creature, she wanted her paradise back, with its copious rain and its abundance of food, so she called off the wedding. Saddened, the sun rose back into the sky, high, high in the sky, high above the Big River and high above the highlands, above the artful snake and her sisters. He mourned there at the very end of the sky, when a beautiful round moon floated up to him. She asked the sun why he was so said, and the sun told her his story. The moon was so shaken by his story that she offered to become his wife. Soon they were married and made a happy couple, complementing each other as they still do to this day, and ever since that time we've had day and night on Earth. And day and night and day and night.” Then the old Indian spit out the chewed leaves, took out a small piece of something from his pocket and swallowed it. He lay down next to the horse and fell asleep forever. In the sky a strong sun shone, below which its envoys, the condors, circled and swooped down to collect their dues. 229-238

Translated by: Tamara Soban

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