Blesok no. 56, September-October, 2007
Bonnie and Clyde
M. entered the store, all those colors twisted her mind and she felt dizzy, everything was а strange carousel, just like that portrait of Felix Fenelon, he was a friend of Signac and a loudspeaker. Here, amongst all those different sized products, you can hear the screaming of yellow circles and stars, the red semicircular streaks are creating nice enamel with its own peculiar rhythm.
M carried around a huge, heavy cloud, the worst kind of all, the one you can't dissolve in coffee and cigarettes, Signac only delayed the time and it wasn't of any use. Does she have to be indifferent towards this job? She felt inferior, her own voice blustering in her head, sending her to penitentiary, there she would understand that she is worthless and her pretty face brought nothing but an illusion that she could become everything she dreamt of as a little girl. Brand promoter. Toilet paper promoter. She was laughing at herself while waiting for her coordinator to tell her how to approach the customers of this small store. She was imagining what her line would be: “Good afternoon! We are promoting a new kind of toilet paper, with this paper your ass will be soft and clean and your hemorrhoids will be gone forever. Here! Just try it! The toilet is there, wipe your ass and see it yourself, the magnificent feeling you will have!”
But, none of this happened. These were only her fantasies. The coordinator gave her a simple approach: “Hallo, today we are making a toilet paper promotion, if you buy two packages of this toilet paper, you get one package of napkins for free.”
If only she could get a job in one of those huge supermarkets, there she would act like working, but actually her only task would be staring at the big supermarket lights. Here, in this little store everybody is watching her. The cashier was curious and she followed every word she said, clerks were calling out to regular customers to buy this toilet paper because the discount ends today, tomorrow the price will rise. Robots, slaves, all the same, people feel better this way; they fall asleep at night easily, like small babies. They forget about their boring little lives, all the problems are gone when they watch the CSI series, their imagination shines for a while, they thank God for avoiding the possibility to receive a bullet in the head, or be burned in some sharks' fireplace because of gambling depts. M. felt sick babbling in her head, she didn't want her voice to become too strong and then become scared like a little bunny in the lion's den. The owner of this shop took a day off; the clerks let her have her coffee in the owner's office. “The owner sits here” – she thought: “She sits here and counts her money, thousands of denars, hundreds of euros… and what about me…”
She would snap out of it and then kindly smile to all the people, happy or frowning, and repeat the same sentence over and over again. She made her own statistics, grandfathers liked her most, men in their 20s and 30s, and middle-aged women. Young girls hated her, pregnant women too; they must envy her figure, as well as grannies and middle-aged men. Yet nothing felt good enough to make her feel fulfilled, she would like to do something else, either creative or useful for the society. Maybe she should have studied medicine instead of history of art. But standing next to a shelf full of toilet paper and promoting it! She found it difficult, it ached. The customers ignored her, they ignored her humiliating bow to the 'the customer is always right' rule. One of them even shouted at her that he didn't use toilet paper any more and that because of firms like hers he got an anus inflammation and preferred to wash his ass off after going to the bathroom. Even though everyone was watching her, she wasn't embarrassed. She wanted to tell him so badly that one can get an anus inflammation from practicing diverse sexual life, but she held the thought to herself and turned towards the chocolate bar shelves.
Boxes of chocolates took her to another world, a romantic one, warmed her heart, and made her remember she was alive. She took the biggest one, just to see it, turned it around, and its price was equal to her daily wages. Her eyes uncontrollably filled with tears, but somebody's hand on her shoulder stopped them. She turned around, and there he was, standing in front of her as if materializing her fantasy, not that well dressed yet gorgeous.
“Hey…how's it going?” he asked her, and she couldn't stop staring at him. She startled and forgot to tell him about the promotion! Toilet paper promotion! But his hat, his blouse and his hand at the back of his trousers told her of his plan, told her that this is where her career as a promoter ended. She was something else, she always was. He knows her, he would just let her rejoice at the bar of chocolates for a while, and she was saved by the price stuck at the back, she was saved of all those lies. M. smirked like a little girl that just stopped crying and proudly sniffs because she gets a gift for her bruised knee. He held her head and kissed her wet lips. Something upset her about him, his existence; he destroyed her harmless meditation, and no doubt tore the artificial skin she put on that morning. She quickly took her clothes off and they made love, here in the middle of the store! No, of course they didn't! He went to the owner's office, took the key and walked off the customer that was leaving. Without having thoughts he locked the front door, he pulled one of the guns out and passed it to M. He pointed his gun at the clerk. M. felt that her inspiration was too big, too persistant to be held at the boxes of chocolates, so she stuck the cold barrel at the head of the man with the anus inflammation. He peed his pants and started to cry. Hey, hey, no harm done! She just wanted his wallet! The cashier didn't hesitate a minute and emptied the register straight away. I should probably mention that there will be no police because this isn't a Hollywood movie!
M. went to open the back door. It was in the toilet. He wanted to show mercy to the customers, so he took a banknote and chucked it into an older man's hand, one that could barely move and held a piece of bred in the other. The clerk eyed him sharply and forced a cough. He looked at her in amazement with his clear innocent eyes. She knew he wanted to be the modern Robin Hood, and she hated such noble deeds herself as she knew no such thing existed in the world. He pushed her with the gun:
“Problem?” he asked her with an insulting tone.
“No problem… it's just that your girlfriend is going to die.” she answered voluptuously.
His complexion turned pale yellowish. He started to run madly towards the toilet and kept calling M. with her real name, she didn't answer back. He entered the toilet. Her lifeless body was hanging on a rope, tied to an outward drain pipe.
He desperately tried to push her up, to save her, maybe she wasn't dead yet!
Yes, she was!
Who did this? Who did it?
Maybe it was the owner who came back to work unnoticed?
He climbed on the toilet seat, and cut the rope loose with his pocket knife. He lifted her and gently put her on the ground. For couple of minutes, without stopping he gave her mouth to mouth respiration. He kept massaging her heart without loosing hope.
But no! She didn't wake up. He was furious, he wanted to find the murderer, the bastard who did this to her, his loved one. Once he was out he saw the people gathered around the front door, and one fairly sized man was trying to break the glass with a candy raft for them to get out.
The clerk was urging him excitedly to hit harder because the glass was thick.
“Who killed her? I said who killed her?” he was shouting to the top of his voice.
The man with a candy raft in his hand stood stunned and tremulously looked the gun pointed at the clerk.
“Young man… we all stood here next to you, none of us killed your girlfriend… we were giving you our wallets, remember?”
He couldn't believe her cunning eyes… She knew it! She knew M. was going to die!
“You said she is going to die! You murderer!” he shouted and pointed the gun at her head, ready to pull the trigger.
“Yes, I did say that! I knew she was going to die! I always know when someone is going to die!” she shouted back at him angrily.
He pressed his lips and tried to stop the tears running down his cheeks. His finger shivered at the trigger, but he couldn't pull it.
The clerk she appears to be, there is something more to it. Maybe she is not human. She stretched her hand and asked for the key to free the innocent hostages. She promised that the suspects for the murder would stay, including her. The cashier, the two clerks and the butcher were the only one left. He freed the customers and locked the door again. He ordered her to tell him everything.
“I know when somebody is going to die!” she said.
“So you killed her? Which one of you killed her? Say it!”
“No, none of us killed her, we are no murderers! Why don't you try to remember what happened then?” she told him mysteriously.
“I remember it all very well. She went to the toilet, and you told me she was going to die!” he shouted again but she wasn't scared a bit of his gun.
“No, she leaned and whispered in your ear that she couldn't live like this any more. But you were too busy with your mission, and hardly noticed her at all.”
He was confused and he stared at her, his eye scrutinizing her face, looking for one single pore to tell him she wasn't telling the truth. The clerk observed him calmly.
“That's not true… I don't remember…” he kept saying as if defending himself.
“She stroked your shoulder, and she knew you didn't hear her, she didn't want you to hear her. Your life isn't good for everybody, she probably liked her pretended job, honest job, she felt like a part of us, she saw that living a normal life can be nice for a change… She could never have that. I'm sure she wanted to buy the box of chocolate with her daily wages, to know she earned it herself, that she got it on her own.”
He sat down on one of the chairs, leaned the gun near to the ground and lowered his head. Yes, she was really looking at the box of chocolates when he came at the store. But he thought that she was just sad, that she hated doing that job. It seems that the gun was meant to be for him. The two of them, they are Bonny and Clyde, aren't they? They must die together. She decided that today was the day they must go away. Yet he forced one last glance to the three workers… but something changed, the clerk's eyes were shining, almost like a lightning, waiting for him to pull the trigger, to blow his brains out. The butcher was rubbing her fat hands insensibly under her belly.
There was something treacherous about them.
He felt that they were expecting some kind of spectacle, that they aren't just some ordinary workers worried about their jobs. Especially the clerk, she acted as a leader, as one of those persons that put on a sad face once the press is here, and suddenly she is the savior of the hostages. She is a false hero!
They killed Bonny!
They almost had him fooled too.
He picked up the gun, pointed it towards the clerk and shot her straight through her head. She fell on the ground motionless. The butcher stuck her massive body to one of the shelves, trying to hide behind the other clerk, the skinny one. But he stood up and uncontrollably fired several bullets. There was blood all over the floor, and the three bodies were laying one on top of the other.
He had no sense of fault, or guilty conscience. He knew he did the right thing, the only right thing in his short life. He freed the world of these three wicked creatures, full of grudge.
Then he went to the toilet and set next to the dead body of his beloved one. He put the gun at the temple.
And of course, fired!
Translated by the author