dedalus Posted November 6, 2010 Share Posted November 6, 2010 (edited) Ettore Schwartz, Triestine, inveterate smoker, smiles contentedly, snuggles into the couch and analyses himself, at odds with the expensive acolyte of Adler who sits, seriously, out of sight, just there behind his head. This is rather nice, thinks Italo Svevo, for this is the name he employs when he writes his excellent unappreciated novels. I really must have a word with my English teacher muses Ettore Svevo, and so thinks Italo Schwartz, as both, acting as one, reach for the next cigarette. I cannot imagine what was going through Benjamin’s mind there on the dusty platform, surrounded by yellow hills, in one of those dreary arse-end towns (I’ve been through it) every country seems to have. This is worse than most, also, not helpfully, in Spain. Might as well be Chihuahua, with the same hayseed police, smelling of wine and garlic, but mostly of themselves. As mongrels do they smell your fear. But suicide? Sorry, my dear, you gave up too easily. Franz Josef was a thick-headed limited old brute but not the worst of the emperors by any means. Nobody thinks or even cares of this crusty old character who went through so much personal heartache, who can actually know what went through his dreams at night? His wife, one of the most beautiful women in Europe, was flighty, horse-mad, and refused to sleep with him, his only son and heir shot himself with a 17-year-old girl, and the Hungarians and Czechs never left off badgering. Then Franz Ferdinand, whom he never liked, got himself shot and the whole ramshackle Empire blundered into War. At least, poor dodderer, you never lived to see the end. Simple advice; when a young girl offers you adoring blowjobs and you are a middle-aged man, married, and also happen to be the President of the United States, you should reach deep into yourself, balancing the pleasure against the consequences, and say, Why not? You never know when you’ll get the chance again. I met Bob in Hawai’i when I was driving a taxi for Charley’s. He was new, I’d been around, I was set up as his Driver Supervisor… Stauffenberg should have made sure, staying behind until the final moment of detonation, sacrificing himself and not racing back to Berlin. I do not question his courage, which had already been proven, only his judgment, his thinking. Room was needed, the briefcase moved, and Hitler lived. I wonder what really would have happened: perhaps not much. The real heroes, or victims, were Hans and Sophie Scholl. The first thing, Bob, is you’ve got to stop drinking and driving. OK, boss. Next thing is don’t lock the doors, let them get out before they pay.What if they don’t pay? Bob, if I was your customer, I would definitely pay. Everyone in the company was askance at Mad Bob, everyone but me, maybe because he called me boss, and did some of the things I told him. Bob had had a bit of a … chequered career in Vietnam. Later it all came out. O turn aside and no more weep Upon love’s bitter mystery … Fergus rules the burning cars. You never loved me. At night, darling, in the darkness, You would allow me to hover and slip it in, you would grunt and shift your hips, sustaining an angry passing joy, and then you’d race, sticky from me, to the bathroom. I lay behind you, dazed, exhausted, thinking this girl wants to marry me, and if she does, this burst of spread-your-legs will come to an abrupt skidding end. I could foresee years of tightened lips, frowns, blankets of disapproval, and while thinking on these things, a monkey came through the window and scared the bloody hell out of you. He was a young hungry chappie and I laughed. You carried on so loud, I knew for sure I would never marry you. Tight body and tits to die for, but downturning lips and that glint in your eye. No thanks. I need a relaxed little girl, a good cook, fine-looking, quick and handy. Bob started to tell me his weird jungle stories so I sent him out into to the bright lights of the city which was a mistake: the garish night-scenes of Honolulu, where the Mahu boys down on Hotel Street, bored and horny, would fling themselves, baritone, at your crotch, and you’d hear the polite pop-pop of handguns, soft sounds off, as people settled their economic and personal differences. At four in the morning you’d steer around the bodies, most still alive, lying still, with pale goose-pimpled thighs under a lightening sky of pale pink and streaks of purple, and you’d take the dregs of the battered drunk young sailors to their grey steel ships, bobbing bobbing in Pearl Harbor. When she was young, you know, she was a tremendous beauty, the toast of Edwardian London, Hove and the Isle of Wight. It’s said that the Old King came out and saw her one morning and brightened up considerably, asked her in for a spot of tea, and said, My Word, what a sight for sore eyes, etcetera, that kind of thing, and died, coughing, not very long after. She preened and pushed out her chest, not inconsiderable even then, fluttered her lashes over deep violet eyes and behaved like the stupid bitch she has been ever since. In Wimbledon in the late fifties, her garden adjoined the dank collapsing collection of bricks my young parents were renting from the dying Mr Bannerjee, and she would appear fully dressed with a damn parrot on her thin left shoulder and say, Young Man (to me) would you desist from making those distressing noises as I refought the Battle of Britain with plastic Spitfires and Messerschmitts: and the sky in those days was white or grey, with a menacing hint of rain. Theo had been to Poland, France and Russia with the ever victorious Wehrmacht, and reckoned it had been pretty good, except for the last bit, freezing his balls off in Khaboroshtny, Khonovreshnyev, something anyway with a fuckin Kh, and he said, Bernd (they all called me Bernd) then I know we lose the war. What about Herr Hitler, Theo? Fuck Hitler, says Theo. One good thing you see in the Army you never must listen to this verdammte gefluechte Scheisse. But in the Rheinland, you know, 1923, I was young boy maybe seven or eightund die Gebrueder Meerschlag haben mich wie ein junges Maedchen gedresst mit tennis balls als tits, eine Bluse und skirt, ja, langes Haare mit ein Wig, und dann in the Park hineingeschleppt, so das die verdammte French Negertruppe an mir gekommen sind, Hallo, hallo! Dann kommen die zwei Bruder from out die Buschen mit knives from butcher und machen die Neger zick-zack alles kaput! Blut! Everywhere blut, blut! They say go, go! I run. I laugh, ha ha. OK, war not so good. In the beginning, champagne, in the end piss, ja, piss and dirty water. Heil Hitler! Theo smiles. Theo is my pal. Bob is also sort of a pal but he worries me. Mr Bloom is a thoughtful Jew, miles and miles from Trieste, nestled, unsettled, under the gaze of doddery old Franz Josef: K.u.K, Kaiserlich und Koeniglich, Coocoo, Kakka. The world turns. On its axis. Not much choice. At dinner parties, journalists back from war zones are occasionally asked what it was really like. Perhaps the most accurate answer would be to rape the hostess, murder the host, cut the children’s throats and set fire to the house, without any further explanation. On his deathbed, Ettore calls for another cigarette. This, he thinks, will really be the last one. The Last Time, I don’t know Benjamin thinks of the best way to die. Stauffenberg, his mind ticking, looks down from a cracked airplane window, sees the damp fields of Germany mutely yearning, helplessly spread below. Soon I’ll be in Berlin. Soon we’ll all be in Berlin, more a metaphor than a city. Could you kindly remove your moon-white arse, softly female, from the region of my nose? Sweet-smelling. Thanks ever so much, I was going to speak about Bob and Honolulu taxis. Bob arrived from Saigon as it was known then after three years in Leavenworth, one of those maximum security places where God-fearing white Americans send their unruly minorities to moulder, to grow old and crazy , die. Seems Bob had shot his Platoon Sergeant, some redneck hillbilly, stitched him across the chest, brrrppp, brrrrpp, brppp, oops, dead, and said, I’m gettin the fuck outta here. They called it in on the radio before the Cong wiped them out, every single last little lonely one, and that was the end of Bob’s platoon. Bob, who was large and loony, hijacked some poor (God-fearing) little chaplain in a jeep, rattled his brains, and turned up wild-eyed with his papers at Tan Son Nhut, the airport. First they sent him to Leavenworth and then they sent him to me. I fell in love with Molokai. I used to go there once or twice a year just to get away from the nyah-nyah shite of Honolulu. There were no hotels, no cranky tourists, no grinning Japanese, only ill-dressed locals in battered pickup trucks, a third of whom were gay. gently fondling your balls (chug-chug went the motor), softly sighing as the message of polite rejection sank slowly in. They would bring pakololo to your campsite, bottles of wine and beer, slyly chide you. In life you meet all sorts. Life, ding, people, ding-ding, all that shite. Bob was doing great until he murdered one of his passengers. It was the night shift, I reckon the fucker deserved it, you’d almost not want to drive on nights of the full moon, whatever people say, the loonies would come out in squadrons. Some sweet little girlie cracked my mate Jimmy’s head with a hammer, fractured his skull, he’s never been the same since, tho’ not all that scintillating to start with. Fuckin war zone. That’s how, dear friends, I paid for my Masters degree. The PLO, come to think of it, were doe-eyed lovely young men, not a bit like the tattooed hard chaws in the well-trained Provies, although offhand little ‘do’s’ with both sets reduced me to trembling jelly. I was ever the athlete, never a soldier, but I did two years in uniform. I just don’t like getting shot at. Sorry. Could be a personal thing. One of those bullets smacks home and no more poems. I know. I can see that hopeful glimmer in your eye. There’s always traffic accidents. Ettore got banged up in a traffic accident, somewhere around 1927 or 37, not great with the dates: still, his old pal JJ had helped to make him famous in France, followed by the furiously blushing snobberie of literary Italy, and he died in bed, which is generally a good thing, longing for the last, that very last and final cigarette. Ah, such bliss (puff) to be alive …. Edited November 9, 2010 by dedalus Quote Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.