40.1.1: Pavel reporting
Fritz and Sandra grew closer; feeling irresistibly attracted, to him. I was their alibi allowing them to resist the urge to get up just as they had learned when they were young puppies in social life wanting to be distinguished dogs. The urge overcome, Fritz released their tension by laughing. It sounded like a pig grunting. “Tu t’appelles Pavel.”, he repeated in an attempt to make the joke his own – adding hesitatingly: “Nius has had his best times, don’t you think?”. “No.”, I answered, “Or rather. I couldn’t compare his times.” “I meant, …”, he went on, but I did not muster the attention span to hear his no doubt masterly retort.
Sandra just sat there and didn’t listen either. She was showing every sign of puppy love and, braless, this was accentuated twice in a way that did capture my attention. What Fritz meant will remain a mystery. Nipples are, most of the times, more fascinating than meanings. Her nipples pointed in the same direction of her gaze, which made me also look at Guido who, meanwhile, was greeting his hostess in the garden. She dismissed those paid to inform the peoples with a lordly gesture. Money she had abundantly, but no money could buy her the benefit of being a host making refined gestures. Guido kissed her hand. The flashing mob came to a final orgasm after which they were chased up the stairs and out of the house by those paid – hand on ear – by, little, Aurelia Bensone. A brief electric moment underlined the exclusivity now acutely felt by those selected by invite. Guido put one foot forward to gently almost-genuflect and kiss Aurelia’s hand until the flashes died out. Then he grinned and stood up, tall, opening his arms for her to jump in. Some isolated flashes were made in full retreat. Together they made a half turn, his rough coal-shovel hands unashamedly groping her thighs. Another flash. Another. From the house photographer, no doubt. A last one. Looks became serious again. Back to business as usual. Feet on the ground. Over to the order of the night.
Sandra gently closed her eyes, acutely aware it was I who was gazing, now, at her. Her eye lashes were long. She was gorgeous – à la mode. So, Guido was her love. I felt his pity: the pity of a man who feels himself naturally superior to her. I knew how puppy love felt when the big dog doesn’t respond. The music – arty farty comfort jazz – was paused. The noise of chatter in open air wasn’t at all as bewildering as Fritz’ sudden restart of his sour talk, my prying eye still guiltily filled with Sandra’s innocence. “He is a cheat!”, he hissed, ending with a bite. Instinctively I looked at him, involuntarily taking a comic book pose probably best expressed as: “?!”. He leaned into me and whispered, hurriedly and almost confidentially: “He literally has blood on his hands.”
During this last sentence he looked hurt to his ‘life partner’ – in an apparent attempt to hurt her. She didn’t return his look. She was clearly self-sufficient in feeling humiliated. ‘So sad.’, I thought and thought to let it go though I’d take her side in a heartbeat. Only then I realized a group had been building around the three of us. In apparent opposition to the star of the night we were unmoved in a position fixed by him: sour grapes. Fritz moved to the edge of his seat. This highlighted some of his features to me: a fat belly, an unkept beard and a pony tail. He was the personification of disgust for whom everything was linked to ‘the good cause’; a kind of man who too easily confuses rightness with righteousness. Still, I couldn’t let it go. What did he mean with ‘literally’?, I so hated loose ends, they are the litter of life. He continued, louder, to our assembled group of rejects – winking as if he was conspiring with me: “Didn’t Nius live off the sweat of others? Didn’t he draw their creative blood; a vampire transforming victims to underlings?”.
Albeit somewhat incoherently, he succeeded in this way to mask his earlier comment. ‘Just in case,’ was the right interpretation of his wink, meaning I was still left guessing as to what Fritz was really meaning. The group of rejects around us got at the same time their gefundenes fressen handed to them on a plate. With relief they could break their silence starting up their reflex discussion of blood, soil, sweat and honor. They were all about reaction – the anti-establishment discussion so common to the establishment ran its full-automatic course. Fritz could lean back, hands on the back of his head, enjoying that old little ride once again. His shirt was too short which put me at pains to avoid seeing his half-naked fat belly. Sandra, softly and solitarily, took up the defense of Guido, without getting further than making excuses. Reasons and excuses are never very far apart. Anyway, her forgiveness was a given.
Blood, soil, sweat and honor – these four basic principles were the constant core for those hell bent to match any cultural progress with ever new forms of conservation. In the brevity so desirable for those calling themselves modern at the time, it boiled down to one to-the-point bullet point: merit. Although I was the geometric center of the discussion this argument always escaped me even if I could not escape it. The many always come by way of the unhappy few. I was a guilty bystander accomplished in hiding behind the feeling of being alienated. I let myself be led back to my trance: ‘Why did we get here?’, ‘For Agnes.’, and, ‘Agnes for Guido, an old friend of mine.’ I was rudely awakened by what seemed like the repetitive noise of a stream train slowing down to enter, safely, its terminus: “Nils Nilsson.”, whispering, “Nils Nilsson!”, always with first and last name, “Nils Nilsson?”, winking without wanting to admit it. Nils Nilsson died a highly mediatic and obviously as suspect as unexplained death. In this way he achieved posthumously what he wanted to become all his life: the talk of a town that had never listened to him. He’d been a close confidant of Guido Nius up until a couple of weeks before his death. Then they had words. Nils Nilsson’s words were drowned out by those of Guido who -with televised sadness – publicly ‘had to’ disavow Nils Nilsson. It was not a matter of choice according to Guido which would have been the end of that if Nils Nilsson had not seemingly sent a message by suicide. Since then he was always referred to in 2 words, as if he was the victim in one of those thrillers that had spread like a pandemic over the free time of the educated. Every plot was already used, so every death could be the perfect murder; perfect at least for raising the kind of suspicions that kill time as easily as killing off reputations. In this case it was a literally bloody death.
I felt alarmed. I couldn’t help looking Fritz in the eye. He had managed to raise suspicion in me where I had up to now only raised my shoulders. His fat face was accentuated by a smug grin. He knew he had accomplished making me feel like his accomplice. Oh hell, Guido, like I, was the son of a highly educated immigrant couple sentenced to life working as plumber and cleaning lady, just to escape passing on to their children the sentence of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why the hell not? He was the poster boy of our – Agnes was born out of place as well – second generation success. This mattered to him, I knew because he went uncharacteristically tense when he went out of character out of his way not to admit it. There was an abundance of ass holes who would lower themselves to tracing anything back to our descent. It was Guido’s Achilles’ heel since he had chosen for this life amongst ass holes and – this was Agnes’ term – the posse of brown noses that unavoidably accompanied them.
I looked up and around: back in hell again, was where I was as willed by an unwilling Agnes.
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