Lives Journal 9

Ivo Antich

 

TIGER EYE

 

Although a circus was among the last things that could interest Admiral, his attention was attracted while reading the daily newspaper »Arbajt« (leading national linguist Jovan Mencigar has established the domestic manner of writing instead of »Arbeit« as the Mergans write it; during the interregnum of columbists, that newspsper has been named »Hardwork«) by the advertisement of the arrival of »world sensation« CIRCUS GOLDEN CAGE to Emona, the capital of Karantenia. Admiral's knowing of the global Ganglocamerican language was otherwise more modest, but he immediately raised his bushy black eyebrows and looked sharp to the three greatest words in the middle of kitschy colored advertisement across the whole site of newspaper. One of his fundamental passwords, but kept for himself, was »Do not be naive, be secretly active«; accordingly to that, he has consistently tried to see in the things more their back, because of his opinion that in each trivia hides itself a deeper sign or warning of the danger, and the vigilant eye must only be able to detect it. In a symbolic metaphor, the vigilant eye meant for him – a tiger's eye.

 

Without moving his »tiger eye« away from the ad, he stretched his right hand and pressed one of the buttons on the edge of the table. Immediately through the Admiral's office floated the voice of his secretary general:

»Here, Excellency!«

»Let Mishko come to me immediately!« yelped Admiral.

»I understand, Excellency!« emphatically replied secretarie's youthful voice.

 

Mishko (diminutive of Michael; for some also Mickey) was a nickname of Admiral's special adviser for the activity, indicated by the abbreviation EIIN (Exterior and Interior Informations). The real name of that man was supposed to be Miguel Mikl de Arkhangelsk; he claimed that he is from Liberia (old name of Shpain), a descendant of micalets (Shpanish: migueletes; Frankish: miquelets), the robbers, guerrillas and Kapoleon's counterguerrillas on Liberian or Yrenean peninsula. About his true identity Admiral was not entirely clear, but did not a deeper research; when his predecessor with the whole team of colleagues was leaving the function of Admiral, i. e. the Head of State and the first in committee of Dozenmen, he said about Mishko that he was a cosmopolitan in his erudition and absolutely reliable »archangel guardian«.

 

While waiting for Mishko, the Admiral moved away from the table and rolled deeper into the chair, constantly staring grimly in the advertisement that announced the beginning of performances by the circus from abroad; the main attraction should be trained beasts as it was illustrated by the photo of a beautiful acrobat woman in a bikini riding on a tiger. Admiral was startled when he read her name: Juanita Prepelook de Prieste. In an instant he became hot, he burst into the pot, he could no longer sit, he threw the newspaper on the table and leapt to his feet. He began to circulate around the office, nervously stroked his mustache glancing at the clock, and cursed in mind Mishko who for a long time did not make his appearance. Finally, with the silent noise an invisible door in the back wall opened, and entered the consultant.

 

Unusual man: a little higher than average, all in black, pants, jacket, instead of shirt always just a black turtleneck, black boots with silent soles on his feet; also because of his soft and flexible movements he gave the impression of a panther. No less ominous was the impression of his head: a pale cheeks, strong neck, tinted glasses with black, fitting frame, short trimmed reddish hair. The whole image was not solid, but has somehow eluded such as it was constantly fluid in its veiling, so the man of an unspecified age at times seemed more a tired intellectual than a trained security guard. Admiral was specifically interfered with tinted glasses, because he never good saw adviser's eyes; glasses spilled in the brownish-yellowish tones, similar to the semi-precious stone called tiger's eye. But since Mishko had a medical certificate that, because of nyctalopia, he had to wear dark sunglasses, Admiral got used to it. As an amateur entomologist, he knew a lot about spiders, so Mishko sometimes seemed to him like a crab spider whose color varies depending on the environment, lurking for prey as the magical eye of a mysterious machine. Sometimes at the view on Mishko, he also thought that he had nothing of more southerly image of Shpaniards, in greater measure his outlook reminded him of Brussian or Mengar; when he had received from someone a confidential surmise that Mishko could be a Sephard or Khazar from Brussia, more precisely from the province of Liberia on the east of Georgia, he simply asked him about his faith. Mishko said that he has been an »autonomous zenbuddhist«, and that was matched with the data that he had finished a school for ninjas in Chapan; this schooling was the best recommendation for a job of the special forces instructor in the army of Karantenia before becoming admiral's consultant.

 

 »Well, you just ... You could more hasten if I called you urgently ... What have you got on your face? Has blood flowed from your nose?« said Admiral to him.

»The fourth level interrogation ... A persistent guy ... You know, a type from the circle of those illegal psychopaths which we pursue and investigate, because they take theirself for some kind of new tigermen, leopardmen or even panthermen. One of their holy books is Georgian epic The knight in the panther's skin; they quarrel among themselves whether the matter is a tiger, leopard or black panther skin, because not even the linguists agreed which of the cat means the georgian word vephis. Their secret leader should be a certain Tamar or Damar, maybe a woman, after Brussian woman name Tamara; in Georgian that name is Tamar or Tamari ... Supposedly they plan assassinations of state authorities, especially of Dozenmen and you personal as the first man among them. It squirted from his muzzle right into my nose ... I could not come before, nor could I perfectly wash myself,« said Mishko and rubbed himself with hand under his nose.

»Look at this ... It could be right if you have already seen this,« said Admiral and struck with his hand the advertisement in the newspaper on the table.

»Sure, I've seen. I have been some days ago informed of the arrival of that circus ...«

»And you did not notice anything special?«

»It is always possible to find something special, even in the case of that circus. We could disable his arrival because it was too dangerous for our viewers. But it could have certain political consequences, so it is better in our current situation to avoid them. Circus is just from Camerica ...« meaningfully paused Mishko.

»Is that circus really so important that our country would not be able to prohibit its entry?«

»The owner is a brother of ICA boss ... I think, that fact says all ...«

»Damn it, yet this we need ... Well, sit down, let us just take a time to think a little ...«

 

They sat each in his armchair and kept silence for a while. Mishko, so immersed in armchair, again seemed to Admiral aged and slightly absent, as if lost somewhere into himself; on his tiny hair he noticed for the first time the trail of graying. He could not prevent himself from instant feeling of disgust mixed with constant ignition of hatred developed from the initial admiration, although Mishko had saved him life several times in the attacks and conspiracies. Admiral knew also from his own experience with his failed marriages: human instinct for freedom and independence is so pervasive that a person sooner or later becomes impatient to everyone, even to the nearest, which crawls under his skin and disrupts his accounts; where and when this shows the extent, if it does not remain hidden, of course, depends on the circumstances. The mention of famous Georgian epic, which has been well-known to him, reminded him on that place in it where it described at first a love game and after that a deadly confrontation between a lion and tigress ... He thought that Mishko was not actually a panther neither a sophisticated spider, but was a worn out watch-dog increasingly becoming a rat or a cockroach in the Admiral palace, so the time has come for to get rid of this guy sucking on his brain; if he has the support of ICA, it should be lop off with some intrigue on the basis of his imaginary or even real sins of the past, of course in the sense of passwords: »There is not a biography without dirty imagery« ... But when Admiral spoke first, Mishko looked like would be revived and rejuvenated at the moment, turning towards him his glasses in which the lighter and darker golden-greenish spots floated softly. Admiral began to develop his thought:

 

 »To you it is not perceptible in such a manner, but for me the problem is even the name of that circus: Golden cage ... Strange associations are raised to me ... You know, we were in the main palace of our government, people named that building the Golden Cage, and in the last time, the domestic journalistic scribblers also apply it as fashionable, self-degrading, satirical code for our country: a kind of small, phantasmaly idyllic golden cage, seclusion, jail, self-protected agoraphobia of invalidity, liliputanism, hypoplasia, cryptorchidism, obscure captivity without broader perspectives, of course one of the holes in the chain of the Balkons ... Next is the notion of circus ... If you connect all this in logical sense, you get to our survival dangerous thesis of conspiratorial network of internal and external enemies that we are frivolous, freak, circuslike menagerie of imaginary golden cage ... Circus we have, yea, all these corruption and tycoon affairs, degeneration of companies, sales to foreigners, rising of poverty; but these are not problems in our country only ... And here is yet a name, actually advertisingly swollen pseudonym of that acrobat woman ... Juanita Prepelook de Prieste ... This to me sounds like perfidious challenge, like a half hidden code ... I'm sure you know what I mean ...«

 

 »I know that story from your past ... Ivanka Prepeluh from Prieste was the wife of Simon Prepeluh, head of tigermen, some kind of Slovenetic miquelets in the coastal region of Karantenia. The story tells that she was your mistress before she married Simon, and you were jealous of her, and you resented her that you had been discarded. At that time you also have been a tigermen, but later you joined the columbists who rejected the tigermen as nationalists, quasi-assassinian romantics and ganglocamerican mercenaries; due to the potential yellow-black color symbolism of tigermen, the columbists imputed them even the nostalgia for a failed yellow-black Haustro-Kungarian monarchy, within which the whole Littoral with Bistria had been integrated. The guerrilla struggle of tigermen against the Vlach fascist Blackshirts was for columbists inappropriate and disturbing; they has been Redshirts and were leaning on the Brussia with the social-utopistic idea of ​​creating a common gigantic Panslovenetic, Eurasian (from Prieste to Hladivostok, i.e. from their native »red« Littoral to Brussian Littoral, from Bistria to Mamchatka) Red room, metaphorically said after the title of the classic Shinese novel Dream of the red room, actually more appropriate translation is building, tower, block. To this block could be joined Shina, the panslovenetic division on Catholicism and Orthodoxy would be exceeded with anti-religious religion of columbism like a tertium datur, and Latin and Cyrillic alphabets would be compensated with the adaptation of Shinese writing, partly from Gorean as example ... Then you as one of the leading columbists organized liquidation of that married pair who has been led the tigermen ...« spreaded Mishko his telling.

 

 »Se non è vero, è ben trovato – say Vlachs,« suddenly Admiral stopped him; as a man from Littoral, he liked to mention occasionally a word or phrase in Vlach (or Vitalian) language. »The story is, of course, a modified diversion of our enemies and of the yellow press, but it sounds interesting for the ignorant audience greedy for gossip, undermining the reputation of public persons. Otherwise, about that liquidation as follows: I was not a decisive one; it was not all the same for me that Ivanka had abandoned me and went for Simon, but all that was marginal; I did not leave the tigermen because of that, but because I recognized their immaturity without prospects; the columbists were ideologically and organizationally over them like a mountain over a molehill; liquidation was ordered by the highest leadership of columbists, and I was not a member of it; but it was an act as objectively necessary self-protection operation during the war against the Mergan-Vlachs occupiers; our association in Lomdom sent to us the message that Ganglocamericans plan to intrude into our staff some tigermen trained at them, which should foist a poison in a food destroying so the entire leadership of us ... It is not difficult to be a clever, morally critical and for nothing fatal responsible cabinet scribbler, possibly a frustrated pensioner, in a peacetime of decades or centuries post factum, but at the inevitable confrontation with the reality, of course, the most fatal during the war, there is only one quasidilemma based on the relation of powers and diversity of flags: you or me, here and now.«

 

 »I understand your care,« nodded Mishko. »Circus with that woman came just now, when you cemented your position after five days lasting west-south war of Karantenia against both Padrania, seceded from Vitaly, as well against Groatia, seceded from Gerbia, because of canal through Poper with which Karantenia reached the joint with the sea. Support of Mergany and Haustria on the side of Karantenia was crucial for a swift end of the war and for the peace agreement. Karantenia is now officially maritime country, and you are therefore a justified Admiral; previously it was only a formal title, the country has been defined in the Constitution as landlocket country ... And you reached another important, deeply humanistic innovation in the Constitution: no more restriction for the function of Admiral on thirteen years, you added zero, and then going off into retirement, but previously it has been in force that every Admiral after the expiry of the mandate had to kill himself by jumping from the Golden cage, as it was with the archaic brutality adapted from the old custom of sailors: to walk the plank ...«

 

»There is a rumor that Mergany supported our canal to the sea only because I gave to it the two-hundred-years-concession for the transport administration in our harbor Poper. This is true, they get that concession, but I at once brilliantly balanced it by the contract with Brussia for installing the gas pipeline through Poper. So the chances of Mergany and its administration to influence our policy will be limited,« significantly and not without pride emphasized Admiral. And after a pause he added: »Certainly, some do not like that ...«

 

»It is no wonder that this circus excites you in such a background. It seems to you a kind of warning, an ominous sign from hostile circles searching for settlement the current as well as the old, half-forgotten accounts manipulated in their own interest ... I do not say that such a view has not a certain logic, but I think you're over-sensitive and to much suspicious. I would advise extreme reservations about any action,« soothingly said Mishko.

 

In that moment, from somewhere behind the rear wall, a strange noise sounded, and then a dull blow as if someone crashed into it; invisible door opened, and into the office drove on the skateboard a boy of the first teen years.

»Again, you did not previously announce yourself, Mike; I told you several times that you disturb me when I work in this office,« gently reproached Admiral to his son, to which he had given the name after Mishko, that is Michael, calling him only Mike, not very affectionately. The boy, identified by the same automatic door as previously Mishko, stopped at the table and immediately noticed the advertisment of circus. He pointed to it and said:

»Dad, I saw this advertisment on a teleboard ... I would like to see this circus ... Please, let we see it together, you and me!«

 

Admiral never refused to his son anything, even though he had certain reservations to him; namely, he suspected that the boy was not his real son, but since he had only daughters from previously marriages, he quietly viewed him as his successor, when the modification of the Constitution regarding the succession of Admiral function should be reached. The last official Admiral's wife, sixty years younger secretary Anita Moshkon, from Prieste, probably had him with one of her lovers. Admiral was for last years despite taking aphrodisiacs a complete sexual corpse; when he had detected that Anita at all her excesses (profligacy, alcohol, drugs) was even trying to meddle herself in politics, he hinted to Mishko for liquidation of her in a car accident. For a moment, Admiral even thought to liquidate the »bastard«, but he changed his mind, especially when the son began to show himself more and more as a kind of an infant prodigy with a gift for drawing, poetry, languages, music, mathematics, sport ... However, Admiral's feelings to his son remained uncertain; such versatile talents he found as unhealthy, sinister anomaly, and just could not get rid of unpleasant thoughts that his plans about his son should not have a good result, because that child would bring him a misfortune.

 

Thus, with his son, both thoroughly masked (Admiral glued a beard to hid his characteristic mustache), as has been habitually for all Admirals when they were incognito mixed among their citizens, they went to see the performances of the circus Golden Cage on the outskirts of Emona; they were accompanied by bodyguards, mostly disguised as women. After the circus show, of which he was totally fascinated, the son noticed outside in the grass near tent a charming kitten with which he became infatuated immediately. The tamer, who was in the vicinity, pointed out that this kitten was a cub of the mighty tiger with which the famous star Juanita Prepelook was appearing, and that it was not for sale. When the son heard this, he began to trip and shout that he in every way wanted to have a »kitty«. Admiral tried to convince him that things could not go in that way, but when the son began to toss himself at the ground and tearing off his girlish fancy dress, were all persons present embarrassed, and it was seemed that a real scandal should outburst. This was the most scared of Admiral; he asked the tamer how much it would cost a cub. Tamer has moved away from the persons present, and call someone by mobi; after a some time, from a nearby wagon came a well-shaped beauty. Admiral immediately recognized the circus star Juanita, and at the sight of her forthcoming live appearance the thought flashed through his mind that she was similar to his deceased wife, the mother of Mike, which had once mentioned to him that her mother was living somewhere abroad as a ballerina; so Juanita was originally Giovanna or Ivana, her real last name was probably Moshkon or Moscone (in Vitalian gadfly; maiden family name of Ivanka Prepeluh was Brecelj, which in Slovenetic means a gadfly) ... Admiral began to tremble, he could no longer speak normally; when Juanita told him a dizzying price of the tiger's cub, he just beckoned to one of the escorts, and that man opened his black bag and hastily handed to the woman a tuft of banknotes. Juanita and tamer, both astonished, stood in the grass for a considerable time after the departure of strange visitors that had carried away the cub in a bag.

 

Miha was addicted to the »kitten«, he called it »Mishko«, he feed it with milk by baby's bottle, he wanted to have it with him constantly, even during sleep and during the lessons in a special school for children of Dozenmen, which was in the underground rooms of the palace. In particular, the latter was extremely disturbing, because the tiger's cub constantly was crawling around exploring the classroom, so the lessons were completely impossible; only with the greatest difficulty, teachers, together with Admiral, convinced the boy to give up the cub's presence at least in school. Otherwise, the little beast was a friendly creature which was immediately attached to the boy, and with obvious pleasure played with him. But soon there began to show signs that this idyll would not be able to last very long; the cub, the skeleton of which was from the beginning a little more stubby than at the ordinary cat, almost every day was becoming markedly more strong. Already Juanita warned Admiral that cub would grow rapidly, and would increasingly transform from kitten into the tiger which would be unpredictable and uncontrollable danger to all around it, so it would be necessary to submit it to the zoo or to return it to the circus, otherwise a killing would be the only alternative. Admiral tried to explain gently her warning to his son, but when his reaction was similar to the hysterical-epileptic attack, he realized that every word was in vain, so he called a group of biologists, veterinarians and biochemists, and required from them an exceptional intervention: to stop growth of the cub. Scholars have said that this might be possible, but was problematic in several respects, both ethical and ecological, and of practical health; however, such radical interventions in the natural development are not recommended as they may lead to the collapse of a living being. Admiral impatiently swung with hand, and resolutely concluded that in that case there was no need to look on ethic or on ecology nor on health, since the cub was a »usual cat«. Shortly after the injection, prepared by biochemists, the cub really no longer grew, at the same time lost appetite and liveliness, increasingly becoming a shabby hairy sack, loosely filled with bones; finally, it just laid there and panted, fully grown gray and unbearably smelly, so even Mike could no longer endure that. All attempts at rehabilitation have been without effect, the only way for complete histopathological gangrene was a crematorium for animals.

 

The boy was completely changed, as if the »tiger's shock« was the reason for his quick maturity; he became unusually serious, no longer interested in sport, in the school was less successful than before, but he began to obsessively deal with drawing and painting, depicting only one figure: in all drawings and oil paintings has been in countless variants only – a tiger. In some images he wrote his rhymed verses about tiger as the embodiment and symbol of the living energy, which man can »mount« if he wrap himself up by the »Golden Fleece« of virtues; sometimes at the verses he suggested that energy with only to him understandable mathematical and physical formulas. His creative work has attracted wide attention not only because he was the Admiral's son, but because of the amazing quality: splendid fantasy of colors, masterly skilled anatomy of the feline body, charming static dynamics of terrifying visionary beast. At these images, the celebrated painters feel envious embarrassment; exhibition in the main national gallery was a sensation, also acclaimed in the foreign media. Mike has declared that after finishing high school he would study at the Academy of Fine Arts.

 

Admiral started to get used to the fact that his son would become an artist, so he moved aside his idea of ​​political succession. But before Mike finished ten years lasting primary school, he had been captured by a new radical metamorphosis. As he had been stung by something, he suddenly threw all the drawing-painting accessories into the garbage container, his drawings and paintings remained lying in corners and wardrobes in one of the rooms of apartments in Golden cage, and he started with the obsession, equal to the previous occupation of art, to work only with books, mostly historical; among the latter were mostly narrowly specialized researches of various problematic events from the recent political past. Admiral on the one hand was relieved that his son had abandoned »scratching and smearing«; the son's change of interest was initially a pleasure to him, because for him all kinds of art in general were a certain underhuman cerebral deviation, but concern about the thematic choice remained in his thoughts. It was just obviously that the son was not in any way interested in official and school valid history, but that he was obsessed by a so-called alternative or parallel, »illegitimate« stepsister heuristics, which was by Admiral mind only a suspicious pseudo-science, properly a psychopathic trumpery and diversion manipulation in who knows whose interest. He concluded that in the time when his son would be at school, he would more precisely inspect his room, books, notebooks and everything in it; namely, he had a keen spy sense that he would find something important.

 

So one day he was long ransacking the room of son; he was becoming increasingly unwilling during the reading the book titles which mostly sounded like some kind of provocative political thrillers. He recalled an acquaintance, a renowned historian and academician, who once, when they had been talking about that, waved his hand and said that all that was only an amateur underground trash not worthy of any mention, not even in terms of counter-arguments. When he finished inspecting the room, Admiral had to state that he actually did not find anything really tangible; his son was just attracted by colorful balloons of trashy sensation, and that would be passed as an adolescent hastiness. Suddenly he felt tired, mixed with a kind of sadness; he sat in the armchair in the corner of the room, and watched around to find anything what he had perhaps overlooked. However, the room was no longer interesting for him; he felt that getting sleepy with an indefinable feeling of fear, as if someone was watching, properly hypnotizing him. His limbs became so heavy that he could not move; his head lowered to the chest, he lost his senses in the dream, and at the same time it seemed to him that he had not closed his eyes continually staring at the opposite wall, on which was hung a framed photo of Anita Moshkon, his deceased wife and mother of his son (when the son had hung up it there, he did not like that, but of course it could be extremely strange if he requested to remove it). He could not tear his looking from her face: it seemed to him that in his cheeks something was moving as if the portrait became revived. It was not more clearly to him whether he was watching Anita, Juanita or Ivanka Prepeluh; because the latter had been using in underground movement the illegal name Tamara, it seemed to him that he was looking even at a portrait of Georgian queen Tamara. The face has slowly turned into a bloody lump of flesh, from which with the golden-greenish iridescence the one single eye goggled into him, increasingly as if it was approaching; at one time, in the back of that eye as in the hologram began to indicate the enormous head of a tiger. From the eye, which was now of the tiger, flited a glowing ray and for a moment touched one of the books on the table. Admiral thought that he would scream in horror, but from his throat there was no voice; he winced violently, an illusion has disappeared, and he woke up from the lethargy.

 

He jumped to his feet and started to swing his arms, because he felt cold, though it was warm enough in the room obscured by curtains. He was pulling out his mustache which he did not like, because it had to have every man in the Admiral position, for purpose in memory of the first Admiral, the founder of Karantenia. Already he had thought to escape out of the room, when he remembered the beam from the tiger's or wife's eye, from that revived eyeball on her face mutilated in a car accident. He grabbed the book, which had been shown by a ray, and began view it carefully. A strange title, and also it was more strange that he previously did not notice it: How a tiger became the red dragon; tiny letters on the dark cover were hardly readable. He leafed a little through, then he grabbed the covers of widely open book and strongly shook it; a newspaper cutting of a square decimeter dimension dropped out. When he accurately looked at that clipping, he found that it was a tiny article in Ganglocamerican (name of newspaper and date have not been shown) entitled: Shadows of the past of an obscure quasiadmiral. Despite his limited knowledge of the language he was able to determine that the article told about him: about the »admiral« of Karantenia, former columbist-guerrilla fighter, about suspicious events from his past, especially the recent death of his controversial wife in a car accident, and during the war a liquidation of Simon Prepeluh, leader of guerrillas rival to the columbists, i. e. of the so-called »tigermen«, and his wife Ivanka; their baby-daughter, registered in Prieste as Giovanna Perpelucchi, took over the relatives.

 

Admiral has burst into a sweat, obsessed by panic: Mike could not get himself that article from a clearly obscure foreign gazette (important newspapers were not allowed to spoil bilateral relations between countries with such gossips), someone had imputed it to him in order to draw his attention to his father with »blood on his hands« ... Clutching the fists, he snarled and circulated around the room as a tiger in a cage; when he stood he grasped with both hands his head rocking the upper body back and forth: it seemed to him that apex of his skull would fly into the air and the brain would scatter around the room. He was suffocated, a sizzling sound came out from his breasts, and he was scared of heartattack. With great effort of will he slightly concentrated, sitting in the armchair and deep breathing. Over time, he was so much reassured that he put the clipping back into the book and set it in the previous position on the table, and then he abruptly left his son's room and went to his part of the apartment. There he ordered to his servant to not allow anyone to disturbe him until the next morning, because he was feeling unwell and needed to be thoroughly rested. He locked himself in the bedroom, took the bottle from the hidden safe and without interruption gulped a special drink which immediately caused the vertigo in his head, and he fell across the bed.

 

When he woke up and looked at the watch, he realized that it was approaching midnight. He got up and opened the wardrobe; from its bottom he pulled a great package and threw it on the bed. From the package he took out a well-preserved skin of simberian tiger, which has been immensely valuable to him as his father's legacy; his father, a Bistrian from Prieste, was during the Great war a Haustro-Kungarian soldier and a deserter to Brussia where a few years lived in Simberia; when he had rescued a girl from the river, her father, a shaman, donated him a tiger skin which later became Admiral's secret commitment to Brussia (he transgressed to the columbists when he realized that the »tigermen« were not eager pro Brussia). He wrapped himself up with tiger skin and took from package also his father's book, a Georgian epic Knight in the tiger's skin; the author, the greatest Georgian poet Rusticalis, had dedicated that poem to Tamara, Georgian legendary empress and saint (1160-1213). In the book was parallel with Brussian translation also the original in Georgian; he leafed through a book to refresh himself the content. Then during the loud rhythmic repetition of the phrase »tamar-damar« and two for him crucially meaningful verses from strophe number 1160 (also the year of Tamara's birth) in Georgian »gvelni moshlit moeketsnes, bagi shegma she-re-shenda, / mze veshasa daebnela, zeda radmca gagvitenda« (braid of snakes was divorced and have hissly crawled through the garden, / furious dragon covered the sun, so it shine to people not more) about half an hour slowly in a circle dancing around the bedroom; during that, he also involved the initial verse of the famous American country song »The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal« (Georgia: Camerican state; also the western name for Georgia which has its own local name Kartvelia, with the same root »kar« as Karantenia) ... Then he went on a long white hallway with no windows, and passing many doors and several bends he directed himself to the room of his son. He entered softly and listened; when he realized that the son was sleeping in the bed, he turned on the light and slowly approached to him. The boy opened his eyes, as if he had not sleep and as he was expecting his father in the tiger's fur; he reached under the pillow and pulled out the newspaper clipping. He held it out to the father and peacefully broke silence:

 

»That I have slightly stuck in a book on the page 313. Of course, I immediately realized that you had fumbled through my things. You didn't insert this ticket back on the same page nor stuck it ... Who had sent me this article by mail, I don't know, but I know that I will soon know about you all what is important to me.«

»Devil ... you damned devil ... You're not my son ... We don't have anything in common ... You're bastard, satanic seed, supposititious litter of a whore and devil ...« growled Admiral and his snarling went over into the terrible tiger roar. With his more than one hundred kilograms weight of former wrestler, he jumped on the son helplessly lying under a blanket, and he bit into his neck ...

 

A few days later, the special adviser for security (code: Tigereye) in Camerican embassy in Emona sent to the headquarters of ICA (Investigation of Central Assembly) in the United States of Camerica the following coded report:

 

Top secret - special case report: MH-AL. Successful sanitation of the situation in Karantenia (code: Mousehole), AL was eliminated in dramatic action which had been provoked by his crazy murder of his own young son: dressed in a tiger skin, he bit through his neck and boy bled to death. AL has roared like a real tiger, so security guards rushed into the room with MM (Mickey Mouse – code for our agent »nyktalops«) at the head. Covered with blood, AL was dancing around the room in a kind of shamanic dance skanning in an unknown language: allegedly it was an Indian (North Camerican) dialect, the subsequent analysis of the video-voco snap found that he had been repeating two verses from Georgian epic Knight in the tiger skin in original Georgian language. When the guards tried to get the better of him, he violently resisted; he was screaming that they did not have the right to arrest him, that he had not do anything wrong, but as a responsible patriot he only in a special ceremony of Simberian shamans had destroyed the »seed of Satan« thankfully at the right time before it would be matured and spread around its snakes which would cause the collapse of the country. There are typical psycho(patho)logical relations: among close colleagues AL was fond of talking about art with contempt, especially about poetry which to his mind has been a preverse and malevolent, socially noxious blabbing (in one of the drawers in his bedroom, we found his own poems from his youthful time; Karantenia bases its identity on the poet Pressieren), and the book of mentioned epic was to him a sacred thing, which together with Simberian tiger skin his father had willed to him. A kind of »shamanic initiation« also appeared as a legacy of his father who for a long time lived in Simberia, in the same place as a few years earlier in exile the subsequent »God of columbists« Steely, a native of Georgia; he supposedly knew by heart some parts of mentioned epic; as poor and despised child (his father beat him terribly because he has been illegitimate for him; that was similarity with the childhood of his Mergan colleague Tihler) in a small, subordinate Kafkasian ethnicity he has dreamed in the spirit of folk traditions that he would put on the tiger skin and mount a tiger in order to gain the power to rule the world; on the photos from his twenties, when he has been a known Georgian poet and an illegal columbist, his neck was wrapped with a shawl of tigerish pattern design (no other ruler has sent to liquidation so many literary men as he has; but he well rewarded many »properly oriented« writers, because literature is obviously not only a decadent parasitism, but can also be socially useful as an educational engineering) ... Though already elderly, AL as a former heavyweight wrestler was still a tough guy, and during the conflict he shook off the security guards (some of them he also seriously wounded), and escaped into the corridor. MM has run behind him and shot into him a charge for stupefying the tigers (a gun for this purpose he had with himself since AL had bought a tiger cub to his son), but a dose was probably too strong for a man in a stressful delirium: when he has been unconscious his heart stopped ... AL had our full support as long as he was reasonably taking into account the real situation, following to our instructions; but afterwards he became »King Log«. As it is usual at such types who, in the essence, only with our support can rise to power: when they consolidate their inner position they become obsessed by ambition to supplement their own historic mission in the sense of »true independence« of their hen coop, so then such mugwumps desire to get rid of our tutoring or at least significantly limit it; but that can only be achieved with the help of those larger forces that are our somewhat more serious opponents. When his colleagues, especially the members of the committee of Dozenmen, attentioned AL that he on the basis of specific merits and successes of his policy was trying to grab too much personal power, he began to preach to the people the thesis that the so-called »Western democracy« was nothing but pure humbug, especially inappropriate in peripheral, immature environments, and that is generally the only functional form of government the »AHM or Archetypal Humanistic Monodictatorship« (in his terminology; in our way said: benign dictatorship); for example he was mentioning some Kafkasian-Simberian (minim)countries, namely those reservations within the reservations which became independent after the collapse of Brussovietia (they all want to be members of TONA Pact and Neurounion), as well as several monarchs-autocrats in history, especially the Georgian empress Tamara; for the latter he stressed that she was a Slovenetic-Karantenian, originating in the Tamar Valley, known as »Simberia Carniolana«, on the triple border of Karantenia, Vitaly and Haustria, and that the word támar in the old Slovenetian means »mountain enclosure for livestock«. In foreign policy he began to impede and restrict investment from the West and increasingly establish contacts with Brussia, and also partly with Shina. Top to that, he announced that Karantenia would no longer be actively involved in the continuously timed expeditionary wars of TONA Pact, it would even consider the exit from it, and perhaps also the exit from Neurounion ... Together, all that of course meant the border crossing, unacceptable for us as well as for certain indigenous political side in Karantenia. We have activated our agent MM, which has been, as a descendant of Balkon ancestors and a specialist in matters of Balkon, for a long time a security consultant at the top of Karantenian authorities. As an excellent, intimate connoisseur of local conditions and also of the psyche of AL personally, he advised us intrigue: to upset AL, so he will lost his stability, and to induce in him a delirium of uncertainty, a psychogenic shock on the basis of a guilty conscience because of old sins; for the same purpose, our circus Golden Age to modify into the more irritant (for conditions in Karantenia) Golden Cage adding the acrobatic star Juanita Prepelook, and to the son of AL anonymously send falsified newspaper article about his father's sins ... Taken as a whole and in the final summary, the operation was a fine success, and some collateral problems have also been properly solved. MM has been, as an agent of Balkon source, extra controlled by us; so we have found that, without the approval of ICA headquarters, he made a closer contact with the last wife of AL (fruit of this relationship was Michael, the official son of AL) and even organized a car accident in which she died; the latter in agreement with the AL. According to some clues, he in conspiracy with her planned takeover of power in Karantenia, but he changed his mind because of the unreliability of that woman; probably he sensed that she was intending to betray him. We assume also that MM was a double agent: some intelligence he should send to Brussia (once he mentioned that his mission is »the fight against Satan«; he always had with him minim reproduction of picture of Luca Giordano from the year 1663, in which the Archangel Michael overcomes Satan) ... Immediately after the end of case MH-AL, MM became for us an »archangel in the sense of dead nettle«; he won for the prize a holiday on Kawaii. There, by assistance of our special agent (code: Mouser) from DISC (Department for Inner Security Cleaning) he slipped during the looking of the tourist attraction, a volcano Kilauca ...

 

 

 

(From the manuscript collections of short stories The Golden Cage; ibid. Golden Cage, SRP 49-50/2002; Blind Bird, SRP 69-70/2005; Cockroaches, SRP 107-108/2012 and in Lives Journal 5/2012; note by author.)

 

Translated from Slovenian by author 

 

 

 

Slovenian (bohorichica)

Slovenian (gajica)