Translated by: Philip Philipovich
Alive and Well
(A bar, nearly empty. ANGJELE, middle aged, sitting at a table. He is drinking beer. Enter DIMITRIJA, looking haggard, aged. He walks on crutches. DIMITRIJA sits down at another table. ANGJELE watches him. He finishes his beer, walks over to DIMITRIJA.)
ANGJELE: How’s it going, Dimitrija?
DIMITRIJA: Fine, thank God.
ANGJELE: Can I buy you a drink?
DIMITRIJA: A beer.
ANGJELE: You remember me?
(They are looking at each other. ANGJELE gets up. He brings two beers, sits down again.)
ANGJELE: Where have you been?
ANGJELE: Something happened to you?
DIMITRIJA: Long story. Don’t even ask.
ANGJELE: An accident?
DIMITRIJA: Don’t even ask.
(ANGJELE raises the glass to toast.)
ANGJELE: To your health. Cheers!
DIMITRIJA: To your health!
(They both drink.)
ANGJELE: Traffic accident?
DIMITRIJA: Wish it was.
ANGJELE: No? What then? (pause) Did you have a fall?
ANGJELE: Someone beat you up?
ANGJELE: Know who it was?
ANGJELE: You don’t remember?
DIMITRIJA: Never saw him.
ANGJELE: They put a sack over your head? (pause) Settling some score? You rubbed someone the wrong way? (pause) He fixed you up pretty good.
DIMITRIJA: What did you say your name was?
ANGJELE: You don’t remember me?
DIMITRIJA: Getting old.
ANGJELE: He sure did a number on you. Fixed you up real good.
(DIMITRIJA drinks up his beer.)
DIMITRIJA: With a crow bar.
ANGJELE: A crow bar?
DIMITRIJA: A hammer. (pause) A crow bar and a hammer. Ten, fifteen pounder. At least. Bone by bone. One at a time. Twenty-seven fractured, total. Three chipped. Plus cracked ribs, that’s a separate count. Fractured skull. Spinal injuries. Damaged spinal cord.
DIMITRIJA: Have problems with my head. Constant headaches. Fucking head. Left leg shortened by two inches. Three toes missing. They sewed me, they patched me, but they never put me back together. Right arm gone. Chemi… chemi… fucking-pharesis of the right side. Severe motoric aphasia. Muscle tonus and… hypertonia. Jaw is locking up. Some bone must be dislocated. One kidney removed. The other one – no good. I’m not supposed to drink anymore. But do I ever! At night, can’t hold my water. The moment I fall asleep, I leak. Have breathing problems. Fucking lungs. Be better off if a train had run me over. Early retirement. No special privileges, merits. Job-related disability.
DIMITRIJA: It’s OK, though. Can’t complain. Had fun in my own time. From there, it’s downhill anyway. Ask anyone about Dimitrija the Cop. Know how many broads I scored! I lost count. Can still do it, too, fuck me. My old lady bitches, says, barely on your last legs, and still getting it up.
ANGJELE: That’s life.
DIMITRIJA: Thank the Lord we’re alive and well.
ANGJELE: Thank the Lord we’re alive and well.
(They drink. ANGJELE is watching DIMITRIJA.)
ANGJELE: You know who beat you up?
DIMITRIJA: Who did?
ANGJELE: I did. (pause) With both a crow bar and a hammer. A twenty pounder. Thought I fractured thirty-two bones. That’s what I was going for. You never even put up a fight, you mother-fucker. Not that you had a chance. It was like punching a bag. You squealed like a hog.
ANGJELE: You don’t remember me? I used to drive a red Ford Escort. Everybody else was driving some old junk back then. But you had to pick on me. I had a piece of girl with me in the car, and I was just getting down to business. And then you pulled me out of the car. You beat the shit out of me, you really fucked me up. For what, though… For the fuck of it… Hit me in the crotch with a night-stick. In the fucking crotch, Dimitrija. It still hurts. What the fuck did I ever do to you to get that kind of shit. I filed a complaint against you. Useless. You guys just close ranks. You’re the authorities. Me, a nobody. Couldn’t get out of bed for two days. Third day, I try getting up, then just turn around, head straight back. My balls felt like blimps, it was like having melons between your legs. Had two operations. Both failed. Didn’t dare think about women. A hard on gets me in the worst pain. Never had any kids. I can still barely screw, but when I do, boy, it’s pathetic.
ANGJELE: Want another beer?
DIMITRIJA: It’s my turn.
(He gets up, wiping off his eyes. He exits, brings back another round of beer.)
ANGJELE: Why, Dimitrija?
DIMITRIJA: Good question, why?
ANGJELE: Like a pair of stray dogs after a street fight.
DIMITRIJA: We’ll bounce back.
ANGJELE: It’s taking a long time.
DIMITRIJA: Long time.
ANGJELE: To your health! Cheers!
DIMITRIJA: To your health!