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Hírek

Pišťanek, Peter: The Rivers of Babylon (Rivers of Babylon Angol nyelven)

Pišťanek, Peter portréja
Sutherland-Smith, Viera portréja

Vissza a fordító lapjára

Rivers of Babylon (Szlovák)

Rácz tiež potrebuje peniaze, veľa peňazí. Každý večer ich ráta. Je to milý obrad. Teší sa naň po celý deň. Dakedy preratúva i dva razy za sebou, len pre tú radosť. Svadba s Eržikou je pre neho už iba hmlistým, neurčitým cieľom v ďalekej budúcnosti; nemyslí na to. Šetrí na ňu už iba zo zvyku. Jeho myseľ teraz zamestnávala iba jedna žena - Silvia. Celkom ho opantala. Žiarli na ňu, nenávidí ju. Vie, že je kurva, a to ho mučí. Vždy keď príde k nemu, chcel by čuchom postrehnúť dáke stopy po cudzích muž­ských. Občas sa nezdrží a vypáli jej jednu. I dve. Silvia mu nič neostáva dlžná. Je zlostná, uštipačná. Žiada stále viac. Na druhej strane jej lezie na nervy, že s Ráczom sa dá rozprávať iba o jeho kšeftoch a peniazoch. Nemá žiad­neho koníčka. Von, do mesta, Rácz nechodí. Dobre sa cí­ti iba v kotolni a v hoteli, v montérkach a v bagančiach. V okruhu, ktorý dokonale pozná a v ktorom ho sotvačo dokáže prekvapiť. Za tie prachy sa to však dá pretrpieť, povie si zakaždým Silvia. Len keby nebol taký divý a su­rový. Z niekdajšieho skromného a obmedzeného chlapca sa stal samovládca. Na tvári mu ustavične pohráva samo­ľúby, panovačný úsmev. Všetci pred ním poklonkujú. Pá­či sa mu to. V poslednom čase si privykol hovoriť o sebe v tretej osobe. Rácz si to neželá, Rácz nikdy nepožičiava, Rácz to, Rácz ono. Ju, Silviu, si vždy berie bez kúska citu, bez nežnosti. Napokon, to by bolo to posledné, čo by ju, Silviu, mrzelo. Je už zvyknutá na onakvejšie zaobchádza­nie. Rácz to však všetko robí bez espritu, bez najmenšieho pôvabu. Berie si ju, ako keby doma, na dedine, sedlal či zapriahal kobylu. Občas ju hryzne. Sem-tam ju udrie päs­ťiou. Keď je hotový, odvalí sa a fajčí. U nikoho jej to tak nelezie na nervy ako u kuriča. Tak nech teda platí!
Rácz sa jej nedokáže vzdať. Eržika ustúpila do úzadia. Už sa ani nepamätá, ako vyzerá. Stala sa bezfarebnou, vyblednutou fotografiou s menom, no bez tváre. Existu­je preňho len v dávnej minulosti a v neurčitej budúcnosti. Rácz vie, že Silvia ho nemá rada. Škrie ho to. Vyvršuje sa. Zlostne ju štípe. Je predsa jeho, Ráczovým, majetkom. Vlastníctvom. Tak ako ten kartón amerických cigariet na oštiepanom, rozheganom stole. Dnbre vie, že Silvia svoje neustále ponižovanie znáša iba pre jeho, Ráczove, peniaze. Napriek tomu však poci­ťuje výčitky svedomia, keď ju udrie. Bez váhania siaha po peniazoch, aby ju odškodnil. Silvia pred údermi ani neuhýba. Vie, že čím väčšmi jej ublíži, tým je potom rozcítenejší a tým viac vysolí. Keď si Rácz želá, aby kričala, kričí. Keď chce, aby držala hubu, mlčí.
Kurič žiarli. Nepraje si, aby chodila s inými mužmi. Vari ti Rácz dáva málo peňazí? kričí. Vari ťa Rácz sám ne­obrobí? apeluje na jej ženstvo. Na toto sa ona, Silvia, môže iba zasmiať. Ešte s ním nepocítila rozkoš. Ani ten úplne prvý raz. Je to dačo, čo sa okolo nej ani nemihne. Ale to predsa nie je účel.
Silvia musela prerušiť všetky svoje predchádzajúce sty­ky. Musela sa vzdať i stálych zákazníkov. Rácz striehne celé dni. Silvia má strach, čo povie, keď sa tu zjaví Zdrav­ko G. Ale ten našťastie nechodí. Občas má Silvia pocit, že sa z toho všetkého zblázni. Vždy znova a znova sa utvrdzuje v tom, že z Rácza vytiahne čo najviac peňazí, a keď už bude mať dosť, vykašle sa na neho. Keď už bude mať dosť peňazí alebo keď sa jej kurič definitívne zhnu­sí. Silvia vie, že peniaze od Rácza sú ťažko zarobené. Ešte ich nemá dosť. Rácz platí dobre. Silviin ustálený životný štýl je teraz postavený na hlavu. Z predošlého života jej ostali iba dopoludňajšie skúšky a večerné vystúpenia. Jej podnájom na druhom konci mesta po väčšinu týždňa zíva prázdnotou. Trávi čas s Ráczom, nechá ho na sebe súložiť, počúva jeho reči a zlostné výlevy. Ako pasívna diváčka sa zúčastňuje na jeho obchodoch.
Náhle sa jej všetko zhnusí. Nikam nechodí. Celé dni pre­leží doma a pozerá do plafónu. Alebo sedí pri obloku a po­zoruje deti, hrajúce sa na pieskovisku. Sem-tam ju príde navštíviť Edita a oboznámi ju s novinkami. Bol tu Zdrav­ko G. Pýtal sa na ňu, na Silviu. Keď sa dozvedel, že má náhradné voľno a je odcestovaná, zbalil Vandu-Tiráčku a strávil s ňou celý víkend. Predvčerom bola veľká razia. Zbalili veľa sekáčov. Vraj ich udali cigáni. Berki však tvrdí, že to nie je pravda. Silvia počúva jedným uchom dnu, dru­hým von. Keď Edita začne byť dotieravá, vstane a zamkne dvere, aby dnu nevbehla domáca. Pokorne sa dá vyzliecť a položiť na posteľ. So zatvorenými očami sa poddáva priateľkinmu láskaniu. Po chvíli sama ožije. Zmení polohu a opätuje Editine nežnosti. Obe sú hotové naraz, netrvá to dlho.
Inokedy Silvia leží a dumá, ako by unikla Ráczovi. Vie, že kurič sem po ňu nikdy nepríde. Nebojí sa teda, že by sem jedného dňa vtrhol, schmatol ju za ruku a odvliekol k sebe, do hotela Ambassador. Silvia sa bojí seba samej. Vie, že nikdy neodolá peniazom. Sú pre ňu tou najväč­šou hodnotou; ešte nikdy ju nesklamali. Tak to je a tak to bolo vždy, odkedy sa Silvia ako školáčka za päťkorunáč­ku dávala ohmatávať staršími chlapcami, aby si prilepši­la k skromnému vreckovému od rodičov. Ohmatávať ešte veľmi čo nebolo, ale chlapcov vzrušovalo už len pomysle­nie, že vôbec môžu ohmatávať. A dnes to teda dotiahla až sem. Labutie jazero sa nekoná. Rácz naozaj nemusí po ňu chodiť. Rácz si pokojne a bez mihnutia oka počká, kým ona príde sama. Rácz počká s úsmevom.

Jednej noci sa Rácz zobudí na lavici. Počuje tichý šramot. Chvíľu leží a načúva, potom vstane, schytí kutáč a ide za hlukom. Odkedy v kumbále drží veľa peňazí a tovaru, dáva si pozor. Aj mreže dal všade vyhotoviľ; Ďula zohnal zvárača. Keď vojde do tmavej chodby, vyrútia sa proti nemu dvaja neznámi, telnatí chlapi. Zápas je krátky. Dýchaviční votrelci nemajú šancu proti pohyblivému, hranatému kuričovi, kto­rý sa bije zatrpknuto a nemilosrdne; bráni svoje. Päsťami oboch tučniakov zrazí na zem. Ležia vystretí, so zatvorenými očami. Tuho ich poviaže telefónnym drôtom a s najväčšou námahou odtiahne do kotolne. Až tam sa im lepšie prizrie. Ich tváre sú mu známe, sú to dvaja cigáni z pasáže. Štipľa­vými fackami ich preberie k životu. Prestanú robiť mŕtvych a neisto poškuľujú po Ráczovi. Kurič začne s výsluchom. Vyhráža sa dobiela rozžeraveným kutáčom. Čo tu hľadali?
Jeden z cigánov si oblizne pery. Oni, dobrí cigáni, išli z baru Ambassador a pomýlili si cestu. Zablúdili.
Áno, akosi nepotrafili, pridá sa druhý cigán. Kde to vlastne sú?
Rácz vytiahne kutáč z kotla a ledabolo prejde prvému cigánovi po koženej bunde. Koža zaškvrčí, zadymí.
Jáj, čo robíš? zvolá cigán. V kotolni cítiť spáleninu.
Tú bundu to nepáli, povie Rácz, ale teba to bude bolieť.
Áno, oni, cigáni, prišli kradnúť, pripustí Berki. Dopo­čuli sa, že kurič skrýva veľa peňazí, zlata, šperkov a iných pekných a užitočných vecí. On, Berki, si vonkoncom ne­vie vysvetliť, čo im to napadlo. Teraz však, keď sa čestne priznali, mal by ich kurič prepustiť.
Kto im to povedal, že u neho, u Rácza, je ukryté zlato a valuty? Rácz sa rozzúri.
Na to, prosím pekne, oni, cigáni, nevedia odpovedať. Nikto im to nepovedal. Všeobecne sa to hovorí. Všetci Rácza uznávajú. Všetci ho považujú za bohatého a moc­ného pána. Všetci mu žičia. Berki si nevie vysvetliť, ako je možné, že oni, cigáni, sa mohli rozhodnúť pre dačo také.
Ozve sa Šípoš; na svoju obranu môže povedať iba toľko, že má svinský charakter.
Obaja cigáni sa začnú zaprisahávať, že v živote už ne­budú kradnúť. Ba i s kšeftovaním chcú prestať. Obaja si vraj hneď, ako ich pustí, nájdu robotu a začnú statočne žiť. Berki by šiel aj študovať popri zamestnaní.
Pod hrozbou kutáča stíchnu. Rácz sa sadisticky vyžíva v ich strachu. Je citlivý na svoj majetok. Na imanie, ktoré si doteraz nahonobil svojím umom a týmito dvoma ruka­mi. Vie, ako by mohol svoju činnosť rozšíriť a majetok zmnožiť. V kotolni je mu už tesno. Musí vystúpiť na po­vrch zemský, vniknúť do kruhov okolo hotela Ambassador. Kúrenie je mu už na ťarchu. On, Rácz, potrebuje kohosi, kto by ho v kotolni zastúpil. Podobrotky alebo pozlotky.
Obaja cigáni horlivo prikyvujú. Múdro hovorí. Keď sa však dozvedia, že to budú oni, koho si Rácz vybral na zastupovanie, preľaknú sa. Šípoš má choré pľúca a obličky. Nesmie dvíhať ťažké. Berki je zasa na hlavu a na chrbticu. Občas dostáva záchvaty. Najmä keď niečo robí.
Rácz zrúkne. Zodvihne kutáč. Cigáni zmĺknu. Súhla­sia. Nech ich veľkomožný pán prepustí. Pôjdu sa rozlúčiť so ženami a deťmi, zbalia sa a o chvíľu sú späť. Rácz sa vý­hražne nafúkne. Vari si cigáni myslia, že on, Rácz, je dá­ky hlupák? Mohol by čakať! Nie! Žiadne dojemné scény, lúčenie a tak! Hneď teraz tu ostanú, na fľaku. Dostanú krátke školenie a môžu robiť. Keď niečo pokazia alebo zanedbajú, on, Rácz, ich po jednom umučí žeravým že­lezom. Také muky si na nich vymyslí, aké ešte nikto ne­vymyslel. S ním nech sa nezahrávajú, lebo budú umierať dlhé dni! Ich zavýjanie a bolestivé stony bude počuť až do hotela!
Cigám sa boja bolesti. Už mlčia.
Rácz vie, že nik z ich súkmeňovcov ich nebude hľadať. Nikomu nebudú chýbať. Všetci si budú myslieť, že Ber­kiho a Šípoša schytila šajba a na pár týždňov sa vzdialili kamsi na východ, do cigánskej osady k príbuzným, slopať drevený lieh a vysedúvať v klobúku za stolom uprostred živého ruchu táboriska. Cigáni to tiež vedia. Súkmeňovci im odtiaľto nepomôžu; nenapadne im, že oni, Berki a Ší­poš, sú uväznení necelých sto metrov od pasáže.
Rácz im prisľúbi malé vreckové - keď budú poslúchať. Rozviaže ich. Cigáni stoja a trú si zápästia. Boja sa vý­bušného kuriča, prebil by ich hravo. Sú nemotorní a ťar­baví. Nemali toľko jesť. Rácz nestráca čas. Hneď začne s ostrým výcvikom svojich otrokov. S ventilmi neslobod­no hýbať. Len prikladať budú. Tlak pary nesmie prekročiť pätnásť atmosfér. To je potiaľto, aha. On, Rácz, ich bude chodiť každý deň kontrolovať. Jedlo im prinesie vždy ráno. Musí im vydržať až do druhého dňa. Ale nech sa cigáni neboja, jedla bude dosť, a chutného. Záchod je na konci chodby. Možno trocha schudnú, ale to im len prospeje. Nedr sa nepokúšajú ujsť. Všade sú dôkladné mreže. Ko­mín je úzky.
Rácz im ukáže, ako sa prikladá aj ako sa vyberá popol. Je hrdý na svoju vynachádzavosť. On, Rácz, je múdry! Takto sa zariadiť! Až teraz, keď bude voľný a nebude mať stále na krku smradľavú kotolňu, až teraz to rozbehne! Ovládne ho rozmarná nálada. Prísno skríkne na cigá­nov a vzápätí sa na nich dobrácky usmeje. Zahrozí päsťou a hneď nato ich ponúkne pálenkou. Škótskou. Vo fľaši je už iba zvyšok, cigáni si ho môžu ponechať. Dá im najavo: keď ho budú poslúchať, bude k nim on, Rácz, férový. Keď ho naserú, nikdy sa odtiaľto nedostanú.
Vonku pomaly svitá. Rácza prešli driemoty. Vytiahne kufor a pomaly doň ukladá veci každodennej potreby. Ci­gáni nespokojne, bojazlivo mrmlú. Lopaty sú im priťažké. Kolieska fúrika zasa neznesiteľne škrípu.

Hneď ráno sa Rácz presťahuje do hotela. Recepčný mu pridelí apartmán s výhľadom na rieku. Ráczovi sa tam páči. Posteľ je mäkká, vonia čistotou. Rácz si na ňu ľah­ne, no nohy v bagančiach spustí na koberec. Po chvíľke oddychu zo seba zhodí zauhlené montérky. Osprchuje sa. Potom sa oblečie do nových šiat, čo si bol priniesol zdo­la. Sú to voľné, krikľavé oranžovo-zelené módne tepláky s bundou. Na chrbte sa skvie nápis AMERICAN FOOT­BALL. Látka je lesklá, príjemná na omak. Kožené šnu­rovacie adidasky, siahajúce takmer do polovice lýtok, uhrančivo voňajú novotou. Sú mu o dve čísla väčšie, no Talian, čo mu ich dal ako poplatok za teplo, povedal, že tak sa to nosí. Tak je to v móde. Rácz vstane a podíde k zrkadlu. Vlasy na guľatej hlave mu už trocha podrást­li. Veľké uši pôsobia rušivo. Oboma rukami si ich pritisne k hlave. Na chvíľu sa započúva do šumu vlastnej krvi. Ešte pred polrokom sa vozil na traktore po rodnom chotá­ri, napadne mu. Teraz by jeho, Rácza, mal vidieť starý Kišš. Na chvíľočku pocíti až nenávisť k mäsiarovi, jeho dcére a vôbec.
Na dvere ktosi zaklope. Čašník. Pritisne podnos na ko­lieskach. V orosenom striebornom vedierku leží v ľade fľaša Moët et Chandonu. Pozornosť prevádzkara, povie čašník a čaká. Rácz si domyslí, že asi čaká na prepitné. Rácz sa ešte nevybalil, povie mu. Ešte nemá nič. Nabudúce. Zmizni... Čašník úctivo vyspätkuje. Tvári sa sklamane.
 


KiadóRivers of Babylon

The Rivers of Babylon (Angol)

Rácz needs money, too, a lot of money. Every evening he counts it. It is a loving ritual. He looks forward to it all day long. Sometimes he counts it twice just for the joy of it. The wedding with Eržika is now just a misty, uncertain goal in the distant future; he doesn't think about it. He saves for her out of habit. His mind is now occupied by only one woman; Silvia. He's completely obsessed by her. He's jealous of her, he hates her. He knows that she's a whore and this torments him. Every time she comes to him he wants to sniff out traces of other men. Sometimes he can't hold back and he slaps her. Sometimes twice. Silvia is not in debt to him. She is angry, snappy. She asks for even more. On the other hand it gets on her nerves that with Rácz one can only talk about his extortions and money. He has no interests. He doesn't go out into town. He only feels good in the boiler-room and hotel wearing his fitter's overalls and boots. In his surroundings which he knows very well nothing can surprise him. From such dust there must be suffering Silvia always says. He wasn't always so wild and rough. From a recently modest and strait-laced lad a wild autocrat has emerged. A self-satisfied, desperate smile plays across his face. Everyone bows down to him. He likes that. In the past he used to talk about himself in the third person plural. Rácz's don't wish it, Rácz's never lend, Rácz's this, Rácz's that. Her, Silvia, he always takes without a trace of feeling, without tenderness... Actually that's the last thing that would worry her, Silvia. She's used to even odder treatment. Rácz indeed does it without esprit, without the slightest charm. He takes her as if he were at home in the village saddling a mare. Occasionally he bites her. Here and there he rubs against it with a fist. When he's come he rolls over and smokes. Other than the boiler man no-one gets on her nerves. So let him pay up then!
Rácz can't give her up. Eržika has stepped into the background. He can't even remember how she looks. She's become colourless, a pale photograph with a name, but without a face. She exists for him only in a long gone past and uncertain future. Rácz knows that Silvia doesn't like him. It irks him. He takes it out on her. He stings her in anger. Yet she's his, Rácz's, wealth, property. Like a packet of American cigarettes on a shabby, unkempt table. He knows very well that Silvia puts up with his perpetual humiliation only for his, Rácz's, money. Despite this he feels pangs of conscience when he hits her. Without hesitation he grabs money to compensate her. Silvia doesn't even turn aside from the blows. She knows that the more he hurts her, the more sentimental he becomes and the more he'll pay. When Rácz wishes her to scream she screams. When he wants her mouth shut she is silent.
The boiler man is jealous. He doesn't want her going with other men. Perhaps Rácz gives you too little money? he shouts. Perhaps Rácz doesn't make you come? He appeals to her sex. Silvia can only laugh at this. She has yet to feel any pleasure with him; not even the very first time. It's something of which he hasn't even an inkling. It's not the point.
Silvia has had to break off all her recent contacts. She's had to give up her regulars. Rácz watches all day long. Silvia is afraid of what he'll say when Zdravko G. Appears. Luckily he doesn't come. Silvia occasionally gets the feeling that she'll go crazy from all this. Over and over she convinces herself that she'll inveigle as much money as she can from Rácz and then she'll dump him. When she's got enough money or when the boiler man is utterly loathsome he'll leave. Silvia knows that the money from Rácz is hard won. She still hasn't got enough. Rácz pays well. Silvia's regular lifestyle is now upside down. From her previous life just morning examinations and evening appearances. Her lodgings at the other end of town yawn with emptiness often during the week. She spends time with Rácz, she lets him co-habit with her, she listens to his words and angry outpourings. As a passive spectator she takes part in his business.
All at once everything is repulsive to her. She doesn't go anywhere. Then for whole days she lies down and looks at the ceiling. Or she sits at the window and watches children playing in the sandpit. From time to time Edita visits her and gives her the news. Zdravko G. has been around. He asked about her, about Silvia. When he found that she'd got time and had gone away he rolled up Vanda - the Truck and spent a whole weekend with her. The day before yesterday there was a big raid. They took away a lot of hard men. It's said that the gypsies tipped them off. But Berki says that isn't true. Silvia lets it go in one ear and out the other. When Edita starts to come on to her she gets up and locks the door so as not to allow the landlady to come in. Humbly she lets her undress her and put her to bed. With her eyes closed she gives herself up to her friend's caresses. After a while she comes alive. She changes position and returns Edita's tenderness. They both come at once. It doesn't take long.
Other times Silvia lies down and thinks how she can escape from Rácz. She knows that the boiler man will never come for her here. So she's not afraid that one day he might break in, grab her arm and drag her away with him to the Ambassador Hotel. Silvia is afraid of herself. She knows she can't resist money. It's the highest value for her, it has never let her down. So it is and always has been from the time Silvia let herself be touched by elderly men to augment her pocket money. She has got to have some right now. Swan Lake is never going to happen. Rácz doesn't have to come for her. Rácz waits peacefully without blinking. She'll come by herself. Rácz waits with a smile.

One night Rácz wakes up on a bench in the kitchen. He hears a quiet rustle. He listens for a while and then stands up, grabs a poker and follows the noise. As he keeps a lot of money and goods stashed in his den he is careful. He's also got lattices stored everywhere; Ďula has got the welder. When he enters the dark passage two strangers, big guys, pounce on him. The struggle is short. The gasping intruders don't have a chance against the mobile, wiry boiler man who fights savagely and mercilessly, protecting his own. He knocks down both fatties with his fists. They lie stricken on the ground with their eyes shut. He binds them tightly with telephone cable and with an effort drags them into the boiler room. Only there does he look more closely at them. Their faces are familiar to him, they are two gypsies from the alley. He brings them round with hard slaps. They stop playing dead and gaze uncertainly at Rácz. The boiler man begins his examination. He threatens them with a white-hot poker. What were they doing here? One of the gypsies licks his lips. They, good gypsies, had come out of the bar of the Ambassador Hotel and taken a wrong turning. They were lost. Yes, somehow they hadn't found a way out the second gypsy added. Where in fact were they? Rácz pulls the poker out from the stove and carelessly puts it on the waistcoat of the first gypsy. The skin sizzles, smokes. Yeah, what are you doing? screams the gypsy. There is a smell of burning in the boiler room. The waistcoat can't feel it says Rácz, but it will hurt you.
Yes, they, the gypsies did come to steal, Berki admits. They'd heard that the boiler man had a lot of money, gold, jewellery and other lovely and useful things hidden away. He, Berki, can't explain at all how they got it into their heads. But now that they've confessed he should let them go.
Who had told them that at his place, at Rácz's, there is gold and hard currency hidden? Rácz gets angry. That, pleadingly, they, the gypsies, don't know how to answer. Nobody had told them. It was generally known. All acknowledge this of Rácz. Everybody considers him to be a wealthy and powerful gentleman. Possible they, the gypsies, could make up their minds to do something like this. Sipos chimes in, only for his safety, that he's got the character of a swine. Both gypsies start to assert that never ever again will they steal in this life. They also want to stop their extortions. When he releases them they'll both find a job straight away and in a short while be living honestly. Berki will study and work at the same time.
Under the menace of the poker they fall silent. Rácz takes great sadistic pleasure in their fear. He is very sensitive about his possessions, about his estate which has accumulated with his brain and with his two hands. He knows to spread and increase his property through his actions. In the boiler room it's too small for him. He has to rise up to the surface of the earth to emerge into the circle around the Hotel Ambassador. Heating now irritates him. He, Rácz, needs somebody to take his place in the boiler room. Competently or incompetently.
Both gypsies nod eagerly. He speaks cleverly. But they when they find that it is they he has chosen to replace him they get scared. Sipos has got bad lungs and kidneys. He can't lift heavy things. Berki has got problems with his back and his head. He gets attacks occasionally. Mainly when he is doing something.
Rácz yells. He raises the poker. The gypsies fall silent. They agree. Let the honourable gentleman put them in his place. They'll go and take leave of their wives and children, get ready and be back in a moment. Rácz huffs and puffs threateningly. Do these gypsies somehow think that he, Rácz, is a fool? Hs he going to wait? No! No sentimental scenes, farewells and such like. They are to stay here at once. They'll get a short session of instructions and they can work. If they spoil anything or loiter on the job he, Rácz, will torture them one after the other with red hot iron. He'll discover such pain that no-one ever discovered before. They shouldn't play around with him because they will pay over many days! Their howls and groans will be heard all the way up to the hotel!
The gypsies are afraid of pain. They fall silent.
Rácz knows that no-one from their gang will look for them. No-one will miss them. They'll think that Berki and Sipos have got it into their heads to go to the East to a gypsy camp for a few weeks, drink wood alcohol and sit with their hats on at a table in the uproar of the camp site. The gypsies know this, too. The gang won't rescue them, they won't find that they, Berki and Sipos are confined not a hundred metres from the alley.
Rácz promises them a little pocket money if they obey. He unties them. The gypsies stand up and rub their wrists. They are afraid of the explosive boiler man who managed to overcome them so easily. They are clumsy and sluggish. They shouldn't eat so much. Rácz doesn't waste time. Immediately he begins to train his slaves. They shouldn't turn the valves. They will only stoke. The steam pressure shouldn't be over fifteen atmospheres. That's up to here, look. He, Rácz, will come every day to check on them. He'll bring food for them every morning which will have to last until the next day. But the gypsies shouldn't be afraid. There'll be enough food and tasty with it. The toilet is at the end of the corridor. Perhaps they'll lose a little bit of weight, but that'll only improve them. So that they won't run off there are strong bars everywhere and the chimney is narrow.
Rácz shows them how to stoke and how to rake out the ash. He is proud of his resourcefulness. He, Rácz, is clever! To arrange things like this! From now he'll be free and he won't have that stinking boiler room round his neck. Now he can start moving! He is seized by a whimsical mood. He shouts sternly at them and at the same time smiles kindly on them. He threatens them with his fist and then offers them a drink. Scotch. There's just bit in the bottle, but they can have it. He shows them that if they obey him he, Rácz, can be fair. If they piss him off they'll never get out.Out there it is dawn. Rácz stops feeling sleepy. He pulls out his suitcase and slowly packs it with things of everyday use. The gypsies grumble uneasily. The shovels are heavy, the wheels of the wheelbarrow creak unbearably.

In the morning Rácz moves into the hotel straight away. The receptionist gives him an apartment with a view of the river. Rácz likes it there. The bed is soft and smells clean. Rácz lies on it with his legs and boots dangling down to the rug. After a short rest he throws off his grimy overalls. He takes a shower. Afterwards he puts on fresh clothes, he has brought from downstairs. It's a fashionably, loose, striking orange and green shell suit. On the back the title AMERICAN FOOTBALL gleams. The material is shiny and pleasant to touch. His leather lace-up Adidas sports shoes halfway up his ankles smell new. They are two sizes too big, but the Italian who gave them to him in payment for heat said that they were wearing them like this these days. Ht's fashionable. Rácz stands up and goes to the mirror. The hair oh his round head has grown a little. His big ears are upsetting. He presses them against his head with both hands. He listens to the fizz of his own blood for a moment. Only half a year ago he was carried by tractor in his village, he recalls. Old Kiss, should see him, Rácz, at this very moment. For a moment Rácz feels even hatred towards the old butcher, his daughter and all and sundry.
Someone knocks at the door. A waiter. He pushes in a trolley on wheels. In the little, silver, bedewed bucket is a bottle, Moet and Chandon. Rácz hasn't unpacked yet, he says. He doesn't have anything. Nexttime. Scram... The waiter steps back regretfully. He feigns disappointment.
 


Az idézet forrása100 Years of Slovak Literature, Vilenica

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