Tape 2

Tape 2

This important scene takes place inside a kitchen. This particular kitchen is inside my mother's apartment in Vuka Karadzica street in Belgrade. I'm still 30 years old when the curtain rises and, like so many "young people" in Belgrade, I live with my parents: my mother and my step- father, to be precise. Kitchen inside their apartment is the nerve center of my social life. As the curtain rises, it is late in the afternoon after an invigorating spring cloudburst that chased Slaven and me from the nearby park. The important props for this scene are a bottle of brandy and two bottles of beer for chasers.

SLAVEN: Comrade Branko, I've been dreaming about this moment for such a long time. And now that I'm living it, I can't believe my eyes and ears. I mean, here I am, in your renowned kitchen. Me, the humble disciple and a nobody in THE kitchen! I'm not deserving of such an honor. But anyway, human beings not being thankful or appreciative at all, I'm going to take advantage of this situation and ask you some important questions. I know that you avoid political issues in your distinguished plays because you think that it makes no sense because... What was that you said before?

ME: Because people never learn before the time is ripe for them to learn, and I find no satisfaction in being able to say: "I told you so."

SLAVEN: Right! That's so poignant and profound, maybe even esoteric. But, let's try to imagine for a moment that you wanted to write about politics, shall we?

ME: No, we shall not!

SLAVEN: May I remind you for just a second who contributed the most for this brandy and who's the one with some money left for some drinks at the distinguished Krsmanac Club? I hope it's not necessary to remind you that there's an abundance of dancers over there?

ME: (after a long and painful sigh) Go on.

SLAVEN: Well, simply put: if you ever wanted to write about politics, what would you write about?

ME: Well, simply put: the most important problem in politics is to find a means of preventing those who have no part in government from becoming the prey of those who govern them.

SLAVEN: (falls down on his knees and tries to kiss my hand) Wow! Thank you master! I see the light! This was a bottle of brandy well spent! There's nothing more to say! This is the ultimate truth! So simple and so...

ME: To be completely honest, I think it was Holbach who wrote it first, but....

SLAVEN: Who cares?! I don't know any Holbacs and even if I did, something tells me he has more expensive taste regarding brandy and beer. So it's you and you only that I feel indebted to...
(He tries to kiss my hand again while still on his knees. In that moment my mother enter the kitchen to dispose of some trays and glasses. She doesn't say a word, but we know what she thinks. Actually, we think we do. But only for one long moment. She goes to Slaven, pats his head and speaks.

MOTHER: He told you about Holbach, hadn't he? (Slaven nods while tears roll down his face and the 25 Watt light-bulb decides it's had enough and dies with a loud pop.

Half an hour later the curtain rises on a smoke filled room. There's a lot of (mostly) young people and a lot of noise, because all of those people are talking at the same time. We can barely hear Slaven's voice in all that mayhem...

SLAVEN: Time! Naturally, while I'm still in my prime, I tend to disagree with comrade Sophocles. I do not see time as a linear category. In my plebeian opinion I suggest that Time move in different directions, dissolves into nothing here and there... Just like all those railway lines in Venice, Italy, that intersect, diverge, and carry in contrary and various directions... Time is not a single train that moves in one direction at a constant speed!

ME: I'll drink to that.

(At this particular moment in time, the door bursts open and a lot of (mostly) young ladies start pouring into the room. They are the so called "folk-dancers" who just finished their practice in the basement and are now remarkably thirsty. Slaven throws himself in their direction offering to buy beer to all those he can get close to in the crowd. As most of the newcomers light their cigarettes as well, the view is obscured by all that smoke and it's hard to say if his efforts are being met with any success.

© Yurope, Last modification November 18, 1995.