"Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions."
We like Machiavelli where I come from – Niccolo Machiavelli – we like him because he’s smart, because he can screw you, bamboozle you, rip you off and smile all the while. He’s an artist in the manner of the great illusionists. With sleight of hand and deflection, Lookee-here, this bird in my hand, he says and then he cleans you out. He can do this because he never actually does it himself. The best scam artists in Serbia (the best are Serbian not Croatian) have someone else do it for them. Once robbed and stripped down to your underpants, Niccolo sidles up (fully clothed of course) my friend, he says, you have been robbed, I will help you. So you follow Nico to his home – what else can you do? – and you live under his roof, under his care. He serves you plum schnapps and lets you watch cable. Soon you forget that you once had your own house, your own land, and clothes on your back. And soon it becomes normal to walk in underpants – everyone should be in underpants! For years you do little else but drink schnapps and watch cable. But one day Nico tells you you must earn your keep. You see that man over there with the jacket and the hat, he says. Here’s a bird, go! Take everything he’s got and bring it back.
Now you are working for Nico, and soon there are more and more people in underpants and fewer and fewer hats and garments. There are hand-birds all over the place, and all you can find is schnapps and cable.
Then one day you start to think to yourself, shits, holy mother of god, I’m in my underpants, my liver is busted, my eyes shot, winter lies in wait, all I have is this hand-bird. How can this be? So you talk to other people in underpants and you find that they think the same.
What the heck! You say to the men in hats, this didn’t pan out, did it? This didn't work.
My friend, things are better, don’t worry. Things are better.
Stop calling me friend. All I see is hand-birds and underpants. What’s better, tell me?
Now Belgrade is astir. More and more people in underpants speak up. Hand-birds are let free into the skies. Thousands are on the streets. Thousands.
Three are home sick.
But that is enough. A few men in hats address the assembled underpants :People! Listen all. You have let your hand-birds free. Now there is an illness in our airs and lungs. Soon Belgrade will be like Genova during the black plague. Listen carefully. Stay inside. Your life depends on it. We will help you!