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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dear employment officer, wealthy heiress or man-with-cash

I am seeking employment in all fields. My skills are varied in discipline and quality, i.e. I am better with people than pneumatic drills, but I invite and encourage suggestions from far and wide: masonry, diplomacy, fashion. There is nothing I would not do – unabashed, I confess to my cramped circumstances – nothing, except:

One. people trafficking, any and all.

Two. pimping, any and all, (however, note: I was offered an attractive position in such capacity just last week in Stuttgart. Conclusion: I am an asset in all worlds, under- nether- etc.)

Three. I will not sell my body – hold that, in a limited sense perhaps, yes, I would escort heiresses, doyennes, elderly estate-holders and suchlike, all expenses paid, plus pocket money. I know nice restaurants and dainty eateries downtown Rotterdam (note: finger food is a winner, an icebreaker for all types). My conversation is outstanding: give me a topic and I will discuss, freewheel, extemporize or just listen with bated breath. Plus, I am not averse to elderly ladies – conversationally! I insist – I was raised by my grandmother outside Dudrovnik for three years; the place was crawling with old people. I know old ladies like the back of my hand, I know their foibles, their appetites, their sweet tooth – teeth, some have several, prosthetic or real that cannot, must not be ignored. Note: I have neither car nor license, so restrict searches to: able-bodied-elderly-female. Thank you.

There’s more. Tap my entrepreneurial core and you will get the unexpected. Did I mention I was asked to partake in a commercial venture to import Davidoff Slims over the Danube into Western Europe – contraband! you will argue but that’s not the point: The point is I was singled out on the force of my commercial skills and unalloyed loyalty, both so manifest they were evident after only a five minute conversation! Five minutes! I’m sorry to toot my own horn, but such is the nature of application letters. My contact for the Slims deal is currently in St-Louis, Senegal, selling canned goods. If you are interested I can put you in touch with him... for a commission of course.

In short, and to conclude: I am a highly employable individual, a linguist, diplomatic in temperament and unassuming in posture. I have brown eyes and my hair is usually short, it’s just that these days...anyway, what else?

Best call me. I am mostly available, but better after 10.

Kind regards,

Lui Labas

ps- we can also speak face to face; I usually have a coffee around eleven at the Turkish place across the street. Don’t mind the big guys at the door, they’re Kurdish, but they’re harmless.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

four by four by four

I took off to Stuttgart the other day. Just like that? – yeah, just like that; I had to go see someone. I spent two hours on the side of the road with a cardboard sign in my hands. S-T-U-T-T-G-A-R-T, it said in calligraphy – I have a pen-set from way back and plenty of time to kill – I even did some medieval shit on the first letter, some coils and frills and whatnot which I figured would attract the more enlightened drivers. But waving it around, it occurred to me that this much skill could attract the wrong kind of dude. It was getting on ten o’clock and suddenly I had this frightful image of a moustache-lipped Bavarian with leather gloves, leather cap, leather... I started heading back, but a car stopped – a Fiesta – and I got in.

(What the fu— Labas! You just got back, man.)

(Yeah, so?)

(Don’t you have stuff to do?)

(I have stuff to do, yeah... in Stuttgart.)

(Ha ha ha, very funny, ha ha ha. What do you have to do in Belgium you can’t do here?)

(It’s in Germany Brendan. Stuttgart’s in Germany.)

I love Bren – God bless him.

The Fiesta was tiny and dark. A large primate was at the wheel. Big, tattooed, bald, Aryan stock – think sauerkraut and Autobahn – I didn’t say Nazi, I said Aryan – that’s still a legitimate word last I checked anyway, not to worry, I don’t think this guy’s history or sense of himself goes back much further than the 2006 Fussball Weltmeisterschaft and the trauma of Germany’s defeat on home ground. Everything before that is unknowable or beer-soaked beyond recognition.

My name is Lui – Lui Labas.

I’m Jürg!

I know, I said.

That was stupid. The tiny car suddenly swerved way out as Jürg’s heavy Aryan head swung towards me. Woher wissen sie das?! How do you know?!

It says on your arm, Jürg. Take it easy, It’s written on your arm.

Ah, Ach zo, Ja. Das ist correct. Ja, ja. And the Fiesta settled back into its lane.

All the rest of his tattoos were basically doodles, scattered and incoherent, but his name – JURG – was written in clean, Gothic letters – you guessed it, calligraphy. And like my S, his J was a clutter of coils, frills and illumination, a beautiful piece of work, unexpected on such an undignified arm.

Eventually we got to talking,

...I wurk in nightlife, ja.

At the bar or something?

Nein. Nightlife-security, ja. Und also ze administration, ja, ze treasury.

The what?

Ze treasury.

Jürg has a lot of flaccid muscle he probably doesn’t use much but which I’m sure is integral to his services for “ze treasury”. I didn’t know what he was talking about and I didn’t want to ask. He said nightlife another twenty times before he finally mentioned the word girls: Ze treasury, is depending on how many girls are on ze floor, ja. Jürg shifted into fifth gear. What girls, Jürg, what floor? Then Jürg showed me his teeth and lifted his big hand – like some German, multi-grained loaf off the top shelf – to remind me once more – stupid Croat that I am – that he works in NIGHTLIFE. Yes, yes, yes, I got it Jürg, but something doesn’t square, man. We’re sitting in a Ford Fiesta, a diesel; we’re barely breaking 110 kph, we’re sputtering forth. What kind of joint do you run? Donations from your clientele to The Treasury must be very ungenerous. Where’s the Merc 600SL? In my hometown Zagreb, among contraband runners and pimps, you would be a disgrace,
Jürg, a laughing stock. What treasury is this!? But I kept quiet, and finally he changed the subject

Und you, why you going to Stuttgart, ja?

For work.

Ach zo. Wat wurk?

um... mostly manual.

Mechanisch, ja?

Yes, mechanical , yes,

ja, ja, sehr gut.

What the hell. I’m a liar.

I was stumped. I've lost the concept of work. My work these days is purely internal: a beating heart, the limbs on my body that, by necessity, I move from A to B; my work is the flurry of ideas that batter my brain; channeling them and filing them is work; my work... um... my work was getting to Stuttgart... and maybe Jürg was about to offer me a job at ze treasury or – fuck-a-duck – running the floor! Imagine that. I thought of his multigrain-hand giving directions, the eruption of tattoos across his arms, I thought of calling him boss from behind the bar, but then my mind slipped and for the next ten seconds all I could think of was my new cube of space in Rotterdam, my new home – four by four by four – now rid of rats, spacious and grand, and right then – caught in Jürg’s Fiesta – I felt like an emperor and the think-space in my mind filled the cube to perfection, fully, every patch of space – four by four by four – in length, in width, in height, and finally, in the last seconds, in an other dimension too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

rats

...these fuckers, they weigh a few pounds – did you know – they’re too heavy to truly scuttle like their smaller cousins; even fear-drenched, they still have this ugly swagger when they trespass across your living room, leaving shits as they go. In India they have rat-mercenaries, barefoot street-folk with makeshift lances who bring evil unto the Kingdom of Rats. I would invite such a man into my home – my new home – I would pay him generously, not per kilo of tail, like his employers in Mumbai, but for the whole Goddam operation. Contract and all: Please sign here sir. And would you like a new stick for that lance. The Chinese have the Year of the Rat, the most fortuitous on their calendar – wtf! – vermin that bring famine, disarray and stink. It must be the symbolism. Tell me.

To begin, it is a fact that there is nothing more gruesome than a rat’s tail. It is a juicy, inorganic looking thing, like a piece of cable, and I would go so far as to theorize – listen up evolutionary biologists – that they’re actually fake! Those things are plug-ins, enlargements of some kind rats got on the cheap a few eons back when it was fashionable. They’re fake. I dare you to check!

I don’t hate rats, I just find them completely lacking in anything dignified! Even a dung-beetle has that fancy gloss on his back he can be proud of, but a rat.... I am a lowly thing, he says – just check his body language – I have nothing going for me. I would trade with a pigeon, or even one of those screechy baboons with a snout and a scorched back-end. I would trade today!

Alas, Rat, such is life! Without that tail you could have masqueraded as a guinea pig, but you blew it! You had to get pimped-up, and look where you are now, forever the prey of barefoot mercenaries with lances and nothing to lose. I pity you Rat.

Now, existentially – this is a point in their favor... maybe – existentially they do better than many of us (why do I feel blah blah when I do blah with blah). Rats have come to terms with themselves. Simply: I eat therefore I am. Cardboard, teabags, socks, dirt, poop, and even – when the going gets tough – a fellow rat. In the end, only their tails remain because these are synthetic and indigestible.

Jesus, Labas, what are you on about? You're getting obsessive. No one wants to read about this crap. No one gives a rat’s ass!

Well they would if they nearly shared a flat with three of them, X Y and Z; all more than a pound in weight; distinguishable only by the intensity of their fright and the size of their rodent-turds. But I ask you: Where did they come from and how did they enter my home? It’s a mystery. My space is darker than most, but I do not live underground, and every nook and cranny is exposed. I suspect otherworldliness and Faustian arrangements. Is this the Year of Rat? Are these creatures back in favor, strutting the streets, eyeing new prosthetics? I shudder...

Enough. Anyway, who I am to judge! Maybe, if it came down to it, a rat would trade with all of God’s creatures EXCEPT Man: gangly, two-legged, hairless like the back-end of those baboons. Man: Noisy, forever stomping around, disrupting the peace, planting poison right and left, killing, maiming, usurping, duping, excavating grounds unannounced, dislocating families. Man!

Would a rat do such a thing?