Half the street was hookers; the other half: Bulgarians fondling their belt buckles, fatso German truckers on the prowl and dwarfish men from the Belgian countryside. It was a shithole, the greatest darned shithole you will find. You will find such a place! Every major city has one.
There was crap in the gutter, wafts of urine all about and pigeons pecking squashed fries off the cobbles. The smell was human, but barely. I tell you, I was not here by choice. I took no pleasure watching spindly girls from Belaruse struggle on lacquered heels. I took no pleasure.
Rage is what I felt. I thought to grab some piece of piping off the ground and club these trolls, a hundred strokes each, then calmly straighten my cuffs and jacket like a made man… take that, you bonbon eating piece of... (to the Belgian dwarf ). And then with the same piece of piping, shatter the red-lit cages of glass, all of them, and release their thin-armed inmates to freedom.
I thought to myself, they'll run like gazelles through the streets.
But then I thought again. In every doorway a greasy ape fingered a cellphone. In every doorway such a man leered at his clientele – Bulgarian, German, Belgian – calculating in his oily skull the monies each will part with once they have partaken. You screw with these greaseballs and they don't hesitate, they snap your fingers back and smash your teeth with gold rings and Zippo-hardened fists. Make no mistake.
And so I thought again.
This place is a shithole, it is a well of shit, a fount! Nothing on Earth would have made me happier than to see these twenty gazelles leap to freedom on their lacquered heels. Nothing.
But freedom where? Freedom what? There are apes in doorways in every city. Here, in Bucharest, Bombay, even – yes – even Zagreb. No matter where, they are there.
Then the rage in my stomach became a firestorm and my mind turned into a blaze of nun-chukkas breaking every bone in this stinking alley – Man and ape alike – every bone like kindling wood.
A dizzying wheel of strokes!!
TAK TAK TAK!!
[German truckers in a heap; Belgian leches in the gutter; Bulgarians in a bulge before me; and all the greasy apes, all of them, begging, BEGGING for mercy.]
Meanwhile, there I was, pulling my trolley bag forward over the cobbles, minding the pigeons, minding my own business. And at the end of the street – nun-chukkas still in full swing – I thought of Bigman. I thought of him for a while because he calms me down.
Bigman, I thought, I understand why you only come out at night, why you are so careful to reveal yourself, why you smile but do not speak, and why you live so deep, deep underground. I understand.
The wells of shit, they are above ground.