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Words Without Borders is an inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winner!
from the January 2016 issue

Sunset in August

Suton u kolovozu

They usually went out at sunset, as the sun and reflections were losing their power of revelation, so they walked along the meadow more confidently and breathed in the air saturated with floral scents. That year the sunsets were blood-red; each evening the sun died from its wounds and that death, which repeated itself from one evening to the next, was probably the most beautiful sight they had seen in their colorless lives. The grass lawn stretched for miles, only here and there held down with a haystack like a weight that kept it from flying into the sky under a gust of wind. It was the time when bugs went to sleep, the air became still and negotiable, like roads before night. They walked for a long time and for a great distance, circling on their way each stack seen from the porch, slowly, silently, as if performing some task important for the survival of the household.

I never ventured after them, but I watched them from the porch as they shrank and grew against the bright-red backdrop.

The four of us ate dinner in silence. Jaro would occasionally say something about a neighbor’s calf he had delivered or a stray dog whose wounded paw he had bandaged. They ate as if speech had never crossed their lips, gazing with the same expressionless face into their plates whether they contained broth or a piece of meat. Then they would mumble a thank you and go back down there, and Jaro would lock the door behind them.

In the morning we were more careful about getting up, putting on our clothes, brushing our teeth. Jaro had given them each one old shirt and a pair of trousers. They took them without a word, looking neither at the clothes nor us. From their bowed heads I was sure that they would not know what to steal even if they wanted to. I washed their clothes on weekends together with the rest of the laundry. The summer progressed slowly, and the month of August dragged on like an old dusty truck. It was the longest month of the year, a period of one hundred thousand days. After our house, the road did not lead anywhere and passers by were rare, but I did not put their clothes out to dry in front of the house.

When they knocked at our door one month ago, it was pitch dark. Jaro got up from the bed, drowsy, and, swearing, grabbed an oak bat that was kept behind the door. Under the porch light, he saw two thin and dirty men.

They were travelers and were looking for accommodation for the night. They would leave early in the morning.

How did they get here? The closest town was seven miles from here.

They got lost.

Jaro looked at them askance. They were not carrying anything.

Peering from behind Jaro’s back, I said they could sleep in the cellar on the pallet if that did not offend them. Jaro turned to me, surprised. They just nodded. He silently showed them the way, and when they lay down, he quietly locked the cellar door. For a moment he stood in front of them frozen, then approached me and stared furiously at me with eyes that bulged beneath bushy eyebrows. I took a step back. After a few seconds he turned and went back to bed. We fell asleep each on our own side.

The next day they asked if they could stay another day. The countryside was beautiful, and they would like to get some rest from work. Jaro was silent. They would pay us for the accommodation. Those shaved heads, faces that had felt hard wind, and worn out, clumsily matched clothes refuted everything they said. Another day became two days, and two days became a week.

 

When Jaro and I got married sixteen years ago, we were practically kids, newly-graduated veterinarians who wanted to save all the animals in the world with the help of endless energy and will. Whatever idea came to our minds back then, it seemed perfectly authentic and justified. So when the idea of visiting India occurred, we went for it. We had heard and read about the miserable conditions of the country, about its illnesses, famine, high unemployment rate, and the shortage of housing. We had also heard about its tea gardens, green, rising over hills, about coral atolls by the southwest coast, about the Indo-Gangetic Plain where rice and wheat spread out to infinity, about great rains carried by monsoons and native monkeys and frogs. We planned to take some money we had earned as interns, hop into Jaro’s twenty-year-old Dyane and take off across Budapest, Bucharest, Veliko Tarnovo, and Ankara to Isfahan in Iran and Hyderabad in Pakistan, and then to Bombay. We expected to feel the spirit of life over there, become one with nature and sense our real work. We did not know whether we would find a job or where we would stay, but we hoped that with the abundance of Indian fauna we would not only cure pets, but also investigate the lives of antelopes, Bengal foxes, and gray langurs. We made tons of preparations. We got hold of the maps of Indian states, regions, and cities, and marked them with stationsplaces to sleep, purchase gas, and get fresh water. We got vaccinations against malaria, diphtheria, and typhus. Despite our parents’ objections, we took off one foggy morning toward the border with Hungary. Two days later, the Dyane drew her last breath on some road just past Budapest, amid yellow fields. It was probably her biggest adventure. We came back to Zagreb abashed and lay low for a few months, pretending to look for a job. Then, suddenly, we again affronted our parents with a bold plan: to open a private veterinary clinic. It was 1990, the beginnings of private ownership in Croatia. The city saw an increase in private clinics for treating people, but a veterinary clinic was something unheard of and bold. Through an advertisement we found a place on Selska Street and used the money we had borrowed from our parents to set up a biochemical laboratory, an operation room, an X-ray machine, a sterilizer, and a waiting room with a little shop for selling animal food and medicines. We spread the word and our friends helped. Jaro and I got down to business. We found clients among acquaintances, distributed leaflets, and worked nights. In the beginning we had quite a few patients, there were frogs, terriers, Labradors, Siamese and ordinary cats, Angora rabbits, and a cockatoo. But time was not on our side and animals in Croatia did not get ill so often. Less than a year passed before we had to close down the clinic because we could not afford the rent.

A few more months went by and Jaro got a job in a state-owned veterinary clinic in Zlatar, a small town fifty miles from Zagreb. “You’ll get a job there too. People don’t apply for jobs there because everybody wants to work in Zagreb. Come on, when we earn enough, we’ll open our own clinic again.” Although it was not a dream destination, Zlatar was nice. As if it were touched by something transcendental so as to be constantly fresh.

“We’ll be OK,” Jaro said. “The house is practically new, the furniture is new, and the owner says he’ll sell it to us cheap.” The house was really beautiful, with spacious bedrooms on the second floor and the kitchen on the first. I’ll start my life here, I said to myself. Nature spread all around, the green, white, and yellow colors mingled on the ground and in the trees. The fields went so far that it seemed you could go around the world traveling them and come back at the other side.

I soon acquainted myself with Zlatar shops, hairdressers, the market, and clerks. The groceries were cheaper than in Zagreb and people were kinder. Jaro worked during the day and returned in the evening, spent. I made friends with neighbors at the beginning of the road where we lived. The wife, Jana, started coming over for a cup of coffee, bringing along delicious homemade cheese. There was no excitement, but there was some appeal in the calm that enveloped the days. The stress that had accompanied our early enterprises was gone.

After a while, I realized I would not find a job in my field. I told myself it was not important anymore. The landscape, which changed its colors methodically throughout the year, became interesting enough for the time being.

 

Now I spent mornings watching them come out for breakfast silently and wait to be served fried eggs and bacon. They never looked around or asked questions, the house they slept in did not interest them. Their rough-skinned hands rarely showed upon the table before the food arrived. Their faces were expressionless, without any hint that underneath the coarse features there might be emotions; as if they wanted to forget they were human. Jaro would finish first, move to the corner, and observe them from there. They sat, not looking up. When they were done eating, they would return to the cellar the same way they had appeared -without a word. Jaro would then go to work. The afternoons went by like morning, hour after hour, pressed by nauseating silence. Washing the floor, I would kneel in front of the cellar door and listen attentively. But no sound came from down there.

Then one afternoon Jaro returned from work with a newspaper whose cover blared “Two Lepoglava Jail Fugitives Still on the Loose. Jaro did not even look at me, he just left it on the chest of drawers where it would constantly be in sight. Throughout the day, we both passed by it without a word and each time our gaze stumbled upon the black letters. Finally, I took the paper, folded it, and put it on the shelf above the chest. Jaro took it, spread the front page, and returned it to the top of the chest. I reached for it to put it back on the shelf, but Jaro cut me off.

“I want it seen!”

“I’ve had enough of seeing it. Besides, they’ll be coming for dinner any second.”

“Exactly, let them see,” he shouted.

“See what? Are you mad?!”

“I want them to know!” he yelled.

Soon enough they climbed up the stairs carefully and, without a word, took their places at the table. I put bowls in front of them and poured them bean soup. We all ate in silence. After the third mouthful, the one facing the chest saw the newspaper. For a moment his eyes rested on it, then dropped to his plate and, after a mouthful, went up to our faces. It was a calm, seemingly unperturbed look. Jaro’s large shirt hung on his bony shoulders. Jaro returned the look. He painstakingly chewed every piece of the sausage. The spoons rose and fell evenly. The big hand on the wall clock struggled to go forward. Swallowing the last mouthful, the one in Jaro’s shirt looked at us again and thanked us for a delicious dinner.

Stories about the police combing nearby areas, thickets, and forests began to circulate. They searched the brook banks and knocked on several doors. People said the fugitives could not have gone far because there would have been a report of a stolen car. The town bars became sites of speculating about their hiding place. Many wondered why police dogs had not found them already. Jaro visited the town less and less, he avoided neighbors and left our house only when friends explicitly asked for help with animals.

 When he got a call from Šimun from Donji Breg, whose mare was about to foal, Jaro sullenly sat at the table and scratched at the black cigarette burn on the tablecloth.

“Aren’t you going?” I asked.

“Mind your own business,” he snapped.

“It could die.”

“You think I’m doing something wrong?” he looked at me spitefully.

I left the room and sat down on the porch. The porch was the boundary of my world. Although nature and its vigor amazed me, I had stopped going to the forest for walks. I had nothing to see around the house anymore. The sun was probing the earth; on the crimson background, in the distance, I saw two silhouettes slowly walking through the grass, as if checking that the flowers were properly tucked into the grass on that vast space populated with mice and grasshoppers. The sky was again aflush with the blood of the day. The sun committed a new crime with each sunset.

Another week passed. The police searched the surrounding forests and slowly narrowed the circle. They announced an imminent discovery of the fugitives. Once they almost caught them when Kata from Kardaševec called them in the middle of the night because she heard some shuffling outside her house. Unfortunately, they arrived too late and found only rabbit turds in the kitchen.

That evening the table showcased a roast chicken and loads of potatoes. Jaro was telling us about Šimun’s foal he had brought forth, white with a black spot on its snout. The two of them ate, listening. The story was interrupted by the doorbell. Jaro and I looked at each other and then at them. They just kept eating quietly. Jaro slowly got up and went to the door.

Later stories said that Sergeant Slavek could not believe his own eyes seeing the two of them relaxed, feasting in our home. They said the police stood at the door at least a minute and stared at the scene and that Jaro invited them to join the dinner since it was the biggest chicken from our coop. I will say only that they did not put up any resistance, they let themselves be handcuffed and taken to the police car. As they were walking out, one of them gave me a look that summed up all the meaning of a hopeless life pressed between four walls.

"Suton u kolovozu" © Ivana Rogar. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Ivana Rogar. All rights reserved.

Suton u kolovozu

Obično su izlazili u suton, kad su sunce i odsjaji gubili moć razotkrivanja pa bi sigurnije hodali tratinom i udisali zrak zasićen cvjetnim mirisima. Te godine zalasci su bili krvavo rumeni; svake večeri sunce je umiralo u ranama i ta je smrt koja se ponavljala iz večeri u večer zacijelo bila najljepši prizor koji su vidjeli u svojem bezličnom životu. Travnjak se prostirao kilometrima, a tek je ponegdje na njemu stajao stog sijena kao uteg koji ga drži da ne odleti u nebo pod naletom vjetra. U to doba kukci su išli na počinak i zrak je postajao miran i lako prohodan, kao ceste pred noć. Šetali bi dugo, daleko, obilazeći usput svaki stog koji se vidio s trijema, polako i u tišini, kao da temeljito obavljaju neku zadaću o kojoj ovisi opstanak kućanstva.

Nisam nikad išla do njih, ali s trijema sam netremice gledala kako se umanjuju i povećavaju na jarko crvenoj pozadini.

Večerali smo u tišini. Jaro bi povremeno progovorio o susjedovoj kravi koju je otelio ili nekom psu lutalici kojem je putem previo slomljenu šapu. Oni su jeli kao da im glas nikad nije prešao preko usana, gledajući bezizražajno u tanjur bio ondje komad mesa ili varivo. Potom bi promumljali zahvalu i otišli natrag dolje, a Jaro bi za njima zaključao vrata.

Ujutro smo se opreznije budili, odijevali se, prali zube. Jaro im je svakome bio dao po jednu staru košulju i hlače. Bez riječi su ih uzeli, ne gledajući ni robu ni nas. Prema pognutom držanju njihovih glava bila sam sigurna da i kad bi htjeli nešto ukrasti, ne bi znali što. Njihovu odjeću prala sam vikendom zajedno s ostalim rubljem. Ljeto je sporo napredovalo, kolovoz se vukao kao stari prašnjavi kamion. Bio je to najdulji mjesec u godini, razdoblje od stotinu tisuća dana. Poslije naše kuće, cesta nije vodila nikamo i prolaznici su ovdje bili rijetki, ali njihovu odjeću nisam stavljala sušiti pred kućom.

Kad su pokucali na vrata prije mjesec dana, bila je mrkla noć. Jaro se dignuo iz kreveta i, psujući, bunovan uzeo hrastovu batinu koja je stajala iza vrata. Pod svjetlom s trijema ugledao je dvojicu mršavih i prljavih muškaraca.

Bili su izletnici i samo su htjeli smještaj za jednu noć. Otići će odmah ujutro.

Kako su dospjeli ovamo? Najbliže mjesto je sedam kilometara odavde.

Izgubili su se.

Jaro ih je pogledao ispod oka. Sa sobom nisu imali nikakve stvari.

Provirujući iza Jarinih leđa, rekla sam da mogu spavati u podrumu na slamnjači ako im to nije ispod časti. Jaro se iznenađeno osvrnuo. Oni su samo kimnuli. On im je šutke pokazao smjer, a kad su legli, potiho je zaključao podrumska vrata. Na trenutak je ukočeno stajao pred njima, a tad mi je prišao i zapiljio se u mene bijesnim očima što su se objesile o guste obrve. Uzmaknula sam. Prošlo je par sekunda, a onda se on okrenuo i vratio u krevet. Zaspali smo svaki na svojoj strani.

Sutradan su nas upitali smiju li ostati još jedan dan. Krajolik je divan, a oni bi se htjeli odmoriti od posla. Jaro je šutio. Platit će nam za smještaj. Te ćelave glave, lica koja su osjetila jak vjetar, istrošena, nespretno sparena odjeća proturječili su svemu što su govorili. Jedan dan postao je dva, a dva dana tjedan.

 

Kad smo se Jaro i ja vjenčali prije šesnaest godina, bili smo gotovo djeca, tek diplomirani veterinari koji su namjeravali spasiti sve moguće životinje uz pomoć neiscrpne energije i volje. Koja nam je god ideja tad pala na pamet, izgledala je sasvim autentično i opravdano. Jedno vrijeme namjeravali smo otići u Indiju. Slušali smo i čitali o bijednom stanju te zemlje, o njezinim bolestima, gladi, golemom broju nezaposlenih, nedostatku stambenih mjesta. No čuli smo i o njezinim vrtovima čaja što su se zeleni propinjali preko brežuljaka, o koraljnim atolima uz jugozapadnu obalu, o Indogangeskim ravnima na kojima su se riža i pšenica prostirale u beskraj, o velikim kišama koje su nosili monsuni i endemskim vrstama majmuna i žaba. Namjeravali smo uzeti nešto novca koji smo zaradili provodeći ankete za razne trgovačke tvrtke preko studentskog servisa, sjesti u Jarin dvadesetogodišnji spaček i otići preko Budimpešte, Bukurešta, Velikog Tarnavog i Ankare do Isfahana u Iranu i Hyderabada u Pakistanu, a potom do Bombaja. Ondje smo namjeravali osjetiti duh života, sjediniti se s prirodom, omirisati pravi rad. Nismo znali hoćemo li naći posao ni gdje ćemo uopće živjeti, ali nadali smo se da uz tamošnju nabujalu faunu nećemo samo liječiti kućne ljubimce, nego i istraživati život antilopa, bengalskih lisica, sakatih majmuna. Obavili smo milijun priprema, nabavili zemljovide indijskih saveznih država, regija, gradova, označili smo na njima postaje, mjesta gdje možemo prespavati, nabaviti benzin i pitku vodu. Cijepili smo se protiv malarije, difterije i tifusa. Usprkos roditeljskom protivljenju, krenuli smo jednog maglovitog jutra prema graničnom prijelazu u Mađarsku. Dva dana kasnije spaček je izdahnuo na nekoj cesti poslije Budimpešte između žutih ravnica. Bila je to njegova posljednja avantura. Vratili smo se pokisli u Zagreb i nekoliko se mjeseci pritajili, glumeći da tražimo posao. Onda smo jednog dana roditeljima podastrijeli gotov plan otvaranja privatne veterinarske ambulante. Bila je 1990., počeci privatnog vlasništva u Hrvatskoj. Po gradu su tek stale nicati poliklinike za liječenje ljudi, veterinarska ambulanta bila je nešto neviđeno i drsko. Preko oglasa našli smo prostor u Selskoj i novcem koji su nam posudili roditelji uredili biokemijski laboratorij, salu s kirurškim priborom, rendgenskim uređajem, sterilizatorom, čekaonicu i malu trgovinu prehrambenim proizvodima i lijekovima za životinje. Razglasili smo prijateljima i poznanicima da imamo ambulantu za njihove pse i mačke. Prijatelji rekoše da će proširiti glas. Jaro i ja primili smo se posla, nalazili smo klijente među ljudima koje smo tek upoznali, dijelili smo letke s adresom ambulante i dežurali noćima. Na početku dobivali smo priličan broj pacijenata, našlo se tu žaba, terijera, labradora, običnih i sijamskih mačaka, angora zečeva i jedan kakadu. No vrijeme nam nije bilo naklonjeno, životinje u Hrvatskoj nisu dovoljno pobolijevale. Prošlo je nešto više od pola godine kad smo morali zatvoriti ambulantu jer više nismo imali novca za plaćanje najma.

Prošlo je još nekoliko mjeseci i Jaro je dobio posao u veterinarskoj stanici u Zelini, 30 kilometara od Zagreba. “I ti ćeš tamo naći posao bez problema. Tamo nije takva navala, svi žele raditi u Zagrebu. Hajde, a kad zaradimo dovoljno, otvorit ćemo ponovno vlastitu ambulantu.” Premda nije bila ni približno ono o čemu sam sanjala, Zelina je bila lijepa. Bila je kao da ju je dotaknulo nešto onostrano kako bi vječno bila svježa.

“Bit će nam dobro”, govorio je Jaro. “Kuća je nova, namještaj je nov, gazda kaže da će nam je prodati za sitnu lovu. Mislim da bih nakon koju godinu mogao dignuti kredit.” Kuća je doista bila prekrasna, s prostranim spavaćim sobama na prvom katu i kuhinjom u prizemlju. Ovdje ću početi živjeti, rekla sam sama sebi. Priroda se prostirala na sve strane, zelena, bijela, žuta boja izmjenjivale su se na zemlji i u krošnjama. Pašnjaci su putovali tako daleko da si imao dojam da možeš putovati njima, obići svijet i dospjeti natrag na drugoj strani.

Uskoro sam upoznala zelinske dućane, frizerske salone, tržnicu, prodavače, namirnice su bile jeftinije nego u Zagrebu, ljudi srdačniji. Jaro je danju radio, navečer bi se vraćao često umoran. Sprijateljila sam se sa susjedima iz kuće na početku naše ceste. Jana je počela često dolaziti na kavu. Donosila bi odličan svježi sir koji je sama radila. Nije bilo uzbuđenja, ali bilo je neke draži u mirnoći koja je obavijala dane. Nestalo je stresa koji je pratio naše mladenačke pothvate.

Nakon nekog vremena postalo mi je jasno da neću naći posao u struci. Rekla sam da to više nije važno. Krajolik koji je kroz godinu metodički mijenjao boje postao je dovoljan.

 

Sad sam ujutro gledala kako oni šutljivo izlaze na doručak i nijemo čekaju da im poslužim pržena jaja sa slaninom. Nisu se ogledavali niti bilo što zapitkivali, kuća u kojoj su spavali nije ih zanimala. Hrapave ruke rijetko su se pojavljivale na stolu prije nego što bi dobile hranu. Lica su im bila bezizražajna; nisu odavala čak ni da ispod grubih crta možda postoji osjećajnost, kao da su htjeli zaboraviti na to da su ljudi. Jaro bi pojeo prvi, maknuo se u kut kuhinje i odande ih promatrao. Oni su sjedili, ne dižući pogled. Kad bi pojeli, isto tako bez riječi vratili bi se u podrum. Jaro bi tad krenuo u veterinarsku postaju. Poslijepodneva su prolazila isto kao jutra, sat po sat, zdrobljena mučnom šutnjom. Dok sam prala pod, pred podrumskim vratima klečeći sam osluškivala znakove života, ali odozdo nije dopirao nikakav zvuk.

Onda se Jaro jednog poslijepodneva vratio s posla s lokalnim novinama na čijoj se duplerici masnim slovima isticao naslov: “Dvojac iz Remetinca još na slobodi”. Jaro me nije ni pogledao, samo ih je ostavio na komodi gdje smo ih mogli vidjeti. Do večeri oboje smo bez riječi prolazili pokraj njih i svaki puta pogled bi nam zapeo o crna slova. Naposljetku sam uzela novine i složila ih na policu iznad komode. Jaro ih je uzeo s police i raširio natrag na komodu. Primila sam ih i htjela ponovno spremiti na policu, ali Jaro mi ih je istrgnuo iz ruke:

“Neka se vidi!”

“Dosta mi je gledanja. Osim toga, sad će doći na večeru.”

“Baš zato, neka vide”, prošištao je.

“Što da vide? Jesi poludio?!”

“Neka znaju!” dreknuo je.

Oni su se uskoro pažljivim korakom uspeli drvenim stubama i bez riječi sjeli za stol. Postavila sam pred njih tanjure i nalila im grah. Sjeli smo i bez riječi stali jesti. Nakon trećeg zalogaja onaj koji je bio licem okrenut prema komodi, ugledao je novine. Za trenutak pogled mu je ležao na njima, potom se spustio u tanjur i, nakon još jednog zalogaja, prešao na naša lica. Smiren, naizgled neopterećen pogled. Jarina široka karirana košulja visjela mu je preko koščatih ramena. Jaro je uzvratio pogled. Podrobno je žvakao svaki komad suhe kobasice. Žlice su se ravnomjerno dizale i spuštale. Velika kazaljka na satu iznad komode grčevito se probijala naprijed. Progutavši posljednji zalogaj, onaj u Jarinoj košulji ponovno nas je pogledao i zahvalio na odličnoj večeri.

Počelo se pričati da policija češlja okolna područja, šipražja i šume. Obilazili su obalu potoka, a zakucali su i na nekoliko vrata. Govorilo se da bjegunci nisu mogli pobjeći daleko jer bi se znalo da su ukrali nečiji automobil. Po gostionicama se stalo naveliko spekulirati o njihovu skloništu, a mnogi su se čudili što ih pomoću pasa nisu već uhvatili. Jaro je sve manje odlazio do mjesta, izbjegavao je razgovore sa susjedima, a kuću je naposljetku napuštao samo kad bi ga prijatelji izričito zamolili za pomoć oko životinja.

Jedne večeri nazvao ga je Šimun iz Donjeg Brega. Kobila mu se trebala oždrijebiti. Jaro je mrko sjedio za stolom i grebao crni krug koji je na stolnjaku ostao od cigarete.

“Nećeš otići?” upitala sam.

“Gledaj svoja posla”, odsjekao je.

“Moglo bi uginuti.”

“Misliš da činim nešto što nije u redu?” pakosno me pogledao.

Otišla sam iz sobe i sjela na trijem. On je bio granica mojeg svijeta. Koliko god su me priroda i njezina svježina oduševljavale, sve sam manje odlazila do šume i u šetnje brdima. U kući nisam imala što raditi, ali nisam imala ni potrebu za travnjacima. Sunce je upravo zadiralo u zemlju; na krvavoj pozadini u daljini vidjela sam dvije siluete kako polagano hodaju travom, kao da na tom golemom prostoru naseljenom miševima i skakavcima provjeravaju jesu li cvjetovi dobro ušuškani u latice. Nebo je ponovno bilo obliveno krvlju dana, kao da je svakim zalaskom činilo novi zločin.

Prošao je još jedan tjedan. Policija je pretražila okolne šume i polako sužavala krug, najavljivao se skori pronalazak bjegunaca. Jednom su ih skoro uhvatili kad je Kata iz Kardaševca u pola noći zvala policiju jer je čula da joj se netko šulja oko kuće. Nažalost, stigli su prekasno i našli samo zečji izmet u kuhinji.

Te večeri na stolu je bila pečena kokoš i obilje krumpira. Jaro je pričao o Šimunovu ždrjebetu koje se oždrijebilo bijelo s crnom pjegom na njušci. Njih dvojica slušali su i jeli. Usred priče zazvonilo je zvono na vratima. Pogledali smo se međusobno pa njih. Oni su mirno nastavili jesti. Jaro se polako dignuo i otišao otvoriti.

Kasnije se pričalo da narednik Slavek nije mogao doći k sebi vidjevši ih kako opušteno maste brk za našim stolom, pričalo se da su stajali na vratima barem minutu i zurili, ne vjerujući svojim očima i da ih je Jaro pozvao da nam se pridruže na večeri jer to je bila najveća kokoš iz našeg kokošinjca. Reći ću samo da se nisu opirali, mirno su pustili da im stave lisice i odvedu ih u policijski automobil. Izlazeći kroz vrata u suton, pogledali su me pogledom koji je izrekao cijeli smisao jednog beznadnog života zbijenog unutar četiri zida.

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