The Bard of Kosova Dramaturgy, Prof. HAQIF MULLIQI

The Bard of Kosova Dramaturgy, Prof. HAQIF MULLIQI

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Haqif MULLIQI

One commemoration in coffee-theatre

CHARACTERS:

ALBAN – around 25/6 years old, a war veteran, disappointed in life after the war

AUREL – around 28/9 years old. Bar owner, with no special ideals for the time being

“Qafa” neighborhood, Prishtina. Sunday afternoon. Postwar time. The event that we are trying to reconstruct happens in a less known and less visited bar of this famous neighborhood of Prishtina. At the very end we see the window of ‘Angela Bar’ that faces the town cemetery. A neon sign stands in the middle. Aurel stands behind the bar drinking beer and reading a paper.  After a while, Alban comes in, having stood in front of the window for a while, and sits down by a table in the middle of the room which is not far from the bar, on the left of the scene.

ALBAN: I’ve been to a commemoration today… In fact, it was an anniversary of martyrs… four martyrs … four…

(Aurel lights a cigarette and doesn’t react.)

ALBAN: You hear me sonny, I tell you today I’ve been to a martyrs’ anniversary, I went to a martyrs’ anniversary. There were four of them … Killed in fighting … Warriors and idealists … I‘m telling you that I went to a commemoration for four martyrs of the nation.

AUREL: So what? What can I do for you here and now?

ALBAN: They would not let me in, and in vain I kept telling them that I took part in three Balkan wars … Three wars … Exactly… (Short pause.)  First I went to the town cemetery. Looking for my father’s grave, and, you wouldn’t believe it, all the time I had to step on the remains of unknown people … All unknown to me … All of them … I couldn’t find my father’s grave and when I asked the guard, he told me that the time allocated to his plot had expired and the plot was sold to someone else. It stood there for 15 years, the guard told me, without anyone taking care of it and the people from the Municipality had to sell the plot to a merchant … He bought it for his wife who is in Paris, curing cancer … That plot has a beautiful sight, the cemetery guard told me, and many people wanted it. You can see all the way to the center of the town from there, and that’s why they took my father’s grave. For fifteen years he told me, no one visited the grave … Full fifteen years … Then I started fearing that I stepped on his bones too, spread out on the grass that engulfs the cemetery … Poor father … I am happy he did not live to see the day when the grave of a father of a veteran of three wars is desecrated … My father – a veteran’s father! I hope that after 15 years the soul leaves the cemetery?

AUREL: … I don’t know … I am a waiter and I don’t understand your horror stories, mister!

ALBAN: I see. And how do they call you?

AUREL: Pardon me?

ALBAN: I say, what’s your name!

AUREL: And you have to make the same question every day!?

ALBAN: Every day?

AUREL: Yes… You asked me the same question yesterday.

ALBAN: Aha… To tell you the truth, I remember nothing. Nothing.

(Pause.)

ALBAN: Whatever the case, stepping on the bones of known and unknown people, stepping on them, I rushed for the town; to the commemoration … I told you that there was an annual commemoration for four martyrs! Four heroes of the last wars, four. They were like four brothers sharing the same destiny.

AUREL: … Four brothers?

ALBAN: Brothers in ideals. And in tragic faith … Three killed in the battlefields of various wars, and one in the last and the hardest battlefield: the postwar one … Initially, killed with words, and then by a bullet. An unknown bullet, fired from an unknown weapon, by unknown people. An unsolved case … a difficult one too … When I came to the room where the solemn commemorations are held, some guys with bald heads would not let me in.

AUREL: Is that so?

ALBAN: Yes, yes, they didn’t let me in. Then I went on to Skanderbeg Square, and arrived in front of the National Theater. I was walking towards east all the time?

AUREL: Of course eastward roads take you to deathanniversaries. Commemorations. This is only one of the possible destinations, right?

(Turns around somewhat confused and spreads his arms.)

ALBAN: (Pointing towards the public.) Is not this the road where Skanderbeg Square and the East meet!

AUREL: That one? Yes. That’s where they meet, but only if you’re coming down from the cemetery road and if you are headed to that commemoration.

ALBAN: But what is the road when you’re coming down from the cemetery and you go to Mother Teresa Square, before you get to Skanderbeg Square?

AUREL: (Shrugs his shoulders.) Don’t know!

ALBAN: You see!

AUREL: What?

ALBAN: I said, I don’t know!

AUREL: So you did.

ALBAN: It’s Alexander Mojsiu Street …

AUREL: Really?

ALBAN: Yes…

AUREL: I didn’t know.

ALBAN: Well, one cannot know everything.

AUREL: True, you can’t know everything.

ALBAN: And this Alexander Mojsiu, do you know who he was?

AUREL: (Looks at him with suspicion.): … Ermmm… I don’t…

ALBAN: Ha, you see!?

AUREL: What?

ALBAN: Don’t know.

AUREL: No, I don’t know. I said so. Or it’s something I should know?

ALBAN: Of course, of course.

AUREL: Then, he must be the President of Albania.

ALBAN: Who?

AUREL: President of Albania… This guy… Mojsiu…

ALBAN: … Oh, no, no, no… In fact, Alexander Mojsiu is… is… is… Is a great actor of Albanian origin.

AUREL: He is?

ALBAN: Yes… You heard of him?

AUREL: No…. Actually, yes … He is a comedian, right? I only like comedians… Anyway… The road begins there by the International Police building and ends with the Local Police building.

ALBAN: Yes, and in its upper part it meets the Prishtina Jewish Cemetery … Which means that initially I was walking towards south-east and I ended up going east.

AUREL: And you did not visit the Jewish cemetery?

ALBAN: The Jewish cemetery?

AUREL: Yes…

ALBAN: The Jewish cemetery?… The Jewish Cemetery?!

AUREL: I mean walking around the Jewish cemetery looking for your father, who you did not meet even in his death, all these fifteen years, and so on and so forth… Then, you might have stepped on the bones of unknown people … Remember!?

ALBAN: No. And, after all, why is this important, ha?

(Aurel looks at Alban deeply, hoping to end this never ending conversation.)

AUREL: It’s not important.

ALBAN: Told you so.

(Short pause.)

ALBAN: Ah, what I wouldn’t do to just once go all to the way to the West, and right now.

AUREL: (Grins.) What a strange road!

ALBAN: What road?

AUREL: This of that famous Albanian actor. What did you say his name was?

ALBAN: Alexander Mojsiu… (In German) “To be or not to be– that is the question”… Alexander Mojsiu, famous actor with Albanian origin.

AUREL: Yes, yes, very famous… Imagine, a road with an artist’s name, and on both sides of it police buildings … And the cemetery in the middle.

ALBAN: The cemetery?!?

AUREL: Yes, the cemetery.

ALBAN: In the middle, the middle, neither east nor west.

(After a short pause.)

AUREL: Actually, we used to call that road the Unknown Hero’s Roadonce, or also the Gypsy Road… And the police were on both sides of it then too?!

ALBAN: The police?

AUREL: No, no, there were no police buildings then, neither on the entry or the exit of the road, but there were gypsies. And there was the old cemetery too.

ALBAN: The cemetery?!?

AUREL: Yes, and there were policemen throughout the neighborhood. Policemen who traded suspicious Italian clothes with gypsies. The gypsies brought them from Trieste and traded them together with the policemen. Smuggling, smuggling. “Lewis”, “Rifle”, “Diesel”…  All from a very famous “Ponta Rosa” market … And, we all run to “Ponta Rosa”… With “Acropolis”, the train that went through Athena, Shkup, Fushë Kosovë, Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Trieste… And, in that market we got mixed like curls of Bob Marley, all of us: Italians, Croatians, Albanians, Slovenians, Bosnians, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Hungarians, Gypsies…All, all of us.

ALBAN: Really?

AUREL: Yes. Really.

ALBAN: (Looks at Aurel somewhat crossly.) And, what is it with you and the police?

AUREL: What police?

ALBAN: What police?… What police?!?…  That’s my question! I feel like I’m being questioned here: police here, police there; was there police on the gypsy side of the town, and so on and so on.

ALBAN: Who?

AUREL: You.

ALBAN: Me?

AUREL: You.

ALBAN: Maybe.

AUREL: You think I’m lying to you?

ALBAN: No, but…

AUREL: But…

ALBAN: All right, all right …

(Short silence.)

ALBAN:  Ireally don’t understand why you keep putting the word police under my nose constantly!

AUREL: I’m sorry, didn’t mean to.

ALBAN: Then three time also the cemetery: Jewish and the rest.

(Aurel lights a cigarette and inhales nervously.)

AUREL: Twice.

ALBAN: Three!

AUREL: Twice.

ALBAN: Whatever. You wanted to scare me, didn’t you?! Than, let me tell you now that I am not afraid of the police … On the contrary I fuck their sisters.

AUREL: So do I.

ALBAN: I might be afraid of them, but that does not scare me off. And, as for the graves, it seems that every day there are more graves of mysteriously killed people than of people who die of natural death…

AUREL: (Blowing smoke off.) Excuse me, are you a costumer or not!?

ALBAN: A costumer?!?

AUREL: What I mean is: you want to have something to drink or you just came here to argue with me!?

 ALBAN: (Looks at Aurel’s cigarette.) I see how you inhale that smoke with pleasure, as if you are not afraid you might get lung or throat cancer.

AUREL: (Little upset, but tries to smile.) Please let me be, I just keep it in my mouth without inhaling at all. I am not a real smoker, get it!?

ALBAN: You don’t smoke then? And why is your voice so coarse? Then, the coughing and all!?

AUREL: Listen here buddy, whoever you are, my voice is coarse because I’ve spent the last three hours in silence since no costumer walked in my bar, and when my throat is dry, my voice will be dry too…

ALBAN: Aha, a dry throat.  It’s a sign of diabetes, but the way you smoke you will get throat cancer and they’ll fit one of those megaphones into your throat, just here, below the apple. (Shows his apple.) You will snore like a tractor and whistle when you breathe. Or, when you try to talk you’ll have to press that thing there, what is it they call it?

AUREL: (Feels uneasy.) Prosthesis.

ALBAN: So you know it. Prosthesis. Don’t tell me you intend to study medicine?

AUREL: No… no way … In fact I dreamt of studying something else. But I’ve seen one of those, since of our costumers who comes in every Sunday wears one on his throat. A prosthesis I mean.

ALBAN: Then you know very well how you will sound in the future, don’t you (Laughs.) Ha-ha-ha… (Imitates coarse sounds.) Like e broken transistor… Ha-ha-ha- aha… (Talks like he had prosthesis on.) Good day. What would you like to drink: Milkshake or frappe!? Macchiato with Value Added Tax, or cappuccino without Value Added Tax. Aha, a long and very hot espresso.

AUREL: (Puts his fingers in his ears.) Stop, stop please. If you want something to drink, order it;  if not, go, because I close the bar by this time anyway. After all, today is a Sunday.

ALBAN: (After a short pause.) To tell you the truth, I am glad that your bar is east of the cemetery, here in the Skanderbeg Square, in the top floor of the trade center and that it is called “Angela”.

AUREL: (Indistinct.) Yes.

ALBAN: But I don’t like the fact that on this floor there are many dirty shops, and your’s is the only open and well lit one. Kind of looks lonely and like its floating above the Square.

AUREL: What are you talking about? (Hardly interested.) And why do you speak of these things?

ALBAN: Well, put in thecrime jargon – it attracts fatality.

AUREL: Really! That’s so sad?

ALBAN: A sort of it.

AUREL: Aha…

ALBAN: … There is an unwritten law by which the murderer and the victim, or the executioner and the victim, meet up one day when conditions are ripe. The place is isolated. The victim is alone. There is no soul nearby to help him. It’s Sunday. End of working hours, all people are leaving or have left already.  And what do we have in this situation like in Alfred Hitchcock’s movies? Or maybe like Clint Eastwood’s ones: … Only the executioner arrives!

AUREL: (Pretending not to be afraid.) But the victim might have e mobile phone on him… (Shows the mobile phone which he pulls from his pocket and places on the bar.)

ALBAN: (Harshly grabs his hand and the mobile phone and looks at him straight in the eyes for some time.) I… I (Aurel is frightened and cannot hide it any more.) I just want to talk to you. A short talk, right here, and nothing else. Do you mind? Ha? I’m asking you: Do you mind!?

AUREL: (Cannot hide the fact that he minds it a lot.) No… No, no…… I don’t.

ALBAN: Yes, yes, yes… Yes you do.  I see that you do. I can read it in your eyes, like a strange poem… Ha-ha-ha…

AUREL: (Pulling his hand together with the mobile phone from Alban’s grip.) No… I honestly don’t mind. I have nothing against it. (Tries to come up with a smile.) I don’t mind at all… I am always up for a good talk, especially if the conversation is lively.

ALBAN: Are you withholding yourself?!

AUREL: (This time decisively.) I really don’t mind it at all.

ALBAN: (Looks him straight in the eye for some time.) Some day… terrible day today.

AUREL: (Glances unnecessarily through the window.) Yes, a terribly strange day. ALBAN: That air conditioner is going on my nerves ever since I walked in. Turn it off! If we really want to talk seriously I don’t want my words mixing with the noise coming from the air conditioner.

AUREL: (Unwillingly.) If this is some kind of blackmail, then I’ll turn it off!

ALBAN: I went to a commemoration today… In fact, it was an anniversary of martyrs… four martyrs … four…

(Aurel lights a cigarette and does not react.)

ALBAN: In fact, it was an anniversary of martyrs… four martyrs … four…. But I told you that already, didn’t I?

AUREL: (Pulls his chair a bit.) I believe you did Sir when you mentioned that Alexander Mojsiu.

ALBAN: I did!?

AUREL: Yes. The Mojsiu who I thought was the President of Albania.

ALBAN: Not about Mojsiu, but about the cemeteries…you will for sure read tomorrow in the newspapers…Or, you will watch it on television tonight… Do you have a TV set?

AUREL: Yes. We have two in fact… And a broken, black and white one too.

ALBAN: Who, “we have two in fact… And a broken, black and white one too.”?!??

AUREL: Oh, my God! (He goes on the left and speaks in a low voice.) This is not good. I have already read this dialogue at Edward Albee’s “Zoo story”… Oh, my God!

ALBAN: I am once again asking you: whom with you “have two, TV sets, in fact”?!

AUREL: I said so… I said so… I said…

ALBAN: Yes, you said so, you said…!!!

AUREL: Why would that interest you? I mean, now, at this very moment?

ALBAN: Aha, yes… Now I see. You have e men’s secret and you don’t want to say it. I understand these kinds of things. I might even have been in your situation …Maybe…

(Pause.)

ALBAN: Men, or, more precise, some men of your sort, always have men’s secrets. Secrets that are in fact no secrets at all, but stupidities. Even worse than women’s ones. Isn’t that so?

AUREL: (Unwillingly.) It could be that way, maybe.

ALBAN: You are not so good, you know!

(With visible excitement, Aurel grabs the beer bottle. It is Peja Beer.)

ALBAN: I’ve noticed ever since I walked in that you’re ignoring me … Yes, you’re ignoring me … Somehow…

AUREL: Ignoring you!? I’m ignoring you?

(Alban only nods with his head.)

AUREL: And how am I ignoring you, Sir?

ALBAN: Here for example, I am trying to be friendly and informal. I am approaching you with “you”, whereas you are all the time…

AUREL: But this is the way we are supposed to treat our clients.

ALBAN: No kidding?! Look at him! Shame on you. Didn’t we reach an agreement that we will talk like human beans, ha, didn’t we!

AUREL: (Unwillingly.) Yes we did so.

ALBAN: A client, hah? And, watch your mouth because you can easily become e client of mine. You hear me?

AUREL: I really don’t understand you Sir.

ALBAN: Don’t you Sir me!

AUREL: (Mechanically.) OK… Here then: “I don’t understand you “!

ALBAN: Now then, we’re cool now. Next step will be spontaneity. And what do we need in order to be spontaneous, hah?

AUREL: Oh, God damn it, I don’t know!

ALBAN: (Gestures so as to show that he doesn’t like the curse.)… It is necessary to be what men are: what we men really are: strong and heartless. In a word: scumbags. Is it easier for you now?

AUREL: I’m not a scumbag.

ALBAN: You’re not? And how’s that? And the two TVs – “We have two TVs “. You and who else?

AUREL: Well…with….

ALBAN: Who? Dad? Wife? Mom? Brother? Sister?

AUREL: With, with, with… myself.

ALBAN: Ha, I knew it. An egoist. Just like the rest. One person with two TV sets. Bla-bla,-bla-bla-bla… Bla-bla,-bla…

AUREL: But it’s not all like that.

ALBAN: Hah!

AUREL: (Closes the neck of the beer bottle with his finger, and shakes the bottle.) To tell you the truth, I never wanted to deal with this business, I mean I didn’t want to end up being a macchiato guy. Two years I tried to enroll into the faculty of Arts in Prishtina, and then for two other years in Tirana and one more in Tetova. In vain. I wanted to be an actor.  All in vain. But they didn’t understand me and told me that I had no talent. Bullshit… And in the end they failed me for nothing. All in vain…

ALBAN: All in vain…!?!?

AUREL: Yes, all in vain… Before that I was a successful extra in some TV films and in the theater. Once they even mentioned my name in the papers… I played the cemetery guy and they told me I did very well… Then they told me I could work as a model, and once they took my money, they told me I needed to loose 30 to 40 pounds to go on the catwalk… ‘Bit round’ I looked, that’s what they said… Then I beat up this homo producer who said he’d make a career for me in Europe… And then promised to send me to Hollywood too… He told me my ass was perfect…

ALBAN: Ok, makes sense.  All of us have something to be proud of, some have it in their asses, some in their heads.

AUREL: … Then I started dating an older woman, a foreigner who was working for the UN mission in Prishtina. Everyone thought she was a lesbian since she fought for women’s rights, but she was in fact a crazy nymphomaniac who drained me to the last drop. Wanted to take me with her to the Ivory Coast. You know where the Ivory Coast is, right?

ALBAN: How should I know… Must be some awkward place where things are worst and more fucked up than here in Kosova.

AUREL: Yes. That is why I didn’t go I guess. And then, how could I leave Kosova and this fucked up life that we got used to… I remember that when I saw her off to the airport she made me do it to her in the airport toilet. Wasn’t much of a problem, since she showed her official ID to the guys in the airport, who took her for someone important, nor knowing that she was a nymphomaniac with Etna in between her legs, who fucked everywhere! A live volcano… I did it to her, administratively, but without any emotions. I didn’t give in. And she whispered in my ear: “Oh dear God, oh what talent is being shown in this septic hole “. I thought that she had understood my passion for acting. So I did it to her again, in that airport toilet. And she might have missed her flight if it weren’t for the cleaner who caught us half naked and threatened to beat us up with his broom and who tried to curse us in seven or eight world languages.

(Alban dressed as cleaners airport comes from the darkness threatening.)

CLEANER (Alban):  Ah, mut, muti[1]… Bre, you mother fucker… Nënën e klosharit[2]… You, pizda ti mater[3]… Sex in the toilet, a?! Në qenefin tim, a?[4] Not enough hotels, motels and offices, but you had to get into my toilet, you mother fucker. Sagapo, sagapo[5], në nevojtore… Sex in my toilet, a?!

AUREL: Hey, man, I’m an Albanian!”

CLEANER (Alban): Watt?… You are an Albanian?…

AUREL: Yes, yes, an Albanian…

CLEANER (Alban):  Aha… But, this mare here must be your mother, my Albanian!?

AUREL: But Resolution 1244… After all, they came to help us get free from the Serbs, and…”…

CLEANER (Alban): OK, OK, you are doing a good thing. These are friends of ours… It’s the first time in the history that foreigners come as our friends and we need to fuck them a bit…,

AUREL: Aha, aha!… Yes, yes, exactly… that’s how I see it… “A friendly fuck” for our “Friends!”… You are right! Strange, how it didn’t ring my bell earlier!?

CLEANER (Alban):And, you’re doing good to climb her, because they got on top of us in these five years so much that we’ll never get to get even with them… But, better something then nothing, right?

AUREL: … true, true…

CLEANER (Alban):Ok, Ok! But…her tits are not that good.

AUREL: (Ironically.) Really?…

CLEANER (Alban):Don’t you have eyes to see it… Her breasts are like my grandmothers.

AUREL: Who cares! It’s all she has.

CLEANER (Alban):Ok, as you wish, but…

AUREL: Hey, hey, hey, you, old man!… Get away from here, you are making me nervous! Ok?!… And, go and do your cleaning!

CLEANER (Alban):Okay, okay, it was just a friendly remark…You do it as you wish…

AUREL: Thank you very much, hardworking man!

(Alban walks into the darkness.)

AUREL:  The cleaner left, though I had the impression that he is watching us from the door lock… Then

(Alban walks into the darkness.)

AUREL:  The cleaner left, though I had the impression that he is watching us from the door lock… Then Angela and I went out, and when I kissed her for the last time she put a note in my hand.  I thought it contained foul language which she so much liked to use in her e-mails to me, such as: “Thank you my young fucker!”, “Thank you, my big Albanian dick”, and so on. When she left wiping her tears, on the way to Western Africa, never to return, I opened the note which she put in my hand, and was surprised to see a cheque with an amount of money with which I bought this bar, which I named after her ‘Angela’… But as soon as I started business here, I realized that with the financial security it was offering me it washed away my hopes of becoming an actor… An actor!

(Alban steps out of the darkness. He has already removed the uniforme of the airport cleaner.)

ALBAN: I knew it… I knew it…

AUREL: You knew what?

ALBAN: A male prostitute…

AUREL: But…

ALBAN: Yeah, yeah, i know the fucking Resolution 1244! I piss on it 1244 times…

AUREL: Well…

ALBAN: And you knew that Mojsiu was a famous Albanian actor!

AUREL: Yes I did!

ALBAN: First of all because you too are Albanian, and secondly, because you always dreamt of becoming an actor… That’s how you put it, right?

AUREL: It shouldn’t be so difficult for you to understand me…

ALBAN: No, no, it’s not… A failed actor. You fuck for money, and I have to understand you… Justify you as well, right?

AUREL: Never mind!

ALBAN: Yeah, OK..

(Short pause.)

ALBAN: And how many times?

AUREL: … What?

ALBAN: How many times did you say you fucked her before she put a cheque with all that money in your hand?

AUREL: (Looks at him with suspicion.) Two times…

ALBAN: Bullshit…

AUREL: Two times, but two good ones!

ALBAN: Here… I told you: two TV sets, two rounds of sex in the airport toilet and what else!

AUREL: (Looks at him harshly.) Fuck… After all, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this!

ALBAN: No, and I don’t know why I have to listen to all these bizarre things

(A longer silence. Alban lights a cigarette and Aurel drinks beer.)

AUREL: … All right, I think that the issue of the TV sets should not be in our conversation, ok?!

ALBAN: Ok.

(Short pause.)

AUREL: What is your name… if I’m allowed to ask?

ALBAN: Looks at him with a deep stare.) You are…

(Pause.)

AUREL: My name is… Aurel Shala…

ALBAN: Congratulations!

AUREL: Thank You!

(Pause.)

ALBAN: Mine is Alban… Alban Krasniqi… And during the war my nickname was Alban.

AUREL: Interesting.

ALBAN: No, but an Albanian name.

(Pause.)

AUREL: And how old are you?

ALBAN: Twenty five… Twenty five and eight months… (Counts with his fingers.) …and twenty four days… And you?

AUREL: Twenty nine and and two…one day…

ALBAN: Hey, you are a man now?… Wife, children…?

AUREL: Nope… And you?…

ALBAN: You stupid, I was in the war. Four wars… Where could I find time for a wife and children?

(A longer pause.)

ALBAN: … You believe in God, Aurel?

AUREL: (Melancholic.) To tell you the truth, I only trust Him. You cannot believe what people have done to me. It’s been four years since I last saw my parents, and we live in the same town. I live in a rented flat, with furniture on rent, every now and then some rented woman, while I have my home, a mother and a father, Gjergj… You can’t know what people have done to me, you can’t know or imagine. (Starts crying.)

ALBAN: (Hugs Aurel tightly.) Come on man, don’t cry! (Gives him his mobile.) Here, call whoever you want and send them to hell, if you need to blow off steam… It’s difficult to see a man crying. Just say fuck this or that, and…

AUREL: Please don’t curse, Alban, please!

ALBAN: Ok, I won’t curse anyone anymore. Here, I promise I won’t curse anymore. (Puts the mobile phone back in his pocket.)

AUREL: I actually don’t have anyone to call anymore. I have no strength for such a thing. What can I tell mom, what can I tell Gjergj after four years, ha?

ALBAN: Tell them… tell them… tell them whatever. If you think you harmed them in any way they will probably forgive you.

AUREL: Ah, it’s so easy to say that… So easy. But how can I admit that I’ve been defeated, that I was wrong?

ALBAN: Aha…

AUREL: This is the thing I never imagined would happen to me. This is my defeat. A real defeat.

ALBAN: Does that mean that you are giving up on yourself, Aurel?

AUREL: How do you know what I’ve decided?

ALBAN: Well, both the fool and the wise man would see it from you. Look in the mirror. What will you see? The victim or the culprit? I see a…

AUREL: (Furious.) I don’t give a shit for what you see, hear me, I don’t give a shit! I know what I know. I might give up on myself, or I might not. It’s my business.

ALBAN:(Softly.) Of course, entirely your business. I guess that’s how it should be.

AUREL:(Trying to calm down.) Whatever the case, my five minutes will come.

ALBAN: Fine. And, what do we do next?

AUREL: There’s no next. We are closing down, now.

ALBAN:(With a threatening voice.) Oh no, that’s not what we agreed to do, no… Of course there is next. And a lot of it, I can tell you.

AUREL: God damn it, what do you want from me now?

ALBAN: To talk. Just as we agreed. And, in cold blood, OK!?

AUREL: (Looks at him for some time and when he sees that Alban is serious, continues.) Oh well, if we really have to, then…

ALBAN: No, No, “we don’t have to “, but, a deal is a deal.

AUREL: (Bites his lip.) You told me about the graves and how I will read about it or see it on…

ALBAN: … I’ll talk about ‘it’ when time comes. Yes, yes… And, my dear Aurel, I’m proposing to take our conversation into a more interesting wave of Q&A.  Agreed?

AUREL: I’m really curious.

ALBAN: Well, I guess there’s nothing interesting in my line of work. I empty a swollen stream of words, which, more or less, serve the same purpose, since I deal with only one client and I often repeat the same stream of words: Hi, is this the bedroom honey? Come, show it to me. Oh, honey, you’re great. I can’t any more. Ah, a bit more, yes, yes, yes… Oooh – this is amazing, ohhh… You are great… You get it, Aurel?

AUREL: To tell you the truth, I don’t.

ALBAN: I feelthis stream of words that I repeat continuouslyas a strange body in my head and that is why, every now and then, I need to talk to an ordinary human being, to someone who neither shows me the bedroom or wants to see it and who does not whisper meaningless words that the fools call ‘articulation of emotions’. It is an unexplainable need to talk to ordinary people and learn everything there is to learn about them in these very ordinary conversations.

AUREL: (Grinning.) Well, I told you almost everything about me. I even told you about having sex in the toilet of Prishtina International Airport.

ALBAN: What you told me was the essence of things. I’m more interested in details than in the essence; the details that build; that weave the dowry of life. You get it, Aurel?

AUREL: You mean what I drink, eat, what I…?

ALBAN: No, no, no, not at all. OK, for the beginning, tell me where you live, or something of that sort!

AUREL: (Stutters.) But…

ALBAN: Come on now, don’t be afraid, I won’t steal one of your TVs.

AUREL: (In loud but slow voice.) I live in the Unknown Hero’s Road, No. 143. Where Balzac Road and the Paris Commune Road meet.  A studio flat on the top floor, and the windows look at, as I often say, the ass of our Government.

ALBAN: Aha… tell me where you live, and I’ll tell you who you are. Balzac and Paris Commune are known for their studio flats.

AUREL: They might be well known, but I’m not.

ALBAN: (With disgust.) Studio flats that are usually rented to prostitutes coming from the east and the north, and to badly paid actresses. They play prostitutes on the scene.

AUREL: What is your point?

ALBAN: Nothing. I feel like vomiting.

AUREL: You don’t feel well. Sit down, don’t stand.

ALBAN: Soon I’ll start going round and I’ll I start vomiting over everything and everyone, figuratively of course. They all disgust me: the actresses are prostituting themselves, prostitutes act, failed models and actors run bars and barmaids and saleswomen are models; some ministers are homosexuals, and women ministers are lesbians. And I, what am I? (Thoughtful.) Wait till you see “his” face, when you do, you’ll understand everything!

AUREL: Whose face? And what does that have to do with the city cemetery?

ALBAN: (Alienated.) Have to do with what?

AUREL: The cemetery. The cemetery. Thought you wanted to tell me something about the cemetery?

ALBAN: The cemetery?

AUREL: You’ve mentioned it several times.

ALBAN: (Slowly returns to reality.) The cemetery!!! Ah, yes; the city cemetery. I went to it. Yesterday? No, today, before coming here. Tell me, what is the line that separates the rich from the middle class, and the poor from the miserable?

AUREL: Eh, my love, I…

ALBAN: Don’t call me ‘love’

AUREL: Sorry. Apologies if you found it to intimate, but I didn’t know how to answer your question. But, how important is such a thing when you are dead?

ALBAN: A-ha… When you are found wanting, you resort to the rhetoric of the politicians of the communist providence.  A saying has it that you can never find a communist in a situation where he is wanting for words.

AUREL: maybe…

ALBAN: Yeah, maybe.

AUREL: But not always.  (Tries to make a joke at his own expense.)

Sometimes I try so hard to talk myself out of a situation, that I start believing myself… I actually remember that once I didn’t go home for two days because I believed the lie I myself told. My own lie… Autochthonous… Ha-ha-ha-ha…

ALBAN: (Laughs.) Don’t tell me? Minie-minie-mo, and you forgot you were lying to yourself.

AUREL: Yes, exactly. (Still laughing and stops for a while.) Forgive me please! Has been quite a while since I last laughed. I had no reason to anyway, but this was so… so… so spontaneous…

ALBAN: (Stops and looks at him sharply straight in the eyes.) And what now?

AUREL: To tell you the truth, I don’t know.

ALBAN: (After looking at him with a piercing look – almost a threatening one – tries to calm down the situation by smiling a bit.)… The question

AUREL: Ha?

ALBAN: The next question: Do you know what I’ve done today before going to the cemetery? I walked on foot almost all the way to the American Embassy, than I turned right and went to the cemetery road again.

AUREL: Really!? (Playing with the beer bottle, which slips from his hand and falls on the floor.)

ALBAN: (Gets up upset from his chair and threatens Aurel.) What… what …. You want me to break your fingers? (Picks up the bottle furiously but when he straitens up it’s as if he changes his mind and changes the tone of his voice, trying to be friendly to Aurel.) See, beer is no good for your health; kills your sperm. Not even Viagra can help you afterwards. Viagra is that medicine discovered by that American Albanian… You see how bad beer is for you and you still drink it! Worst of all, in your own bar. That means you don’t care about your health or your money. You don’t care for your sperm or for your pounds.

AUREL: (Trying to come to himself) And you Sir, would you like something to drink?

ALBAN: Hey, hey, why are you shitting yourself? We were just talking. Or isn’t that what we agreed?! (Aurel keeps silent!) Then he takes out some money and puts it on the table.) Can we talk now?

AUREL: I did not shit myself. You have the right to be whatever you want.

ALBAN: Maybe I was just joking?

AUREL: Not me.

ALBAN: Are you angry?

AUREL: No, not at all. I am not angry at all but… But I am still curious though.

ALBAN: … Oh, very well then. I’ll try and satisfy your curiosity. There are things that are more important to me than this conversation. Yes, yes. (Thinks immersed in the past and then returns.) We called her Ana. She was from Ukraine – all orange… He-he!!! A Ukrainian with temporary work in Kosova… We loved each other a lot… Then I found out that my father and I saw the same woman. He paid her, and I got her for free. And this I believe is only normal isn’t it! In the beginning, I didn’t know whether it was incest or not. And things got worse when Ana was forced to have an abortion. For two full days the doctors could not bring her back from anesthesia. No-one knew who’s was the stillborn: mine or my father’s. I simply didn’t know whether the baby was my son or my brother… Was it an incest or not, this thing we had with Ana from Ukraine?!? Anyushka!? (Pause. Looks at Aurel.) Is this story bothering you, Aurel?

AUREL: … No… maybe…

ALBAN: I see that you don’t like what I’m telling you!

AUREL: (With a look of empathy.) To tell you the truth, I’d rather we didn’t talk about these things!

ALBAN: (Scratches his neck.) Oh, well then. Even though you will not hear the end of the story if you don’t want to know the reasons and the difference between homosexual love, incestuous love and the so-called normal love. You in fact seem to be interested in what happened in the cemetery?

AUREL: (Excited.) Yes. The cemetery. You started with this conversation about the cemetery and then…

ALBAN: Then what?

AUREL: You told me earlier that you went to the cemetery!?

ALBAN: Yes I did. Was it a sacrilege? Ha, is it forbidden to visit the cemetery? Is it?

AUREL: No.

ALBAN: No?

AUREL: No.

ALBAN: Then why do you constantly keep mentioning the fact that I’ve been to the cemetery.

AUREL: But I asked you only once.

ALBAN: Once?

AUREL: Yes, and the next time it was you Sir who mentioned it… I mean you…

ALBAN: Ok then, what’s the problem if I did go to the cemetery?

AUREL: … I was referring to the fact that you went to the cemetery and that there was this thing with your father’s grave…

ALBAN: (Surprised.) Thing?!

AUREL: Think you said that they desecrated his grave with a beautiful view and sold it to someone else.

ALBAN: But that’s true.

AUREL: Whatever the case, this means the thing with Ana from Ukraine was a lie!

ALBAN: (Pretends not to remember.) Ana?

AUREL: The pregnancy of that Ukrainian woman of yours – Anyushka… The incest…

ALBAN: Aha, you are talking about that!

AUREL: Yes…

ALBAN: But that was only an imagined situation. When at war, we used to say: “What if it would be “, or: “What if it would happen “. Interesting, ha!? Interesting! Get it?

AUREL: No.

ALBAN: Whatever.

AUREL: Yeah, whatever.

(A longer pause. Aurel opens another beer bottle, and Alban lights a cigarette.)

ALBAN: When the war ended I bought a flat. (Aurel looks at him suspiciously.) In fact they gave it to me… In fact I squatted… Occupied it, as they used to say… I still live there, which means I’m homeless. Yes! It’s a studio flat on the second floor of the building. But in order to get there, I’m forced to go through a maze of corridors, stairs and destroyed railings. I don’t know anybody from the first floor because tenants change so often that it’s become impossible to remember their faces. Let alone their names. Most of them never wash, since we don’t have running water, and they stink of sweat and dirt. Mostly men I don’t know, but they tell me that just close to me, in one of the unfinished rooms of the unfinished building we are squatting in, there lives this woman. I’ve never seen her; I only sometimes hear her singing this song. The song from this film, “One day of life “. I think she’s blind… But she’s not the person I want to tell you about. The subject of my tale is the owner of several of those flats, who once told me he owns my flat too but that he was willing to let me stay for free since I was a veteran of three, in fact, four wars , if I count this dirty and confusing postwar thing.  That fat bastard with a forehead only two fingers big and an IQ of a thermometer in a room in August. He’s a fat, lazy bastard. Kind of like a sack full of ammonium drained in beer.  I can’t find words to describe him.

AUREL: In fact, you gave me a very, very plastic description…

ALBAN: He has a dog, and he and the dog are like this one being. This owner of the unfinished flats with old doors and nylon sheets for windows is always sitting down and watching TV with this idiotic stare, emptying one bottle of beer after another. Then he’s constantly making these phone calls, ordering whatever you can order by phone: pizza, Gjakova meatballs, fat against hemorrhoids, yoghurt from Prizren, “stomach fat eliminator”, cases of Peja beer, porn movie DVDs, ,,Miracle blade “, Tetova byrek, tiger fat, five kilograms of chestnut honey from Deçan and Japanese trees. Ah, yes, time after time he takes off the headphones, looks at his image on the mirror and pulls the comb over seven or eight strands of hair lying on his bald head… Then he cuts off his nails with a bread knife, and urinates while he is doing all these with his dog sniffing up his ass. The door of his flat is almost always open and it’s almost impossible for me to go in or out of my room without him noticing it. Sometimes he surprises me in the corridor, when he calls me by my name and farts. The stink of it you cannot bear even with a gas-mask. If we had him in the war we would terrify the enemy. You just cannot imagine it. They don’t call him Lard al Stink for nothing. And to make things even worse, somewhere in between the separation between the two brains of his, and he must have less than two of those, there is a reflection of a something like a dream of a general. And I, my friend Aurel, am like a part of his inspiration! “Hey, soldier”, he calls me… “When will we fight another war?! Between us… like the Americans!?” Then he laughs and continues: “Even though, if I had a choice, I’d go for postwar! Ha-ha-ha… I tell you what, you do the war, and I’ll do the postwar and we’ll get even: you will always be a war veteran, and I’ll be a postwar veteran “. Then he laughs again and he interrupts his historical laugh with a camel’s fart, and the deadly smell travels throughout the building. The blind woman sings without stopping.

AUREL: How disgusting. I feel like vomiting.

ALBAN: Don’t worry, I found a way to fuck him up. Every time he lifts his leg to let a fart, I ask him: Hey Mr. Lard al Stink, so you want to be a general? This question confuses him. And when he asks me why, I tell him: “Well, with this talent you have you’ll be an artillery commander, but your firing raises a lot of dust and the enemy does not hear a thing “. He closes his eyes as if trying to imagine a situation which I bring him into and later pretends to have understood the joke and bursts laughing and farting so much so that neither of us understands anything. The his dog, his doggy, comes close to his ass only to run away a moment later because even the dog cannot stand the smell of the gases coming from the idiot Lard al Stink. For some weeks I seem to get by, than we go all over again with the same story.

AUREL: This is. (Makes a face.)… So disgusting.

ALBAN: Just like in horror novels.

AUREL: (Sincerely.) Yes. I read one of those.

ALBAN: … However, in actual fact I wanted to talk about the owner’s little doggy.

AUREL: All right, all right. At first we began talking about the city cemetery, and now we…

ALBAN: (Interrupts.) You will not close the bar, will you!? (Threatening.) Will you!??

AUREL: No, I won’t.

ALBAN: (Speaking like one does to a child.) I need to stay a little bit longer since I need to finish the conversation about the cemetery, but also about that commemorational meeting, remember?!

AUREL: (Smiling involuntarily.) You really are full of stories.

ALBAN: You don’t need to listen to me while I’m talking. I am not pressing you to listen to me. Democracy is… democracy is…your will.

AUREL: (Little nervous.) Yes, I know that.

ALBAN: You do? Excellent

(Pause.)

ALBAN: Then, I shall start with the cemetery story!

AUREL: Fine.

ALBAN: Or about the commemoration!?

AUREL: As you wish.

ALBAN: Ok then, about the commemoration.

(Aurel remains silent.)

ALBAN: What I’m about to tell you deals with an elementary rule of life, which is that in the beginning everything must reach its own place, so that we can later get it out of its equilibrium. That is why today I went to the cemetery first and then continued on to the commemoration… To the theater… The National Theater – a national commemoration. And later I came here… Remember?!

AUREL: Yes, yes, I remember.

ALBAN: In fact it was an anniversary of martyrs. Four martyrs. Told you already, four…

(Aurel opens a bottle of beer, but does not drink from it at all.)

ALBAN: You hear me sonny, I’m telling you that I went to an anniversary of martyrs. I went to an anniversary of martyrs! There were four of them. Killed in fighting. Warriors and idealists. I’m telling you that I went to an anniversary of four national martyrs.

AUREL: So what? What can I do for you now? You went there, and what about it! I in fact understand your emotions, but I don’t know why you have to bother me with the fact that you went to that commemoration. OK, they are four people, names worthy of every respect, but, what I fail to understand is what has all of this got to do with me. And why today of all days!

ALBAN: I told you that they didn’t even let me in, while I was telling them in vain that I took part in three Balkan wars. Three wars. Exactly. After I returned from the cemetery where I was looking for my father’s grave stepping on bones of unknown people, all unknown to me, I came to the city center, to the place where that commemoration was being held. And some huge guys with bald heads wouldn’t let me in.

AUREL: Why didn’t you tell them that you were a war veteran, ha?

ALBAN: Why!

AUREL: In fact a veteran of three different wars, a cubic veteran?

ALBAN: Why!? Because they didn’t even ask me and when I was about to tell them that, the guy who seemed to be the boss of the bald doormen, told me: “Ah, after the war everybody is a veteran, and during it, everybody was hiding!”

AUREL: Wow, really harsh.

ALBAN: Yes, yes.

AUREL: And I’d say very offensive.

ALBAN: Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

AUREL: And then!? What did you do then?

ALBAN: Then, then… Then I used my ability as a member of our elite forces and through the small toilet window I entered the place where the commemoration was being held. To my surprise half the chairs of the hall where the commemoration was being held were empty. And the fools would not let me in. One more, as the saying has it.

AUREL: I really don’t understand their point.

ALBAN: Their point is in their asses. Nevertheless, the commemorational academy began and orator after orator took the floor, and, I might be wrong, but it seemed to me that they were in a kind of a contest with one another talking about their own heroisms and patriotism during the war, and none of them spoke of the martyrs of the war or the postwar.

AUREL: Really?

ALBAN: Then I got up and said the worse things I could think of in their faces: thousand and one curses, thousand and one.

AUREL: And?!?

ALBAN: Nothing. Then the guys with little hair intervened and threw me out, while the rest were shouting: “Get the provocateur out “… “Spies, spies”… “Who sent you here!?”… “You should be ashamed, talking like that in a commemoration of the best sons of Kosova “. Then the guards threw me out on the pavement and from there I continued to the cemetery. Or did I go from the cemetery to the theater where the commemoration was being held? I don’t know. I don’t remember, but whatever the case, I know that in the cemetery I couldn’t find my father’s grave and I asked the guard about his grave.  He told me that the time allotted to the plot had expired and the plot of land was sold. Fifteen years he told me, no one visited. Full fifteen years. They had dug out the remains of my father, and they could not be found. Who knows what they did with them?  You don’t sell human remains do you!?

AUREL: … Not as far as I know.

ALBAN: Must be, because we are not talking about ivory. In fact it’s nothing. However, I’m afraid I might have stepped on my father’s bones spread out on the grass mixed like the hairs of a gypsy woman, engulfing the cemetery. Poor father! I am happy that he did not live to see the day when the grave of a veteran’s father was desecrated. My father. Veteran’s father. I hope that after fifteen years the soul leaves the cemetery, right?

AUREL: … I don’t know. I am a waiter and I do not understand your horror stories, mister.

ALBAN: Is that so?… And what is your name.

AUREL: Pardon me?

ALBAN: I said what’s your name.

AUREL: And you must ask me this question every day.

ALBAN: Every day?

AUREL: Yes. You asked me the same question yesterday.

ALBAN: Aha. To tell you the truth, I remember nothing. Nothing.

(Pause. After a while, Alban takes off the watch from his wrist and gives it to Aurel.)

ALBAN: Keep this watch. Take out the battery and tell me what’s written on it: what year did it expire…

AUREL: … Nineteen ninety eight.

ALBAN: (Proudly.) And, what does this mean? It means that I produce static electricity of high frequency and low tension. My aura is so strong that it constantly charges and recharges the watch battery. I can change watches constantly, but I never have to change the batteries. Never.

AUREL: I simply cannot believe this.

ALBAN: You better believe it. It is not necessary to believe in God, but in what you see with your own eyes, ninety eight, believe me! Just as I believed that there must be a way out of the building of flats where I live and that I can and must escape the infantile look of the guy who usurped twenty five unfinished flats. I went to my cave room, closed myself in for three days and three nights and thought that I would kill him with my own hands. (Aurel turns his head and feels anxiety.) I’ll simply kill him; this is the best way to get rid of someone or something. After all, it is a part of Balkan tradition, and also of our own. Few days ago a veteran was found killed, even though the bullets of the enemy could not catch him during the war. Then the continuous killings in various towns. Big deal. It’s easy to say that it must be done, but – where, how and with what? And, I immediately thought of a big gas container. I could leave it in front of his door, turn the switch on and throw a cigarette but from upstairs. And: Boom! There would be nothing suspicious. Bad container. A suspicious import. The cigarette but would burn in the fire, and that would be it. No more. And to remove the last bit of suspicion, I did not buy the gas container but I stole it at night in front of the petrol station at the end of the cemetery road. I waited for the station guard to fall asleep and then unnoticed, I went in and stole the thing. I took two just in case. I barely pulled them all the way to the flat and at night, unnoticed, I pulled them up to my flat. In the evening I began the job. Then…

AUREL: (Terrified.) Please, I don’t want to know the details, please!

ALBAN: (Feeling superior.) Hmmm… I will then not go into the most terrifying moments, the ones after the explosion, the terrified eyes of the owner and the awful gases smelling like a public toilet. And the agony continued for exactly three minutes. I left the gas containers in front of the door, opened the security key and knocked loudly on the door… I ran upstairs, split a cigarette in half, just like I had planned to, lit it and waited for the owner of the usurped flats to come out… The supposedly blind woman was still singing her favorite song “One day of life “. A Mexican song sang in Albanian. I knew that the victim needed time to get to the door, because of his weight. And just as I saw from above that the door of his flat was opening, and while he was searching in vain for the person who’d knocked on his door, from above, with the nail of the index finger, I pushed the burning cigarette. And, to my surprise, the cigarette fell on his bald head.  He promptly went to clean it off his head, pushing the cigarette straight into the gas container. Then it all caught fire, and only a bit later I heard an explosion, the kind of which I had never heard before. Boom… The owner hardly let a sound. And then it all ended. It was a perfect crime. Professionally perfect… So perfect, that if didn’t know I did it myself, I’d think that it was done by a real professional. Some character out of a James Bond movie… Sean Connery or Roger Moore… And for the first time the blind woman stopped singing. The first time in all these years.

AUREL: (Terrified.) Oh God, Alban, how could you!?

ALBAN: Don’t know. I thought of it as a way of protesting. Everything around me was whistling.

AUREL: Protesting?!?

ALBAN: Kind of. And, later, an astral body pulled out of my own. I could see myself floating on top of my body, connected to it by a stream of light, just like by a belt. In the beginning I thought I’d die if the stream of light got disconnected. And standing afloat like that, I slowly started walking towards the window; in the beginning fearing that I might cut myself on the pieces of glass if I went through that window, but the light on which I was floating calmed me down. And I went through the window without any pain. Then I stood afloat over Prishtina, and for the first time in my life I was looking at it as a nice and spread out photograph.  ,,Prishtina at night”. What a miracle. Then I went floating to my parent’s flat, and put an end to their misery too.

AUREL: (In whisper.) No, for the love of God.

ALBAN: The return to the body lasted for a split second. Then, suddenly, the whistling stopped. I slowly opened my eyes and in full silence I noticed the sky and the moon, through the broken window of the room in my flat. In the morning I found out that the owner survived somehow, by some miracle, and that he ate two pizzas for breakfast. Then mum phoned me to say that it would be good if I went to the cemetery and visit my father’s grave. Then I started thinking about reincarnation. The solution lies in reincarnation. I mean, if a man cannot live the life he wants, then the best solution lies in reincarnation. You have to die in order to be reborn as someone new, someone younger and a happier being. (Aurel looks at Alban as if hypnotized.) Yes, that is so. People need reincarnation. (Looks at Aurel.) I guess you don’t understand what I want to say, do you?… In order to know yourself, you must do the outmost for yourself. At first I went to my father’s grave to do exactly that… Then I understood that there wasn’t to be a meeting between my father’s soul and my own, because it is obvious that the energy of the soul expires and initially it moves towards the space; later, after it is coiled into a spiral touching its own center with its tail, the soul’s energy descends to the earth and on its way meets a creature that was just born and reincarnates in it – it is reborn… The newly born owner of the usurped block of flats somehow met with an old mammoth’s soul and that is why he resembles today’s elephants. Here, this is an example of reincarnation. In fact, I thought that I should go to my father’s grave, lie underneath him, and then release my soul in the direction of the sky. But the problem seemed unsolvable, until I noticed that his grave was nowhere to be found. It disappeared. That’s why nothing has any meaning any more, nothing. And this was a nonsense day.  Today’s day.

(A longer pause with deep silence.)

ALBAN: You must have asked yourself what I really want to be here? I don’t know. Just a fairy tale I guess, and that’s it. No more than that. (Suddenly somehow elated.) And, Aurel? Ha? You think that this tale could win a prize in the competition organized by the Ministry of Culture, ha? Would it be chosen as the best novel? I have submitted work before, but to no avail. I even wrote plays. I wrote one with a single act, a psycho drama, with an obscure title: “,commemoratively” and I sent it to the competition of plays organized by the Ministry. It is the competition where the members of the jury sent their own work and award prizes to themselves. And of course, nothing. I guess they don’t even read the unknown authors. And that is another reason me dear Aurel to escape anonymity at all cost. This is exactly what I said to my father today.

AUREL: Your father?!

ALBAN: Yes.  We hadn’t seen each other for so long and we had coffee together today. (Looks at him deep in the eyes.) Are you surprised?!

AUREL: (Whispering.) I don’t understand a single thing; nothing. Not a single thing. I even thought that you… your father… that pain (Almost crying but pulls himself together.) All these days you told me things that are not even true?

ALBAN: And why shouldn’t I?

AUREL: I don’t understand!

ALBAN: (Whispering.) You liar. Liar.

AUREL: No, I really don’t understand you.

ALBAN: You naïve man! All this time I tried to explain that the most important thing is to know yourself, even at times when your own self …

AUREL: I don’t want anything. No reincarnation. I just want to be myself and I want others to leave me alone. That’s all.  Only that.

ALBAN: Are you saying that I’m bothering you!?

AUREL: (Like finding some hidden power within him.) Yes. I need to be home in a quarter of an hour, and I need to close down.

ALBAN: (Jokingly.) What do you say we stay some more? A tiny bit more?

AUREL: I really need to close the bar, look at what you’ve done with those neon letters!

ALBAN: Just another minute, one more minute?

AUREL: Not one.

ALBAN: (Comes close to Aurel and starts tickling him.) And if I really beg you?

AUREL: (Tickled, with a falsetto.) Don’t! No! Hihihi, stop! Oh, oh, please don’t.

ALBAN: Just a bit more.

AUREL: Hi-hi-hi… Hi-hi-hi… I have, I have to go. Stop, stop, please… Hi-hi-hi-ho-ho-ho, oh, oops…

(Alban stops tickling him, but Aurel continues to laugh almost with a hysterical laugh which turns into tears. Alban looks at him coldly.)

AUREL: (Amid tears and laughter.) Please, I need to… close the bar now… please, Alban…

ALBAN: I also want to close the bar.

AUREL: (Goes towards the exit.) Now then… we want to close and… We will close it!

 ALBAN: Yes.

AUREL: Very well.

ALBAN: But when I want to close it! (Pushes Aurel abruptly.)

AUREL: Why do you push me?

ALBAN: You don’t want to earn some more money here? (Pushes Aurel again.)

AUREL: (Touches his pushed torso.) No. It’s not necessary. And please stop, don’t push me anymore.

ALBAN: (Pushes him again.) Like this you mean?

AUREL: Now, that’s enough!

ALBAN: I’m afraid it’s not.

(Pulls a gun, Beretta 7.65. On seeing the gun, Aurel is dead frightened.)

AUREL: (Addressing him formally.) Take what you want, please Sir!

ALBAN: (Ignoring the formal tone.) And what do you recommend?

AUREL: (Disappointed.) I don’t know. I don’t know who you really are. What is the truth about you, and what only fiction?

ALBAN: Means that you never took me seriously around here, did you?

AUREL: Fine, fine, forget what I just said.

ALBAN: Ok, if you say so.

(Comes back later, walks around the bar holding the gun in his hand and stops again not looking at Aurel at all. Aurel goes to the bar and troubled takes the mobile phone trying in haste to dial a number. Alban turns his head towards him quickly and finds him holding the phone next to his ear.)

ALBAN: Now, now.  Calling the police! (Comes close to him threatening him with the gun.  Aurel sits down all in fear and puts the phone on the bar.) Get up. Look at you! (Pulls him forcefully.) Get up I tell you! (Takes the phone and hits Aurel a little on the head with it.)

AUREL:(Doesn’t react to the blows but keeps asking questions.) Why, why, why?

ALBAN: Get up you fool; do you have any pride left?

AUREL: I won’t get up because you’ll kill me.

ALBAN: Get up and don’t resist!

AUREL: (Now surprisingly cold blooded and decisively.) No.

ALBAN: I can’t look at you in this state.

AUREL: No. You want to kill me. I won’t get up.

(Alban grabs Aurel by his chest so much that Aurel starts to scream. He starts defending himself.)

ALBAN: Aha, so you defend yourself when I give you pain, ha?!

AUREL: Let me go you animal, let me go!

ALBAN: Ok… (Puts the gun in front of Aurel’s feet.) There, defend yourself! (Hits Aurel with both hands in the stomach.) It’s your body, defend, defend! Ha, what do you say?! (Hits him time after time.) Defend yourself you piece of shit, two hands for one head they say. Defend! I’m hurting you, can’t you see!

(Aurel falls on his knees, lets a scream and grabs the gun from the floor. Holds it with both hands towards Alban.)

AUREL: Touch me just one more time, and I…!

ALBAN: Bravo! (Opens his arms and hugs Aurel.) This is how I like you, Aurel, I like you like this!

(Aurel looks at him with a terrified look. Alban grins and puts one hand down and grabs the gun. For a time they push and shove as if to get the gun. Later on Alban makes a move like kissing Aurel in his mouth, and before their lips meet, a shot is heard. For a moment there is deep silence.  Aurel slowly pulls from underneath Alban’s body.  He is terrified by the wound on Alban’s stomach that he sees. Alban lies without moving… He turns slowly and arrives at the table where he was sitting earlier. He sits on the chair, and then he assumes a fetus like position, with his face towards Aurel .)

ALBAN: (Dying. His speech interrupted by pain.) Thank you, Aurel. (Continues with a low voice.) I am really grateful. Now… I can… release the energy of my soul towards…where all the souls go… And for a moment I thought that you were my bad choice… I came here every day for three weeks and tonight, for a moment I thought…I thought that you were a bad choice after all; I thought that you were not my executioner victim. Do you remember when I told you that when you see the face you’ll understand everything? I was talking about my face. Now, the police and the journalists will come. Even people from TV… then you will see my face on both your TVs… Ah, my dear Aurel… I am now finally going out of anonymity… Isn’t that so?… This is… the real end… The end of the novel… with a sad beginning… (Hardly breaths.) I’m sorry, I just want… I just want someone to remember me, but… but not… not:… comme… commemoratively… To the end of life… Ha-ha… What a stupid life… What a stupid death… Comme…mo…rati…vely… What a shitty life: Comme…mo…rati…vely… (Dies.)

Just at that moment, the bar is filled with a powerful  noise –a green light comes out of Alban’s body, and blows into the ceiling of the bar. Aurel tries to stop the light coming out of Alban’s body with his hands. A body similar to Alban’s is seen from the window.  The body is going towards the blue sky over Prishtina or Tirana. When the floating body disappears, the light going out of Alban’s body stops… Aurel slowly raises his hands from Alban’s lifeless body… An aura of light is seen around his hands…

AUREL: (Quietly.) O, Goodness… We all float on the astral… All of us… Our blessed Father!!!

The end of the play, but the curtains don’t fall – an unending history!!!


[1] In Albanian: You, shiti shit…

[2] In Albanian: You vagabond

[3] In Serbian: You mother fucker

[4] In Turkish: In my toilet…

[5] In Greek:  I love you, I love you in toilet…

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