The old nurse bitch with flabby tits threw three white pills to the table then turned away, grumbling “drink yourself to death”. I took a sip of water with these pills then fell asleep, hardly breathing.
It’s 6 a.m, the rain still heavily crashed into the roof, the balcony, the old asphalt ground. The crunchy sound reminded me of the drinking mate chewing his portion of dog cartilage the other night. Feeling hungry, I went down to the stinking hospital canteen to swallow a steaming bowl of congee with hot pepper. Partially recovered. Then I had myself a cup of piss-like brown coffee and drew in a few cigarettes, while the rain slowly subsided. I bought a 5 bucks flimsy raincoat and started my walking exercise as per instruction from the doctor yesterday afternoon
Getting through the park, our very own big governmental buildings, slum quarter, ponds and lakes. The rain resumed its old rhythm, possibly faster and heavier . The sound of dog cartilage-chewing monotonously resonated. The water began to rise, and it reminded me of the time when I was scouting girls in the Western countryside. Time when I skipped school and went off wandering with some of my mates in the water-covering Western, how funny was it. The sights before my eyes right now nearly captured Western scene, only lack of girls with paddles and excessive in trash.
Now and then, you heard somebody shout “Fuck your mother, fucking uneducated!”. People passing by cursing each other for splashing dirty water. T.V morning news reported about bad weather condition. Some people sighed, some swear at the TV guys for “doing shitty weather forecast” or “only warning when the water is up your fucking neck”. The kids seemed to be extremely happy, so did I. Not because I had a chance to walk under the rain watching yellow leaves fall or drifting paper boat or some bullshit. I was happy to see those people swearing at each other in tough manner and moaning…
Insensibility is the “greatest disease” that I have seen after three year living in this crappy city. Insensibility in greetings, before a fire or an accident, insensibility even with respect to ourselves. I, definitely not a good man, but I surely acknowledge my competence of insensibility. I have to learn much more in order to be capable of existing in this place. I surely know that!
Last week, the same scene of damp rain , I was late on my daily routine to the company, so I decided to speed up a little bit. At the crossroads, I bumped into a car driving contrariwise and an old woman (of my mother’s age) crossing the road. I dodged the old woman’s way and therefore, hit the sidewalks, the old woman tried to get out of my way, then hit the car. No one was to blame because the traffic signal at the crossroad was dead. The old woman laid at the zebra crossing with a bleeding leg. The car took off.
After checking the old woman’s wound and helped her to the sidewalks, I mounted my bike and ran after the car. The driver drove quite slow, and I made sign towards him for about five times, asking him to scroll down windshield to talk. He looked at me, in insensibility, like looking at a shoeshine boy. His face raised upwards as if he just got out of the fucking toilet. When he stopped at red light, I approached the car and stroke hard into the windshield with my fist. My hands endured a sharp pain, but inside, I felt a great relief like taking a piss after ten pints of beer. And up until this very minute, the driver stepped off the car.
“Fuck you, what do you want, blah blah blah…”
“I don’t want any fucking thing, but the old woman must be hospitalized”
“So fucking what?”
“You hit her and must be responsible before I call the cop”
“You fucking dog just smashed my windshield”
“Thanks! I am pleased to be a dog if you’re willing to be a human. I’ll pay you for the damages after you show me how human you fucking are”
The driver brushed rainwater off his shoes then drove back to the old woman. By this time, there is already a crowd consisted of office goers, market goers and school goers, gathering and staring at the victim. I heard the senseless exclamations that usually omitted from the barking mouth of the flabby-butted accountant bitch at my office.
“Oh, how poor she is…”
“How unfortunate she is…”
“Who goddamn fucker hit that old lady then took off? …”
The crowd, pointing and uttering like they are watching an ape masturbating in his cage. I helped the old woman to this guy’s ridiculously aromatic car. He tossed her a bunch of tissue to use as haemostatic bandage. I gave him my business card with my phone number.
“You carry her to the hospital and take care of the rest. I will pay compensation for the windshield”
The ape-masturbation-watching crowd began to disperse to continue its daily routine to office, market or school. To me, it was really an emotional morning passed by in insensibility …
I have to learn, not foreign languages, not brand-new designing software, but an utter, plain and simple insensibility of the people here. I have to!
While thinking about that morning, I was approaching the café that I needed to go to. I climbed to the upper floor, and my favorite seat still not taken.
The rain continued to chew the dog cartilage. By my fifth cigarettes, there were two couples getting in. They are of my age, I guessed so. The two girl dressed so cheaply that they looked like urban whore. Actually, these days you cannot tell between the whore and the not-whore. You’d better think that they’re whore, for whore is even more noble (I will explain sometimes later to let you know how noble are them whores). The two guys looked pale and whimsy, just like all the guys who carry a considerable amount of bucks here. Because the café was quite small, I had no other choice but listening to their bullshit. They blabbered about the last night-out, accusing the other gangs of not being stylish and being rustic and so on. The two whores sounded cutting and rude. Yes! That’s what I forgot. In this place, I can only see people being emotional when they accuse the others. Very, very fucking emotional!
I tried to swallow a couple of rants about clothing then asked for the bill. The last thing I heard from a whore with raw-dog-sausage hair color talking to her guy was:
“fuck knows who’s going to be more patriotic if a war breaks out”
I really did not mention how their patriotism-themed argument was created, but upon thinking, I saw that they were right. Them whores were more patriotic than those guys, because they have what that country needs.
I headed on to the streets with the flimsy raincoat. The lake had submerged the street. I soaked myself in the water and passed through the dumping ground. I started to feel cold and craved for a fire, or to be exact, I wanted myself to get burnt. And then I started to burn, for real! Smokes rose upon my head, under my armpit and expanded to my crotch. But I could not see the fire. And then I thought that it would be better not to burn under heavy rain, so I snuffed out the fire by soaking myself deeper into the water. At this very minute, the boss called me to get back to the company to copy some files for him. This guy talk English in German tongue, very hard to figure out what is what. I could only understand the word “copy”. I put out completely the smoke in my crotch and then caught a cab back to the office.
bản dịch tiếng Anh của Phạm Nguyên Hải (tự là Hải cave )