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The dream begins in a café with two entrances that look like arches or vaulted church doors and are facing each other. The space occupies all of the ground floor of an old house. The house is close to the theatre where I occasionally work. I sit with the director L.B. at one of the round tables. B. is cheerful, as always when in company, a master of his illness; it quickens his life instead of his death: he is playing with it. He orders a drink that is unfamiliar to me, dark brown and heavy. Three young men with empty faces sit down at our table without a word and stare at us. Their eyes have the shrouded gaze that the natives of the dictatorship share. After exchanging glances with the others, one of them addresses me. He pretends to know me. He is from a quarter where for a long time I used to lived. I can’t remember having seen him or having heard of him. He claims to be a composer. In any case, he is adept at talking about music. It is impossible to determine if he is interested in the topic. His face comes alive when he is talking. I am annoyed by his confidential demeanor. It hides a menace. His gaze, when he is opening the curtain behind his eyes, is the touch of a snake. I know this reptilian gaze from conversations with functionaries of the state and the secret police. The composer’s companions belong rather to the species of zombies signified in popular parlance as snitches, an allusion to their snitching squint. At the entrance facing me, Z. has entered, another director who is more famous for scandals than B. at my table for successes. He is staging his entrance with a long gaze all over the space, in the stance of the strategist taking measure of the battlefield on which he wants to conquer. I call out to him, an occasion to break off the conversation with the composer that has been tedious for quite a while now. Z. ignores my calling, our relationship is not friendly at the present, or he could not hear me with the din in the joint and, passing our table without a glance, he leaves through the entrance behind me in the direction of the theatre. With a look at his exit B. says: He is on his way to rehearsal. Then another reality catches up with me. On a narrow muddy path between heaps of trash and rubble I am standing face to face with one of the young men from the café. I remember now that at the table he has offered me a cheap cigar which I didn’t smoke. When I ask him how we got from the café into this waste land, his face contorts itself into the familiar features of a scornful grimace. He picks a broken-off board from the ground and swings it high above his head. At the same time he [End Page 31] performs a wild dance in the splashing mud. Then he freezes for seconds—to me they feel like hours, why don’t I run—takes a wide swipe and suddenly strikes. I can parry the blow, but a nail that sticks out of the board rips my palm. He laughs as he sees my blood, the first sound from him. At the second blow I succeed in yanking the board from his hands. I don’t forget to turn it around and pound the nail into his head. Screaming he tugs the board from the wound, falls face forward into the mud that slowly stifles his voice. The path is a dead end, a wall of trash is blocking it. I take the way back in the direction we, the dead one and I, must have come from at a time that has been erased from my memory. The mud is sucking at my shoes. Frightened by a sound in my back, a hissing or a whisper, I turn around and see my dead one...

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pp. 31-33
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