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Short story Breaking My Bones, written and read by Miha Mazzini

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Hi, my name is Miha Mazzini and I will read you a short story I wrote titled Breaking My Bones It was originally published in 2018 “Me, aggressive, for fuck’s sake, me?” He nodded intensely, as if looking for the belly button on his paunch pressed against the glass table

I suspected there was something wrong with him ever since he informed employees that they could also use the lift reserved just for him Then he stopped parking his Hummer across three parking spaces and yesterday he arrived in a BMW 7 Series, becoming only for someone in charge of a firm of pensioners He looked at me with the eyes of a dying wretch from a silent film “What’s wrong with you?” I asked him “With one of us

” he started, somewhat high pitched, like a shrivelled up slut I seriously wondered whether he had been swapped by aliens – but what would they possibly want with him? “What is it you want?” I hissed, deliberately curling my upper lip, as if smelling the fresh shit of someone who had stuffed themselves on pork the day before “We’ve know each other since primary school

You were quite different then And now” I moved my gaze to the large frame in the middle of the writing desk and the magazine cover in it

His wife was Beauty Queen at some pageant or other in her first year at university; had she known that that in twenty years’ time her husband would much rather look at her as she was then than as she is now, she probably wouldn’t be smiling quite so broadly “What is it you want?” He scowled and looked towards the ceiling, his Adam’s apple trembling slightly A strange explanation dawned on me: “Have you found God?” He shook his head I too looked up and couldn’t see anything but the grille of the air vent: “Are you searching for him?” “No” He stood up, walked across to the open door, took a deep breath and went out onto the terrace

I followed him “I want you,” he spoke in a much louder voice than was necessary, “to be the way you were at secondary school, cool, as we called it at the time” He pushed his hands into the foliage of the cypresses growing in huge flowerpots that lined the railing around half the sixth floor “What are you on about? Tell me loud and clear!” I joined him The town hummed below, cars competing at how to most successfully pollute the air more before sending it up towards us

He spoke so quietly I could barely understand him and had to check I was hearing correctly: “Doctor? What kind of a doctor? A shrink?” He shook his head and his smoothly shaven neck rubbed against his collar There was always something porcine about him; perhaps it was that that attracted me, I only became vegetarian after a heart attack two years ago – not strictly, mind you, after all it was only a mild heart attack He had some good ideas: firstly that Slovenia is a tiny country, a shitty little speck on the map That is why there is no need to produce, leave that to those who have plenty of workers, the Chinese, for example All we will do is have fun

And we did I responded with my own excellent idea: miserable sods can be sold stuff to by other miserable sods, the slick and cool guys need to sell to the state Then it was his turn: warehouses, stock, packing, who needs all that? Let us sell numbers and promises That was how we began to salvage companies, it was a bit like picking up old tin cans that had been thrown onto an ant heap Not a speck of their contents left, all you need to do is blow away the remaining ants and sell off the space they occupied at a premium price

“Doctor?” I repeated He stared at the foliage as if he was about to start grazing on it “A Russian” I could only just hear him above the noise I felt like I was having an otologic examination: “Can you turn towards me and tell me clearly and loudly?” To my surprise, he obeyed, despite stalling his words like caked ketchup: “I wasn’t feeling well My wife recommended this doctor But he is Russian

All the things they developed with astronauts in the Soviet Union They have this device you hold two electrodes and the machine whistles Well

He discovered I was full of negativity And then, very soon, after only five séances, that it’s not my own, but external I was told to bring a personal item for each person in my immediate environment

” “Hang on! Those thefts at the office” I have known him for thirty-five years and did not know he was capable of what I now saw: he blushed “It’s you,” he said, “It took a few months for the Doctor to find out It’s you

All this negativity, this aggression It’s you” “What did you do, stare at a bottle of Vodka until my image appeared?” He gave me an offended look

“Don’t take the piss, this is serious I couldn’t go on like that” He also looked odd ‘Mid-life crisis?’ I thought to myself “What do you want?” I asked him, “Or what is it your Russian guru wants?” He gave me one of those haemorrhoid-sufferer’s looks

“Listen,” he said, “you are the aggressive one, yet it’s me who goes to the meetings with all these losers and me who slowly shoves them towards the edge until I eventually push them over It should be you doing this!” “Oh! That’s not what we agreed,” I hissed, “Fuck off” “Fuck off yourself, I own 51% of the company,” he responded in the expected way and instantly grimaced as if the words were bitter lemons “See, see what you are forcing me into? Insults and negativity!” “Well, what do you suggest? That you fire 51% of Kemintechs staff and I fire the remaining 49%?” He looked at me like father looking at a small child still innocent as to the secrets of the world The Russians fucked up: If I had it my way they would have left Laika on Earth and launched someone else into space

“Are we changing the way we work? Will we stop buying up companies and firing staff?” I asked Thinking hard about what I was getting at, the deep furrow on his brow made it look like a miniature arse crack: “No, not that What would we make money off?” I turned around and went to my own office on the far end of the floor, without a terrace and with a view of the neighbouring building Sometimes that percentage makes a big difference * I knew what would follow, the son of a bitch would have a go at mobbing

The following morning a Kinder Surprise and some sort of New Age card with instructions on how to release your aggression awaited me on my desk When I opened it, out fell a coupon for a free course in meditation My partner had not yet lost it entirely, clearly he didn’t dare give me access to his own guru I kept receiving encouraging e-mails throughout the day, ones that instantly drew my index finger to the Delete-button, but then I started wondering whether he might have planted some important message in amidst the junk and had to sift through all the shit he sent The deadline for solving the Kemintechs problem was approaching and there was no evidence that the majority shareholder would react at all

Then came a day when his car was not in its usual place The space outside the main entrance was empty I stared at the yellow disabled parking sign, thinking at first that he must have actually fallen ill, but then I noticed his BMW I stepped into the circle that represents the wheelchair and it occurred to me that I have known my partner for too long That is why I am unable to see him as he is now, but I see expectations with regard to the past

I felt a pressure descending over me and it took me a while to recognize fear I was taking it all too lightly, the man was having a serious personality crisis If he no longer parks on the closest space and prefers to walk, then he is capable of anything I sent an e-mail to his secretary and he received me straight away I hoped he wouldn’t notice how slowly and clearly I was speaking to him, as if he was retarded: “Tell me what you want?” “It’s for your own good

I want We’ve been working together for years But we don’t know each other, not really We don’t socialize, which is fine That’s fine We spend all day at work, more or less in the same space

Energy is transmitted Well, I’d like to feel better We do, after all, spend more time here than with our families

I’m sorry, I know I apologize I didn’t mean to offend you” I nodded and asked: “You have a guilty conscience?” He frowned again and thought for a while “What for? Everything we do is above board” There was something different about his office, but I couldn’t figure out what

“Please,” he said, “Work on it You must get rid of the negative energy, the Doctor determined that you are inadequately aware of yourself, that you are not in contact with yourself” “Can I meet him?” “No, certainly not You’re not ready for that” “Hmm

What do you pay him?” “What does that matter? Money is not important” “ when you have it

” “Yes, true That’s why you have to have it Money is the measure of freedom” I stared at him “Listen

” he continued, “We’ve worked together all these years I want you to be the way you used to be” “AND WHAT DID I USE TO BE LIKE?” He jumped back, still in his chair

“Sorry,” I said, “OK What did I use to be like?” He gave me a puzzled look “I don’t know Different” “In what way?” As usual when embarrassed, he started poking in his ear with his finger

“I don’t know This is as far as I get in my séances, the thought that you used to be different Let’s get together tomorrow, perhaps I will know by then” * Since my wife has become my ex, I converted the spare room into a space for practicing my electric guitar I kept slamming a single riff until I could no longer feel the tips of my fingers and my thumb started bleeding

It made a mess of the keyboard as I placed an express delivery order for some drums ‘Perhaps I should speak to his wife?’ I suddenly thought After work the following day I drove out to the house in the suburbs and rang the doorbell without prior notice I wanted my visit to have an air of business to it, so I arrived without flowers or a bottle, just condoms Clearly my partner had neglected to give his Russian doctor one of his wife’s personal items, a dildo perhaps

She talked and talked, jumping from one subject to another, hopping from one island peeping out of her deep despair to the next I tried to follow her conversation for a while but then I realized that what she was saying was not important, all that was needed was for me to nod occasionally My schoolmate had always wanted and obtained a trophy wife buy made a mistake of not stuffing her and mounting her above the fireplace straight after the beauty pageant Her body was fine, breast implants, botoxed face, and muscles cultivated by a personal trainer, but at the same time it felt like I was pumping a dummy She lay on the bed and arched her arse as if pretending to be a bicycle parking rack

She lay back down when I came and then started crying; when I wanted to move away she pressed up against me until I stopped I watched the clock by the bed and wondered what we were going to do about this Kemintechs I could fire them all myself, but if I don’t stop my partner’s madness at this early stage, God knows where it could all end? I started calling in on her every day after work Considering the ratio of sex to crying, I had the feeling I was wringing her out rather than fucking her * My partner needed a whole week before awaiting me with a triumphant smile: “I remembered, during yesterday’s séance

I was always the way I am now, but you used to be different” “Well, in what way?” “Do you remember the bird?” “No” He was so satisfied with himself that he almost clapped “Hah, do you remember the trip to that mountain when we were in primary school?” “What trip?” “When we found the bird?” I shook my head “It had fallen out of its nest

We wanted to smash it with a stone, but you stopped us You picked it up and carried it all the way back down to the valley Everybody took the piss out of you” Something started thickening in my memory and he made every effort to try and help me remember “You fed it! It was in the days before the Internet, so you went to the library to find out what you were supposed to feed it

I came round every day and saw how you looked after it Don’t you remember how you tried to teach it to fly?” I grumbled something vaguely at him “You put a dictionary on the table and placed the bird on the edge, pushing it over Remember how it started fluttering its wings?” “Yes” “Well, there! Then you began pushing it off the edge of the table and finally we took it up to the terrace of out block of flats

During yesterday’s séance I held those electrodes and couldn’t believe how vividly that morning has stayed in my memory! Dawn, everything was quiet, you with that black bird in your hands Remember?” “Yes” “And then you said: ‘But it can’t just leave like this Let’s give it a proper send-off! Let’s sing to it!’ and you started singing that Beatles song, Your Bird Can Sing or something like that, but you couldn’t remember the words so you sang Let It Be instead What a morning that was!” I remembered everything: “You got that wrong

” “Oh no! Don’t deny your own kindness!” “OK, So what?” I said “We went to the railings, you stretched out your hand and let go of the bird What a morning!” “It dropped like a stone,” I snapped at him He grimaced with offence: “Don’t be so petty See how your negativity and aggression immediately surface?" I couldn’t take my eyes off his hands that had started shaking

Had I heard correctly? Did he really pronounce it as ‘nyegyativite’ and ‘agriyeshyon’? Was he about to have rolls of Russian subtitles come spurting out of his mouth? He stared at me as if he was about to start throwing up coins “And? What now?” I was becoming impatient “Now all is clear This is a case of In a parallel world I’m here, just as I am now, but you are not You’re out there, being charitable, helping others, you’re a Good Samaritan This is my fault and I feel bad Guilty for having lured you into business instead of charity

You could be in India with Mother Teresa!” “She’s dead” “There, see? See that? The Doctor says that’s typical! Getting bogged down in details, not allowing the truth to liberate you! And because you are not living your life, you are infecting all the rest of us with aggression and negativity!” I caught myself sighing as if sitting on a torture chair We stared at each other and he smiled at me encouragingly “What about Kemintechs?” I asked “They are to be fired

” “Oh, I just love your use of the infinitive When are you going to fire them?” He put on the stricken-father look again: “It can’t be me Really not I’ve put a great deal of effort into achieving a higher level” At that moment I realized what was different in the office and I shuddered with horror: He had removed the portrait of Steve Jobs from his desk * “Please, you go and sack them,” he said, “You need to come to terms with your aggression!” I had to bite my tongue not to start swearing at him “Look,” I began, “I have a suggestion: let’s appoint a director who will” “No,” he protested sharply, “this is between me and you As the Doctor said – we were young when we started and our bones have ossified in a strange way Now we need to break and align them into the correct position” “OK, how many percent of the company are you prepared to give me?” He opened his mouth in surprise

“I can’t do that, then I wouldn’t be the Boss It wouldn’t be fair, I’ve put too much money into starting this up” “Five weeks’ worth of summer pay with me only able to work the four” “Whatever It’s for your own good,” he added

“OK Will you buy my 49%?” “You know I don’t have that amount of money” “Then what do you want?” He rolled his eyes, appalled at the slow-wittedness of my brain * Duple time, faster and faster, until I discovered I was only interested in the transitions One transition after another, faster and faster, until every strain of hair has its droplet of sweat and the T-shirt slaps against the frenzied body

* Amidst the tears she said: “If only I had a child, it would all be different” * “Please go and fire them, it will do you good! The Doctor says that you can close your eyes at the summit of your activation and withdraw into yourself, get in touch with yourself You will see yourself from the outside, as your own double, watch it, he called it: Doppelgänger Because your true self will observe your false self, you will be liberated You will open your eyes and be calm

You will be a different person! You will be your true self! Pure! Perhaps you will even get your family back, or start a new one Please” * How could the E-string snap? It’s the thickest of them all, for fuck’s sake! I started plucking the remaining five and eventually slammed the guitar against the wall I pierced the drumhead on the bass drum I yelled at the guy on the on-line sales helpline and didn’t stop even when I realized he had long hung up

* Investors kept asking what was happening with Kemintechs I forwarded their mails to my partner and in the end also diverted my phone to his number I yelled at the secretary who had forgotten to remind me of a meeting * I pressed my face against the cymbal and allowed the sweat to run across the metal My partner filled my diary with regular daily meetings at nine in the morning, a preaching breakfast on the terrace

When we were having sex, his wife turned around and looked at me without blinking To my relief, she still rolled over onto her belly for the crying She said I was the only person who understood her Perhaps I too should find some imported quack and discover what has happened with all these people? Why are they doing this to me, slandering me and imposing their own perceptions? With everyone picking on me, how else should I be but aggressive? * He requested an additional meeting at noon I had just returned from a visit to his wife

This time she sighed that she wanted to marry me and I admired my own cock for staying hard right to the end despite such a declaration My partner watched the traffic down below and stroked the cypresses He looked like Jesus whose sheep have been stolen “I will accompany you,” he said, wiping his fingers in a handkerchief, “I will go as far as the podium steps with you, stand by your side Because I love you

I realized this during yesterday’s séance” “What do they put in those electrodes?” He dismissively waved his hand “This sarcasm and rejection of yours is only the surface Because you are afraid of the gentleness that will emanate from you when you rid yourself of aggression When you are once more your true self, as you were when you were teaching the fledgling to fly

Come, let me give you a hug!” He opened his arms I closed my eyes Contemplating the reddish firmament sprinkled with shooting stars, I started singing Let It Be with the Holy Mother telling me to let it be, just let it happen, let it be When I opened my eyes there was nobody there to applaud the equanimity I felt

Source: Youtube

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