Pušiona: Izlazak na svjetsko tržište
DRAGI ČITATELJI, toliko sam se oduševio Vladinom reklamnom kampanjom da su mi najprije suze krenule niz obraze od sreće. Kad sam vidio da smo nakon svih tih godina muka postali bogtejebo stabilan i jak europski čimbenik.
Pun oduševljenja, odmah sam poželio izići na svjetsko tržište. Javio sam se na Vladin projekt "Otvorena vrata" Tamo su me dočekale sve same seksi i nasmiješene tajnice spremne da mi ispune svaku želju. To je izgledala ovako.
- Dobar dan, ja želim izići na svjetsko tržište.
- Odlično, odlično, baš nam je drago zbog vas. Čime?
- Preveo bih Pušionu.
- Hm, dobro, ali s kojim ciljem?
- Pa osvojio bih svjetsko tržište autohtonim domaćim proizvodom, onda bi se sve svjetske firme htjele reklamirati na Index-u, onda mi ne bi imali frke s vašim tužbama i živjeli sretno sve do stoljeća sedmog, a možda i dulje.
U Vladi su bili oduševljeni mojom idejom i odmah su mi odobrili sredstva za prevođenje Pušione. (Dobro, nazvao sam rođaka koji je nazvao frenda koji je nazvao…, ali to nije tema ovog teksta.)
Uglavnom, možete pročitati verziju za američko tržište. U Vladi su odabrali onu koja svijetu najbolje prezentira našu domovinu.
DENIS LALIĆ: CHAIN-SMOKING
A Letter to the Homeland from Ljubljana
It was just another Saturday, no different from any other. It was around six o’clock in the afternoon. We sat on Loki’s balcony on the 21st floor of his building and watched our homeland down below. For us, it was just another Saturday, but the homeland seemed visibly peaceful, and it felt somewhat similar to the calm before the storm. Tomorrow, there are elections in the homeland.
We ran out of pot, Loki, doctor Joke and me, and that was unusual. As I said, there was something wrong with that yet another regular Saturday. So we called Kuki.
"Hey, man, have you got some weed?
"For sale or …"
"Whatever. So, have you got it or not?"
"I’ve got nothing for sale, but I have two joints here if you wanted."
"Your place or ours?"
"I’ll come to your place, I have a car."
"Ok, see ya."
And so, we stayed there, on the balcony, and watched our homeland, two of us from Split, Loki from Imotski, and Kuki from Herzegovina was about to join us. I mean, I didn’t care, when you are stoned you don’t give a flying fuck for the nation or ambition, but it is important for the rest of the text.
We watched our homeland falling into quiet pre-election sleep. We didn’t find it interesting, especially since we ran out of weed. In fact, there was always something wrong with the homeland when I was not stoned.
Kuki crashed into the flat. We made two joints and continued to stare into our homeland down bellow. What a drag, what a tragedy, how boring, how dull. The elections are tomorrow.
"Where should we go?" asked Kuki.
"I have no idea, OTV or SKUC? Some pre-election thing is there," I said.
"Hey, are you going to vote?" he asked.
"No," we answered unanimously, "You?" we asked him.
"Nope. I tried to get the documents to vote here, but the procedure is so screwed up that I don’t wanna fuck around with it," he said.
"You’re right, and I don’t feel like going home just because of that shit," I agreed with him.
Silence. We looked at each other.
"They really suck," said Loki, "They could have installed some scanners and plugged them into the system so that we could vote wherever we wanted, this is really bullshit, really."
"Screw it, our homeland is some hundred years behind the rest of the world," I said, "It’s way less hustle to go to Ljubljana and vote at the consulate there, than get the papers from Split."
They looked at me.
"What do you mean?" someone asked.
"Well, you can go to Ljubljana, let’s say, you found yourself in a foreign country by accident and you go to the consulate and vote. The only thing you need is a passport," I explained.
"Shall we go?" asked Kuki.
"Well, it’s the same shit. You’ll give me some money for the gas, we’ll get there tonight, stay at some party until the morning, then we’ll vote and go home," said Kuki.
"Have we got enough money?" asked Loki.
"We’re ok," said Joke and me.
"Great! We’re going to Ljubljana!" Loki exclaimed.
Before we got into Kuki’s Audi with Herzegovinian license plates, we went to the ATM and withdrawn almost one thousand kunas each. Slovenia, here we come!
The moment we crossed the border, we stopped at the first gas station where we exchanged our money into Slovenian tolars and then bought a pack of beer and started drinking. There I learned the first lesson about United Europe. Beer in Europe and in our country tastes the same. Strange, isn’t it?
We arrived to Ljubljana at around nine. People were walking in the streets, all looking nice, pretty, civilized and looked at us as if we were a bunch of idiots just because we smoked in the street. I mean, we didn’t smoke grass, just regular cigarettes, nevertheless, they still looked at us as if we were fucking jerks.
"Ah, this Europe is so boring," Kuki said.
" Yeah, well, fuck it, here we are and now what?" I said.
We entered a bar and wanted to order some drinks when a waiter gave us a funny look. He said in a fluent Slovenian that the bar closes in half an hour. We were looking at him as if we were a bunch of idiots. He explained that the downtown closes early and that the parties move to clubs. We asked where we should go and he gave us the address.
"Fucking Europe," Loki said, "They are going to close our fucking town at eight in the evening!"
"Belgrade is great," I said.
We got into that club the waiter told us about. They played drum ’n’ bass in there and Loki, Kuki and Joke, being techno freaks, went nuts. I enjoyed it. We breezed into the crowd and started dancing. Slovenian girls were great. They were almost as good as the girls from Belgrade. I mean, they were not afraid of me and they wanted to screw around with me. Especially when they realized I was Dalmatian.
I danced with one of them and asked her where we could get some drugs. I told her that money was not the problem. She was back shortly with eight ecstasy pills and four acids. We gave her the money and took ecstasy for starters.
"Greeeeaat!!!" we screamed at the top of our lungs, drum ‘n’ bass was still playing loud, breaking us into pieces and making every movable part of our bodies take its own political course, but, nevertheless, it seemed as if they were all parts of one coalition.
There I learned the second very important lesson about United Europe. Ecstasy in Europe and in our country kick in just the same. Strange, isn’t it?
We danced, each of us with our own Slovenian girl. It was brilliant. I thought about the homeland. I mean, I though about it in the ’fuck the homeland’ sense. In that sense I thought about the Slovenian girl and the expansion of European unity.
It was six o’clock in the morning, the ecstasy party was slowly losing its power and the waking up from the European dream was about to begin, and that was not good. The ecstasy cried for reinforcement, they needed to form a coalition with something pro-European. Acid.
I was looking at the three of them. They were bending as if they were spineless. The MDMA-LSD coalition had the power over them. I swallowed the acid and let it take me some place beautiful. I watched the disco stars; I watched the floor – it began breaking as if it was made of water. I was at the beach.
It was night. I was lying on the beach hugging the Slovenian girl, the waves reached my knees, I closed my eyes and began dreaming the European dream. It was fantastic. The MDMA-LSD coalition was capable of achieving what other coalitions could only dream of. And if I had voted for it in Slovenia, the European dream would be about to become real in front of my very eyes. I felt it in the every cell of my body, then I fell apart to become one with Europe, it was so warm, moist, brilliant, as if I were in the fucking middle of my dear mother’s womb waiting to be born.
We were at the Slovenian girl’s flat. All four of us. The Slovenian girl and her friends were there with us. They laughed at us. They thought we were fucking around with them when we told them why we had come there.
The MDMA-LSD coalition fucked us up thoroughly. We were not sure which Universe we were in, let alone which country. It needed to be overthrown. We elected THC, the most reliable party in this region. I mean, it was the best in stabilizing the situation. We slowly turned ourselves off. Each of us dreamt his own dream. Far away from the homeland and the pre-election silence.
We woke up at around five o’clock in the afternoon. I gave my telephone number to the Slovenian girl so that she could call me if she spent the following summer in Dalmatia. She gave me her number. We asked her where the Croatian consulate was. She laughed. She said she had no idea.
We went outside. After a three-hour search, we gave up on voting. The consulate was nowhere in the fucking sight. We could not run into it, probably because of the acid or something. We had a few coffees, wandered a bit around Ljubljana, spent the rest of our money and hesitated whether to go back or look for the consulate a bit more.
It was eight in the evening. We headed back for the homeland. They had to, they worked the following morning. We were driving back to Zagreb and somewhere half-way there I took out my cell phone and called my editorial office.
"What’s the status?" I asked.
The voice on the other end said: "The Croatian Democratic Union swept everybody."
"You're bullshitting me."
"No, seriously, as it seems, they are going to get more than 60 seats in the parliament alone, and the Croatian Party of Rights won eight seats."
"Yes, Sanader is the new prime minister, Rachan already congratulated him, and they counted only eight per cent of votes."
"What a jerk! He’s going to form a coalition with Sanader in the end."
We hung up.
"What’s up?" Kuki asked.
"Nothing, the Croatian Democratic Union won," I said.
"Fuck it, now all those jerks from Herzegovina and Imotski are going to be back in power," said Kuki from Herzegovina.
"Yes, fuck it, what a mess!" said Loki from Imotski.
I watched them.
"Kuki, stop the car!"
"Why?" he asked.
"I’m staying here."
"Come on, stop bullshitting! What the fuck is wrong with you?! Is the acid still hitting you?"
We fought for a couple of minutes, and then he got fed up with it, stopped the car and let me out. I got out of the car somewhere in the middle of some dark nowhere and I wanted to sing: "Oh, my comrades are you sorry, sorry, sorry, this is the end of our glory, glory, glory, end of our glory," but they already got lost on their way back to the homeland.
I hitchhiked my way back to Ljubljana and got there at around five in the morning, then I wandered around Ljubljana with some three hundred kunas in my pocket until the morning, and then called my Slovenian girl.
I am staying at her place for now, at least until I find a place of my own or until they deport me out of the country. And until that happens, dear readers, you are going to read the letters to the homeland written in Ljubljana downtown in some cyber café that I still do not want to advertise for free.
I wish you lots of luck!