Three Stories about Fuck-Ups
(or Why the Fuck-ups of Others Should Please Us)
Everybody knows that story where Lora is interviewing historian and cabinet minister Bozhidar Dimitrov on the phone, and he says that thing about the fucking Bulgarian people.
I bring it up because soon all memory of it will sink like blueberry jam in linden tea and every attempt to extract it before it has melted away will be impossible, just as it is impossible to fuck up, then turn back time to the exact second before said fuck-up, and play out the situation the right way. Because time cannot be rewound, I’m obligated to gather all of the most important things from it and, like relics, place them in the sarcophagus of my whole life experience.
This is the sort of nonsense that the minister spewed out in the interview, but still it more or less followed the decorous lines of polite conversation. The reason for the interview was that a team of archeologists had found a tiny sarcophagus with bones inside of it on St. John’s Island, just opposite the Gradina Campgrounds, and had stated that these were the remains of John the Baptist – cousin and godfather to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Proving that the remains are authentic can only be done by comparing the DNA found in them with DNA from the Shroud of Turin, and only if beforehand DNA from the blood on the Shroud had been compared with DNA that is known to belong to one of them. In other words, the whole deal could not escape from the vicious circle of uncertainty, and that is why Lora, who is a journalist, called the minister. She wanted to ask him how he had proven the authenticity of the remains: was it through his scientific expertise, through some well-hidden secret known only to the secret services or through divine revelation?
The minister handled the questions wonderfully for the initial five minutes of the interview, without saying anything that would expose him as a complete fraud. He sounded like he knew his stuff and it seemed like both sides had done their jobs. Lora’s job was to plant the seed of doubt for more critically minded listeners, and the minister’s was to convince the less critically minded listeners – if nothing else – that the archeologists did not, in fact, dig up the bones of some simple servant from the nearby Roman baths.
As bad luck would have it, just when the interview was coming to a close, Mr. Dimitrov’s other phone began to ring impudently. The minister grew very frustrated with the insolent caller on the other end of the line, but because of a well-known peculiarity of the human psyche, he diverted his anger towards the object that was currently occupying his consciousness, namely: towards everyone who doubted the authenticity of the remains. He did this with words that were anything but kind, and most papers quoted him as follows:
“What, for Christ’s sake, is all this malice? That’s what I fail to understand about these fucking Bulgarian people, about these colleagues of mine, the fuckers. Their constant backbiting, why?! We Bulgarians are really going to be the death of one another!”
In defense of the minister, I would like to point out the following.
It’s just awful when, while you are talking on one phone, your other one rings. This has been grounds for getting into fights with people who did not deserve it at all but who had the misfortune of phoning me on my second cell while I’m already talking on the first one. Not to mention those who call me on one phone first and when they hear the line’s busy, immediately start nagging me on the other one. For these people the word “fuckers” is a fucking understatement.
But the phone is not the problem I want to concern you with. The most awful thing here is that this miniscule detail (the telephone ringing) could lead to such a remarkable fuck-up. Some people just cannot understand why the minister’s words are a fuck-up, but the mere existence of such people only supports the minister’s argument about the fucking Bulgarian people.
The other two stories which I would like to share in this regard and which please me the way only the fuck-ups of others can (this confession, on the other hand, supports the minister’s argument about us being the death of one another) are the following:
Once this guy wanted to show off to his girlfriend what a big shot he was and promised to get her some speed for a really wild party at Renesanz.
The chick was one of those ever-bitching creatures who would suck your dick for two lines and who was occupied with only speed and dicks on the weekends, while the rest of the time, Monday through Friday, she would sit around wondering why her life was so shitty, annoying, and devoid of all meaning. In this, however, she had the good luck to run into our guy, who, besides working in an office Monday through Friday, wanted to look like a big shot the rest of the time.
His friends helped him with the number of a speed dealer. They warned him to prepare the money beforehand and not to fiddle with his wallet on the spot (not that the guy didn’t know that) so as not to look suspicious. They also told him that it would be good for him to have a little chat with the dealer when they meet. It was important for them to look like they were old buddies, they told him, because if there were cops around they would look like old buddies, and not like a pusher of illegal substances and his customer. You can talk about the weather or whatever you like, shit, any stupid thing you can think of, it doesn’t matter, nobody’s gonna be listening anyway.
Our guy sort of knew his way around but he was still slightly worried. It was the blackout period before the Parliamentary elections the following day, in which the people elected the abovementioned minister.
The guy carefully selected his lines. He thought about saying that it was the blackout period and that’s why he needed the speed, but decided that was dumb, because the dealer would justifiably take him for an idiot, because, in his mind, only idiots vote. Our guy did intend to continue pleasing the ever-bitching creature, which he had fucked at some afterparty two weeks before, which would necessitate further and more frequent meetings with the dealer and creating mutual trust with him.
Our guy tossed out the idea of talking about the weather, but if he tried to talk about the dealer’s car or ask him what his name was, he might seem suspicious. He thought about talking about some game, but there were none being played at the time. He decided to say that the Arabs, just as they slice kebab from the skewer today with their great big knives, could just as easily slice off the heads of Christians with them tomorrow. This would do for a chat and our guy kept practicing the receiving and handing off.
He was holding the money in his hand, folded between his index finger and thumb, and practiced at home slipping them into the dealer’s palm while they shook hands. He thought of all kinds of scenarios, but not to completely bore you, I will just say that he met with the dealer, exchanged the merchandise for the money, and everything went smoothly. The Arabs and their great big knives did not even come up, mainly because the dealer was a bit on the dark side himself.
With his anxiety gone, our guy headed home, quite quickly at that, to get rid of the troubling load, which felt hot in his front left pocket. On the way, walking down the narrow sidewalk, some woman was slowly ambling along with some bags in both hands. Our guy was somewhat impatient, and the woman did not know where she should go exactly. First she went left, then right, our guy bumped into her, but gently. She pushed him lightly with her hand and exclaimed “Watch where you’re going, boy!” Our guy, still a little nervous about the deal, although usually he did not behave this way, pushed her not too hard and said: “watch where you’re going!”
The woman, however, turned out to be quite decrepit, so she lost her balance and fell to the ground bags and all with a loud thump. This gave our guy a real scare, even more so because the woman started crying for help, howling like a trumpet as if trying to bring down the nearby apartment buildings like the walls of Jericho. She screamed “my arm, my arm!” since she had somehow managed to fall on her arm. Our guy began apologizing and helping her up. At that moment, however, two men arrived on the scene and grabbed him under the arms, what are you, a thief, they called the police and two officers arrived two minutes later and took everyone involved in the conflict down to the station. There, they emptied our guy’s pockets of his belongings and discovered that which we already know he bought earlier.
Another guy decided to propose to his girlfriend at Tobacco, where they had met a couple of years earlier. He spoke personally to Yasen Petrov, the DJ, to cut the music sometime around eleven so that her friends could sing “Happy Birthday” and so that he could propose to her that they join in matrimonial union before the state by giving her an engagement ring. It was supposed to be him, his girlfriend, her friends, since it was her birthday, and the ring was going to be a kind of a present along with himself.
Our guy was also nervous because his girlfriend was not too sure about him. But two years was a point when you had to decide to make a move or leave.
He bought a white gold ring with a little diamond for nine hundred bucks from the jewelry store Altınbaş with the option of selling it back if she declined the proposal. He went to Tobacco, partied with their little group, and by eleven he had already drunk three vodkas.
At precisely eleven o’clock, Yasen Petrov cut the music, her friends sang “Happy Birthday” and there it was: the moment of truth.
The guy got up, the club had fallen silent due to the lack of any music, in any case it hadn’t been a fun night and it was obvious that after the birthday song, the young couple standing amidst the crowd were the ones who would make it interesting.
In front of everyone, the guy got down on one knee, opened the box with the ring and asked his girlfriend to marry him. She screamed and ran to the bathroom, but came back within the minute ashamed, it was an emotional reaction, just like the one by the aforementioned minister. But she did not say either yes or no. Instead she said, “Let me think a bit,” which went one for five minutes, and in that time our guy drank another vodka.
Then she said “Yes!”
Oh, the euphoria and partying that followed. And for our guy, also the relief, which made him start binge-drinking vodka. People patted him on the back, and he explained to all of his girlfriend’s girlfriends how he had set up all of it and how unsure he was and how it’s so awesome. He was the center of attention, which over the last two years of his relationship hadn’t happened often.
At one point he started talking to a girlfriend of his girlfriend who at one time he wouldn’t have minded fucking and who perhaps also showed some kind of interest in him. But it was too late for all that, and, to make it up to her, he started telling her how he had wondered which one of them to hit on when she and his girlfriend were at Tobacco two years ago, but she had a boyfriend and it turned out that he did not have much of a choice in the matter. “Of course this doesn’t mean anything, but I just want you to know that,” he said.
She already knew it because he had already mentioned that on several occasions whilst drunk. Besides, she was fairly drunk herself, and as they were talking, their conversations started getting more intimate and detailed, and when they were really shitfaced, somewhere around half past two, they started making out in the ladies’ bathroom. They went into the stall where they rather uncomfortably commenced fucking.
It has already been mentioned that this friend was the friend with whom the bride-to-be went out most often, and, naturally, the two, as women often do, went together to the bathroom all the time. For ten years the two had gone to the bathroom together so often that their friends started saying that they had synchronized their bladders. This, of course, was untrue and not funny at all, the truth of the matter was that when one of them wasn’t in the club, the other felt the urge to go to the bathroom, just so as not be by herself, even if there were other people she knew around.
This is just what happened this time. The bride-to-be went to the bathroom in Tobacco, indignantly waiting in front of the green door on the other side of which you could hear moaning, and when after the moaning had stopped and the door opened, she saw her friend and her ex-/future husband coming out and shamefully straightening up their clothes.
Now, I know that some rather unintelligent person is going to ask what the moral of these stories is.
The moral, my kind reader is…
On second thought, I strongly doubt that all of my readers are kind. It is statistically impossible. Some reader may have opened this book, say, right after he’s fucked his mother up the ass without her consent, and to call him “kind” along with everybody else is just too much. So, if I am to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by those who absolutely demand some kind of moral to this story, I would have to place you all in that very same gauntlet, together with that reader who was rude and disrespectful towards his own mother. I won’t do that, but so as not to completely disappoint those who need someone else’s guidance in this complicated and poorly thought-out world, let them have the following moral. Do not buy drugs, do not offend the Arabs, don’t have two cell phones, and don’t fuck your girlfriend’s friends. Or your mother, of course, but everybody knows that.
To everyone else who knows that a moral is not something that can be applied like a matrix to every case, stories are a reminder that a fuck-up can be hiding under any of the identical cobblestones we step on and it is waiting for us to step on it so that it can splash its muddy water on us.
If we step carefully enough on the cobblestones or if we have the good fortune not to come across any fuck-ups ever, we will still die in the end, and death is the greatest fuck-up of all. This is why I think that it is better for us to applaud other people’s fuck-ups with malicious joy rather than pretending that the fuck-ups of others disturb us.
 Bozhidar Dimitrov was a minister without portfolio. He had been recruited to work for the Bulgarian Secret Services during the communist era. He has also stated that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him in a dream.