Crumbs by Miha Mazzini

Book: Crumbs by Miha Mazzini Read Free Book Online
Authors: Miha Mazzini
laughed. He liked the joke. But only him. He found himself caught between two murderous looks. His laughter stuck in his throat.
    â€˜It’s nothing, I was only joking,’ he said and went to thecorner to mend the cassette. Selim went back to looking at Nastassja.
    I drank another beer. The last one.
    Ibro was asleep with the cassette player in his lap. I put the bottle on the top of the pyramid. It fell down. The sound of the rolling bottles knocking against each other accompanied me down the corridor.
    I didn’t feel like jumping through the window. The warden was asleep in his small room. Outside a warm spring breeze was blowing. The smell of sulphur was coming from the foundry.
    I threw up leaning on the fence and stumbled home.
    Tongues of flame shot up through the chimney.

    I was in my blue work suit again. I climbed over the foundry fence, landed clumsily, and stopped to brush the dust off my trousers. Young bodies spilled out of the secondary school across the road. I lit up, leaned on the inside of the fence, and waited.
    Long Legs came past. Our eyes met. I’d noticed her for the first time half a year ago but never got any further than looking. There’d never been a real opportunity. She was nearly as tall as me, with long hair falling down her back. A girl for canoodling with on the sandy beaches of the Seychelles, wherever that maybe.
    I jumped, grabbed the top of the fence, and started climbing up the mesh.
    â€˜Hey you, stop!’ somebody shouted right behind my back.
    The guard.
    I let go and fell back on his territory and with a sad look said goodbye to Long Legs, who was disappearing in the crowd. I ran off. The guard behind me. To my misfortune, he was without an arm.
    Old age had slowed him down. What he lacked for in speed he made up for in stubbornness.
    I zigzagged between heaps of scrap metal. I stopped now and again to wait.
    He always showed up from behind a bend. A crane moved above my head. I threw myself to the ground. The metal spiders legs were a metre above my head. The operator blew his horn. Lying down lost me all my advantage over the guard.
    I ran into a huge building, past a container with bubbling, steaming, thick fluid. And then into the next hall alongside the railway lines.
    He followed me.
    I ran straight into the heat. As if I’d hit a wall. I could hardly distinguish the figures of workers in protective clothing standing around the open door to the furnace. On the wall opposite there was a clothes hanger with some protective clothing next to a lonely picture of a naked woman and the names of two football clubs.
    I wrapped a heavy asbestos coat around my shoulders and put on a hood that covered most of my face. For eyes there were two little windows made of darkened glass.
    I looked around the hall. Somebody was poking the fire with a long metal stick. Two other workers were shovelling coal into the furnace. The fourth one was pushing a trolley along the narrow tracks. I helped him push. We tipped the trolley and emptied the contents into a heap. I turned away from the fire and lifted my hood. The guard was already in the hall. He turned right by the door and went up the metal stairs to the gallery, which ran along the whole wall to the stairs leading down to the exit. I pushed the hood back onto my face. We pushed the trolley to the two workers who started filling it with their shovels.
    â€˜Is that you Egon?’ said my temporary co-worker. He lifted his hat. It was lbro.
    I did the same. A quick look around. The guard wasn’t there anymore.
    I took off the hood and put it under my arm.
    â€˜Hi Ibro. How did you recognize me?’
    â€˜I smelled you.’
    I hadn’t had any Cartier on for two days now. The scent that had been absorbed into my skin must have been brought out by my sweat, which was flowing profusely. I was too used to the smell to notice it.
    Ibro looked shocked.
    â€˜Do you work here, too?’

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