When Mother plonks herself down at the rickety outdoor restaurant table to wait for Father, I am warmed by the two hundred-crown notes I liberated from her wallet. Two years after divorcing him, she is handing me over. She tells me she loves me but. My teacher has reported on my absenteeism, the police on the newspaper kiosk robbery accusation; in my room she finds her long-lost ruby ring, the rubbers, my teacher's glasses.
In the family meeting she cries. “You are fourteen, Mirko. What has become of you? Reform school or your father's?”
She orders a beer, switches to mineral water. I order a beer, watch her look, laugh. She glances over, cannot stand the sight. I start whistling “All You Need Is Love”. “You could…try a little,” she exhales.
In the bathroom I throw the toilet paper in the garbage, take the lid off the tank. When I return, Father is with her, face stinking with cheer. “So, how have my two favorite people in the world been?” he asks.
Her eyelid twitches. “You have to do it, Lado.”
“Aaah, don't you worry. He's a chip off the old block. I'll show him what he needs.”
Rising, she knocks her chair over. “Maybe he'd be better off in reform school after all.” But they agreed: they will try the father.
She pats my arm. “Call me if…”
I nod. “You will bail us out, won't you, sweet Mami?”
All rights reserved.
Mirko is a hoodlum occupying a part of my mind, who has been screaming recently to tell his own story. This is one of about ten stories about him, none of which have seen the light of day until now.
A revised version of this story appears on 52/250, theme "to the core".