Zed Publications: 30
First Novel Series: 7
1. print edition: August 1999
Cover photo credit: Armagan Tekdoner
Illustrations: Tuna Haim
Editing: Ali Murat Atay
To dear Hakan
© Zed Yayın & Armağan Tekdöner
Ukrainian Girlfriends at Pendik and the Pendulum
Dance Till Dawn, Continuity
Slow with Selma
Belly Dance among Friends
Ashes of a Fire
I only caused his death, do not call my method treacherous, avoid descriptive adjectives please. If you try to stab a person facing him not from the back, you only decrease the probability of your success and will hardly be a hero even if you accomplish frontally. What I mean is that, classifying the murders by adjectives like “abject” or “felonious”, reminds me of categories like “heroic murders” or “virtuous murders”. An approach at least as contradictory by definition as the term “living dead”.
Is the whole humanity not made up of two categories of idiots? Namely the ones who are aware of their idiocies, and the others who are not. Only because of this main distinction, life is so unpredictable, sometimes the affable ones win, sometimes the incompatibles. You will soon see whose words should be taken seriously.
That notorious ballroom once more, full of crowd-artists taking the form of my friends. The dance contest was going on and like all other contests, the winner of this insignificant contest was also pre-known. So what really was getting on my nerves was, not the result but the process.
– I should dance to death tonight.
Here, I have to remind you, there are always hidden attempts beyond certain types of activities to surpass the apparent aim. Just consider some almost synonymous examples: friendliness = toadyism, fun = continuous boastfulness, love = sticking on each other like glue. Please also note that I am not a jealous person. Yes, of course, I did my best to avoid that place, while we were aimlessly wandering in the old town.
– I should dance to death tonight.
Serap, the tipsy and wonderful creature, was repeating this over and over. However, I was unable to stand that cursed thing called dancing and would not tolerate the risk of a dance contest which had already started. I would stop this stupidity by any means.
Trying to look sympathetic, while talking about the existence of more meaningful ways of enjoyment, I was also mentioning the expensiveness of the ballroom, as well. Just at the moment the group started to hesitate about going to dance and the route was changed according to my suggestions...
– Can you spare me a 10p brother?
A street urchin, at the wrong time!
– No son.
– 10p brother...
– Get lost!
– You’re getting lost beside that girl taller than you.
Accompanied with this street urchin and his valuable comments, we found out that the place I suggested and we were heading to was closed. Briefly speaking, that was how we ended up in the usual ballroom.
Everybody was dancing happily, along with those awful songs. I would not surrender, I would fight like lions, would dance more carefully than everybody and would win the contest. Besides, there was no point in drinking too much.
I understood the impossibility of this –not to stay without much drinking but to win- at the 17.
second and already ordered my second drink. With the thought of “I must start boring conversations to interrupt the events,” I spoke to Serap:
– How does the digestive system of frogs work?
– Uh-huh, you are so funny.
– I am serious.
– Stop all the nonsense now.
– None of you are interested in proper subjects.
And the conversation, I mean, my part in the conversation, lasted this much.
Other than Serap –indisputably the most beautiful girl there- anything can be discussed.
Serap? A very strong character, only 22, 1.75 cm tall, graduated in chemical engineering, blunt enough to wear a wonderful and white mini skirt while everybody else was so badly dressed that night. If you are one of those who says “When it comes to women, I do not care about the character”, I condemn you, because Serap is different. Well-dressed... I mean I do not remember the details of her clothing because of visualising her naked.
I hope you have now realised in general what character means and you attach enough importance to that.
True, actually I was fond of her but Ferhat the knight has already locked on the target. I was dreaming while the guy was working.
– Remzi, you’re so funny tonight.
– Haa haah hah.
Only my own doggish sounding voice replied him.
Ferhat, with his usual sincere smile, was staring me in the eyes warmly. To describe his manners, I should say he is a sincere believer of his own sincerity show-offs. He really perceives himself as a perfect hero, as a sort of prince with a white horse. Although he lacks a white horse or a prince’s certificate, he knows how to make the others think he has them. His expertise is being above everybody else, he never comes down.
Still he is not the sort of animal I would like to watch while dying in a trap. I still had to give him a chance.
Everybody, superficially joyful, was working for the love that would emerge between Ferhat and Serap, or was I mistaken? Our good friend Ertan, others –I mean our crowd-artist friends- waiters, orchestra members, the whole world, including the street urchin outside.
Ferhat and Serap managed to find seats next to each other, using every trick possible. They accomplished this very easily I have to admit: the moment we entered the ballroom, Ferhat chose a chair and Serap chose another, right next to him. My intelligently developed plan to attain the same purpose, was to watch those who would be seated first, to slide next to Serap the moment she would sit, after having pretended to sit somewhere else in order not to attract suspicious looks, to make room for another friend. Darn!
The moment they sat, was the moment when Ferhat’s meaningless and boring jokes’ began.
While Serap was continuously smiling, I was also getting stupidly intoxicated with her laughter. Something should be done to change the mood and eventually I chanced my arm:
– Is one kilo of cotton harder or one kilo of iron?
– Ouf! You are terribly annoying Remzi!
This shot also kicked back. I was hoping to influence her by some scientific subjects. (One more error. Not every woman is Madame Curie. Or very few are, or maybe there was only one in history. Has such a woman ever lived?) I would examine Serap about mass and density concepts of chemistry but inequality in opportunity should be called that position. When the ball was under my feet, the audience was throwing bottles or the ground was getting slippery, the referee was supporting the other, it was starting to rain cats and dogs, briefly, I was losing the battle I would have won, at the conference table.
Ferhat, the good guy, intervened:
– Serap don’t say that to Remzi, he is joking. What did you say Remzi, you’re ironing the cotton fabrics?
The good guy beat the bad guy again and Serap gave a sexy laughter. (I did not know, this would echo in my ears later.) And I was trying to laugh too.
The same doggishness of my voice was reinforcing the hatred in my mind. “Such a disgusting night!”
– You can have your tequila, my boy.
I swear to you, the way the waiter addressed me, turned out to be the final decision for Ferhat’s execution. It was no one but him who transformed me into a Turkish bath catamite and the waiter was helping him. His self confident glances which even do not condescend to be contemptuous, his high spirit who helps a poor loser, what more can I say? I would make him experience the scene he loves best: the heroic DEATH of a hero.
Serap dragged Ferhat towards the centre. After having twisted her body eye to eye with him for a while, she pulled me to join them, thanks to Ferhat’s insistence. Otherwise she would already start ignoring me, if it was up to her. As if my presence was worse than my absence, I mean as if my absence was good and my presence was bad, something like that. She was an imbecile, a weak character.
– Hey, we’re here to dance, come on!
I shouted with joy to conceal my grudge: a sad moan.
Other crowd-artists were on the stage, altogether challenging the gravity, flying away by love hurricane, (hardly exceeding 1 cm height) walking in space. Why was their love causing hurricanes in other minds? Okay, I might be experiencing an hurricane in the reverse direction but what about the other drunks?
Some of us were intoxicated with love and some others with alcohol. Intoxication with hatred, unlike these, keeps one alive, reinforces relentless counter-attacks and disgraces more. Although I was coping with the situation without being disgraced, everyone should not be expected to be so successful. The success story was as follows:
My steps towards Serap instantly proved to be a very harmonious show: all my steps attempting to approach her were being reciprocated by an inverse step, to escape from me, by the same distance. I was advancing like a donkey, trying to catch the food placed in front of its mouth through a stick. I was breaking the tequila glass with a flick of the finger in my imagination and was grinning idiotically in reality. That was how, under difficult conditions, being disgraced should be avoided and a desirable result would be achieved.
We were around the table, once again. While thinking about getting lost, I was ordering more drinks and sticking to the table like a fly. Of course a fly might have reasons better than mine but that was the situation. Ferhat was broadcasting his past victories:
– Then my friends, I explained to them, I said that... you talk like that today, but...
– Puff Remzi, what is the matter again making you grin?
Serap was in charge of being Ferhat’s guardian angel. I decided to flee by leaving the table silently, pretending to go to the WC. I skip the small details such as while leaving the table, I have spilled my drink, have overturned my chair and have caused other insignificant accidents.
Important facts were, Ferhat and Serap holding each other’s hands under the table, my witnessing this and the sweat of money in my hands that was not paid because I could not move.
Home sweet home! Well, of course it would be sweet, as it had no other choice. I was not thinking that the walls would play a trick or the armchairs would refuse me. Still, I could only calm down after having kicked the wall, rubbed my foot. Besides, I needed to be sweet, not the house.
Ukrainian Girl Friends at Pendik and the Pendulum
Let me explain my project to you, without wasting time on details of weeks long preparations.
In summary, brother Ferhat –whom I decided to refer with more respect from now on as he will be promoted to the rank of martyrdom- is to be trapped.
The outline consists of two main topics:
• Presentation of the fishing-line (Double fishing-line system will be employed.)
• Execution (By means of a pulley system.)
P.S. The trial has taken place during his absence and no time has been wasted with appeal.
Everything worked perfectly. You will be shocked to see how different is Pendik from the ballroom and smoothness of the operation is going to surprise you. Do not take it as a hunters’ bravado, it actually was an easy hunt.
I recorded the whole conversation that night. While playing the audio cassette, I will pause frequently in order that you understand what means what. And here comes my joyous voice:
– Hello Ferhat, how are you man?
– Hey Remzi! And you?
What a friendly reply! The fish gives the impression of being extremely happy, after receiving a call from me. He will also get rid of these “as if” attitudes, even himself must have got tired of these tactics.
– Fine. Where have you been man?
I try to respond with the same weapon, though my success rate is only 10% of Ferhat’s.
– You know, I’m so busy with Serap.
Boasting modestly, or implementing the method so called “daily conversations” to make the counterpart suffer.
– Really? You’re so fast!
I have to treat him tactfully, I have to carry on, the end is approaching.
– You’re right, that’s my weakness. I get angry with myself sometimes, I feel some kind of inevitable proximity to women and they don’t reject me at all!
– And... did you meet her yesterday?
– Err why? No. Why do you ask?
And the confident voice sounds confused.
– I mean... Don’t worry, forget it.
Small roasted pea-nuts. Would you not take one dear Ferhat?
– I-I didn’t understand, but anyway, do you think I really care?
– Not at all. And, did you see Metin yesterday?
– No, and you?
A sigh of boredom, not giving a damn.
– Me? Of course no. I mean, “yes” from one point of view and “no” from the other.
– What do you mean?