Mihály KORNIS - Father makes good
Apa gyõz

  imagine I'm dead I bet you're tickled pink and nothing but anarchy and the whole thing started by me going to the Corvin to buy a Cuisineart I've been telling you for the longest time how we ought to have a Cuisineart but you just tell me to mind my own business and not butt in you don't have the vaguest idea how useful it is you can dice potatoes and make coffee in it all at the same time I saw one at Mrs. Zengo's it's got a red base authentic GDR and you're gonna kiss my hand in gratitude and Mrs. Sas said to go in and not to worry I would have one because she worships me because I always say to her what a charming lithe and elegant lady you are and this makes her swoon and she'll do anything for me albeit her eyes are hyperthyroid and practically pop out of their sockets and there are times when the urge to push them back in is practically overwhelming in short at eleven I said should anyone be looking for me I'm over at number seven because we're keeping a close watch you know it's where I stole that fur coat that you never wear and you haven't worn it now either whereas it would have been a splendid opportunity for me to see you in it as long as you have it anyway you can't go up the stairs at the Corvin there's some sort of fire ladder or something between the floors because the stairs have been temporarily dismantled you can imagine what goes on and those that have made it to the top kick those below them I can't believe what people are like they get to the top and right away they act like animals and ahead of me there was a woman with a fat ass who farted in my face on purpose dearie I said control yourself or eat chocolates it's disgusting why don't you park your bum at home at which she goes and does it again just for spite and yells SHUT UP AND SNIFF the whore I thought just you wait till we get to the top but I could barely squeeze through the floors because these jerks cut only a small hole for the ladder and it was not tailored to my size so by the time I got up there I was drenched with sweat and I had to sit down and take a nitro but it's no better for the heart than cunt smoke and stop whistling son or home you go where the hell do you think you are I'm telling this story for your benefit too in case you haven't noticed you will grow old someday and then you'll remember what your father told you when he died it'll come in handier than six encyclopedias in short I step up to the counter click my heels and ask where is Mrs. Sas SHE IS NOT IN SIR SHE'S GONE OUT SIR well tell her Comrade Tábori wants to see her THAT'LL BRING HER RUNNING I SUPPOSE says the little dishevelled cocksucker and she drums her fingers on the counter but don't think I lost my cool I just said watch your language goldilocks or I might give you a knuckle sandwich and have you got an East German Cuisineart NO and she frowns there was a pimple on her forehead the size of a gherkin and she says NOT NOW OR EVER FOR THE LIKES OF YOU so I asked for the complaint-book and wrote that our socialist state does not bring bloody sacrifices so that an impertinent salesgirl should trifle with the working class and I told her she'd better not tear it out because I'd be around next week just to check it and what Mrs. Sas is going to get from me she won't want to put in the shopwindow so then I start to climb back down but there's no separate ladder for the descent of course and anyone who doesn't go tumble is an acrobat I swear and in the end I crashed down a whole floor and you know what it's like on these occasions it is impossible to avoid the people below and they came crashing down with me what could I do and on the ground floor they wanted to lynch me you should've heard the herrendous yelling and shouting IF YOU CAN'T CLIMB WHY TRY ASSHOLE IMBECILE LET'S TEAR HIM APART bug off I said because when the heat is on I heed neither man nor God and I started to spin around cutting a circle with my briefcase and I don't know what might have happened if Wakszmann hadn't been there he wanted to fall on me too at first just like the others he didn't recognize me though we were old friends from the forced labor battalion he was famous because the Arrow Cross hanged his father who was a butcher on a meat hook in front of the Dohány utca synagogue but he didn't die and at night Wakszmann's mother cut him down and dragged him home and they lived to see the liberation and only Elza was gassed in Buchenwald that was their daughter a splendid little piece of ass I used to go skating with her and dated her too she had spectacular legs we boys called her ELZA WAKSZMANN OF THE FIREWORK LEGS and every time it was someone else who got to put the skates on her and this Wakszmann and I were once hog-tied in Szentkirályszabadja for sneaking out into the village to make a phone call to let our people know we're alive but we were found out and when we got back the platoon commander that gutter-snipe Garzó I got to laugh in his face later at his trial gave each of us a whopping slap in the face and said I COULD HAVE YOU SHOT BUT BECAUSE I AM A GENTLEMAN YOU WILL ONLY BE HOG-TIED FOR EIGHT OURS AND THEN WE'LL SEE IF YOU'RE STILL SUCH FUCKIN' BRAVE JEW-BOYS and then they hog-tied us with Wakszmann and we played geography we got all the way to "R" when I passed out I'll never foget RÁBCA RIMASZOMBAT RIMINI ROME but by then there wasn't much left in short I said Wakszmann you ass Rábca Rimaszombat Rimini Rome TÁBORI OLD BOY Wakszmann yelled and we embraced SHOVE OFF FOLKS DON'T CONGREGATE Wakszmann said I HAVE FOUND MY BROTHER and boy was everybody overjoyed because even those that have damned little to do with it like to get involved with stuff like that and that's how I managed to save my hide but by then one side was numb and there was this stabbing pain so Wakszmann found a cab and sends his regards and they'll come visit next week again and he put me in the cab but half way I started to gasp for air and the driver thought I was drunk and stopped the car I told him he didn't need to go into a funk I wasn't going to puke it's just my heart I'll breath on you if you want but I didn't have to and when I stumbled into the office and asked the typist had anyone been looking for me I couldn't finish because I crashed into the typewriter where I stood and gave a yell and died sh'ma yisroel shit how embarrassing because at first I didn't get the picture and was a bit worried besides not knowing how I was going to get out of it and also the typist was screaming OH ME GOD WHAT'RE YOU DOING COMRADE TÁBORI WHAT'RE YOU DOING PLEASE GET UP and Palugyai and Mrs. Weisz came running with WHAT'S THE MATTER PISTA GET UP THIS MINUTE YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU TRY oy vey iz mir it should be so easy I said I'm not getting up when that big shot Borbíró gets back from lunch I might but not before besides it's easy for you a kibitz takes no risks but the responsibility is mine I wasn't born yesterday let him come and see what's up then we can negotiate from a common platform YOU'RE SO RIGHT they said IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEBODY STOOD UP TO HIM and they marched off and I tugged at the phone and pulled it down and called our legal eagle that moron Bányai to come over and chew the fat and he came too but first he knocked on the door twice which just goes to show you what an asshole he is he knew perfectly well what was up but he always wants to play the grand signeur SO YOU HAVE MADE UP YOUR MIND PISTA he says GOOD FOR YOU NOT MANY PEOPLE WOULD HAVE HAD THE GUTS OF COURSE THERE'S NO TELLING IF THEY WILL GIVE YOU A HARD TIME OR NOT BUT I DON'T ANTICIPATE TROUBLE fine but what does it depend on I ask and it turns out that there are two options they either assume your good intentions or they do not
  if they do it's an open and shut case because then Borbíró and the Co-op Farms Federation can fuss all they want they can go kiss my ass besides let's look at the facts it happened during working hours in the middle of the day with no national holiday in sight there were two people in the room with me Palugyai and Mrs. Weisz and the typist which makes three of course I am not a party member let's not kid ourselves but this mustn't worry you because Bányai told me that they could make trouble even if I were not that they will BECAUSE THEY ARE IN DEEP SHIT AGAIN NOW BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN NEXT in short there won't be any tsoris what an idea so there I was think I'm infallible but just to make sure I put in an ambulance call it's the thing to do added insurance don't you agree and how right I was but that comes later because in the meantime Borbíró gets back and calls right away I HEARD ABOUT YOU PISTA WOULD YOU KINDLY COME OVER TO SEE ME PROVIDED YOU'RE UP TO IT THAT IS Dezso I said it's the least I can do you called I come running and so I went and he told me to me sit down and played the cheap host coffee and a cigarette and I HEARD ABOUT YOUR REGRETTABLE ACCIDENT he said SO WE GO LIE DOWN AND PLAY DEAD naturally I said nothing at which he turned sweet as molasses LOOK I DON'T WANT TO PRY IT'S YOUR PRIVATE AFFAIR JUST TELL US IF THERE IS ANYTHING WE CAN DO FOR YOU WHAT I MEAN IS THE COMPANY THE UNION AT ANY LEVEL AT ALL IN SHORT Dezso I said I don't need anything besides I've settled my accounts all around all I want is peace and quiet it's the only thing I want and thank you all the same at which he starts screaming at the top of his lungs WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING QUITTING ON US WHEN YOU PLEASE AND EVERYTHING AT LOOSE ENDS AND WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO TELL DOBROVICS look Dezso I say grinning you don't know what to tell Dobrovics where is a corner I gotta have a good laugh besides for your information if it's all at loose ends it's not because I suddenly had a heart attack which incidentally I wish you'd have too but do you know why because you've gone too far that's why you shoot Irene with your service gun fine volunteer police sneak your daughter out of church it's no skin off my back I hear no evil I see no evil but that you should have the gall for this even for this what do you take me for a fool besides I said as for that certain item mum's the word I won't say anything to anyone because I couldn't if I tried besides I don't feel like it I'm not you so you can relax and with that I left him to fry in his own fat because I succeeded where he never would and calmly strolled back to my own room where the paramedics were already waiting I was simply king of the dunghill this nice young doctor was with them and we shook hands look young lady I said don't bother examining me my heart has stopped but she was adamant DON'T DESPAIR OLD MAN JUST GET YOUR CLOTHES OFF I'm not I said on second thought why don't you go ahead anyway maybe I've misconstrued the situation it wouldn't be the first time and she listens with her stethoscope she looks at my eyes and breathes into my mouth dead as a doornail hunh I say imagine she wouldn't come out with it just hemmed and hawed though at long last she announced HE'S EXITED at which a warning light goes on in my head and I sit up now that we're agreed may I have it in writing dear THAT GOES WITHOUT SAYING she says IT'S REGULATIONS THE PATIENT DOES NOT HAVE TO ASK AND KINDLY STOP TALKING AND WILL SOMEBODY COVER HIM UP WITH NEWSPAPER and as a matter of fact she sat down and wrote one out and even put a stamp on it and everything we got on like a house on fire you gotta hand it to these young doctors they're different much more skilled too no doubt and when the document was in my hand I lay down on the floor and spread a bunch of newspapers on top and aprés moi le deluge all I have to do now is enjoy my siesta I thought the rest is no concern of mine things'll take care of themselves but the hours slipped by everyone had gone home and me still smelling the linoleum what's going on I ask though only myself of course not a soul in sight and I still have to be buried and what have you there's more than plenty to do but by then I'm on my feet cursing like all the seven sacrements what an idiot the two of you are on vacation and it went right out of my head I could've laid there till kingdom come for all anybody cared nothing takes care of itself I quickly picked up the newspapers so in the morning the cleaning lady wouldn't bitch she's a nice old bag otherwise but she doesn't like me leaving my things around we like each other I get to see her because I'm always the first one in what's up old gal I say got ants in your pants I say or did your boyfriend throw you out of bed WATCH WHATCHA SAYIN' she says OR I STICK THIS DUST MOP UP YOUR ARSE in short we have a grand old time of it poor woman she's got three sons but hasn't seen one of them in ten years not even a postcard at least that's one person guaranteed to miss me anyway I rushed home to make the arrangements also I wanted to take my clothes off and have a nice hot bath but do you think I could for one thing the elevator was out of order it couldn't have picked a worse time but when should it be out of order and I told Mrs. Stefanik off and sent her to a warmer clime because she said they're JUST PROVIDING MAINTENANCE look I said haven't you got anything better to do than needle us you sit on your fat ass all year but at Christmas you come round for your tips it boggles the mind I can't use the elevator even when I croak a good thing she didn't say there's no water either I'd have crushed her skull I swear besides she cheated me over the heating costs the money-grubbing old wart I had to climb up on foot but soon as I entered the apartment I stripped naked and sat down by the phone to see about the funeral first I didn't know how to go about it but then I called the synagogue and talked with a mealy-mouthed fellow he started in with YOU DON'T THINK OF US EITHER SON EXCEPT ON SUCH OCCASIONS kiss my ass I say I pay my dues while your job is to extend a helping hand besides I say to him some nice Jews you are now too you sided with the Arabs and the congregation not knowing what to make of it at which he gave me a number and I called and had myself booked I didn't have to wait long thank God that would've been the pits in this stifling heat and I asked to be cremated but they said that REGRETTABLY THE CREMATORIUM IS OUT OF COMMISSION and if I insist I might have to wait a week just my luck why should anything go smoothly but then I thought what the hell they might as well place me next to my mother she was put in the ground so I suppose I can take it too and I asked how much it would cost but they said I'd have to go out to the cemetery for that but I'd better be dressed in my Sabbath clothes and wear a yarmulke on my head otherwise they won't take me fine I said but supposing one's relatives are away on vacation at which they slammed down the phone who do they think they are then I was about to call you but came to my senses just in time all I need is for your mother to go into hysterics and me feeling like the last time I floated in amniotic fluid so I padded out to the kitchen instead and dug into my diet vitamin salad I had completely forgot about it till then and ate sausage for which I will now be severely rempremanded by Princess Emerencia Esterházy who is my wife but it didn't go stale only the egg yolk pulverized in the vinegar and I slurped it up dutifully then sat down to watch Police Chronicle you don't know what you're missing there was this extremely likeable murderer who'd done away with his landlady he couldn't pay his child support he stabbed her eighteen times but it took the floor lamp to finish her off which he threw at the old broad but found only twenty-nine forints on her what a cock-up then he wanted to jump out of the window but lost his nerve and chose the death penalty instead and imagine Géza Hajdú asked him DON'T YOU SEE WHAT FILTH YOU ARE and the guy said SURE BUT I NEEDED THE DOUGH besides he was sick of his wife which doesn't surprise me one bit I might add they showed her too she was missing five teeth up front what she had in the back I can't say but given the choice I'd have opted for the noose myself and Géza Hajdú ended with DEAR VIEWERS WE DEAL THE SCUM AN IRON FIST AND YOU MUSTN'T LET JUST ANYONE INTO YOUR HOMES EITHER what a laugh how the hell should I know what my tenant is up to that Géza Hajdú is a jerk take it from me albeit well groomed his hair as smooth and gleaming as King Solomon's left nut if I had hair like that even Lollobrigida would get the hots I swear but what can I do what I got is what I got it's what I gotta live with and so I lay down and a couple of days went by and it was swell having the apartment all to myself I ate the salad and watched some trashy shows on television I didn't open up for the mailman it was like being on vacation I even thought how surprised you'd be when you got home and found me dead and the first-class way I'd managed to cope nevertheless but just to make sure I ordered a wake-up call for that morning because in my condition I couldn't be sure I'd wake up without it and in the morning the phone rang so loud I thought I'd fall out of bed and also she didn't want to quit I had to give my name six times because she wouldn't believe for anything I was really awake nobody ever does though it's just my voice it sags in the end I said now that we're so tight sweetheart how about meeting in person and the little lady said it's against regulations and WHEN DID I HAVE IN MIND well if you want to see me come out to 6 Kozma Street today at noon it's either then or never at which she hung up and I chuckled for half an hour I swear 6 Kozma Street the cemetery she must think I was joking which just goes to show you how wrong you can be then I went through the apartment turning everything inside out and not one fucking yarmulke in the place you'll see for yourselves except yours but that won't fit so I tied your mother's red polka dot scarf round my head and put my hat on top of that and set out for Rákoskeresztúr you would not believe what goes on on a streetcar it's incredible it took two before I could get on and even then ended up shouting you're human beings not beasts you're intelligent creatures but nobody paid any attention they were too busy with their elbows and I had to stand all the way at the Christian part where most of the crowd got out which left us Jews a pitiful small lot fuck Hitler by then I could have found a seat but I'd struck up a friendship with this nice little tart who goes out to the cemetery every day to see her husband she visits with him it's some sort of fixation with her Alfréd Ring a cardiac infarction in fifty-one I think I knew him we were in business school together but I hadn't seen him since and I asked the woman would she come visit with me too occasionally it feels good being visited and she promised but Edit you mustn't be bothered she had a moustache besides which I don't go for dumpy dames especially when they're diabetic but the time passed pleasantly enough just the same and when I got off there stood my loony sister waiting plus a couple of people from the office goyim in hats it was all I could do to suppress a laugh Olga wouldn't get off my back she brought her girl friends along how she got wind of it I'll never know she asked WHICH RABBI WILL SPEAK GORDON OR LADOS because she's such a goose she would know all the rabbis by name and then I saw the notice board it was going to start in the mortuary in just thirty minutes and I hadn't seen to anything oy I made a mad dash for the admissions office to show them the paper I had from the ambulance people but I fucked up because right off they said WHERE IS THE DEATH CERTIFICATE and I broke out in a cold sweat slipping on a banana peel at the last moment it's incredible but the guy was very understanding and we agreed that he'd make an exception in my case and it could be brought in later and please don't forget old girl because these people wouldn't think twice about digging me up again of course I greased his palm so for the time being he'll keep his mouth shut but I wasn't quite done yet because if I wanted things to go smoothly Olga said I better give something to the rabbi and the gravediggers a good thing I put some money into my billfold I'd have never believed it of the rabbi though gobbling it up like a goose a fly I swear he's just an assistant but still and the gravediggers promised NOT TO DIG ME UNDER TOO DEEP I don't know what that means but it must be important it seems you can be dug under too deep so I asked them please not to do it to me or disturb mother either then I went to see the washerwomen and gave them a little something as well at least they deserve it working with corpses all the time but I wouldn't let them put rouge on me though they only wanted to do something special for the dough just sponge me down and don't reach inside my pants well you could have knocked them over with a feather I wouldn't mind going back there sometime then they wrapped me up very nicely and wheeled me over to the mortuary there was quite a nice size crowd I really can't complain and my colleagues came over one by one to congratulate me Gabos even cried so I said to him we're all in His hands Lali dear and don't lose heart and then it was the rabbi's turn to give his schpiel it was really very touching you don't know what you missed you'd have seen at last who I was because he made no bones about it THE ISTVÁN TÁBORI WHO LIES HERE BEFORE US LIVED IN DIFFICULT TIMES BUT STOOD HIS GROUND AND ALWAYS KNEW HIS PLACE AND HIS ENTIRE BEING WAS SUFFUSED WITH LOVE OF HIS FELLOW MEN and he particularly emphasized what an exemplary son and fine family man I had been at least as far as I could tell that's what he stressed most WHO PATIENTLY STOOD BY WHILE OTHERS REVILED HIM AND FELT HAPPY ONLY IN THE CIRCLE OF HIS FAMILY I had made a point of asking him to add that because that's what I always said to you even if it was just a joke but also God's own truth and the cantor sang too though only two songs but that's all I could afford boy can they sing just look at all those opera singers half of them were cantors at one time except now they deny it and this one was especially good but greedy too but never mind it did the trick and brought tears to my eyes which doesn't often happen to a man and the whole crowd was sniffling then we slowly started outside the weather was glorious and the coffin fit like a glove and me with not a care in the world just surprised and thinking of you my son how you're not here and I can't supply you with fatherly advice for the road ahead but we'll make up for it and I'd like to say take very good care of yourself my son and be on your guard don't let let them fuck you up and don't listen to others if it's all the same to them it shouldn't be all the same to you because he who laughs last laughs best because the nitty-gritty is yet to come remember that and if you squander your strength before it is time what of the future for the rocky road ahead is paved with anguish and affliction but go look for what is pleasant in all things and enjoyable laugh clown laugh and thumb your nose at the world as for the rest don't give a damn it'll take care of itself and be polite to people what's in store a mystery and don't gobble eat with moderation no one will take it from you and stop tearing at your hair like that if you don't mind my asking what have you got to be nervous about look at me am I nervous though I'd have reasons aplenty oy vai iz mir! what I've been through and yet now see here I am and not tearing at my hair in short my sweet child I beg you don't let them fuck with you go into hiding just don't act in haste time is on your side and never run after women and streetcars because you know there's bound to be another one and the world belongs to the enterprising or as the poet says act create fornicate and the homeland shall flourish just not rashly but wisely what're you doing with your mouth you want I should swat you one he's popping saliva bubbles I can't believe it you come to the cemetery to pop saliva bubbles son you're standing at my grave you jerk the child's a nitwit Edit will you talk to him I've had all I can take of course if you encourage him no wonder a weak man and a neurotic woman produce a crippled brood what have you borne me o panther of Nubia and now what are you bawling for I won't have it must you bring the guard running you're not allowed to disturb the peace here you'll sick the guard on me you will leave but I must stay I gotta be on good terms with him don't you see what a bunch of jerks and now what're you doing don't go wait for the best is yet to come because as soon as they lowered me into the ground Mother knocked and when I went over to visit she welcomed me with MY PISTA MY LITTLE PISTA I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE I'VE BEEN WATCHING THE TIME BECAUSE THEY SAID YOU WERE COMING BUT YOU DIDN'T WANT TO EVEN THOUGH THEY NOTIFIED ME A WEEK AGO and she showed me and there it was propped up on her night table next to the mug the official certificate about me in short this thing was very carefully thought out you can see for yourselves what goes on here and ever since mother and I are inseparable and I help her with everything I do the dishes and the mopping and sometimes she sings to me OH YIDDISEH MAMMA and I counter with this is not what I had bargained for and we sway with laughter and so good bye

translated by Judith SOLLOSY

© LinkBudapest 1999 back to contents / visza a tartalomhoz

dear reader
kedves olvasó