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    Понедельник, 06.02.2023, 09:13
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              И Л Ь Я   Ч Л А К И

    TO FORGET, TO REMEMBER (Забыть и Помнить)


    Translated by Alexandra Fleming





    Christian, her brother

    Suzanna, her neighbour

    Torsten, Suzanna’s husband


    Sebastian, Benjamin’s friend





    Act One


    Berlin, a leafy area. A quiet street of expensive, detached houses. A bin stands near one of the houses. Wilhelm and Peter. Wilhelm is holding a very large, tightly packed cloth carrier bag. Peter tries to snatch it from him. 

    PETER. You – 

    WILHELM. Hey! 

    PETER. But it’s – 

    WILHELM. Hey! 

    PETER. Give it here! 

    WILHELM. Get off! 

    PETER. Give it! 

    WILHELM. Fuck you! 

    PETER. Fuck me? 

    WILHELM. Fuck you! 

    PETER. Me? 

    WILHELM. You! 

    PETER. Oh, you... (shoves Wilhelm). 

    WILHELM. Don’t you touch – They tussle with one another. Wilhelm doesn’t let go of the bag. 

    PETER. You bastard! We agreed! 

    WILHELM. I need the money! 

    PETER. Well it’s a smashed face you’re gonna get! 

    WILHELM. Not if you get one first. 

    PETER. Let go! 

    WILHELM. I can’t. 

    PETER. Do it! 

    WILHELM. You’ll have to take my hands with it! 

    PETER. Fine then, I will! 

    WILHELM. Look, why don’t we just go halves? 

    PETER. Today’s my day. 

    WILHELM. But I won’t be here tomorrow. 

    PETER. You shouldn’t have come today. 

    WILHELM. Something came up, out of the blue... yeah... you know... well, something happened... 

    PETER. What? 

    WILHELM. I hardly believe it myself... 

    PETER. Right. 

    WILHELM. Without this money I’m done for! 

    PETER. Done for? 

    WILHELM. When your life’s at stake, you’ve got no choice. That’s why I did what I did. So we’re agreed? 

    PETER. About what? 

    WILHELM. Going halves? 

    PETER. Get… stuffed! Fuck you! “We’re agreed?!” Give me the bag and get the hell out of here, before I give you a beating! 

    WILHELM. I’ve got a kid! 

    PETER. What? 

    WILHELM. A kid! It’s my kid’s birthday. I need a present. A toy, one of those toy things, something like that… 

    PETER. You’ve got a kid? Yeah right! 

    WILHELM. I’ve got a kid. A little girl. 

    PETER. Come on! How? 

    WILHELM. How should I know? She was born? 

    PETER. Are you joking? What the hell, what kid? How old is he? 

    WILHELM. She. She’s a girl. Her name’s Louisa. 

    PETER. You never said! Louisa? 

    WILHELM. It’s a nice name. And as it happens, today’s her birthday – she’s nine. 

    PETER. And where is she? Where does she live? 

    WILHELM. Here in Berlin, where else? She lives in Berlin. She’s nine. Sweet little thing, she is. 

    PETER. You never said. 

    WILHELM. And what, do I have to tell you everything? It’s my personal, my private... my private sphere, ok? Look, I forgot it was her birthday. I forgot, that’s why I didn’t say anything. But she’s waiting for my present. Every kid needs a present, even if they’ve got a dad like me. Anyway. Love, that’s what kids understand. Beyond that, not much. They couldn’t care less what clothes or shoes you’re wearing, you could stink to high hell for all they care. But they need love. What can I say, you wouldn’t understand. I remember last year I just happened to get sick on her birthday. So I couldn’t give her her present. And she’d been waiting for me, sitting on the floor by the door, waiting. Yep. And she cried and cried… I’m telling you, there’s nothing worse than a child’s tears. Not that you’d understand. I phoned her, and I say to her, I tell her, “look,” I say, “Louisa! Look, Louisa,” I tell her, “I’m sick, really sick.” And she just cries her heart out, sobbing so much she can’t even speak. What can I say? 

    PETER. We’ve known each other years, and I didn’t even know you had a kid. 

    WILHELM. A little girl. 

    PETER. I didn’t know. 

    WILHELM. Me neither. 

    PETER. And the mother? 

    WILHELM. Oh, she knew. 

    PETER. No, I meant where is she? 

    WILHELM. Who knows? She’s a drunk. She had the girl, then abandoned her. A real piece of work, she is. But they’re all the same. All made of the same thing. Not from Adam’s rib, mind you – from his shit. That’s right, I said it, his shit. It was only later they made up the whole rib thing, I mean, they wouldn’t want word to get out that He had cocked up like that, would they? What really happened is that Adam had pigged out in the fruit grove, taken a dump, and God had thought it was clay – so hey, why not do some sculpting to celebrate? So he sculpted Eve. And then it raised such a stench – and that’s why He banished them from the garden. Women! 

    PETER. Where does she live? 

    WILHELM. You listening at all? I’ve just been saying I couldn’t give a shit about her, that drunk – she’s worse than us! 

    PETER. I meant Louisa. 

    WILHELM. Ah, Louisa... Well, Louisa... that’s another story... She lives with foster parents. Good people. They like her. And Louisa likes them too. Yeah... it’s all alright, of course, but... as soon as she sees me, her eyes just well up... “Daddy,” she’ll say, “when are you going to take me away from them?” and “when will you take me back?” and then “daddy,” she’ll wail, “daddy!” Gets me right in the heart! So if you could just let me have the bag… 

    PETER. I’ve got a bit of cash. 

    WILHELM. No, what are you saying... 

    PETER. Take it, buy something nice, something special... 

    WILHELM. No, I couldn’t, I won’t take it. Don’t ask me to, I won’t take a penny. I never expected you to be so... That’s touching, it really is. Well... (taking the money). I’ll buy her a doll, and say it’s from you. 

    PETER. There’s no need to do that. 

    WILHELM. I’ll say, “I’ve got a buddy – a bosom buddy – a most excellent man, and this is for you, from him.” That’s what I’ll say. Well then I’m off, take care of yourself, see ya. Wilhelm leaves. Peter stands for a while, thinking. 

    PETER. Looks like there was some sort of party here yesterday. He got a full bag. Maybe there’s something left. (Looks in the bin). He leaves the place looking like a tsunami’s hit. Ah well, he needs it – he’s got a kid to think of, a little girl. Monika appears, walks towards the house. 


    Translation copyright © Alexandra Fleming 2015