Devil in the Steps Club

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Most of this really happened.

Submitted: August 13, 2012

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Submitted: August 13, 2012

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Devil in the Steps Club

It all happened some time ago, deep in the totalitarian regime, though I think this regime is much like the other. Men just have propensity to acquire power. And none will ever achieve it, that's what I think. But let's return to my story.

The steps club was a discotheque in the old town, in the cellar, so to speak. It had its charm, the stupid music was somehow compensated by the premises. It had wooden tables and chairs and it looked more like a tavern than a disco bar. The music was just that: stupid a-thousand-times-worn-out hit that everyone is sick of, anyway, who cares when you're young and there are girls around.

That day I went in alone, which happened most of the time as it was difficult for a jazz fan that I was at that time to find a friend who would be willing to accompany me to such a place. Most of my friends hated discos and perhaps rightly so. But me, I had other urges too, though it sounds unbelievable considering I was in my third year at the university, I was looking for a girl.

There were three of them at one of the tables and one was particularly likeable. More than that, she had an intelligent face and though I noticed her legs were unshaved, somehow I did not mind.

- Can I join you, - I mustered my courage and heard myself say this sentence as if someone else have said it.

One of them said yes and after a while the two found out found out which one I fancied. Perhaps they were jealous, still, I had a feeling that they wanted to help me.

They all had kind and sympathetic faces and one of them produced a matchbox, took out a few matches and made this picture of them on the table:

alt

- Now make the pig look back, - she said as if testing me if I was worthy of her friend.

I thought a for few seconds, during which time all the lectures of mathematics were running in my head in fast forward mode (I am just joking) and then I shifted two matches:

alt

I looked at Michaela with the smile of the winner. I felt like I just found an error in Göedel's incompleteness theorem (this is less of a joke). She pretended she was not impressed and at that time I did not and could not recognize her pretence as being just that, though I immediately liked her and felt she was my soulmate, or one of them, as I am sure that everyone has more than one in this world. Actually I realized that it was the first time our eyes met. In that moment I realized how unimportant I am, how insignificant we all are (I am being serious).

We drank some more, then danced. She was a bit taller than me, but just half an inch or so. When the DJ played a slow song I tried to ask her to devote one dance to me personally, but she refused. (She must have been a decent girl with a good upbringing.)

For a short moment I found myself sitting at our, or rather their, table alone and a crazy thought came to my mind. I produced a piece of paper from somewhere, perhaps it was a serviette and asked a girl at a nearby table if I could borrow a pen. I wrote my name and phone number on it and put it in Michaela's bag. I remember it was the kind we called “a beggar's bag”, made of cloth. One other girl even saw me interfere with someone else's privacy, but obviously did not mind too much, we were in a wine-cellar disco bar anyway.

Not much more happened on that night and the next day I went downtown and met all of the girls there.

This happened to me before, yet I thought it must be a sign or something. Her friends quickly realized I wanted to be alone with her and I had a chance to see her off almost up to her place.

I do not remember any of the particulars of our conversation, she was reticent, but did not send me to hell either.

I also knew her last name at that time, perhaps I found out while rummaging through her bag or maybe she even told me, I really don't remember anymore. What I do remember well was that she told me the name of the university she studied at and the field, it had something to do with the environment.

As we did not agree a date, I knew I had to do something to find her.

I went to the department of student services at that particular university where she studied and I just flatly asked for her address, adding whatever excuse I could come up with, or perhaps none at all, I do not recall the details. The clerk working there must have seen I was in love and she looked up her address and gave it to me.

- Don't tell anyone you have it from me.

In a few days I wrote her a letter.

The answer came a few days later and in it she said she was dating a boy with unkempt hair and that killed me. I had no inkling they all say this crap when they feel for you.

Devastated, I fell on my knees then and there and said something like this:

- If He doesn't want to give her to me, then you do it, You give her to me instead. By that moment I had been looking for a girl for a very long time, at least I felt that way, moreover, I wasn't yet aware that there were two gods but one of them had all the weapons at His disposal.

Then a year had passed and I almost forgot about the matter, although never entirely.

* * *

I had and still have a friend who is Catholic through and through. One day we were walking through the Old Town center and I told him about Michaela and my momentary dark prayer.

- Noro, this is serious, you must go to a confession.

His reaction was natural as he was to become a priest. We were together at the Slovak Technical University and in his fourth year he decided to leave and study in the theological seminary, so powerful his calling was.

Upon giving it a thought I did go to the confession and the priest told me to become part of their Young Christians Group, that I would find a girl there. I was given an absolution and I went home, my steps again being light and carefree.

* * *

A few more years had passed and I finally managed to find a girlfriend, though I never became a part of Young Christians. My attempts at it never lasted long. I guess all fanatics must have a grain of doubt in them, and I don't think I tended towards fanaticism anyway, even if I might have many faults of character.

My mom got me a one-room flat in the center of the town and I went downtown on evenings to look for girls until I met one or two. My mom's sister found the first one for me but it ended in disaster, though I must say it was not completely my fault.

Anyway, one day I received a letter. At that moment I was dating my present wife. The letter was written by none other than Michaela. In it she said that she made the boy with unkempt hair up and she offered some reason why she did it, which I don't recollect. She in fact wanted to date me! Of course, I wanted that too, but I already had a girlfriend and there was that Faustian thing which was real hard to swallow. My plea addressed to the abyss have been heard!

I had no other explanation, she was a pretty girl and intelligent at that, perhaps she even shaved her legs by now (a stupid joke).

Then there was another letter and another. She told me how she did not deserve being ignored like this in spite of the small lie she once told me. She clearly wanted me!

I wasn't exactly ugly and I consider myself a decent man as well, but girls just don't do this, so it must be the Dark One. He obviously didn't care about my confession.

I did not answer any of her letters. If I was a complete atheist, and I do not think one can be that at the age of twenty something, I would not bother to write anything, I would just stalk her the next day and press a kiss on her mouth round the corner. I was too much of a coward for that and I still am a fucking coward to this very day.

***

Well I may be a coward, but have my moments of courage too.

One such moment came when I dated my present wife and we were going through a difficult phase of our relationship. One may say we were half split. Still it was the best relationship I had so far.

Young that I was I decided to contact Michaela, no matter how this might develop. One must be ready to die for love (the last joke in this story).

I called her and she agreed to meet me, even if a year or more had passed since she had written her letters. We had a nice date, talking about old Bratislava, Sch?ne Náci and stuff and I think we immediately found common ground. She told me how she must do all the work at home, taking care of her younger siblings and stuff and we ended in the garden of what is now a presidential palace.

She suddenly stood there in the twilight and told me with her eyes:

- Kiss me.

I wanted to, but try to kiss someone when Mephistopheles is breathing down your neck. I was also thinking of Iveta, who is now my wife and just did not do it. Nobody can say I did not have balls to act. That just wasn't the only reason and love can go either way.

She stood there pretty an unkissed, with chaos in her head, and perhaps except my presence, she was aware of the blue light coming from the street lamps in the park, which is now inaccessible to public. Don't ask me how I know this, because I would never tell you. (This is not a joke at all.)

***

I have another friend named Samo, who is now a famous musician thought at the time he worked in the Slovak Radio. He was beaming folk music on this rap generation. Under previous regime he would have won a medal for this kind of activity, but not now, there are no heroes or dissidents and stuff, or are there? All has been sublimated into money and the power it brings with it, right?

One afternoon I was in his office in the Slovak Radio pyramid building and I told him all about Michaela and how I addressed the Dark One in a moment of weakness.

He kind of laughed at the story and said ironically:

- Don't forget to write her about the Devil stuff, that way she will surely be yours forever.

We laughed and extended the joke by agreeing to switch our wives after a year of marriage or so. I said:

- Let us shake our hands as a proof thereof, the Devil being the witness thereto.

However, when I came home, I did write Michaela everything, even mentioning the confession. Since then I have not seen her, except one last time.

The exception was a film club visit with my present wife who directed my attention to a girl who supposedly greeted me.

I looked up and further and there she stood. She was wearing a scarf round her neck and clutching an umbrella in her hand, with slightly curly hair, probably from the rain.

- Hi Noro, - she said.

Written by Norbert von Amehr, mediator.mrg@gmail.com


© Copyright 2017 Norbet von Amehr. All rights reserved.

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