The Assassination of an Author (A Simple Mission)

14 Oct

—Make it like this.
—How? I can’t do it.
—Eh you can’t do it. Do it! And stop pissing about.
—But it’s not straight enough.
—Like this. Give me the pencil. Look. Steady your hand on the paper.
The man drew a line protruding out from the rectangle; out toward the sky, which the boy had colored cerulean blue with his pencil.
—See? Like that.
—I can’t do that, the boy said. —My hand’s trembling. It’s crooked.
—Eh you can’t. Concentrate. Just copy mine. Over and over, for the rest of the buildings. Each one gets an antenna on top. See?
—I need a ruler.
—Eh, a ruler. Just concentrate. Go slowly.
The man had helped his son draw a crowded cityscape with crudely manufactured concrete government housing. The apartment buildings had large enough windows (also suggested by the father) to reveal their occupants—rudimentary drawn figures of men and women, each with a listening apparatus or pair of headphones, in the process of surveilling one another.
—What is this for if it’s not part of schoolwork?
—It’s for something…for me. Just for me. Make sure you put one on every building, understand?
The boy tried to keep his hand straight.
—Understand?
—Yes.
The man walked out of the room, through the small hallway connecting the flat to the kitchen, and into the bathroom. He clapped loudly and listened for electronic feedback. The boy heard the waterpik motor go on.
—Dad.
The man turned on the water faucet.
—Dad?

—I want you to come straight home from school. Understand?
He was sewing the drawing into the boy’s school coat lining. He looked like an awkward giant the way he held the small needle pinched in between his thumb and forefinger. He maneuvered it along the edge, making thread loops and closing them.
—No football, understand?
—Yes dad.
—What did I say?
—Yes dad.
—Tell me what I said.
—Straight home. No playing with Lucian or any of the others.
—Good man.
He pulled the thread tightly and closed the gap in the fabric. And then he made a triple knot with the hanging piece of leftover thread.
—You’ll need to take this to the consulate this afternoon. Alone. I can’t go with you. They can’t see me otherwise they’ll stop me.
—But dad…
—In your jacket like this, all right? Just put it on and walk normally.
—Why?
—Eh why. Just do what I say, that’s why. Walk normally. And don’t look behind you. Don’t let anyone stop you, understand? This needs to get to the consulate. If anyone calls your name, run. They’re expecting you. All right? Run for the gate. For the barrier. They’re looking out for you. All right?
—Yes dad.
—When you get to the gate, the Marine will ask you who you want to see. You tell him one word: scissors. Understand?
—Yes dad.
—What did I say? Look at me.
—Scissors.
—Good man. That’s a good man right there.
He patted him on his head.
He said:
—When you get back, I’ll have schnitzels ready. And mashed potatoes.
The boy did not say anything.
—All right? Your favourite, hey? That’s my good man.

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2 Responses to “The Assassination of an Author (A Simple Mission)”

  1. chapman 15/10/2008 at 12:30 PM #

    Interesting.
    Was this inspired by this( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/14/world/europe/14czech.html?ref=books )?
    I like how you riff off unrelated things. It reminds me of this photographer, William Claxton, who just died and I read about the other day. He described photography as visual jazz. http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content_display/photo-news/obituaries/e3ibc7ed676383467c2b3cd6cdce323e852
    Anyway, keep on keepin on.

  2. (S)wine 15/10/2008 at 7:41 PM #

    Yea, the Kundera news was sort of big to me and my family…my mum sent me the article, and I had read it just as it broke, then it got updated with his response.

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