Uit: He Died With a Felafel in His Hand
“He died with a felafel in his hand. We found him on a bean bag with his chin resting on the top button of a favourite flannelette shirt. He’d worn the shirt when we’d interviewed him for the empty room a week or so before. We were having one of those bad runs, where you seem to interview about thirty people every day and they are all total zipper heads. We really took this guy in desperation. He wasn’t A-list, didn’t have a microwave or anything like that, and now both he and the felafel roll were cold. Our first dead housemate. At least we got some bond off him.
We had no idea he was a junkie, otherwise we would never have given him the room. You let one junkie in the house and you may as well let them all in. We had another secret junkie live with us once. Melissa. She was okay, but her boyfriend stole all of my CDs. Told me some Jap guy, a photographer, took them and if I went to Kinselas on Wednesday nights I could probably find him there. Yeah right.
Melissa, on the other hand, ran a credit scam out of the same house. Months after she’d left, a couple of debt collectors came round looking for Rowan Corcoran. That was the identity she’d set up, but we didn’t know that. We were very helpful, because bills had been turning up for this Corcoran prick for months. We didn’t know who he was, just some mystery guy racking up thousands of dollars in debt and sending the bills to our place. We sat the debt collectors down in the living room with a cup of tea. Showed them all the other bills that had been arriving for Mr Corcoran. When they saw that the last bill was for two Qantas tickets to America their shoulders sort of slumped. I’ve still got those bills. $35,000 worth.
But Melissa was okay. In fact she was a real babe. She used to steal food for the house from this restaurant she worked in. (If you’re reading this, Melissa, we really appreciated the food.) There were four or five of us living at Kippax Street at that stage. Everyone was on the dole or Austudy or minimum wage. The house was typical Darlinghurst, this huge, dark, damp terrace with yellowed ceilings, green carpet, cigarette burns and brown, torn-up furniture.
We’d sit around on Tuesday night waiting for Melissa to get home with our stolen dinner. She usually walked through the door just before Twin Peaks came on, so there was this nice warm feeling in the house as we all sat in front of the teev scarfing down the free stuff.“
Er komt een avond langzaam aan
Dwars door het land, zoals nog nooit gezien,
Geen lamp licht op.
Zijdeachtig lijkt hij van verre, toch
Eenmaal opgetrokken langs knieën en borst
Brengt hij geen kalmte.
Waar is de boom heen, die grond
Klonk aan de lucht? Wat zit onder mijn hand,
Dat ik maar niet voel?
Wat drukt mijn hand neer
Vertaald door Cornelis W. Schoneveld