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By Wu Ming
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Additional info for 54
Pierre contemplated himself for a long time: he studied his dark eyes, his mother’s eyes, like the ones in the photograph in which she was dressed as a bride, the one that stood on the chest of drawers; the arch of his eyebrows, the straight nose, the thin cheeks. He slipped the photograph of Cary Grant from the top of the dressing table and wedged it between the wall and the mirror. He took a step back and tried to assume the same indescribable expression. A gust of chilly air ran through the bar, and the crash of the door signalled the arrival of Gigi, the umarein ed gamma, the ‘rubber man’ in Bolognese dialect, who pirouetted his way to the bar, where he lay horizontally on top of Sticleina, arms held above his head.
Monte Allegro, the most nervous of the group, turned up snorting and pulling at the bridle, ignoring the voice of his trainer, who seemed to be whispering something to calm him down. Nothing new there: Monte Allegro was one of those animals that are hard to control, that gulp down the first thousand metres before collapsing at the finish. In the stands, Salvatore Lucania lit a cigarette and watched the wind carry off the first breath of smoke. He had had to take off his gloves, and now he was almost regretting the fact: it was bitterly cold.
It’s all slander, of course, but it’s true that it is difficult to discover what he thinks about a pile of important questions, such as Italian Trieste, Germany or the coming of television. Today the main topic is Trieste, or rather it is Mauro Melega, the best boccette player in the whole bar, who is talking in his usual voice, too loudly, forcing everyone to listen to him, even if some of us, heaven alone knows, might like to concentrate on their own affairs. Then you know how it is: it starts with this and that and you end up talking urbi-et-orbi even about serious things, and in the end you can’t even remember how you started.
54 by Wu Ming