A Perfect Spot for the Kill.


Ka was standing on his balcony, looking down on Freedom Boulevard, stretching 5 miles straight to where the sun sets, behind the mountains (‘where the terrorists hide’). Without snowcaps now during the summer months, looking almost within a hand’s reach. The city’s western half unfolded peacefully before him; its centers of power and corruption and the obscene mega-cross on mount Valu hidden from Ka’s view. A romantic near-full day-time moon was hanging in the sky, a bit to his left, just above the intersection below.

‘A perfect day for an assassination’, Ka thought when a policeman switched off the traffic lights and took manual control, bringing the afternoon rush hour to a standstill. Cars hunked impatiently, busses blew out suffocating clouds: It’s time for the President and his motorcade to make their twice-daily ride between his mansion and the government buildings on the near bank of the river.

Usually – if he’s not traveling abroad or entertaining guests downtown – it is around the same hours. You just bring up some weapon and target the long, lead-grey Mercedes with the curtains. It doesn’t go very fast and it is not really armoured because the government had no money for that. So a miss from this distance would be unlikely. It’s a perfect spot for the kill.

Of course this is just a silly thought, but it came to his mind when the authorities suddenly cordoned off the ancient fort, across the river from the government buildings.This in case the terrorists want to do what Ka is fantasizing about: blowing away the State. They would need mortars or grenade launchers to do what Ka could bring about with the used Kalashnikov he could have purchased two weeks ago for 50 dollar – including a full band of ammo.

A steady flow of techno-beats from the park started drifting Ka’s way. He looked down, and noticed that the traffick lights were on again. He had again missed the President.

May, 2002

Nowhere, Nevada

Nowhere, Nevada 89

Ka trok het gordijn op en duwde het raam open. De zon was al warm, de lucht niet zo fris als hij verwachtte, en het licht oogverblindend. Hij pakte zijn Polaroids van tafel en keek uit over de woestijn. Al doende masseerde hij de slaapplooien uit zijn wangen, schudde zijn lul uit de verschrompeling, en beklopte buik en borst. Het was nacht geweest en het was morgen geworden: de derde dag. De derde dag in deze negorij vol stekelplanten. Het hele programma ontging hem. Zijn bijdrage was nihil. Hij werd niets wijzer. Twee dagen kwamen nog. Ka sloot het raam weer en liet de zonwering zakken.

Hij liep onder de douche door en ging naar buiten. Zand klonterde aan zijn voeten, zon en bries droogden zijn lijf, boven een verre ochtendmist schemerden bergen. Hij liep een tijdje die kant op maar kreeg toen trek in roerei met worstjes. Zich omdraaiend was het hotel verdwenen. Hij zocht zijn spoor terug, maar het zand schuift en vergeet.

De zon zei hem dat hij links aan moest houden, en even later zag hij een houten bord in de grond geplant: Boredom (pop. 42). De weinige huizen lagen er slaperig bij; er kraaide geen haan en er blafte geen hond, alleen een geit at grijs gras in de berm. De sheriff reed er doelloos rondjes en was blij met werk aan de winkel. Hij parkeerde zijn auto in een wolk van stof dwars voor Ka, stapte breedgeschouderd uit en baste, bars als hij was: ‘What’s up, Stranger?’

Ka sloeg zijn handen voor zijn kruis, wist dat hij geen toereikend antwoord had.

‘Just coming from under the shower, Sir, but meaning no harm to your town.

I am lost in the sands but with your helping hands

I’ll be happy to find my way home

— and breakfast is coming up soon!’

De sheriff haalde zijn handen van zijn holsters en ontspande zichtbaar.

‘This is is the Land of the Free, Stranger, so it’s perfectly fine with me

but you must cover your dick and get out of my town,

in the desert you can do as you please.

Now turn me your ass and go straight out of sight

out there, you’ll find all that you need

— and have a good day!’

Ka dankte de sheriff met een hoofdknik en keerde Boredom de rug toe. Niet ver buiten het dorp wees een wijzer naar rechts de woestijn in: Rawhide 32. Ka stapte nu stevig voort, en een uurtje later, gekleed en hongerig zijn bord vullend aan het ontbijtbuffet, sloeg Bernd hem ferm op de schouder. ‘Wir müssen zurück nach Europa, Junge! De Muur is gevallen! Dit is het begin van de nieuwste geschiedenis!’ ‘Ik bel een taxi naar het vliegveld’, zei Ka, en al snel verdween de woestijn onder hen langzaam uit het zicht.

Reno – Amsterdam / 1989 – 2007

Conversation Piece

(My ground-floor neighbor, a girl in her twenties, has some friends over for food and drinks on the patio.)

Guy 1 – ‘.. The whole bunch of us are Jewish: the lawyers who defend her are Jewish, her shrinks are Jewish – and even I have some Jewish friends here (not to mention Barbara Streisand), which is quite an achievement for a Jew in this city. Usually you have Jewish clients, Jewish patrons, Jewish neighbors, Jewish whatevers, but Jewish friends..? That’s something for out of town, or Brooklyn; your family and the thing..’

Girl – ‘.. In some ways I know what I want to do. I basically know what I want to do, but I have my hesitations, I have my doubts. I think of taking myself out of the job market and go back to school; learn business or Spanish or whatever. With Spanish I could work in the South Bronx; it’s a really booming area, but there is so much corruption..’

Guy 2 – ‘.. I have to make decisions about what I’m going to do.. I drive by Newark Airport every morning, see the planes come and go and I think: hey, there’s more to life than just doing this, you know. I’m doing this for two years now, and jeez, what the fuck is it all about… I could go to Massachusetts and build up something new there, but it is still Massachusetts. I don’t have to make a lot of money, you know; just enough to feel comfortable would be great.. But, you know.. I want to do something meaningful..’

Guy 3 – ‘.. There’re a lot of jobs Down South; in Florida, in Texas… But New York is different, though. Tougher than most other places, even Texas… DC is great, but the local level is so weak, and it’s so segregated.. I was there for three hours, yesterday, on Capitol Hill, and the only people I saw there where these white staffers and black servicemen, it’s so fucked-up. To work there, to live there.. I don’t know. As long as we as a country haven’t dealt with these issues, I don’t know. It would be great to be there, be involved in decision making.. But am I supposed to deal with all the old shit of my country as long as it looks the other way..?’

Manhattan, June 1995