12. 06. 2017. 08:45

Dénes Krusovszky is our next Lit Night author

We're very pleased to bring you an extract from a short story by our next guest at Brody Studios for our monthly Lit Nite, the young and prize-winning poet Dénes Krusovszky. We'll have some poetry for you as well before the discussion on Tuesday night, but until then, here's a little prose!

Dénes Krusovszky

THE NEW SAVAGES

- excerpt

The icy snow sounded like cracking light bulbs under his feet as he walked along. There had been a lot of snow the morning previously, leaving twenty centimetres on the ground; it had thinned out a bit in the afternoon sun before freezing again overnight. It was an unforgivingly dark January morning; he had been unexpectedly woken up, and now every single step he took was a source of difficulty, and the slight but sharp cracking underneath him particularly grated on his ears. The photographer thought to himself maybe he hadn’t fully woken up yet, as he approached the garden gate with his hands in the lining of his jeans’ pockets, trying to press down on his throbbing, erect cock. Neither his fatigue nor the biting morning air did anything to ease it; it was so huge he was almost frightened by it. He thought about what would happen if it didn’t go away, and if he were encumbered thus for the rest of the day – he envisioned the eventual complete numbness, followed by unbearable stinging pain.

He doesn’t remember what exactly he was dreaming of, or indeed if he had been dreaming of anything, when the phone rang; but he knew that by the time he had taken the phone with him into the bathroom – he had got out of bed quickly, lest his wife also wake up – there was already a quite pronounced bulge in his underpants. Initially he felt a little awkward at having to conduct a serious conversation in such a state. However, as he woke up a bit more and rational thoughts began to form more easily, he realised that, it being a phone conversation, the state of his crotch at that moment was a matter of utter indifference. He did not return to his room after the phone call ended; he put the phone down on the washing machine, bent down over the sink and washed himself. It would have been nice to have a shower – a jet of hot water would have likely had an at least mildly salutary effect on his head – but there wasn’t time. Soon, they’d be by his gate, and he couldn’t make them wait. Despite his intense dislike of the liquid soap his wife bought a few weeks ago, he gave his face, neck and armpits a thorough going over with it. Some currently fashionable women’s fragrance floated around the bathroom. He thought it might be lavender with honey and cream or aloe vera and coconut; he wasn’t sure. He was inhaling it and grimacing, as he wiped his face with his towel. They had stocked up on this soap already about five times; it would have been more in line with logic if he simply went to the shop and bought another type for himself. After washing his teeth he instinctively reached for the bottle of mouthwash, but it was empty, so he irritably threw it back in its place. Yesterday his wife and her mother went shopping together, and he had asked them beforehand to get him some Menthol Listerine, but it seemed that they had forgotten. In his state of agitation, he shoved his toothbrush back into its assigned mug with deliberate carelessness, and was surprised to see that it immediately didn’t fall out. He dropped his towel in the washing machine, took his underpants and squeezed them in to the already tightly-packed clothes basket, and went along naked into his study.

A few months earlier, he had carefully covered the windows of this little room, and he had fixed a double-layered, cut to size, black cardboard photo print on to the window panes with non-transparent adhesive tape. He wanted to make it a dark room; however, on clear, sunny days the odd beam of light peculiarly would still manage to sneak in. On such occasions, he would try to mask the given area of the window more thoroughly, but the next day the light would find its way in through a different gap. He didn’t give up even then. I will eventually cover the whole window, he kept saying, I have plenty of time, as does the sun – everything will be fine. The study was originally intended to be a child’s bedroom, but as time passed and no baby arrived, they started to store more and more household items in the room: the ironing board, the clothes dryer, some chest of drawers, and after that his big old desk. From this point it wasn’t long before all these accessories had begun to completely take over the nominal child’s room. His wife kept silent when he sealed the windows and assembled his enlarger. While he worked, she paced the corridor in her floral dressing gown, and kept an eye on him furtively. The way she was acting, it was as though she weren’t entitled to step inside and ask him why he was taking complete control of the room. In reality, and both of them knew this, they just wanted to avoid the issue of infertility, and all the attendant useless therapy sessions and emotionally-charged evenings. They had made an implicit contract, which the photographer initiated through his taking over of the room, and his wife had given her assent with her silence.

In the study, he took out from the chest of drawers where he kept his clothes, a thick, rusty-coloured pair of corduroy trousers, a striped pair of underpants, some winter socks, and quickly put them on. He thought about coffee, but time constraints had to be taken into consideration. He would perhaps have to go out into this dark morning – who knew how long he would be out there? – without any hot liquid to console him. He put on a long-sleeved dark blue t-shirt and a Norwegian-style cardigan, and tried to get his things together. He painstakingly packed everything that he might conceivably need into his waterproof photography bag, though he didn’t know where he was going or what he was preparing for; he hadn’t been informed about this on the phone. He put in two extra lenses, a flashlight and a flash sync, to be on the safe side. In the kitchen, he had spread some butter and Nutella on a slice of bread, and he had taken the thermos flask out of the cupboard, when he saw the car turning in to the driveway and its floodlights shining on the fence outside. “Oh, bollocks to coffee!” he murmured to himself. He tried to stuff the slice of bread into his mouth, and this caused a degree of strain; it was too much of a mouthful, and against his will a good amount of hazelnut cream squeezed its way into the corners of his mouth. He put on his boots and hooded winter coat and looked into the mirror one more time. Nutella-flecked breadcrumbs hung among the hairs of his fine, greying beard. He rubbed his face irritably, put on his cap, and stepped out into the immense cold.

As he approached the waiting car with the snow cracking beneath him, he began to see clearly what he had up until now only suspected: the men sitting inside were looking at him and laughing. “What the fuck is going on?” he asked, as he reached the car and opened the back door. The two of them sat inside, and as he stuck his head in the car, he was mildly overwhelmed by the uniquely obnoxious mix of bad coffee, sour cigarette smoke and Wunderbaum air freshener. The two men turned around, both sniggering. He placed his rucksack in the backseat, and then in a somewhat strained fashion squeezed himself in behind the passenger seat.

“Sorry, we’re just laughing at how lithely and gracefully you were moving through the snow,” he said.

“Your facial expressions were particularly amusing,” the second man said. “As though the electric chair awaited you or something.”

“Well, maybe that is where you're taking me,” the photographer said, forcefully throwing off his jacket as he got into the car.

Dénes Krusovszky

Translated by: David O'Riordan