Andrej Rozman Roza/Slovenia
poet, playwright, and actor – was born in 1955 in Ljubljana, where he still lives. In 1978, he abandoned the Slovene studies programme at the university and, with friends, started the theatre Pocestno gledališče Predrazpadom (in English: Before-the-Breakup Street Theatre). In the following years, he organized a number of well-received performances in Ljubljana by visiting street theatres from abroad – which helped overcome the authorities’ fear of spontaneous street happenings. In 1981, he founded the Ana Monró Theatre. He writes parodistic and comic poems, fairy tales, and comedies for children and adults; he reworks classic texts for other media, transposes them to contemporary life, or simply translates them
One hot day in the month of August
fair Vida traveled to Trieste;
she needed diapers for her baby
and tablets for her husband’s chest;
and when it all was bought and paid for,
she sat down in a park to rest.
Suddenly she sees a black guy
coming toward her bench. He’s in
a handsome suit and on his necktie
wears a gold and diamond pin.
He says to Vida, “If you permit me,
I’d like to tell you, as you sit here,
about our range of great vacations
to exotic destinations.”
“Sorry, but I’m afraid I have
too many problems here to solve,”
Vida sighs, as the man inspects
the weary beauty’s pallid cheeks,
the dark circles beneath her eyes,
and the box of diapers by her side.
“If these problems on your mind
are merely of a financial kind,
I may have a good job for you,”
fair Vida hears the stranger say.
“Once a simple health review
shows you’re basically OK,
you can make a lot of money
in a distant foreign country
with your own breast milk in just a year,
enough to last a long time, my dear.
Room and board and all your clothes
come with the job. So if you chose,
you could leave your pay intact
and put it in a savings bank
at high interest, or, alternatively,
send it home to your family.”
Vida doesn’t need a second
to think it over – things are getting
worse and worse at home: the kid
cries day and night, her husband’s sick
and out of work with no insurance. . .
She’s at the end of her endurance!
So she makes up her mind at once.
To a nearby post office she runs,
the pills and diapers she mails off –
tomorrow they should get the stuff.
And then for a month of endless hours,
she breastfeeds a child that isn’t hers.
She agonizes – tosses and turns
in bed – until her paycheck comes.
Filled with trepidation, she
telephones home immediately,
but – a most annoying thing! –
the telephone just rings and rings.
Her husband’s mobile service provider,
each time she calls, says over and over,
as if it’s the only thing it knows:
“The number you have dialed is not
available. Please try again later.”
Her heart is beating faster and faster.
At last she gets through to a neighbor,
and then, right afterwards, collapses.
Since what she learns is truly terrible,
gruesome yet poignant, almost unbearable –
for more details you’ll have to buy
a newspaper. We can only say
that the tragic way things ended
might, in fact, have been prevented
if fair Vida had been wiser
and been our mobile phone subscriber.
If she had joined our premium
Sheik Plan (with a four-year minimum),
which includes the right to make
international calls at the same low rate
that otherwise exclusively
applies to local calling, she
would have phoned much sooner – and
this tale would have had a happy end.
Translated by Rawley Grau.
Na en vroč dan v avgustu
lepa Vida v Trst je šla
po plenice za otroka
in tablete za moža.
In ko je vse to kupila,
si je v parku odpočila.
Tam naenkrat k njeni klopi
temnopolti mož pristopi.
V čedni obleki in s kravato
s sponko diamantno zlato
reče Vidi: “Dovolite,
da, medtem ko tu sedite,
vam predstavim naš program
“Oprostite, ampak žal
imam že tu preveč težav,”
dahne Vida. Mož pa gleda
temne podočnjake in bleda
lica trudne lepotice,
ki ob sebi ima plenice.
“Če omenjene težave
zgolj finančne so narave,
dobro službo imam za vas,”
sliši Vida tujčev glas.
“Če pokaže peiskava,
da ste v zasnovi zdrava,
v vam neznanem tujem svetu
z lastnim mlekom v enem letu
se tako obogatite,
da še lep čas s tem živite.
Imate hrano in svojo sobo
ter vso nujno garderobo,
da, če to bi si želela,
plača bo ostala cela
in jo boste kje vezala
ali pa domov poslala.”
Vida nič ne premišljuje.
Ker doma je vedno huje -
dete joče noč in dan,
mož brez službe in bolan,
je ostal še brez podpore,
ona tega več ne zmore -
in se hipoma odloči.
Le do bližnje pošte skoči,
da plenice in zdravila
bosta jutri že dobila.