Author: Juha Mannerkorpi

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Issue 2/1982 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from Sudenkorento (‘The dragonfly’, 1970). Introduction by Aarne Kinnunen

I now have. Right here in front of me. To be interviewed. Insulin artist. Caleb Buttocks. I have heard. About his decision. To grasp his nearly. Nonexistent hair and. Lift. Himself and. At the same time. His horse. Out of the swamp into which. He. Claims. He has sunk so deep that. Only. His nose is showing. How is it now, toe dancer Caleb Buttocks. Are you. Perhaps. Or is It your intention. To explain. The self in the world or. The world. In the self. Or is It now that. Just when you. Finally have agreed to. Be interviewed by yourself. You have decided. To go. To the bar for a beer?

– Yes. Can you spare a ten?

– Yes.

– Thanks. See, what’s really happened is that. My hands have started shaking. But when I down two or three bottles of beer, that corpse-washing water as I’ve heard them call it, my hands stop shaking and I don’t make so many typing errors. If I put away six or seven they stop shaking even more and the typing mistakes turn really strange. They become like dreams: all of a sudden you notice you’ve struck it just right. Let’s say, ‘arty’ becomes ‘farty’. Or I mean to say, ‘it strikes me to the core’ I end up typing ‘score’. It’s like that. A friend of mine, an artist, once stuck a revolver in my hand. Imagine, a revolver! I’ve never shot anything with any kind of weapon except a puppy once with a miniature rifle. My God, how nicely it wagged its tail when I aimed at it, but what I’m talking about are handguns, those shiny black steelblue clumps people worship as heaven knows what symbols. It’s not as if I haven’t been hoping to all my life. And now, finally, after I’d waited over fifty years, it turned out that the revolver was a star Nagant, just the kind I’d always dreamed of. So if I ever got one of those, oh, then would sleep through the lulls between shots with that black steel clump ready under my pillow. Well, my friend the artist set out one vodka bottle with a white label and three brown beer bottles with gold labels on the edge of a potato pit – we had just emptied all of them together – stuck the fully loaded star Nagant into my hand, took me thirty yards away and said:

– Oh, Lord. More…