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YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 2004.

SUBTITLE: (A Monologue for Inspector Bota and His Civilian I - Zdenković)

NUMBER OF MALE CHARACTERS: 1

COPYRIGHT: Full copyright


 

Original title:

Bota Zdenković (monodrama za inspektora Botu i njegovo civilno ja Zdenkovića)


Translated by:

Tomislav Kuzmanović


 


botta (Ital.)

  1. blow, swing, strike, stab;

  2. fig. stick, club, switch, mace.



I. A CRIME IS TAKING PLACE

(Staircase. Bota Zdenković leaves his apartment, locks the door. He is wearing his bathrobe and slippers.)

Inspector Bota. Bota Zdenković. Police officer.

(He points to his bathrobe under which there is a uniform.)

Hm, you caught me, how should I put it, at a bad moment. I’m on a case. Right here, at my place, a crime is takin’ place. It’s not burglary, no, but I’m as happy as if it were. Every call matters, right. And this one came as a godsend. I don’t even have to take the elevator to the crime scene. God helps those who help themselves. That’s what people say, right? So, here I’m; I came down and what am I doin’? I’m ringin’ the bell.

(He rings the bell and listens.)

I’m not eavesdroppin’. Just observin’. It goes under my job description, no?

(The door opens, he almost falls down.)

First time I see this one. (He shows the body curves.) Not bad, but—I’m on a duty. I ask her,

Apartment Pavić?

And she says (sticking his chest out), And who are you?

An officer doesn’t answer that kind of a question. That’s what I tell her and step in.

(He enters officially, even more so.)

And what a sight. I introduce myself immediately.

(He takes his police hat out of his bathrobe and puts it on his head.)

Inspector Bota. We got a call.

What call? They ask me.

Disorderly conduct. I tell them.

(Tossing in a comment.) Look how many of them are here. What’s this? A rally?

A guy, big guy, I know the type—born to cause trouble—asks me. And his head is (showing) this tiny, like a pin. And it stands a little crooked. Well, the guy asks me (tilting his head), Who called?

A neighbor.

Which one? the tilted head asks.

(He takes out the report, turns the pages.) I’m takin’ out the report, flippin’ through it, here it is, Bota Zdenković.

He says, But that’s you.

Wait a little! As a private individual, yes. It is true, that’s me, Bota Zdenković. But I’m here on official business. (He takes off his bathrobe and puts it aside.) And I’d like you to keep these two separate.

And the chick from a second ago is playin’ smart.

(Sticking his chest out.) What? He reported us to himself.

No, no! My private individual I reported you to the official I.

And that ape whose head, this tiny, tilts to the left, yeah that one, gets all fidgety.

(Tilting his head.) Fuck it, Zdenković, you keep reporting me all the time. This is the tenth time this month that you’ve reported me to yourself.

True. Because I’m very thorough.

The tilted head says, As an inspector.

That too. But as a citizen as well. When I think about it, I don’t know if I serve the society more as a civilian or as an officer. (He notes something down.)

I’ll do this at home.

(He puts the notebook in his pocket.)

All right now, what’s that noise?

The tilted one says he heard nothin’.

That’s where I wanted them! Bota Zdenković says he did.

(Tilting his head.) No shit! And what else does the idiot say?

Wait a minute!

(He puts his hand into the pocket of his bathrobe and takes out the remote.)

My bad. That’s not mine, that’s Zdenković’s.

(He puts the remote back into his pocket and takes his notes from the other pocket. He reads.)

Here it goes, there’s loud noise comin’ from Pavić’s apartment. By the way, Pavić is known as an ugly and evil man of an unpleasant character.

(Tilting his head.) That’s what it says?

Here, that’s what it says. I wrote it all down, just like the neighbor said.

The big boobs sticks her boobs out.

(Sticking his chest out.) Is this the way it usually goes, you get the description of those who are reported?

Not usually. But I made an exception. Zdenković is known as a very reliable man so his testimony can only be of help. And now let’s get down to business, what’s goin’ on here? A party or something?

(Tilting his head.) Party? We’re workin’.

Nice, real community work. Haven’t seen that in a while. So what are you workin’ on?

The tilted, that is Pavić, strikes back immediately.

You don’t have to tell him anything.

But the big boobs is quicker,

We’re building.

You’re buildin’, don’t say. Really? And where is your building permit?

(Tilting his head.) I told you to tell him nothing.

Illegal building. Nice work, real nice.

I was just ready to arrest the whole lot of them when Pavić says,

Inspector, would you like a drink?

No, I’m on a duty.

(He puts his bathrobe on.)

But as a private individual I won’t say no to a shot of brandy.

He’s pourin’ something, I see, he’s savin’ so I jump in to help him.

Make it a double.

So we’re sittin’ down and, I see, they’re gettin’ ready to bribe me, but they don’t know who Inspector Bota is. Unbribable, that’s my nickname ever since the kindergarten. I never went against the law. Only by the law or in the name of the law if necessary. And it was; by God, it was necessary. More than once.

I worked mostly at home. I’m one of those who know that first you’ve got to clean your own backyard and then you can move on. My family couldn’t get it. And that’s where everything went down the fuckin’ hill, let me express myself unofficially.





II. HOW INSPECTOR BOTA WAS CHASING HIS SON AND CAUGHT A DESERTER

First I arrested my son. Please, to avoid any confusion, I’m awfully proud of that. Oh, how did I restrain my emotions and act strictly in the line of duty.

So, my son leaves the house, he’s got his bag with him, in it some underwear, socks, some records, his mother gave him money for that, and a passport. How do I know this? I didn’t go through his things, but I confiscated his bag officially and searched it. It was suspicious. And so my son left the house, but I was one step behind him. I followed him.

(He sneaks.)

He goes faster.

(He walks faster, runs almost.)

I go faster.

My son turned around.

(He looks to the side, whistling.)

I duck down.

(He ducks.)

Behind the trashcan. Good it was there. But I know my way around too.

So, there’s my son at the train station. He buys a ticket. I buy one too. He bought the ticket for some international destination; I bought for domestic. I had no more money. And one has to save the assets of our dear mother the police.

The guy at the platform whistles for the train to depart.

(He takes the whistle out of his pocket and blows.)

My son looks around and runs into the car. I follow him.

(He runs and then climbs up into the train.)

He sits into a compartment. I let him be for a moment, so that he can relax, and then I get in.

(He strides in officially, stiffly.)

Good afternoon. Let’s go, everybody out!

People leave, my son steps after them, and I tell him (pointing his finger at his son), You, don’t move! Sit back. And he says,

Dad…

Dad what? I’m not your dad!

Yes, you are!

No I’m not!

How come you’re not when you are?

Ah, no. I’m Inspector Bota. Reportin’ on duty.

I know, but you are my dad.

He was always playin’ smart. Who did he take after, if only I knew? But I told him nicely, Let’s go, where’s your ID?

Dad, you know who I am.

Of course I know. Why wouldn’t I know? I’m after you ever since you left the living room, I know who you are. And now, where’s that ID?

And that sniveling little brat fidgets through his bag, and fidgets and fidgets, he’s lookin’.

Left pocket!

He looks at me.

I tell him. Your ID is in your left pocket. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.

He opens the left pocket, takes out the passport, and gives it to me.

Ivan Zdenković, is that your name, huh?

He says,

Dad, you know it is.

Well, he really went too far with this dad thing! Like it’s not enough that I had to listen to his dad this, dad that for the past twenty years, but he has to screw around with me even when I’m on a duty. But I don’t let him get to me.

Your mother’s name?

Ana.

You’re lyin’.

My son says, Why do you ask me when you know?

I’m askin’ if you know. So?

Ruža.

Ok. Father’s name? All right, I know that. I put his passport into my pocket. I watch him, I almost feel sorry for him, he takes after me, so it’s even harder, but duty is duty. I tell him,

Ah, Zdenković, sonny boy, this is the end of the road for you. You think I don’t know what you are up to? Well, I know, I know everything. You’re on a run, huh?

(He takes the blue envelope out his trousers.)

So I take the blue envelope out of my pocket. Zdenković junior looks at me. (He taps the envelope against the palm of his hand.) You were supposed to report at ten. What’s the time now? Eleven. So, you didn’t report. And these are, you know it, I know it, your daddy knows it, draft papers. And you, what are you doin’? Runnin’ away. Sonny boy, sonny boy!

What a disgrace! My son a deserter.

Let’s go, you’re under arrest. He gets up, I’m already up, so I look at him and I tell him,

You don’t look suspicious at all, you could fool anybody, but not me, not Bota. I smell the criminals, illegals, traitors from a mile away.

Then the conductor enters the compartment.

(In a booming voice.) Tickets!

What are you yellin’ for? I tell him.

He says (in a booming voice), Where’s your ticket?

Excuse me, I’m on a case.

So am I, says the conductor. Where are your tickets?!

Nice. My son shows him his ticket, I give him mine. The conductor looks at mine, looks at it for while, and says, No, can’t do. The train goes to Amsterdam, and you bought the ticket to Nova Gradiška.

He’s so pedantic. He’s getting’ all detailed on me. But we’re takin’ off anyhow.

Then the conductor tells me, You bet you are! And he goes to kick us off the train.

But, fuck it, the train is already movin’. So he kicked us out somewhere half way between Zagreb and Osijek. We walked for three days back into town. I took my son to the station immediately, then from the station directly to the MP’s station and from there to the front. My son, a hero, he came back from the war. Alive. And in one piece. Almost.

And he blames me for that. Fuck it, I didn’t shoot him! Besides, what did he give for the country? A leg. And he had two. Why didn’t he give both of them, I ask you?





III. INSPECTOR BOTA DOES HIS DUTY, WHILE ZDENKOVIĆ GETS DRUNK

Eh, my mouth got dry. Pavić runs as fast as he can, brings me water. But dear neighbor, water, that’s for children, how about that fire-water you’ve got there. He pours us another shot and I drink it.

(He drinks his brandy.)

He pours me another and I realize: it’s hot in here. Are you heatin’?

But the big boobs starts screaming immediately: Look, he’s drinking on duty!

(He shakes and spills the brandy all over his uniform.)

Uh, that little bitch!

(He puts his bathrobe on, but as he is in a hurry, he is messing it up, so he cannot either put it on or take it off completely.)

The second I’m back on my duty, you’re busted! I’ll get you, you little…!

(He manages to put his bathrobe on, gulps his brandy quickly, and takes his bathrobe off. He gets up, officially.)

All right, let me see you now? What? Not a peep! Silent like mice! That’s where I want you. Now, let’s see what you’ve been up to. What are you buildin’?

(Tilting his head) The room.

The room, huh? You don’t have enough rooms? I have one room, you have five and you’re still expandin’. Instead of sharin’, you’re collectin’ rooms, you little motherf...! And where’s the permission? Of course, you don’t have one. So I’m thinkin’ now. Should I impound it? Should I take it to the station? Problems. I decide to counsel with Bota Zdenković the civilian. (He takes off his bathrobe.)

He says he can’t think without brandy. So, let’s get us another one.

(He gulps from the bottle.)

Pavić says, You take it well, Inspector.

Well? No, no, I can’t take it at all, Pavić!

(Tilting his head) A drink, inspector.

Ah that! No, not at all. Inspector can’t take it, but that’s why it flows down my throat like water under bridge.

Pavić, who’s the room for?

(Tilting his head) For a child.

Uh, that’s not good, my dear Pavić. Children are trouble. I have two, a son and a daughter, I had to arrest them both.



IV. WHEN INSPECTOR BOTA ARRESTED HIS DAUGHTER WITHOUT EVEN BATTING AN EYE

One morning I get into the kitchen—I just got up, I was on a night shift—and what do I see. My daughter and her mother sat at the table, cryin’ their eyes out. What, I ask, and my daughter says (in a whiny voice), They reported me!

So?

What do you mean so, her mother starts whinin’ as well, she got fired.

Aha! And now she of course wants me to give her the money. So what did he say?

(In a whiny voice) Who?

Who? Who? The one who reported you!

(In a whiny voice) That I’m not doing my job well. And that I’m not giving the receipts.

Well that’s true. You’re not.

(In a whiny voice) But nobody does. So what now, everybody should be sacked?

They should. And what else did he say?

(In a whiny voice) Nothing.

How come nothing, when he said that you steal clothes from the store, wear it when you go to clubs and bars, and then you take it back to the store and sell it to the customers. Here, that’s what he said. And he also said that on the seventeenth you were not sick but you went to the seaside with that idiot of yours.

(In a whiny voice) He said this?

Yes. And you weren’t sick on the nineteenth either.

And how do you know this? she asked.

Why wouldn’t I know? I am an inspector, right? Besides, I reported you.

(In a whiny voice) You?

Yeah, and you should consider yourself lucky it was me. Is there anyone better that your own father, right? You’re embarrassin’ both your mother and me. And her mother says, And what is she supposed to do now that she lost her job? She’s pregnant on top of that.

See what happens when you go to the seaside. Had you been workin’, there would’ve been no belly and you wouldn’t have been fired. And just to let you know, it took a hell of a lot of effort to catch you.

(He brings out three sacks with the boutique label on them)

I had to buy three dresses (he takes out the dresses) for evidence. I bought them with my own money. All three of them’d been worn before. And I needed to disguise myself so that you wouldn’t recognize me.

(He takes the wig and a pair of high heels from the bag and puts them on.)

My daughter screams. (He screams like a woman.)

Of course, she recognized me.

Yes, that was me. You remember now, don’t you?

(He enters the store, like a woman.) One dress, please, something for a lady like me.

Good camouflage, right?

But you didn’t give me the receipt. And what could I do but report you? I’d be a fool if I didn’t. You’re lucky I didn’t arrest you. And I wanted to. You go to jail for what you did. Little missy goes to the seaside and her father hasn’t been nowhere near the sea for, lets see, ten years now. Is that justice, you tell me?

Both of them shut their faces immediately.

And if there’s anything else, tell me right now, it’s better you admit it than that I find out myself. My daughter glances at me. I see she’s about to spit it out. So, tell me!

(In a whiny voice) That clothes.

Clothes. The one that got stolen.

(He imitates his daughter.) My daughter nods.

You know who stole it?

She nods. Who? I ask her. She nods again.

She! Eh, I fuckin’ had enough.

(He takes off the wig and throws it on the floor.)

Oh, she had me fooled! Me, Bota Zdenković, the great inspector. But she was suspicious. I take the handcuffs out. I put her under arrest. I’d arrest her mother too, as an accomplice, I’d arrest her gladly, but I don’t have two pairs of handcuffs, so I let her go.

I’ll deal with you later, I tell her. But this criminal goes to the station right now.

(He walks like a woman in high heels.)

We get out into the street and then I realize I can’t walk right. The shoes!

(He takes off the shoes.)

And so, I have no shoes, it’s freezing outside, I take the criminal to the station barefoot. She stayed in prison for two days and then she moved out. She married that idiot of hers. And she still goes to the seaside. I even bought swimming trunks in that boutique of hers, but I’ve still seen no sea!



V. THE NEIGHBOR FIGHTS BACK, BUT INSPECTOR BOTA DOES NOT MOVE AN INCH

(Tilting his head.) Bota, you drank all of our brandy.

All of it, you say? Well, then we have to switch to beer. Have any?

He has. The neighbor brings me a beer. I drink while he stands over me and watches. What’re you lookin’ at? And he says (tilting his head), Look, Bota, let’s settle this. This can’t go on like this. It’s seventh time this, listen, this month that you reported me. Last time you barged in on the New Year’s Eve accusing me of disorderly conduct.

Of course I did, what. They were making noise, you couldn’t sleep. It was the New Year’s Eve, true, but the law says nothing about that.

(Tilting his head.) And before that you arrested me in the elevator.

Of course, he didn’t have a drivin’ license. He says like, why would he need it in the elevator? Why, why, well the elevator is a vehicle too, isn’t it?

(Tilting his head.) And so now my license is suspended for six months.

Walk. It’s good for you. If I can do it, you can do it too. I don’t have a car, but you don’t hear me complainin’, do you? I manage.

But I see where all this is goin’. He wants to change the subject. Make me forget about that illegal construction of his. Motherfu… doesn’t he know who Bota Zdenković is. The extended hand of justice. I work slowly and thoroughly. Here, when I was arresting’my brother, that was trouble by god, I worked on the case for six years. I had evidence, the apartment was full of it, only evidence. I had to sell my furniture so the evidence would fit.



VI. HOW INSPECTOR BOTA SOLVED THE PIVOTAL CASE NOT ONLY OF HIS CAREER BUT OF HIS BROTHER PERO AS WELL

So, my brother Pero. The pivotal case of my career. The turning point. He was slick, but not as slick as me. We, me and his brother Bota Zdenković, worked on Pero’s case together. I couldn’t do it alone. I sent Zdenković in civilian clothes as a spy. A decoy. It was dangerous, but that’s what the situation demanded.

So, every morning Bota Zdenković gets up and goes to the market. Here’s what he hears,

(He opens his coat with lighters and other things. Yells.) Deutch Marks! Deutch Marks!

Zdenković comes to his brother Pero, buys Deutch Marks from him, buys him a drink and gets everything out of him like a real brother. How much did he sell, to whom, at what exchange rate? Back then I still believed he was just a petty criminal. But then he started expandin’ his activities. He got into black market. What was he sellin’? Whatever he got his hands on.

(Takes various appliances from a box.)

Look, this blender, that’s what Bota bought from him. This TV set too. But it doesn’t work anywhere in Europe. Made for Asian market. Then this toaster. You wanna make yourself a toast, you start a fire. And the bastard didn’t want to replace it. He said he didn’t have another, he sold them all. Bota bought all of it, as I said, filled my apartment to the roof. If anybody needs something, I’ll give it half price.

So, after six years, after I’d bought everything he was sellin’, I decided it’s time to close the case. I had to. My bathroom was filled with evidence. I couldn’t even take a shower. The bathtub was full of lighters, cell phones, coffee and brandy.

So, that morning I’m goin’ to my brother. Zdenković wanted to go too, but no, I told him, Zdenković, this isn’t a game anymore, what if you get hurt? So, I put on my uniform and leave him at home.

Early morning, fog all over the place, I hear him (he yells like Pero), Deutch Marks, Deutch Marks, blenders, toasters! And I meet face to face with Pero. He sees my uniform and says: You’re on duty, huh?

On duty, my brother. He doesn’t know what’s comin’. He even asks, You need any Deutch Marks? He ratted himself out just like that. I tell him, You better be quiet. He says, What? Well, because it’s your right. What do you mean? Here’s what I mean. You’re under arrest. And so I arrest him and take him to his van. And there, oh dear god, evidence all over. Still packed! Like in a dream. I search the van and what do I see. That toaster he sold me, he has ten more just like that one, and he didn’t want to replace mine. Here I wanted to hit him with my stick, and he says, How can you do this, you bought it from me?

It’s true, I bought my stick from him because I lost mine. On a mission. When I was arrestin’ my neighbor’s mutt.

I look at the evidence, and he says, I’m giving the tape recorders away today. You just wait if my patience gives away and I’ll interrogate you with my fists. You just wait.

He’s in black market. No wonder our economy is down. No wonder. No one buys domestic products, only Chinese and Turkish goods in honest Croatian homes. It won’t take long before our babies start coming out with slant eyes. That’s how much Chinese stuff we’ve got. I mean, my apartment already looks like I live in China Town.

But Pero stares at me, C’mon, brother, take these cuffs off. Your brother’s not here. He’s at home. You’re alone with Inspector Bota. And Bota, he doesn’t cave.

But how can you arrest me when you’ve been buying stuff from me for years? You bet I was buyin’ your stuff, to get a better insight. And the Deutch Marks? I time deposited them. I can’t have the money in the house, my family, all of them are criminals, they’d steal it. Besides, why am I tellin’ you this, you’re just like them.

We sit in the van and I tell him, Drive now. And he’s drivin’. His hands like this, he’s drivin’ like a moron.

(He imitates his brother awkwardly holding the steering wheel with his hands in cuffs.)

What are you doing? What am I supposed to do when you don’t want to take the cuffs off? Well, I won’t do it now either. We almost crashed.

(The tires are screeching, sudden breaking, Inspector Bota almost goes his head through the windshield.)

He ran the red light. Ok, stop there. He stops. What? he asks. What do you mean what? You don’t have your seatbelt on. Sure, but my cuffs are on, all right. He’s screwin’ around with me. I give him a fine immediately. I forgot to put the seatbelt on as well, so I write one for myself too. I ask him, Where’s your license? Don’t have it, he says. What do you mean don’t have it? You revoked it last week. It’s true, I forgot that tiny detail. Well, then you can’t drive! I don’t have a license, so what can we do, we pushed the van for those twenty kilometers or so to the station.

My brother got sentenced quickly, he came out and never contacted me again. And that toaster, still not workin’.



VII. WHEN INSPECTOR BOTA ALMOST GOT KILLED ON A MISSION

(He gets up, pulls his pants up.)

Where’s the bathroom? Nature calls. And the big boobs says again,

(Sticking his chest out.) Good that it’s not law calling.

I see, the kid’s screwin’ around with me, she likes me. She goes on,

(Sticking his chest out.) Who has to go? Inspector Bota or Zdenković?

Both of them, I say. They show me to go left, I turn right, I don’t have to go, I just want to check the crime scene. And a sight to see. A room, fuck it! Huge. I ask, What’s this?

(Tilting his head.) What?

What do you mean what? The room. And he’s being smart on me.

(Tilting his head.) You’re asking me if this is the room?

(Throwing his hat on the floor in anger.) I’m not askin’ you what it is, but how come it is here? He says again,

(Tilting his head.) You’re asking me how come there is a room in the apartment?

Well, this really pissed me off.

(Jumping up and down on his hat.) I’m askin’ you where did this room come from?

(Talking in turns as Inspector Bota and as Pavić with his head to a side, his voice squeaky.)

Well, it came.

(The Inspector’s hissing.) How did it, please tell me, come here?

And how did you come?

(Threatening with his finger.) Pavić!

Yes, Bota?

What kind of room is this? He says, Children’s room. What do you mean what kind?

(Tilting his head.) You’re asking me what kind of a room is children’s room? You really don’t know? I mean, think a little. What, you don’t know that either? You don’t know how to think. Well, all right then. Children’s room is a room for children.

For children, you say, huh? Wait, wait, wait a second. You have a child?

(Tilting his head.) Not yet. But in nine months time.

I’m petrified. (He sits down.) I’m catchin’ my breath, to come to my senses. Bota, my civilian I, faints.

(He blacks out.) I help him, excuse me me, come about (He slaps his face.). He comes to his senses. (He screams.) Inspector, what are you doin’ to me? I’m savin’ your ass. Water? (He helps himself to some water.) I’ll have some brandy. I can’t, I’m on duty, so I offer it to Zdenković. He chugs it (He drinks the brandy.) and I continue with the investigation.

(He gets up to his feet and picks the crumpled hat from the floor.)

Now I had enough!

(He looks at the hat, tries to fix it, he can’t do it so he puts it on like that.)

Take this room back! Right away! You hear me? Take that room back to where it came from!

He says, But I wasn’t the one who found it. He points to the big boobs, She made it.

I had enough. She? Who’s she?

(Sticking his chest out.) I’m the child’s mother.

What? (He pulls his sleeves up.) Here I go after Pavić. You have a lover? How can you have a lover, when I don’t have one?

The big boobs cuts in. Nobody asked her anything.

(Sticking his chest out.) When you’re good for nothing.

You makin’ fun of me? Why would we make fun of you? Pavić says.

You know very well why? You motherfucker!

C’mon Bota, what’s wrong with you?

A child, huh?

And I grab Pavić by his neck. I start choking him. He chokes me back. (Wheezing.) He almost strangled me to death! (He's choking himself.) Let me go, Pavić yells.

I’ll kill you. You won’t be makin’ fun of me!

(He falls to the ground.)

Fuck! He knocked me down. Bota Zdenković jumps in to help me. C’mon Inspector, get up. It’s a shame. I’m still on the ground and he starts yellin’. An officer down! We need help! (He helps himself up.) Let me go, I’ll do it myself. (He pushes his left arm away and gets up.)

And then it dawns on me! He’s got a lover and I don’t even have a wife. I had one, but then things went downhill.

Why? Because of Inspector Bota. It’s his fault my marriage fell apart. His and no one else’s. He’s the reason my Ruža left me.




VIII. HOW INSPECTOR BOTA DESTORYED HIS CIVILIAN I’S MARRIAGE

Now, to make it clear, she didn’t leave my civilian I and left with the Inspector. Oh, no. Here’s how it was. She sat me at the table one morning and said,

(Sticking his chest out.) Bota, I don’t even see you anymore. It’s five days already I haven’t seen you.

Eh, it’s not true! We saw each other yesterday. And she says that it wasn’t me but Inspector Bota. And that he’s around the house all the time, and I’m never home. And that she hardly managed to catch me even now. She’s sad, she says, she goes to bed with Bota Zdenković and wakes up next to the Inspector. She can’t go on like this anymore. She doesn’t know what to do.

That was the first crisis. The second one was Inspector Bota’s fault as well. So I’m sitting one mornin’ in my kitchen, drinkin’ my coffee, when somebody suddenly grabs me from behind (He shivers.). Inspector Bota in person. He says that I have to know something and that it’s hard for him to talk about it, but I have to know.

I’ve been suspecting my Ruža for a while now. First she began working day and night. She told me, Private businesses are like that, they exploit people, and you either keep your mouth shut or take you wages and go home. That wasn’t suspicious to me. It should’ve been, but it wasn’t. Then she began workin’ all three shifts. That really pissed me off.

First I sent Inspector Bota to arrest that employer of hers. He can’t exploit the woman so much. Inspector Bota left and came back to me, and to himself, empty-handed. He says, Ruža didn’t show up at work for the last three days. She called in sick. Now I remembered my daughter and everything was clear to me. Same school, no doubt about it.

So I as my civilian I ask Inspector Bota to keep an eye on her. Not the regular surveillance, but to stay close. And keep me informed.

The next day the Inspector comes. With evidence.

(He takes out a bundle of photographs and takes out the one showing a building.)

See this, Zdenković? I ask myself as the Inspector. Yes, answers my civilian I. What do you see? What do you mean? It’s my building. It’s not only yours, I answer myself. So what? That’s where I live! Exactly. But you don’t know who else lives here. Who? Your wife.

Of course, we live here together.

Ah no, says the Inspector. You wife moved. When? Some three months ago. And now you tell me? We haven’t run into each other before. That’s true, the Inspector and me keep on missin’ each other. He works a lot so it’s hard to catch him. Ok, where does she live now? I show myself the evidence number two.

(He shows himself a photograph with the staircase on it.)

Staircase, two floors down. So what’s there?

The neighbor.

Oh, says Inspector Bota, your wife’s cheatin’ on you. Fuck, she’s cheatin’ on both, on you and me. This made us both think.

Fuckin’ bastard, why did he show it to me in the first place! I jump at him, take that stick of his and start hittin’ him all over (He hits himself with a stick.), but Inspector Bota’s tough, he takes the weapon out of my hands (He removes the stick from himself.), overcomes me and what does he do?

Arrests me! Me! His civilian I!

(He cuffs himself.)

I didn’t go before the judge, Inspector Bota covered everything up so I owe him that one.


IX. THE FINAL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN BOTA AND ZDENKOVIĆ

All right, okay, I admit, the big boobs, I’ve seen her before. In my apartment. She’s my wife. Was my wife! She left me and went straight two floors down.

To your place, Pavić. So that she doesn’t have to change the mailman or the grocery store. She’s used to the neighborhood. Practical woman, that wife of mine.

(Tilting his head.) She’s not your wife anymore.

Oh, really? Is that my fault?

Bah, I should’ve arrested her, and not let her screw me up like this.

All right. Maybe it is my fault. But which I is to blame? The inspector or the private individual? Or both?

(Sticking his chest out.) The inspector’s isn’t here.

What do you mean, isn’t here? Yes, he is! Sure he is!

(He takes his police gear out from under the bathrobe.)

Here, the badge, the stick, the gun, it’s all here, the whole gear. So how then I’m not here? There’s more of me here than it should be. Is that right, Zdenković?

(He puts the bathrobe on; he’s swaying.) That’s right! There’s two of us! United we stand!

(Taking his bathrobe off.) He’s drunk! Doesn’t know what he’s sayin’.

The big boobs can’t wait for the question (sticking his chest out), You were fired.

Fired? What? That’s a lie, a damn lie. I reported myself.

There’d been talk about layoffs, too many officers, but I don’t believe that. Not me. Those who were good for nothing got sacked. And whose fault was it that almost half of them were good for nothing? Not the state’s fault. And whose fault was it that more than half of them ended without roof over their heads? No, not the state’s. It was our own fault. Here, I know exactly where I made a mistake. Right from the start I should have been as thorough as I am today. Had I arrested my whole family right there on the spot, that would’ve been a different story. But no, my private I got in the way.

(He puts the bathrobe on.) Don’t, don’t do it, they’re your flesh and blood.

Yes, they’re mine. Criminals, the lot of them. I should’ve arrested my mother first. I was six. The moment she wrote my first homework assignment, I should’ve put her behind bars. But I didn’t.

I should’ve arrested my father the first time he fell asleep at work.

Here’s, here’s what I said to myself, Bota, listen, you’re no good as an inspector, you let your emotions take you, and what did I do? I resigned. That’s right, I fired myself, no one got me sacked. No, no.

Honest I was, honest I still am. And not like the lot of you, you let me down, went down to the neighbor’s, now you’re buildin’ a room with him, my daughter let me down too, she left, my son let me down, left, I don’t even wanna talk about my brother Pero. My mother’s not callin’ either. She says I sent my dad to grave. At least I didn’t arrest him.

I carry my own cross. Bota, the inspector, he helps me here and there. We manage somehow. We live alone, bumpin’ against each other in that shoebox of ours and you’re expanding. The inspector and me, Zdenković, we sleep in the same bed. Pushin’ each other out. We’re wearin’ the same pants, the same shirt, the same underwear! We have no one but each other. My own family betrayed me. And the inspector told me nicely, Don’t get hitched. And I did. Don’t have any children. Zdenković made some.

You don’t know who screwed who more. Zdenković Bota or Bota Zdenković. Eh, if I could only get to the end of that.

And now we’re blamin’ each other. Instead of lovin’ each other, we fight all the time. In the end, the inspector’s gonna leave me too. And what will I do then? Alone and miserable.

(He starts crying.)

What? I’m not cryin’ on duty. That’s, like, a private tear here.

(He puts on his hat and wipes down the tears.)

All right now. I stayed too long already, I should go home, and Zdenković got drunk anyhow.

(He stands up; he’s swaying.)

Well, I’ll just have to carry him home then.

(First he totters a little, then he carries himself.)

Dear neighbors, thank you very much, no hard feelings and see you tomorrow. I know, you’re gonna break the law sooner or later. How do I know this? ‘Cause that’s the kind of people you are. And then I’ll have to intervene. But that’s not a problem, I love this job more than anything in the world, mark my words!

(He leaves the scene, the sound of him falling, he comes back.)

I’ll be back. And when I do, you’re all under arrest!




THE END



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