This is the eleventh in a series of posts that will preview the upcoming issue of Absinthe, our 17th, focused on Bulgaria. In this post we present an excerpt from a short story by Zdravka Evtimova.
"Don’t waste time. Come to my place quickly! I’ll treat you to a piece of Kuncho as soon as you arrive,” my friend Dara said to me on my mobile. I listened, hesitating. Yesterday, my husband bought a big knife and said he’d use it to slash my throat. I wasn’t too impressed to be honest with you. Let me first explain the way the whole picture looked.
Kuncho was a 21-year-old donkey whose proud proprietor was Dara’s father, Uncle Pesho. The man prepared his cart, then took Kuncho and went to steal tiles, scrap iron, sawdust, plus everything else one could lay his hands on in these parts. I was one of the few who knew the truth about the old donkey and I didn’t take pride in that knowledge. To cut a long story short, it was Uncle Pesho himself who turned Kuncho into minced meat and subsequently into sausages. I was well informed about the substantial role these sausages played in our small town.
Uncle Pesho was stealing scrap iron when Kuncho fell on his belly and started hiccuping and sighing. Then suddenly the animal’s back stopped twitching.
“Why are you doing that to me, man?” Uncle Pesho said to his beast. “Who shall I steal with now? My wife is an old rail like the rusty ones at the railway station. My daughter (he meant Dara, of course), will never get married because no one wants her. The two geese are both so lazy they’d rather kick the bucket than do a stroke of work. I am old and worn out like your horseshoes, Kuncho, but I go filching. Can’t I get a drink like an honest man instead? And what can I steal, my friend? Everything worth stealing has already been stolen. I go out thieving and who do you think I meet? I meet my competitors. They’ve gone out to pilfer something or other, too. So what happens when I see them eye to eye, I ask you? Do we steal the way we should? Not at all! We all sit down and get drunk together. Tell me, Kuncho, didn’t I give you a chunk of my bread all the time? I did! So don’t die, man. Are you leaving me with the slothful female pair, with the old one and the young one? Are you? You can’t die now!”
READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.
Learn more about Zdravka Evtimova and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.