Angel Ivanov – Technical drill

96

Feverishly he went into the booth and nervously, but quietly closed the metal door behind him. He left the stolen key on the table beside the desk. He swivelled round the dusty chair and sat in it. He’d been here for 12 years before they laid him off. He knew the room like the breasts of a beloved woman. He pulled the arm of the suspended microphone towards him. Out of habit he put the fingers of his right hand between it and his mouth in order to maintain the recommended distance. Then he pressed on the fader, moved it up, the red light came on, the microphone was open and he spoke. His voice carried to every neighbourhood and every ear in the city:

Attention!
Attention!
Attention!

This is not a technical drill!
This is not a technical drill!
This is not a technical drill!

This is a genuine disaster signal!
This is a genuine disaster signal!
This is a genuine disaster signal!

Listen, people …

He swallowed. His mouth had gone dry. His eyes were crazy. His voice was cutting the air and slamming into the rubble of apartment blocks and hearts.

Without love, I  am nothing!
Without love, I  am nothing!
Without love, I  am nothing!

The microphone crackled. A great bird or plane flew over and covered the street with its shadow.

Translation by Tom Phillips

Original text:

Техническа проверка

Трескаво влезе в кабината и затвори нервно, но тихо металната врата зад гърба си. Остави откраднатия ключ на масата, до пулта. Обърна прашния стол и седна в него. Беше прекарал тук 12 години, преди да го съкратят. Стаята му беше позната като гърдите на любима жена. Издърпа стойката на окачения прибран микрофон към себе си. По навик разпъна пръстите на дясната ръка между него и устата, за да спази препоръчителното разстояние. После натисна плъзгача, придвижи го нагоре, червената лампичка светна,  микрофонът беше отворен и той заговори. Гласът му стигна до всички квартали и уши на града:

Внимание!
Внимание!
Внимание!

Това не е техническа проверка!
Това не е техническа проверка!
Това не е техническа проверка!

Това е сигнал за истинско бедствие!
Това е сигнал за истинско бедствие!
Това е сигнал за истинско бедствие!

Чуйте, хора…

Преглътна. Устата му беше пресъхнала. Очите му бяха налудни. Гласът режеше въздуха и се забиваше до отломки в панелките и сърцата…

Щом любов нямам, нищо не съм!
Щом любов нямам, нищо не съм!

ЩОМ ЛЮБОВ НЯМАМ, НИЩО НЕ СЪМ! Микрофонът запращя. Прелетя голяма птица или самолет и покри улицата със сянката си.

 

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Angel Ivanov
Angel Ivanov, aged 30, has worked as a journalist and TV screen writer. He is also a devoted traveler who has walked the whole distance of the Black-sea coast of his motherland Bulgaria and visited the holy lands in Israel; as a humble Eastern-Orthodox Christian Angel has toured several times the famous Athos peninsula in Greece and hitchhiked round Europe and Asia as well. His first book of short stories “Technical drill” (scalino, 2018) is an impressive volume of texts written in the course of 12 years.