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Jerzy Franczak

Pic. PIO

Jerzy Franczak

Inhuman comedy

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After entering the bus I am being instantly scrutinized: the ladies sitting in the front lodge survey me from head to toe, and next to them – some teen girls babble about school. One of them salivates, while swallowing syllables: My cass is prtty kewl, kinda wacky… Oh girl, you are crazy, I tell ya! The entire tram is wacky, it’s about to make a loop and everyone’s heads will get lighter – mine, yours, and the grannie’s in the beret as well! God, such people should be prohibited! Suddenly, the passengers, as if they read my mind, crossed themselves and looked at me ominously. A hangar-like building with a chimney? Tower, maybe? Flashed in the window, so it must have been a church. I started to feel like a Martian, and they crossed themselves again and are looking again, and I feel like I’m from Sirius; it’s worth mentioning we’re approaching the city center, so every second building is a church! So, their pilgrimages, to the market, to the post office, to the supermarket, are aimed at me…
I get off – too early – crossroads, cars, I don’t know where I am. About face, attention, at ease.
None of this makes any sense, but I stay in touch with dangerous senselessness everyday, so I got used to it. As a Polish language teacher I read poems with the students – that is to say, I babble incoherently, while they follow my slight movements around (two steps forward, two steps back) with their witless gazes. I am getting existential nausea: I talk, look at their faces, full of boredom and drowsiness, and with the corner of my eye I see a mighty plane tree, swaying and soughing, and there are no thoughts inside my head, except for maybe the one that “a tree must blow off some sough”. My moves, the sounds I generate, their silent presence – it is a manifestation of the absurd no Sartre has ever dreamed of. So I continue to talk, without end, like in a tiresome dream, and the class starts to smile discreetly, chuckle secretly and I don’t know whether I stained myself with chalk, or my hair stand up, or my zipper is down, and I can’t even ask them.
Once, at some bar, after a few lonely beers, I pulled up a chair to two girls and started mumbling something, and they only chuckled. I’m trying to pick them up and they only laugh, whisper among themselves and start to laugh again. I subtly put my hand on the hand of one of them, and the girl moves away and reaches for her purse. I clear my throat and get up, and the girl says: “I’ll see you then”. “How? When?” “On Thursday, during class”. On Thursday I started asking her questions about medieval literature, long and hard, until she looked like saint Griselda and begged me to stop with her gaze. And the other day (I recapitulate my life drama via anecdotes, since it’s terribly boring) I noticed that a student in the last row is drawing something in his notebook, tilts his head, puts his tongue out and colors something meticulously. I went there quickly and looked: it was a huge sign that said “Wisła Kraków”. I ordered him to tear this page out of his notebook and as a punishment, told him to write “Cracovia Rules” 100 times.
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Jerzy Franczak

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