Son Of A Bitch

excerpt When they were going back to the hotel, the clock at the Carol Foundation showed it was a quarter to five. They parted at the door, arranging to meet the following day. Mr. Petrica Miclaush lingered a little, to pick up his mail. He cast an indifferent look over the three letters that were waiting for him in the mailbox and opened only the telegram. He was urgently called for at Sinaia by his sister, Magda, who was in a long convalescence after a difficult operation. He gestured, dissatisfied, and regretted it almost immediately. He never imagined that he would be so obsessed with Angela that this would come between him and such a gentle and kind sister that adored him. For a moment Angela became hideous to him: he detested her. But Mr. Petrica Miclaush wasn't a man who dwelt upon problems of consciousness. He left them in the lobby and started absentmindedly slowly up the stairs, forgetting about the elevator. When he realized this, he was half way up. It seemed ridiculous to him to go back.The thought that Iulishka would slip again, like a snake, into his bed, seemed unbearable.Mr. Petrica Miclaush never went to bed before taking a hot bath and brushing his teeth. But in order not to wake Iulishka up, he decided to undress in the dark and to go to sleep without washing himself. He opened the door with extreme caution, and stood still for a long time. As never before, the door that separated the rooms was closed and a pale ray of reddish light could be seen from underneath the door. He listened. One could hear very clearly from the next room a heavy breath which was familiar to him and spastic cries like those of a newborn baby, interrupted by little shrills of muffled delirious voluptuousness, which obviously, were coming out of the alabaster chest of Attila's granddaughter. Intrigued, Mr. Petrica Miclaush peeped through the keyhole. What he saw on the surface of the mirror placed in front of the bed seemed to him unbelievable: Iulishka, bare naked, reenacted Leda's mythological scene, in which Jupiter Tonans, casting off the common form of the swan, had suddenly taken the form of Chéri.Struck, Mr. Petrica Miclaush lifted his fist in the air as if to strike a nearby enemy. But the hand dropped helpless, and as if pushed by a sick curiosity he kept looking. The game stopped. The bent knee of the ecstatic woman looked, beside the thigh of the exhausted animal, like a tip of a wing. Chéri turned his head sideways, his tongue like the dancer's slipper, red, leaning against the white breast, small and aggressive. He had such a humane stare that if he had started to sing from Lohengrin or lit a cigarette, Mr. Petrica Miclaush wouldn't have been very surprised. When Mr. Miclaush opened his eyes, Chéri, which curled at his feet on the bed, opened his large mouth, wagging frenetically a stub of a tail like a half of a frankfurter. He noticed that his stare had much in common to that of Paul Verlaine, in the portrait made by Carrière. He pushed him away with his foot. The animal looked at him puzzled. He called him, patting his head:"Sale bête!"Iulishka had gone out to put a visa on her passport.While Mr. Miclaush was getting dressed, Chéri, recovered after a soothing sleep, was jumping around madly and fawned upon him like a member of parliament from the majority party upon the prime minister. Finally, he went into Iulishka's room and came out with his collar in his mouth. Mr. Miclaush took it."Will you be calm?"Chéri was looking him straight in the eyes."Will you obey your master as I have taught you?"Chéri moved his chest."Will you behave towards the ladies?""Amm! Ammm!""Pig!""Bow-wow!"Mr. Petrica Miclaush placed the collar around its neck and after he tied the leash on, he got down as well. In the lobby, Angela was walking by herself."I was waiting for you!" she told him simply. "My first thought when I woke up this morning was of thee.""Say 'of you'.""Of you," she slowly repeated, while she was putting a red carnation into his buttonhole. While they were talking, Mr. Bichiushca arrived. Mr. Miclaush let him know that he would be gone for a day or two, adding unintentionally that Chéri was a problem because his sister couldn't stand any animal in the house, except for a few aunts. Mr. Bichiushca offered to give him shelter. Mr. Miclaush was hesitating."I would be glad to," Mr. Bichiushca insisted.Angela looked at him as if to say: "Please! I need this souvenir."Mr. Miclaush bent forward, giving him the leash.That very moment, Iulishka, in a grey suit, was heading swiftly to the elevator. The dog snatched away from the hand which was too weak to hold him and jumped happily in front of the Hungarian woman, putting his paws on her chest. Mr. Miclaush shouted authoritatively:"Ici!"The dog turned his head, scared and hypocritical, came back unwillingly, as if he was heading while brushing against a wall. Taking stock of Angela from head to toe, Iulishka entered the elevator."That woman despises me!" Angela whispered."But I love you!" Mr. Miclaush answered. Mr. Petrica Miclaush came back from Sinaia looking much younger. His sister was doing fine and she had called for him only because, she said, her instinct, which never betrayed her, was telling her clearly that he was about to do foolish things again. Much as she insisted, nevertheless, he wouldn't stay for more than two days. And during his stay he thought only of the being with a Mona Lisa oval face and wondering eyes. He organically missed her, like an addict longed for his morphine, alcohol and tobacco. Just when he was turning at ninety kilometers per hour into Kiseleff Street, he had his first flat tire. Although he had taken spare wheels with him, he couldn't waste a moment. He stopped a cab which was passing by and headed straight for the hotel. At the entrance, Mr. Bichiushca was getting into a car, while a clerk was taking care of his luggage."Are you leaving?" he inquired troubled."I'm leaving alone," Mr. Bichiushca answered. "Urgent business to attend to in Vienna. Only for a few days. It would be too tiring for Angela."Mr. Miclaush felt overwhelmed by warm bliss."I'm going to ask you a favor, though," Mr. Bichiushca added."Anything.""Don't be too surprised, but here's what I want to tell you: you can insult me, beat me, kill me, but I'm not giving you your dog back. Angela cannot live without him. As soon as we let him in, in the morning, he jumps on the bed and lies next to her."Mr. Petrica Miclaush went up to his room full of terrible suspicions and tormenting worries.Iulishka made a terrible scene. She was short of beating him. She was brimming with anger."Why for you lie at me take dog and then leave dog at mistress of you? This big insult to me. I couldn't sleep no more in the night without a gram of veronal. You luck have, me educated woman, or we make a scandal to the mistress of you! There!"Mr. Petrica Miclaush looked at her placidly and got in his room turning the key.Iulishka went out, slamming the doors.Mr. Miclaush finished washing himself, and in a dark red crepe de Chine pajamas he stood still, his head in his hands, on the armchair. The telephone interrupted his thoughts: "You're not in a hurry to see me. That's not nice!""I was getting dressed!""Come as you are!"He put a dark blue dressing gown around him and crossed the hall.Angela was waiting for him in bed. She was adorable. Her face beamed so much sincerity and purity, that all his dark thoughts were replaced by an outburst of tender joy:"Angela!"She stretched her bare white arms. With her charming bust under the transparent shirt, she made you think of a flower that offered itself to you to pick it. They embraced desperately, as if unseen forces had wanted to separate them against their will. A tram that was taking a turn made a high pitched shrill, which covered for a moment the noise of the engines and of the horns in the street. With the little lucidity he was left, and the sick desire for analysis that all men of Mr. Petrica Miclaush's type prove even in the most intense moments, he looked her straight in the eyes. There is hardly any woman who would not look down under such circumstances.Angela sustained his stare.There was in her eyes such consent, such innocence, such confessed content, that Mr. Petrica Miclaush physically realized that no human being had been his more than Angela in that instant. She let him scrutinize her, without blinking. Then, with a feeble voice, as if it was her last, she whispered tenderly:"Chéri!" As she uttered the word, the dog locked in the bathroom started to scratch the door and bark.Mr. Miclaush shouted almost without realizing:"Why don't you just peep through the keyhole now and then!""What are you saying?""Nothing, rubbish!"Angela was laughing, puzzled:"What came upon you?""I don't know!"The daylight was fading slowly. When they couldn't see each other anymore, they turned on the light. It was only then that they realized that they had been in bed for more than five hours. Angela blushed:"Oh, my! Twenty to six!""What is it compared to the infinite!""Stop joking, I have business to attend to in the city.""A lot?""A few trips.""Shall we eat together?""Of course!""Where?""Wherever you want!""At the hotel, at eight?""At the hotel, at eight.""In the lobby?""In the lobby."They embraced each other. Angela opened the door to the bathroom:"Who comes first, waits.""Don't worry, I'll wait.""I can't stand you!"As he came out, Chéri went after Mr. Miclaush.Angela made a face like that of a schoolgirl who had been punished:"Leave him here!"He didn't dare to be against it, but as he was going out of the door he became gloomy again. "It can't be, he was trying to convince himself, it's impossible! Only a wreck like Iulishka can come up with something like that."But what if…That very moment, Chéri's fate was sealed. A speck of strychnine will end the base wickedness, sending the sinner to dog's paradise or to hell, as God wishes. His heart aching, his mind empty of thoughts, Mr. Petrica Miclaush sat to play bridge. He played very badly. The second rubber hadn't started yet when he received a phone call. It was Angela:"Can you come to my place for a minute?"Can he! In three minute's time he was upstairs. Angela had been crying."What is the matter?"She put her arms around him, sobbing:"I didn't intend to tell you so as not to upset you, but your neighbor wrote an offending letter to me, in which she told me that I can keep you but that I must send her the dog. Oh, my! If you only knew how she ends the letter.""How dared she?""If I had to choose between a Wallachian son of a bitch and a real son of a bitch, I'd choose the dog.""Oh, well…""That's not all," she went on."What else is it, my love?"Angela fell on the armchair:"While I was in town, that lady got her luggage and left.""Is that all?""She took the dog too…""Let her keep him!""Why, you're not upset?""Because of the dog?""And of the lady!"Mr. Miclaush held her in his arms.Angela cheered up:"She left you a letter. It was on your night table. You don't mind that I went into your room, do you? Since I couldn't find the dog here, I thought that while I was away, you may have locked him in your room."They both read, Angela happily, Mr. Miclaush a little embarrassed:You, Petrica, was bad master to me. You luved more bitch in front than dog of you. I luve Iulishka more than at you and at the bitch. You stey with bitch, I leave with Iulishka. Chéri "My Angela!"Angela put her hand over his mouth:"Don't tell me anything. I have you. You're mine aren't you?"They were quiet for a long time, holding each other tight. Mr. Miclaush held her hand:"Shall we go out?""Not tonight!""Good idea, we'll eat here.""I am happy! Go now!""Are you chasing me away?She went near him tender and whispered into his ear:"I'm coming to your place!" An unparalleled epigrammatist, parodist and pun virtuoso whose wit sometimes meets Oscar Wilde's, a gourmet and State inspector-oenologist, Alexandru Osvald Teodoreanu (1894-1964) led an extravagant life with French elegance, though his work remains somehow in the shadow of an illustrious forerunner, the founding father of modern Romanian comedy, I. L. Caragiale.

by Al. O. Teodoreanu (1894-1964)