Academic journal article Hecate

Bunny Men

Academic journal article Hecate

Bunny Men

Article excerpt

On a borrowed bicycle I'm cutting through a bumt-out field. In the distance I can see two old men-one short, and one tall and skinny- carrying big bunches of weeds like bouquets draped in their arms. They are walking towards me as if in slow motion. And I am moving towards them, a little faster, but not much, along the lumpy dirt path.

Finally, we are face to face. I brake. They stop and smile, showing me the remains of their poor teeth that look as if they've just had acid poured on them that morning, before lunch. They are brown eroded sticks; pointed sabre-flint; black nervy stumps. But the old men's eyes are kind, soft.

"Zdravo," they say.

"Zdravo," I say. "Shto pravite?" -which means "what are you doing?", as well as "how are you?"

The short one answers first. "I'm collecting food for my rabbit."

The tall one says, "And I'm helping him. I'm his friend. We're widowers. Both our wives are dead."

The short one wants to know, "How 'bout you?"

I say, "Well, I just finished the Seminar for Macedonian Language, Literature and Culture in Ohrid."

The tall one says, "Oh, yeah. I saw it on TV. On the news."

"Bravos," says the short one. "Your Macedonian is very good. Honestly, I would've thought you were from around here." He smiles with his mouth closed. Then, generously, he opens it. He's too kind.

I am kind too.

I say, "I like your T-shirt."

It's bright yellow and announces in loud English fluorescent letters: YOUNG, SINGLE & FREE. I ask him where he got it. …

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