Translated by Irene Noel-Baker
There are four kinds of employer: successful ones, debtors, losers, and the insane. I got the fourth.
Often he spoke to me and I wondered if he knew it was me standing there or someone like me. Was I actually Chrysovalantis – his employee and friend – or my twin brother? Except I have no twin brother, just two sisters.
If ever we met in the lobby at work, he would tell me to “run up and get there first!”, then he would make a dash for the lift and shout “no cheating!” as it went up, and force me to run up eight floors counting the 144 steps out loud, while he yelled at me from inside the lift: “Run faster fatty! Where’s your get-up-and-go?”
His company closed at the end of 1980, and out of the blue I was jobless. I had been with him for 11 years, but sadly I was caught unawares, though my colleagues had been busy doing their own marketing for months and went straight on to work for other graphic designers. Naturally, I saw that the ship was going down, that things were going from bad to worse, that there was no future anymore, but I didn’t want to believe it. Old Nick was telling tales and I fell for it: “Let them all go, there’s no way you’ll be out of work.” That’s where I screwed up.
I saw myself grappling with myself in the mud. The two of us were swearing and trying to strangle one another. While simultaneously chanting the Hymn of Kassiani.
Then the two of us became another Chrysovalantis, a different one, whose name was Psychovalantis, and he shouted thrice, “this wind is choking me.” While from somewhere in the distance could be heard an aria from Tosca.
A peculiar dream.