Don’t ever try and accomplish anything on a Lithuanian national holiday.
It won’t happen.
I would hate for an incident to occur on these days- a child trapped down an elevator shaft, an elephant escaped from the zoo- nobody would be there to aid in it, no service even exists.
It was the last day of the job, and things weren’t looking easy.
For starters, the final story was a huge pile of RUBBISH-
A trip out to the local landfill.
“How do you like that Chanel No. 5?” The unshaven owner of the landfill laughed at me, as I gripped my nose in grief.
Other than him, nobody was around to give quotes, to open doors, or even to usher me away like an alley cat.
So I decided, liberally, to fuck work and finish the remainder of what I had to do out here in peace.
To go looking for filthy Russian pornography, moose meat, and to flog my clothing to a hobo- the usual ‘To Do’ list for a person with only a fraction of the mind left to do them.
First, the clothing had to go. A rucksack packed full of dirty and disintegrating garments: jackets, sneakers, work shoes, sleeve shirts and a whole other universe of unknowables. These items were never going to make it on the plane, or I may be considered a terrorist. A stinking bomb threat. They had to go.
So I stalked the streets, for two days running: and even on non-national holidays, the second-hand shops didn’t want a whiff of my stale goods.
It was a gift! My generosity was met, usually, with startled looks, and hand-halting refusals. On the other, less peaceable instances, it was greeted with anger.
As if I were an exhibitionist, flashing faulty gadgets, rather than giving away a bounty of free threads.
They’re not big on recycling, the Lithos. Well, if you took a trip to the local landfill and inhaled those sweet shades of Chanel No. 5, you’d see that with 100 thousand tonnes of trash piling in per week, ‘recycling’, was a term used exclusively in regards to underwear overuse on more than a five day sequence.
But I was determined not to simply ditch this beggar's birthday suit- they had memories! Stained and tainted memories.
From the brown Bulgarian dinner jacket, which was bought, worn and ruined for a Bob Dylan concert in Sofia, to the swiss-cheesy timberlands (affirmatively the most comfortable shoes in the solar system) which padded my toes as the lone walkers all the way from Australia.
But on the national holiday- there was no hope! Nothing was open.
Various items of clothing began to be scattered out like confetti.
A three-dollar shirt in a skip-bin, an ill-fitting pair of boots strung by the laces around a shut second-hand shop’s doorknob.
Then, out of the mid-morning haze he appeared: the handsome, soon-to-be recipient of this one-of-a-kind classic dinner jacket, which was once owned by Bob Dylan (well, that would be the write up on ebay).
He was digging through a dumpster. Suddenly, his hand, caked in murk, began operating like one of those claw-machines at a supermarket which picks up plush toys- and from the depths of the dumper he pulled out a slimy old Playboy.
“Would I be ‘killing two rabbits with one bullet’ here (as the Lithuanian saying goes)?” a shot of clarity grabbed at me. “I’d have my friend’s requested Russian sleaze AND a new owner for my fine brown blazer.”
I approached him without caution. On closer inspection of his treasured magazine, his grimy teeth glinting in glee at it, I decided he could keep it.
Then, as I removed the jacket from my Santa’s sack, his eyes jumped joyously!
Or more so, with confusion and hesitancy. But still, they jumped.
Somewhere in the field of his Delirium Tremens, his brains did fathom that this was a freebie, and so he accepted it: the brown, candle-wax coated blazer, (with the hole cut into the inside lapel, a specific invention to allow the sneaking of long necks at short notice, for taking tallboys to the lowlifes, into small-town high-brow events).
So off he staggered, away into the park- to prance and pass out in fashion, wearing a jacket I could never give justice to.
And so onward! This final parade around my private paradise, where the sun was singing on this holiday surrounding Saint Mary- a religious occasion for the sinners to go out and get shitfaced. Hallelujah!
All will be forgiven, (just as long as somebody sells me my moose-meat).
One of the few souvenirs I had under request to bring back, was this, a tin filled with flayed hoofs and antlers. Yeesh. A Bullwinkle barbeque was on the cards.
Once this was sorted- and it was, somehow, without worries- there was but one item left on the rotten agenda.
My scraggly best mate, an alleged artist from Sydney, had sent through his demand for, quote, “weird low-budget European pornography.”
I’m not sure what lead him to believe I had any (what??) but I didn’t, so I trailed off on the seedy search.
I had expectations of frog-fetishes, midget kebabs, broke-back mounting of mules, grotesque insertions of gherkins in surgery, and homo-exotic chainsaw feuds.
But did I mention it was a national holiday??
“HALLELUJAH!” I screamed into the mid-summer miasma, at finding yet another shop shut.
I noticed at this stage: I was sweating profusely from the heat, and even shaking slightly, like a nut from nervous energy.
Had I succumbed to the lifestyle out here?
Was I now a Litho-maniac??
Before I dwelt too long on this thought, I rustled through my backpack, and pulled out my papers. I double-checked the documents.
Heading back to baby on Beautiful Street.
Ach so dann, zurück nach mein heim an Schönstraße.
Das bedeutet, kein mehr ‘Litho-Mania’.
And I exhaled an infinite sigh of relief- I let it float there for a second, in front of me, so I could watch it and realise it was real- then I let the wind whip it away, and add it to the trillions of sighs hovering out in the atmosphere.
But still I had these trusty timberland shoes- what to do with them?
Without really thinking, I tied the laces together, and with an almighty fling, set them free from the threat of the landfill. (Actually, I gave them three 'almighty flings', before they decided to settle there, swaying steady in the late afternoon).
I gazed up at the electricity wire, which was humming from the base power disturbed by the two new intruders, and wondered...
...Where would the world be flinging this Old Boot to next?
And I took a last look around, at a magnificent moon, ate up the summer air, then turned to go- off to offer an untranslatable fit of farewell, to the one-armed old man in the Blocks.
And already wishing I had my shoes back.
THUS = THE END OF LITHO-MANIA.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE, AND HAVE A NICE RIDE HOME. PEACE AND CARROTS, MFG. 2011.