• Dzama

Native Place

On the Thrundale train Sophia shoved earbuds into her ears. She closed her eyes and tapped her little finger against the window in time with the double bass drum. As the train rushed forward she felt as though drawn through water like a fish with a hook in its mouth.

The sugar mill looked much smaller than the last time she was here. She found Włodzimierz sitting upstairs on an old metal chair, watching the rusty chain pulleys like he was waiting for something. The setting sun blasted through a broken window as Sophia came in and she stood backlit, silently presented him with a black coffee and three jelly doughnuts.

Okay, thank you, thank you, he said. God bless you. You know, my daughter used to bring me jelly doughnuts just like this.

I know. Sofia placed her hand on his shoulder. It’s me, Dad. He turned his head and stared past her. I’m back.

He don’t know anyone anymore, said Marik, the supervisor, stepping down a steel ladder. After all what happened. That’s gonna shake anyone up! He used to be my boss! He used to kick my ass! Now I kick his ass! Marik laughed.

Włodzimierz’s cloudy eyes finally located Sofia. His face lit up. He said: You’re too late.


Sophia found Marcus at the bowling alley. He sat with a soda and his girlfriend. The girlfriend’s kid was throwing pepperoni slices. Hey, don’t throw that! Don’t throw that! Marcus said. When he saw Sophia he looked confused. Hey, I feel like I’m seeing a ghost! he said. Am I right? he asked his girlfriend.

I just saw Dad, Sophia said.

You didn’t see Dad. Dad left the building a long time ago. Right after you know what. Marcus and his girlfriend stared at Sophia. If you’d been in town this morning you might still have made it. But someone got to your attacker first. Sofia watched a bowling ball careen down the lane and miss everything. Then Marcus said, Hey, you want a slice of pizza with no pepperoni on it?


Sophia found Detlef already in the morgue. Someone had indeed got to him first. Long time no see, she told him. The sheet got pulled back and she drew a gun, unloading every deafening round she had into his corpse, tearing it to shreds. The morgue attendant, still holding the sheet, got spattered with blood. His lips were moving but Sophia couldn’t hear anything he said. The pistol fell from her hand and she went out into the parking lot. The asphalt glistened with rain.

She cried as she walked back to the train station. The image of Detlef’s remains floated into the gallery of horrors that already existed in her mind. She found a seat on the train and tried to look past her own reflection out into the night. Her ears were still ringing when the train reached Central Station. She disembarked, smiling now, and was immediately lost in the crowd.


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