You may imagine how many hopes the young unemployed man had put into this business. He wanted a car (a new one), a pair of leather gloves, a nice bar in his communal flat and a trip to Istanbul together with his wife Mirabella. But now all his dreams are ruined. He has nothing to sell any longer. His wife earns less than his kidney. She will never know what really happened because she is the only one who brings money home.
The Eastern European “Macondo” or how to sell a Kidney
The lung is one of the few human organs which regenerate easily if surgical rearranged. Many lung cancers were cured by surgical “redesigning” the ill lung. The lung is sexy, progressive, bio-powerful and easy to replace: it resembles a real lover. This quality makes it very desired by prostitutes from all over the world. Eastern European femme fatale designs her future plans in perfect accordance with a lung’s sexual “breathing”. There is an over going tradition of combining the sex-appeal with breathing techniques. In any case, all you need is a good lung. When speaking of kidneys, the “dark matter” of the underground medical business, nobody cares for its “sex-appeal”.
The night life and other stories from the east
In every respectable city in Eastern Europe there is also a night life which strives to resemble her Western sisters. Some differences still remain: The drink is cheaper, the cigarettes are invariably from the Republic of Moldova, the music is cheaper, a gypsy dancer is cheaper (at least in my town). Not long ago, I’ve been invited to a fancy-retro-chic club called “Oxygen”, by some insomniac friends. The most convincing arguments were: “the drink is really, really cheap and if you want cheap cigarettes … I have a friend from Balti who brings only Moldovan stuff …very cheap…cheaper than Carrefour”.
In spite of that great offer I decided to go in the opposite direction. Another friend of mine convinced me that we shouldn’t miss the new “experimental” bar “Pop Art”: a very expensive club, with live music and disguised waitresses. . To enter you have to knock two times and Marilyn Monroe with a mustache invites you in. Once you see your “reserved table” full of good-old-times photographs, all concerns about how much you will spend in this “reservoir of souvenirs” is gone. That night a punk band was invited.
A huge canvas of Lenin was hanging in front of the stage. Lenin is tremendously fashionable in our days, as well as other symbols of the urban culture, like the little metallicpostcards with Betty Boop in a bathing suit, the pink sunglasses, the huge bags embroidered with the logo “Don’t Buy Art!”. Everything in this bar was designed to resemble the pick of safeness: bodyguards, clean toilets, hot water, polite waitresses, and even precise instructions on “how to get easily out if the city is bombed”. My night was chill and cogent. I was watching Chaplin’s movies. Late that night I heard what was happening in the peripheral landscape of this Magic Realist City of Lights. In a nearby gypsy camp there is a pub in the courtyard of a private house. The owner is an obese accordionist with red mustache and dirty shoes. He loves gypsy music from his area “more than his life”. He’s never been to school and he never heard of “other music which is not mine”.
When Goran Bregovic concerted in this town two years ago, every single citizen wanted to see him. However, the “great Goran” decided to spend an unforgettable night in a non-fancy place. He got totally drunk in this gypsy bodega and was so enthusiastic about the local music that he wrote a few kindhearted words in English on the wall. At the end he drew his name with capitals. The next day the troubled owner asked the workers to put tiles on all the walls of his tavern: “I don’t care …I don’t care and I don’t know and I don’t want to know who this guy is. Who the hell is this fucking nobody who is daring to soil my walls? I want tiles everywhere! My clients want a hygienic environment because they eat here!”
As I was wandering from bar to bar, I realized that apart from my friends who were keeping me company, there was another person, not entirely unfamiliar to me, who was in the same habit of “nocturnal pilgrimage.” I remembered that in every location that we’d been to I saw my young unemployed neighbor. I was very surprised to find him there because he didn’t even have enough money to pay his water bill, not to mention money to spend in bars… So the last time I saw him in the gypsy’s bar I asked him how come I managed to bump into him all the time. He gave me a very expeditive answer: “Actually, I don’t drink anything. I stare at people hoping that I might get an idea about how to turn an honest penny. Other than that, why shouldn’t I enjoy life? Just because I don’t have money?”
It is rumored
There aren’t many movie theaters left in my home town. Once every kid bought their own computer, almost all the movie theaters disappeared one by one. However, there was one called “The movie theater of the youth” (or something like that), which was occupied for a few days by the young Trotskyists. They cleared the walls, stuck posters, fed the poor and organized alternative cultural events until an Orthodox priest, the rightful owner of the property on which the movie theater was built, came with the city hall officials and asked them to beat it.
It is rumored that in a cultural democratic city beside anarcho-punk ghettos and squatted cinemas, there will always be a brothel for the poor working class. They look incredibly familiar to the pitiable clients. A former huge garage, a former communist factory or a dentist cabinet are replaced with shining disco-clubs which incorporate a kitchen, an office, a bar, a medical area for emergencies and some private rooms. One of these places can be found in an industrial area in my town and its name is “Macondo” (perhaps the owner loves Garcia Marquez’s novels!). You don’t have to expect too much from this environment. The cleaning day is on Mondays and in my city it’s not always Monday like in Marquez’s Macondo. On the other days the club is usually soiled and stinky like an old roast chicken. But this doesn’t matter since the beer is cheap and it’s warm inside. They have the most incredible and beautiful entertainers: all ages, all colors, and all sizes. There are girls from the countryside which are robust and vigorous, dancing all night long on folk/gypsy/punk music.
“Life is hard when you live from your work only. I better go to Spain. They have real dance competitions and the newspapers are full with these advertisements. A friend of mine has bought a splendid BMW in only five months! Can you imagine? I have a child and an epileptic mother. What can I do?” Another girl with brownish eyes and violet wig tries to explain how much she wanted to become a doctor: “I really wanted to be a dentist but my parents died in a car crash a few years before and my two little sisters remained my own responsibility. I still prefer white colour. Look, all my clothes are white! Now I like more than everything… medicines and cigarettes. I like the smell. All the doctors, I know, enjoy smoking because they are nervous. They have so many responsibilities.”
Cheap is beautiful or the “future is now”
One night my young unemployed neighbour decided to go to “Macondo”. His friends convinced him when they said: “You don’t even imagine how cheap everything is. It’s almost for free! You get stoned with so little money. Two breads are more expensive!” So he decided to go to“where everyone is happy without money”. It is said he never came back. But this ain’t true because I saw him. He came back home the next day. Nobody knows why he started to sleep more than twelve hours per day. He grumbled that this tiredness occupies his entire mind and his entire body hurts even when anesthetized. He couldn’t recall too much from the former night except the image of that beautiful girl dressed in purple.
The next Monday he told his friends the most gorgeous girl from that club has invited him “for free” in a private room. No, they had no sex! He only kissed her on her lips and on the long neck and then fell asleep. It was a terrible deep sleep. He is now convinced that the taste of her lips was strange, “almost like medicine”. He is also convinced that this is the reason why he had lost a kidney even if nobody officially confirmed its absence. He was too afraid to call the police since he was a “consumer”. What bothered him most was that he actually wanted to sell one of his kidneys this summer for a huge amount of money and a noble cause. A young girl from the UK was in desperate need of a kidney. Her father would have paid “as much as needed”.