La Cana [1]


Not that I was afraid of misery. Maybe a little part of me was, but not of his misery. The thing is that I had to wake up. Days begin like this in a lot of places, I wasn’t supposed to escape from a lion and there were no gazelles at the horizon, I just had to drive my half smashed Panda close to a house that only needed to be finished. It seemed that the owner spent all of his money for rally. Cars, tires, overalls and other things that I didn’t want to understand. His smile wasn’t particularly enigmatic, I’d rather say he smiled like that kind of asshole who, the first time he sees you, it seems like he wants to open your heart and your wallet, the second time, he demands and the third time, either you have become him slave or he hates you. A stupid hate, that could easily make me yawn. In any case, I didn’t pick the job, I won’t bother you with explanations, let’s just say that inside the company, I stood a step higher than the wheelbarrow with a burst tire, and a step lower than the one with an inflated tire.

The master gained my respect when he cleaned his ass with a piece of paper , torn from a cement bag, and then he threw it from the balcony, trying to hit a kid who worked with us and reviling him.  A charming scene. Anyway, I was never awake enough. I came disgusted, I worked disgusted and everything else. It wasn’t even the job that scared me, sometimes I was sure I was doing more and better than any other asshole, I just was confused most of the time. I had a lack of purpose.

That morning, after he tried to prove to a Romanian mechanic that his car radio was better, the master told me that he had to show me something. I thought he had stolen a better copper than the ones he usually stole along the river. After work, I followed him to the small garage where he used to pile all the precious metal to burn it and resell it. I supported him like he was a child, in fact he was sparkling and with no morality, just like them.

The dog was there, tied with a rope, small and pressed to the ground, apparently dead.  I didn’t recognize the race, but it seemed like something had hit his muzzle.

When the master got close to him, it seemed like the dog was alive again, and I wondered how he could feed the animal but especially how he could feed himself, since the chief paid only when he remembered, which means never. Anyway, at a glance, they seemed made for each other. The dog must be a couple of months old, but the age of his owner wasn’t so clear: after the tumor that, according to him, was never cured, it was hard to establish how old was he.

The day after, he started to bring the dog to the small construction yard. The work was slow, we just had to finish the stairway, but my continuous mistakes, his stories and the stupid challenges were in the way. Sometimes when I pass by that place, I am surprised to see the stairway still standing there. “La cana” was quiet, sometimes she whined, sometimes she played with us, sometimes she escaped and we wasted time to find her. Plus the time we spent for the reproaches and for the cuddles.

“Uora ci costruisciu ‘na cuccia comu si deve, ma dugni na manu” [2], he asked me speaking his Sicilian dialect. We were about to dismantle and we started to stole some little things from the construction yard: cement bags not ended, some bricks. “Don’t exaggerate” he said. He show me the dog basket as he finished it. It was done, like a thing made for a dog could be done. And there, the little dog stuck out her muzzle in the holes between the bricks, she was adoring. She really adored it, and I did it too, in a way.

In the yard, we got carried away: we brought to the garage enough materials to build other ten baskets. It wasn’t clear to me what he had to do with it. Meanwhile, I was learning less and less and I didn’t feel like doing what I had to do. The owner of the house saw the work almost finished and, with a great generosity, he gave me five euros to buy “coffee for everyone” at the bar. I don’t know what happened. I got in the car with that lousy five euros and I never came back. I don’t even remember if I called to advice. I simply went away. I vanished.

More or less an year later, I accidentally passed by the master’s garage and I saw something rickety and bizarre. The basket has evolved into an undefined architectonical construction, more suitable for an art museum than for a dog. It was the basket that Escher would build for his dog.

I met the master the following week. He asked me how I was doing. After the routine answer “Fine, thanks”, he asked me why I disappeared like that. He also remembered the five euros. I pretended not to understand and I improvised something, not very clear excuses. Then “la cana” came out from the car, she was bigger than the puppy I left. She wagged close to his legs. He hold her, playing like an old, rough, dirty man could play. He was still alive and no one knows how but he had the eyes of a child. “E c’ha fari? Idda non mi lassa mai.” [3]



[1] an invented form used to say “a female dog”

[2] I’m going to built a nice dog basket, would you like to help me?

[3] What can I do? She never leaves me alone.

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