Fiction

Mean While in Debrecen

31 December 2018, in the outskirts of Debrecen

There is a strange noise outside, not for the first time this evening, so he goes out into the backyard to see what the cats are up to. The gateway is around the corner, on the other side of the house, and he doesn’t have a comprehensive view of the situation. But there’s no movement – it seems.

He’s about to get back to the kids inside and close the door behind him, when there is a flash of light and a bang, or more like when something goes pop, and he sees one of the cats shooting like an arrow across the open space outside, straight towards the shed where a dangerous amount of tools, children’s toys and other appliances await, one on top of the other, too many for comfort – or a safe landing.

No wonder, this is followed by the loud noise of the cat crashing into piles of something in the dark, starting an avalanche as objects, now exposed to the full strength of gravity, are seeking a more stable condition and rearrange themselves.

Tamás doesn’t wait until all the pieces of the Tetris end up in their final position, ceasing to make noise. He is already on his way around the house, towards the gateway, to find there two men outside the gate.

As he suspected. They threw the firecracker, and they threw it right at the poor cat.

It pleases them, that they have done this, and it’s clear that they’re here to provoke. To get somebody to come out of the house, to challenge. They must have seen that the lights are on inside. No use expecting that they would just move on. Scum like these are persistent. You have to confront them, although once you do this, you had better keep your calm.

“Look who’s here! The lord of the house! Hello, loser, do I shoot you in the fucking face?”, one of them addresses him, the one who’s smaller. Tamás quickly concludes that he is holding a gas pistol in his hand. He is pushing it in through the bars of the gate, pointing it at him.

He might play the part now of a father ready to embrace martyrdom, the part of a loser in the eyes of these people – a father looking to protect his family, putting up heroic resistance, putting his body in harm’s way if that’s what it takes, in spite of the gun which he is supposed to take for a real actual gun in the face.

He could divert their attention and get close enough to grab this son of a bitch by the arm, and then break his arm at the wrist or the elbow maybe.

It’s not a matter of training. He has it. After his time in the Hungarian Defence Forces and two tours of duty in Wardak province, Afghanistan, he worked six years for Backwater Security (military solutions for private clients around the globe, in twenty-four hours).

But instead, he just says: “May I kindly inquire if I should inform the Counter-Terrorism Centre or the police rather? Given that we are dealing with an armed criminal here, it could as well be the Counter-Terrorism Centre. I have contacts with both, so it’s your choice.”

The other looks back at him like he’s just bitten into lemon. His small brain is working at maximum capacity to process what he heard, and to figure out why this loser doesn’t seem to embrace total defeat just yet.

“We’re no criminals, you ffffuck”, declares his mate, the taller one, and, judging by his slurred speech, he must be very drunk.

Tamás is now more confident that he can handle the situation. He responds: “If someone’s not a criminal, then one ought to avoid creating that impression. Anyone could take that gas pistol for a real weapon.”

The man with the gun is about to protest, “It’s not a gas fucking p—”, he starts out, but then realises how much this is in vain, or, what’s more than that, that the lord of the house is kinda competent in these matters.

So he pulls his hand back, still holding onto the gun, waving it about, now aimless. “My dad could buy this shitty house like a bag of salty sticks, you know?”, he says, almost offended, and then gets into a rant using all kinds of adjectives and expletives, etc., etc., and then some more, etc.

But they are on their way now, staggering along the street, hopefully to get on the bus at the nearby stop, to end up in some place downtown where the scum of the earth can have fun, and chew each other’s face off, come New Year’s Eve and the final countdown.

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