from Red Lace Lingerie

Melina Kamerić, translated by Jennifer H. Zoble
Photo by Bob van Aubel

I hear a bullet pierce the air. Zing! Another quick step. Motherfucker. I have to get to work. And I suppose he can’t hit me now. I’m behind a trash bin. Bent into a squatting position. Through the air above me travel sweetly curved pieces of metal, 7.62 caliber.

The bullets clip a few of the other bins. But mostly they fly over us, me and the bin. Spraying the walls of the building.

I turn my head and look back down the street. My neighbor has stopped and lowered his canister. We watch each other, he and I. Slowly and wordlessly he gestures for me to stay down. As if he’s afraid his voice would betray his location. I am crouched behind a dirty and dented trash bin, while four floors of Austro-Hungarian architecture keep that jackass on the hill hidden from view. Hilarious.

I check my watch. late. Dangerously late.

My lover is coming to me. His convoy is clearing the checkpoints, and I’m hiding behind a trash bin.

Little by little I begin to move. I think it’s about ten meters more. Ten fucking meters and then I can go behind the building... Slow...ever so slowly I move forward. And then a shot whizzes over me, so close I can smell the  burning metal. I fall on my knees in fear. And of course I tear my stockings. La Perla. I bought them the last time I went to Trieste before the war. Fuck this war and this sniper…and this trash bin.

He shoots and shoots. At first one shot at a time, then a burst of gunfire. He’s toying with me. He doesn’t care that I’m late. That my lover’s coming. And that now I’m wearing torn La Perla fishnets. Damn him! If only he knew how horny I am, how much I want to make love to my Dutch humanitarian. Damn him, sitting on that hill and fucking around.

I’ve been kneeling here for ten minutes. Now I’m definitely late for work. And if this idiot keeps this up, I’ll be late for when the convoy gets here. If he gets any closer I’ll scream that he’s a sick motherfucker for fucking up my day.

A shot. Another shot. Now he’s attacking a tree, there to the right. Just a little ways down the road. I close my eyes. A whistle, then the sound of shots ripping into leafy flesh. Like the crack of a whip. One, two, three...and on and on. Like a whipping. Motherfucker, won’t his trigger finger go numb? Or his bullets run out?

Twenty minutes. Asshole! The worst is that he knows I’m squatting here. And he couldn’t care less. He’s waiting for me to peep out. So he can shoot me. Jerk.


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MELINA KAMERIĆ was born in 1972 in Sarajevo. She writes at night. Her short fiction collection Cipele za dodjelu Oskara (in English translation: Shoes for Oscar Night) was published in 2009 by Buybook (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Rende (Serbia). A Ukrainian translation was published in 2012 by Folio Publishers Ltd.