The famous Bulgarian writer and journalist Dimitar Shumnaliev tempts us with " White sweet" - the untold story of the White Brotherhood.
The book is the first fiction reading of the White Brotherhood. Did Petar Dunov have a daughter? What secrets does the archive hold for Ru, the Master's personal stenographer? The imagination and erudition of the author breathe new life into the documentary material, all memories, notes and authentic testimonies about the White Brotherhood. Thus was born this masterfully composed novel with a flavor of mystification, about a legendary person who has always been the subject of discussions.
Dimitar Shumnaliev hardly needs an introduction. A longtime journalist and writer, he is the author of dozens of books translated into English, Russian, German, French and other languages. For the collection "Stories in Love" he received the authoritative "Balkanika" literary award for 2004. He is also the winner of the Grand Prize for Literature of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".
The premiere of the novel will take place on July 13 at 19:00 at the literary club "Peretto".
DON'T DIE SISTER NATALIE. You carry a lot of secrets to get away with. I have to shoot you, honey, before you transfer the codes to the afterlife. From there, as is known, no one receives texts. A comfortable haven for you. About your obsessions. For your stupid belief that you are Petar Dunov's child.
Read the manuscript of his stenographer, the beautiful Rou, and make sure you are not a descendant of Petar Dunov. Otherwise, honey, I'm really going to shoot you. So don't die. It is very easy. Death does not like to be held responsible. He reports no findings. In the hospital, I see you are vomiting blood. Lots of blood, baby. Doubts inflict wounds that only the imagination can bear. You love me!, you whisper in your last hour. Every love is a drama, unrequited love is a comedy. I don't know what genre our madness of late is. If you say one more time that you are Petar Dunov's daughter, I will really blow you up.
You know, I have a legit Beretta pistol. Box of fifty rounds. I love small guns. They are very accurate, dear. For a second you are in the realm of silence. Who will hear you! Beretta 85 CHEETAH-cal9 Short.
I'll admit it, I sniff black pepper. I often play with that magnifying glass you gave me. I remember its long history. I don't remember who I am. What should I find with this magnifier? I stare at Ru's diary with her. I walk like in a maze. I always get to the beginning. And somewhere in very small print something fateful is written, you say. What is fate, Sister Natalie? Our biographer or our mocker. Still, isn't it funny that we came into this world to deny our importance. Only fools are wise. I am one long sentence. Do not die. You have to put the commas for me.
The rolls of paper were like mummies, they would put them in the printing press, grandfather would give a signal from his glass office and they would begin to unfold them, as archaeologists unfold slowly, millimeter by millimeter, the skeletons wrapped in centuries. The difference is that once the coils run out, there's nothing left of them, and the stripped mummies carry some sort of secret. In most cases invented by scientists.
Such a white general body was the camp of the bottom dwellers by the Seven Rila Lakes, where my grandfather took me, mounted together with the baggage of a smelly mule. If I had walked, I wouldn't have gotten so tired.
As soon as I was dismounted from the sweaty mule, I felt the Rila air with the breath of pine needles and fear. By Kidney Lake, hundreds of white bodies danced the Paneurythmia, as Grandpa explained. He left me on the rock bank and slipped into that white dancing mass, dozens and dozens of men and women, old and young, most of them barefoot, swaying, stepping, bouncing lightly and landing even more lightly, chanting "Aum, Aum."
Once there was such a wind in the printing house that the thousands of pages flew out, fluttered in the air like frightened pigeons, hundreds and hundreds of sheets.
The daymen looked to me like a whirlwind of flapping papers, weightless people lifted by the dawn or by some unknown force in this damp, silence-resounding morning, looked to me like a cosmic corpse without a face, but with innumerable arms and legs, foam, which they carried to the canaries that clicked to the other end of the lake.
I remember the same mess of bodies when my mother took me to Evin beach in Burgas to party with her friend, the famous operetta actress Mimi Balkanska. I don't know why mothers think that eight-year-old boys don't have ulterior motives and are not burning with curiosity about the world. I rubbed my steps towards the bodies without swimsuits, where you first enter as if in the white fog by the Seven Rila Lakes - you don't distinguish faces, rather you don't dare to look. Then, little by little, separate passages emerge from the giant table with arms and legs, some more concrete strokes from the collective portrait of nudity, in which the girls of my age are the most shy. The girls from the fishing village! Bare-shins.
Shame gripped their legs, they didn't dare to distinguish me, lest we strike up a conversation or catch them staring at something that only I own out of the entire Evin beach.
Whatever they did, they always covered their breasts, I admit - smaller than mine.
The bodies of their mothers resembled those rolls of paper, thick breeches, incredible throats, lofty and full of fat.
I was in an unforgettable display of flesh everywhere I turned - swinging flesh, sagging skin. The material sews, rotates, straightens, smears with anti-burn creams. Finally, the bodies are spread out on the sand like skinned buffaloes.
My mother took me by the hand to push me into the pool with sea water and for good behavior to reward me with a lemonade - I walked the way to Calvary, I could feel the looks of all my peers. They crept into my possession for a scientific and no doubt secondary purpose.
So thirsty thrusts that my cock, tiny as it was, swelled. They studied the difference. I showed it to them on the endless road to the pool full of sea water. And then, when I drank my well-deserved lemonade and had to parade again, I saw their discoveries - they were beaming with amazement and ecstasy. Each with a palm in front of her mouth. We said so many things to each other, as if we read the city library. Everyone closes the book and leaves with a blast.
The paper was chasing me. I even found white hairs in the milk. My pages resembled now the bottoms near the Seven Rila Lakes, now the Evin beach in Burgas. Whatever shape they had, whatever cellulose they contained, cut to format or on rolls, they were alive - true companions. Virgin like girls of the same age on the beach.
So I put the first sheet in the typewriter "Olympia" in the Regional Committee of the Komsomol - as a hymn of the whole class.
I, the good Komsomol member, and other positive cadres were on night duty. A little late I realized that I was actually a night watchman, the windows of the District Committee should always be lit. Because the Komsomol is always awake.
Here is the beauty "Olympia", into which I insert the clean sheet, it is alive, it sews, it bends, sometimes it persists, then it gives in, finally it is over the roller. The keys rattle, sometimes catch. How do you make a new row, aha, here are the numbers, well, where's the question mark? And as soon as we got to know each other, we started creating a fairy tale. At three in the morning the letters wrote on the leaf the beauty of the beloved, then they led her into the park by the lily pond. Many birds appeared. Our heroine finally - because until that moment she doubted - knew that I loved her.
I pasted the page on the bulletin board at school.
First, big success. The classmates are reading breathlessly. Like any clever author, I have not specified the name of the heroine, so each of the readers is transported to the lily pond in Freedom Park and is amused by the confessions of the lyrical hero.
Secondly, the teacher's council still found the author. I was introduced as a conspirator in the director's office. The madman with the bell in his hand muttered, "What a scratch you made, boy!".
And pushed me into the mouth of the underworld.
Instead of reducing my behavior, the principal and the entire teaching council rewarded me. "You will become a writer, I always knew it!" exclaimed the Bulgarian language friend with tears in her eyes. And the principal: "You will represent the high school in the National Literature Olympiad!".
To this day, I cannot determine what formed the authorial beginning in me. The gathering of bottom divers near the Seven Rila Lakes or the Evin beach of Burgas.
The small tram runs in the "Lozenets" district. From "Yordanka Nikolova" Square, this is some partisan girl, to the Palace of Pioneers, the former Seminary. He makes a left turn into the woods, passes the Summer Theater, buzz-bang! when he gets to the top, the whatman pulls out the brass handle, transfers to the back booth that comes first, and descends the return way, the conductor pulling the leather through the ceiling string: zang-zang!, at every start, at every more dangerous turn.
The most dangerous turn was Bubeto, when he swayed, he scattered his blond hair, soft as cotton, and in his blue eyes some second and third plans ignited. She lived like that, in several backgrounds, in several meanings, the most important of which was that I loved her. The little tram stopped at "Vishneva", where the Big One, a swimmer, later on the national water polo team, tall, broad shoulders and curly mane, got on. As soon as he appeared, he would stick to the Beetle, and my heart would be torn apart by a thousand doubts. do i love her What is love? Would you prefer me, or the Big, already hyped competitor, damn it!, with several victories over the youth teams of Italy and France, from where he was returning with enough currency to collapse Corecom, a special dollar-only store. To collapse every classmate from "Lozenets". The bastard, he smelled Givenchy from ten meters away, his eyes darted left and right, and during gym class he came out wearing a white t-shirt with The Beatles on the back. When he was demonstrating volleyball, he would dunk the ball with one bounce, and the eleventh-grade girls would sit on the benches to avoid falling onto the red court. He could stun the whole high school, he could shower all the female sights with French perfumes, and he, imagine!, always behind Bubeto. Vishneva's "Zen-Zen" and he behind her. A rich bastard, his father in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, so his foreign exchange holdings had steady income.
But Bubeto, as soon as he sees him on "Vishneva", moves to the empty booth at the back, pulls the door, locks it and climbs. Once, to tell him the whole truth, he took me into the cabin and kissed me on the mouth. Shit!, a short kiss, because at such moments, when lovers kiss, someone always intrudes. The conductor for example. "Scumbags!" shouts, not knowing, the idiot, that love cannot be dirty. It can be mine!
– You earned her, bastard! – said the Big One in the break. – I envy you.
And he went to spray the upcoming graduation girls with Givenchy.
Bubeto's father is the secretary of the Regional Committee of the BKP. Someone reported to him that she was kissing a young man in the little tram, and after a scandal, as the victim admitted, he forbade her to get into the rattling carriage. He started walking to school. And his driver, very observant, specified that behind her was an unmistakable vagabond from the lower part of "Lozenets", walking at two paces, she in front of him, he behind her, and that's how they talked, reported, and Bubeto said with tears in sight:
– My father, as soon as he found out who you were, gave me one and roared: “That fascist! Son of enemies of the people! They nationalized their printing house and all shops along "Vitoshka". Don't see him again".
The secretary of the Lenin district committee of the party moved her to another school, to Sedmo on "Shishman", so that she would not meet the grandson of the people's scumbags and so that the cabin of the small tram would remain only with some zing-zing !, only with sound, without the first kiss, which through the glass door saw the whole "Lozenets", the Big One saw her, my eyes, trembling with excitement, saw her. Honestly, for the first time I was so close to her blue irises that I dissolved into them, into her many meanings, into their depths, something like a white brother in the early morning by the Seven Rila Lakes. That's where I stayed: at the bottom, under the transparent water, clear as a huge magnifying glass, curled only by the movement of the little tram and by her lips when she bent down to drink.
He usually drank in the dark, in the pine curtains of the forest below the Palace of Pioneers, in the thickest, so that "Lozenets" wouldn't look at us and so that various vigilantes wouldn't report.
In the spring, the park became so fragrant that I got confused. I didn't know what smelled of mint, of budding cones, of wild honey in the hollows-hers or my lips that refused to part. We kissed to the extreme. I see bees hovering near us one morning. Kind of like the "beep-beep" of the little tram. Ah, here he is with the first students for high school. Ah, here is the sunrise. The sun was not peeking into "Lozenets", but directly beating into it, and the light began to flow from below upwards. It was as if we were walking not on streets, but on lunar paths.
– The prom is in May – noted Bubeto, all silvered by the sunrise. Her cheeks, without a single mole, flared up. She pulled her blonde locks down in front of her face so I wouldn't have to look at her. - And you know what happens at the prom.
The child of socialism Bubeto lost his virginity in parts. The first time in the studio of Vesco the artist. A one-story house on Krivolak Street with the smell of turpentine and moisture. The yard looks like a warehouse for secondary raw materials: Vesco's sculptural strains; the roof tiles are leaking, it's a beautiful spring outside, snowdrops are sticking out between the tiles on the path, crocus heads are sticking out, it smells like a blond mist - Bubeto's hair. We knew we loved each other. When two love each other, sequels are inevitable.
Bubeto took off her nylon blouse in cloves as small as coins, I took off my Korecom jeans, her bust shone before my eyes, slightly bruised bra straps.
There was a knock on the door. Idiot Vesco:
– Sorry bro. I forgot I gave you the key.
The second time the deal was sealed with a bottle of Pamido wine. "Nah, Vesco promised, until I drink it in Yordanka Nikolova's kindergarten, I won't move."
I bought him another one just in case. Three hundred grams of Prague ham. Back then, Prague ham arrived at the grocery store on Yordanka Nikolova Square warm. Hamburg salami also arrived hot, and the sausages were made of meat.
This time Bubeto was wearing a clean sheet.
– I have the feeling – he said – that your Vesco uses the bed as a palette.
– If you ask me, use it for its intended purpose.
– He probably only bathes when it rains.
– Ah, sometimes it misses.
I boosted the "Hristo Botev" program, I think it was "Gayane" by Khachaturian. The beetle pulled back the curtains. Except they didn't pour into her hands like pie crusts.
She brought me crocuses to my lips, they breathed on me like that, then the bra with the splayed straps fell off - I'll buy her a "Triumph" from Korecom!, - I understand the slurping of the shoulders: how do you keep such breasts!
She didn't kiss me.
– I love you. With all your past I love you.
– What's wrong with the past, baby?
Before I heard the clarification, there was a thought at the door. Abrasive. Like a cell door. Bubeto managed to put the bra on. In front, the neighborhood and a uniformed policeman.
– Aha – the neighbor rejoiced, – the den. We have been following her for two months.
And he took our passports. And he moved us to his office at "Vishneva" and "Hristo Smirnenski" streets. Desk, chair, bench for culprits, checkered walls. A bed smeared with burning oil.
– Write – he pushed us white sheets – about the debauchery in the den, when, how many times, what rent the artist takes. Everything, enemies of the people!
Bubeto cried, the bitterest tears of my life.
– We love each other – proroni. – And we will get married.
– We will create the basic socialist cell – I inserted on the spot.
I was convinced we would create it.
The neighborhood chatna whose daughter is the detainee. “Excuse me, excuse me!” He returned our passports. We moved to the forest below the Palace of Pioneers. Vein cold.
We were silent. We felt stupid. We felt trapped. The branches under our feet crackled like they were fried.
We didn't hear from each other all summer. To overcome our guilt.
I was walking in the forest, and to the left and to the right of the little tram. Zan-Zan! Ha up to the Palace of Pioneers, ha back. Whatman pulls the crank from one cabin, moves to the other. In ours, which was empty at the time, and the glass door was as clean as a shop window.
Bah the tram! Zan-Zan! Let's go past the Vishneva stop. We stop. Pullers fill damajans with mineral water. Again zang-zang! Up and down.
Beautiful autumn. The leaves of the oaks land in the meadows like storks flocking. The sunrise sprinkles them with silver dust, and the roofs shine with their mirror slopes.
I got up and got stuck in that fall. I wanted Bubeto so bad the leaves were falling off like bras.