“Punk kids,” Mirko’s father says. “The country’s disintegrating before our eyes. Never happened when I was young. If it did, they caught the animal right away, put him in jail, threw away the keys.”
Mirko’s father is hacking slices of bacon off a slab with the dull blade of a pocket-knife, throwing them onto a sizzling pan. He slurps black tea improved by a healthy dose of rum. Last night the men in the neighborhood started up a Protection Association in response to the kiosk robbery. Mr. Zajko, the vendor, is in hospital concussed, incoherent. Mirko’s father had been a major during his military service and is now one of the group’s officers.
“Jail? Too good. In America they have the right idea. You steal a horse, they hang you. That’s what I’d do with these punks.”
Mirko’s head throbs. Duro and he didn’t even bother counting the money, just shared a bottle of slivovica. The bacon smell is making the room rock. A few weeks ago he was living at mother’s and his biggest worry was a math test. He can feel the noose rubbing his neck raw, the swaying in the wind.
“Dig in,” his father says, putting in front of him a heaping plate of bacon, potatoes, fried onions. Mirko runs to the bathroom.
“Something I ate last night,” he calls out.