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The Short Form

“The Freeloader”

Nescio

Excerpt

That was Bavnik. Clearly someone in a constate state of overcoming the body would be thoroughly interesting to him. He could learn something from a man like that. Someone who thought it was fine to let the wind blow through his hair, let the cold, wet wind soak his clothes and his body, who ran his tongue over his lips because the taste of the ocean was so “goddamn delicious,” who sniffed his hands at night to smell the sea. Someone who thought it was eough to be alive and in good health, who went on his joyful way between God’s heaven and God’s earth and thought it was idiotic that people caused themselves so much trouble, and laughed out loud at them, and sat there eternally with his beatific smile, quietly enjoying the water and the sky and the clouds and the fields, and let the rain soak him through without noticing it and then said “I think I’m wet” and laughed. Someone who could eat an expensive meal and drink expensive jenever better than anyone in Holland and then, at other times, on his long walks (because he didn’t always sit around, every so often he spent days at a time on his feet), he’d eat dry rolls day in and day out and be moved to tears because out in the open “a piece of bread like this can taste so good.”

We read it in Amsterdam Stories.