prose

Ksenija Kušec: Matrix

Ksenija Kušec does not like banks or corporations. Actually, she does not like the rules that are over a man, the rules in whom feelings are excluded, the impartiality of those rules. Well, Ksenija Kušec is anything but impartial, at least in her stories and at least for now.
She wrote Tales from the Solar System that are 100% true, collection of short stories Tell me everything, which are mostly stories about the wicked husbands and how to treat them, and novel Janko and weather-machine.
She writes two novels at the same time and in the meantime does not write.



M a t r i x

 

Today is the day. What should I wear? High heels? Sure, it’s warm outside; I’ll put on peep toes. Jeans are good; they go with everything. White T-shirt, black jacket, to match the shoes. I wanna look like Trinity. And then my belt… and two pieces. One piece in each jacket pocket, one in each jeans pocket… A holster over the T-shirt, under the jacket. And the bag. You bet I’m packing.

Bank first. I got number 246; it’ll be a wait. I could read a book while I’m in here. I’m checking all the pieces, making sure they’re ready, wondering which to use first.

This is taking time. I’ve been waiting for five years and now there are thirty people in front of me, each and every one of them with a sad story, just like me. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten myself into this in the first place. But the place was too big after Mom died, what was I gonna do with all that space? I just wanted a smaller apartment. Nothing unusual, right?

The list of laws they used to fuck me over is as long as my arm. First there was the nationalization, then the matter of inheritance and ownership. I signed and signed and signed documents. They kept shoving papers in my face to sign. This proves you agree to be represented by us in court. Who wouldn’t sign that? This proves you agree for us to take over your life. OK, not exactly, but it turned out that way.

So, where did it all go wrong? One of the papers to sign was a credit application to refinance something I never needed to refinance. Because the apartment belonged to my Mom, it had been paid in full a long time ago – I still remember those lines and those documents. My Mom was already old and fragile, we took a fishing stool wherever we went, as she couldn’t stand in line to sign, agree and consent. The bank says Mom had agreed to a credit, and now they want me to pay them in cash? They have an explanation, of course, but who understands their language? Endless legal babble until you grow tired of it and just sign. It’s just a formality, they say.

Ever since I’ve realized it was all in vain, I keep filing applications and requests to annul all the previous ones, while the bank keeps refusing. They never fail to find just the precedent to benefit them, not me.

It was supposed to be simple: sell the large place, buy a smaller one. I just wanted a smaller apartment.

The line has moved; number 239 is a crying woman. They are refusing to give her an advance on her social security check; she’s in the red and interests keep eating up everything she makes. The teller says they are powerless. It’s only the fifth, the woman says; how am I going to pay the electricity bill? What am I going to eat for the rest of the month? The teller calls the guards and one shows up, packing just one piece – a lot less than me – grabs the woman and escorts her to the door. Number 240, a veteran. He’s packing, too; I can see the bumps under his clothes. This should be fun. The teller is telling no again. I wonder what it’s like to say no for living. Maybe it’s well paid, that would make it OK. Still, nothing is paid enough on a day you get a client like me. It certainly won’t be paid enough today.

I’m eavesdropping; can’t stop. Unbelievable. The vet owned two hundred to o a man, couldn’t pay in time, got sued. The court clerk made a typo and two hundred turned into twenty thousand. An omitted comma – one comma! – and the vet owns twenty thousand. He’s yelling. Banging his fist on the teller’s counter. How can you pretend that mistake wasn’t a mistake, how am I gonna come up with that kind of money, I do not owe that much; I owe twenty times less! I’ll kill you all! Take us to court, then. I can’t take you to court, that would cost me and I can’t afford it! I’m a veteran, I lost my leg defending this country, I get five thousand a month and it all ends up in your hands! I’m waiting for the mayhem, but the teller is calling the guards again and the same guy shows up again. The vet sees him coming, shakes his head in dismay, leaves. He’s not as mad as I am. Yet. One comma?

I’ve been doing this dance for five years: if the agency bought the apartment from me, how come I never saw any money? Where is the proof they bought it? How could this happen? And why? Take us to court, they keep saying; knowing it would take me a million documents to do so.  Why am I paying taxes for an apartment I supposedly don’t own? Those were the terms of the agreement, they say; and you signed it. Take us to court.

I can’t wait for my number to show up on the screen. I’m not taking my eyes off it, watching numbers appear and disappear accompanied by an annoying beeping sound. I’m sure that’s a planned move on their part; they could have chosen a lovelier sound, but no, they went with this devil’s squeal. To make us crazy. Well, they succeeded. The five-year dance ends today.

It’s my turn and I ask my questions. I have all the documents, I say. Signed and stamped. Official. The teller glances through, says they won’t do. Why not?, I ask with a kind smile. Because there is no registry number on them, and because I wasn’t supposed to file those here, and besides, the bank has dealt with cases like mine in the past and the petitioner never wins. It is at the bank’s discretion to decide if I get the money or not. Any money. Oh, is that so; I say. Well, in that case, give me back my documents and I’ll go file them where I’m supposed to. Do it the right way. Oh, I’ve already stamped them as invalid, she says. She would need to call her superior to issue new ones. So call him, I say. The bitch picks up the phone and whispers some bullshit into the receiver. I’m gonna lose the documents and get thrown out of here, I can tell. But, no, her superior shows up, after all; a loser in a cheap suit. How may I be of assistance, he asks. I explain everything one more time, and, naturally, he says no to everything. “Court-signed documents cannot be filed and unfiled just like that”, he says. I’ve filed it, it’s done. We’ll take care of everything now, he says, and I can’t believe my ears. Trust us, he says.

I’ve lost and I know it. There is no way I can get duplicates of every single paper the teller has just taken from me, there’s no way I can get back my apartment, my money, my life. I’m stuck. It’s a good thing the superior asshole is right here in front of me. I put on my sunglasses and reach for the guns in the holsters under my armpits. The teller and the asshole get a full magazine each. It feels good. I grab my documents, noticing the guards rushing toward me. There’s four of them, all wearing bulletproof vests. I run, bounce off the walls, escape them defying the laws of physics. I reach for the grenades in my jacket pockets. Pins out, and it’s done. The line is not moving, nobody’s running away, people are thrilled with the show, applauding. No one is getting hurt but the guys who need some hurting. Men in black are rushing down the stairs… but they are not men, after all. Not human. Bankers. I have four magazines left, just enough for them. And then silence. The dust is settling, the line is frantic with adrenaline, almost joy. People are hugging and cheering, grabbing their documents and money from behind the counter. Good for them. I’ve got what’s mine and now it’s time to leave.

I dust off my jacket, check my hair, check the nail polish winking from the peep-toes. I’m happy to see it’s still perfect, not a dent in it. I check my guns; they’re all still here, good. I load them again; next stop – lawyers. The ones that represent the agency that now owns my apartment. I won’t even bother asking questions or standing in line, I’ve heard all their smug lies. I’ll just walk in, kill everything in sight, walk out. See if they send me off with a sneer like the last time.

And then the land-registry people get it. They let the lawyers – who by then will be dead – get away with their scam. When I asked them how they could do it, they said it was my mistake not to check the ownership status sooner. These things need to be checked several times a year, they said; the law firm obeyed the rules to the letter. It’ll feel extra good to spill their blood on their disgusting books. Shred the paper into bloody confetti. And sign my name on the dotted line where it says Owner. To the letter, gentlemen.

Last stop, the morgue. They misplaced the death certificate just long enough to allow all those thieves to forge my mother’s signature, make it look like she was still alive and giving them all the power.

 

When I’m done, I’ll go have a cup of coffee with Mirjana, haven’t seen her in a while. It’s not even ten yet, I’ll make it. We’ll chat about stuff, she’ll ask me what’s new, and I’ll say I finally got my apartment back. I’ve got all the blood papers in my bag.

o nama

Nagrada Sedmica & Kritična masa 2019 - uži izbor

Nakon što je žiri Nagrade Sedmica & Kritična masa za mlade prozne autore bodovao priče autora iz šireg izbora Nagrade, u uži izbor ušlo je sedam autora/ica.
Pogledajte tko su sedmoro odabranih.
Sponzor Nagrade je kulturno osviješteni cafe-bar "Sedmica" (Kačićeva 7, Zagreb).

intervju

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Dinko je u uži izbor ušao s pričom ''Zoja''. Standardnim setom pitanja predstavljamo jednog od dvojice muških natjecatelja.

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Iva Sopka: Moje pravo, nezaljubljeno lice

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - UŽI IZBOR 2019

Iva Sopka (1987., Vrbas) objavila je više kratkih priča od kojih su najznačajnije objavljene u izboru za književnu nagradu Večernjeg lista „Ranko Marinković“ 2011. godine, Zarezovog i Algoritmovog književnog natječaja Prozak 2015. godine, nagrade „Sedmica & Kritična Masa“ 2016. i 2017. godine, natječaja za kratku priču Gradske knjižnice Samobor 2016. godine te natječaja za kratku priču 2016. godine Broda knjižare – broda kulture. Osvojila je i drugo mjesto na KSET-ovom natječaju za kratku priču 2015. godine. Trenutno živi u Belišću i radi kao knjižničarka u osnovnoj školi.

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Ivana Pintarić: Priče

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Ivana Pintarić (1988., Zagreb) je po zanimanju edukacijski rehabilitator. Piše poeziju i kratke priče. Ulomkom iz romana „Gorimo (ali ne boli više)“ ušla je u finale izbora za nagradu "Sedmica & Kritična masa" 2015. godine. Ulazi u širi izbor nagrade "Sedmica & Kritična masa" 2017. ulomkom iz romana "Ovo nije putopis o Americi". Bila je polaznica Booksine radionice pisanja proze pod mentorstvom Zorana Ferića. Objavila je radove na kultipraktik.org i booksa.hr. Objavila je i priču u časopisu Fantom slobode. Članica je književne grupe ZLO.

proza

Marin Ivančić: Karijatida

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Marin Ivančić (1991., Karlovac) diplomirani je pravnik na stručnom usavršavanju u Hrvatskoj komori ovlaštenih inženjera geodezije. Od zala birokracije dušu spašava čitanjem, županijskim nogometom, a odnedavno i pisanjem. Igra zadnjeg veznog u NK Dobra-Novigrad na Dobri, ima dobar udarac i pregled igre. Čitalački ukus mu je hipsterski eklektičan. Ovo mu je prvi objavljeni rad.

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Jelena Petković: Japan

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Jelena Petković (1984.) diplomirala je povijest i engleski jezik i književnost na Filozofskom fakultetu u Osijeku. Živi i radi u Vukovaru.

proza

Luiza Bouharaoua: Zvučni zid

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Luiza Bouharaoua (1985., Split) diplomirala je kroatistiku i anglistiku na Filozofskom fakultetu u Splitu. Radi u Skribonautima. Prevodi i piše. Prevela je roman Rachel Kushner "Bacači plamena" (Profil, 2017.). Kratke priče objavljivala je u The Split Mindu, Fantomu Slobode i na portalima Kritična masa i Nema. Priče su joj izvođene u na Trećem programu hrvatskog radija. Uvrštena je u regionalni zbornik "Izvan koridora - najbolja kratka priča" (VBZ, 2011.) i antologiju hrvatske mlade proze "Bez vrata, bez kucanja" (Sandorf, 2012.). Finalistica je natječaja Festivala europske kratke priče u 2016. i 2017. godini. Dobitnica je nagrade Ulaznica za kratku priču te nagrade Prozak za najbolji prozni rukopis autora/ica do 35 godina. U 2019. izlazi joj Prozakom nagrađeni prvijenac.

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Valerija Cerovec: Hotel Horizont (ulomak iz kratkog romana)

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Valerija Cerovec (1993., Čakovec) je vizualna umjetnica i spisateljica. Završila je preddiplomski studij modnog dizajna na Tekstilno-tehnološkom fakultetu i studij komparativne književnosti na Filozofskom fakultetu, a diplomirala na Odsjeku za animirani film i nove medije na Akademiji likovnih umjetnosti. Dobitnica je nagrade “Franjo Marković” Filozofskog fakulteta. Sudjelovala je u nizu skupnih izložbi i jednoj samostalnoj naziva “23. rujna, dan kad se ništa naročito nije dogodilo”. Članica je HDLU-a.

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NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Jan Bolić (1995., Rijeka) je autor koji boluje od progresivne bolesti spinalne mišićne atrofije tip 2 zbog koje ne može pomaknuti gotovo nijedan dio tijela, no i dalje, bez obzira na progresiju bolesti, uspijeva pisati s dva prsta koja još uvijek može pomaknuti i s njima stvara književna djela. Dosad je objavio dvije knjige: zbirku poezije „Trenutci“ (2016.) i zbirku poezije i proznih zapisa „Može biti lijepo“ (2017.). Jedna pjesma objavljena je i u zbirci poezije skupine autora iz cijele RH naziva „Petrinjske staze“ iz Petrinje. Povremeno objavljuje svoje radove na književnim portalima i svom Facebook profilu U trećoj knjizi odlučio se pozabaviti žanrom krimića.

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Andrea Bauk: Kult užarene krune

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Andrea Bauk (1985., Rijeka) je završila stručni studij vinarstva u Poreču nakon kojeg je radila razne poslove. Teme njezinog pisanja su SF, međuljudski, pogotovo obiteljski odnosi i tabu teme, a njezini likovi redovito su autsajderi i mizantropi. Nekoliko njezinih priča i pjesama objavljene su u sklopu književnih natječaja.

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NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR

Dalen Belić rođen je 1997. godine. Živi u Pazinu, a studira engleski i njemački jezik na Filozofskom fakultetu u Rijeci. Objavljivan je u istrakonskoj zbirci Apokalipsa laži te zbirkama Priče o manjinama i Priče o Pazinu u sklopu Festivala Fantastične Književnosti. Osvojio je drugo mjesto na Riječkim perspektivama 2017. godine i prvo mjesto 2018. Jednu njegovu priču teškometalne tematike možete pročitati na portalu Perun.hr.

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