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Projekat RastkoDrama and theater
TIA Janus

Zoran Stefanovic

Meeting Point

A radio drama, 1992

Translated from Serbian by Marko Fancovic, 1995

(Birdsong, sound of a light breeze. Ivan, a eight-year-old thinks.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: Nine-thirty... The postman is late again. Should I wait or go to buy the batteries? Dad's gonna kill me if he finds out I've been messing with the dictaphone...

(Clicking of the dictaphone buttons, a brief rewinding of the tape and checking how far did the recording go is heard. A click. Ivan starts talking, in a flat and calm voice.)

IVAN: Day two. April eighth of ninet... Or is it ninth?

(Clicking. Ivan loudly tries to establish the date.)

IVAN: Day two. April eighth of ninety two. The streets are empty, everybody's working. Dad and stepmom have not returned yet. They went to pick up my sister Ma{a. Actually — half-sister. Two days ago they went to get her from a party, a birthday where Maria plays kissing games with the boys. And they did not leave me the dough for the tennis shoes. I busted their drawer open.


IVAN-THOUGHT: Nobody answers at Dino's. I wanted to take him to the bakery. I must not go out yet, folks don't have a key, and we have quarreled with the neighbors when neighbor Nedzad, drunk, ran over our cat Nikolay...

(Clicking of the dictaphone. Ivan speaks into it.)

IVAN: I hope I haven't erased one of Dad's tapes that he does with those newspaper faces. Interviews and gossips – Dad's papers are printed on the worst paper. Actually, all the papers in this city are like that. But here the baklavas are the sweetest in world, in my city...

(Sound of an airplane in low flight. A succession of biting bursts of fire. Muffled detonations.)

IVAN: ...Sarajevo.

(Clicking. A brief pause. Muffled detonations get increasingly distant.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: More exercises in the municipal central, Blues versus Reds again. Or they're making something like the "Terminator"... Dad always takes me to movie shootings, and I'm always quiet as a mouse not to disturb the cameraman. Although stepmom says to Dad: "Ivan is a nitwit, we'll have him on our backs for life". But they won't. I'll get married when the time comes... Masha says I'm not "special".

(Telephone rings. Several times. Sound of receiver being lifted.)

IVAN: Hullo? Hullo?

(Telephone echo resounding.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: Dad's checking...

IVAN: Dad?

(Brief gurgling from the other side. Disconnecting. The signal.)

IVAN: Dad?

IVAN-THOUGHT: They think I'm scared, all alone like this. Stepmom surely says that I could not even feed myself. And just the milk has spoiled — the refrigerator won't work without power.

(Pause. Waiting.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: Call... Call.

(Telephone rings. The falling of the telephone and Ivan's breathing are heard.)


IVAN: Hallo? Hallo?

VOICE-1: (Male, rough.) Izzat you, man?

IVAN: Yes?

VOICE-1: Have ya placed them? You've got eight minutes.

IVAN: Ivan here...

VOICE-1: Ivan who?! (To someone.) Some kid, how could I know? That's the number...

(Murmur and discussion on the other side. Another male voice, noticeably softer and kinder.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, sonny... Izzat your name? Ivan, you there?

IVAN: Ye-yes, I am... Who's there?

VOICE-2: Is your Da there?

IVAN: No, they are not here...

VOICE-2: I'm a friend of your Da. You remember me taking you to the football game? When "Zello" won...

IVAN: No, no... I don't li...

VOICE-1: Leave the brat. Time's running out...

VOICE-2: Shut up! Ivan, sonny, you there?

IVAN: I am, I am...

VOICE-2: Just don't hang up... Remind me, where do you live now?

IVAN: Here... By the supermarket. In the skyscrapers.

VOICE-2: Behind the lower music school or by the market?

IVAN: By the market.

(Voice-2 lets out a breath of relief. There is commotion and arguing at the other end of the line.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, you wanna help a buddy of your Da?

(Ivan is silent.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, have you seen any grownups in uniforms?

IVAN: Like a postman, or striped ones?

VOICE-2: Striped, striped...

IVAN: Yes.

VOICE-2: Where are they now?

IVAN: All over. In the park, at the market, by the river.

VOICE-2: Ya wanna help us, Ivan?

IVAN: You shooting a movie or something?

VOICE-2: A movie, a movie. For the American TV...

(Somebody on the other side laughs and swears.)

VOICE-2: Are we gonna do it, Ivo, or not?

IVAN: We will, we will... But how?

VOICE-2: Long you live. We are now gonna throw some pyroteknics on those uniformed fellows...

IVAN: Throw what?

VOICE-2: Pyroteknics. Fireworks, ya know. Like in the American movies, ya know?

IVAN: I know.

VOICE-2: Well, you are gonna tell us which way the fireworks are going, 'cause we can't see over the buildings. Talkie-walkie is out of order. Ya know what a talkie-walkie is?

IVAN: I know. The telephone for coppers.

VOICE-2: Well, yer uncle here's gonna give you one, if you describe well how the fire's falling. How about it?


VOICE-2: C'mon, get ready. And, ya know, this is all taped. You mustn't make a mistake.

IVAN: I won't, I won't.

(Silence. Crackling of the lines. Murmur on the other side. Suddenly a strong whistling, and than a powerful detonation, but pretty distant.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, sonny? Ivan, where did the fire go?

IVAN: To the parking lot... The one by the highway.

VOICE-2: You sure? You must have, god bless, looked badly...

IVAN: Yes, yes, on the parking lot.

(Swearing and murmur from the other side.)

VOICE-2: What about the actors? The fellows in uniforms?

IVAN: They're laughing. The ones by the market. The rest are far off, so I don't see if they're laughing or not.

VOICE-2: Never mind, let'em laugh. So, they are closer to the market?

IVAN: The whole market, all up to the "Liberty" cinema. Is that movie gonna play there?

VOICE-2: It will, it will... (To someone.) Correct that, you're overshooting. (To Ivan.) Sonny, watch this one now!

(The whistle and the detonation are repeated, but much closer this time. Ivan lets out a short scream.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, my ace? Was there anything? Ivan?

IVAN: Did you get this?!?

VOICE-2: Did we get what?

IVAN: This! This!

VOICE-2: Calm down, bless you. C'mon, easy, and you'll get a talkie-walkie: where did it blow?

IVAN: On the market! And the actors...

VOICE-2: Yeah? And the actors...?

IVAN: The actors have been flying, and they move... Some of them. The rest are all bloody...

VOICE-2: Tricks, bless you. For the audience. You're good, but I want you to do me another favor. See if you can count those that were flying and that don't move.

IVAN: Can't you see it while you're shooting?

VOICE-2: I am, bless you, the director. I give the orders. Can you count them or not?

IVAN: I can, I can...

IVAN-THOUGHT: Now they're gonna see I'm no good at counting. Three, four... Yep, four...

VOICE-2: You counted them yet, ace? You are slowing down somehow...

IVAN: Fo-four of them aren't moving. I think... The rest of them act on. Actually, they are yelling...

VOICE-2: How many those that yell?

IVAN: Much... Much more...

VOICE-2: (Shouts.) How many more? Ya wanna make the movie with us, and it's hard for you to count? Can you or can you not? Ya there? Ya hear me?

(Ivan starts to sob. Tries to catch his breath.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: They have found out... They have found out about me not counting right...

VOICE-2: (Softer.) Ivan?

IVAN: Here... Here I am.

VOICE-2: Ivan, yer uncle was just joking... I know you can do it... Look here, next fire we're gonna send is just for you. You're a good one, aren't you?

IVAN: Ye-yes, I am...

VOICE-2: You're an ace. Don't hang up.

IVAN: I won't, I'll stay...

IVAN-THOUGHT: He said: an ace... We did not watch "Zello", but we shall. When Dad hears that I've been shooting a movie, he's gonna brag about it in a office. And Marija in the high school. And stepmom won't say I'm "special", but she's gonna take us to Dzafer's for baklavas. Like the first year when she brought Marija...

(Two whistles, one following another, and than very strong detonations. The windows rattle.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: This, too... This too was in the "Terminator"... My ears... Ears...

VOICE-2: Ivan? Ivan, sonny, the director here.

IVAN-THOUGHT: My ears hurt...

IVAN: Yes... Here I am...

VOICE-2: You're a good one. C'mon, my hawk, go see whether actors are doing anything, or are they lazying around?

(Pause. Cries from outside, bursts of fire and shouting are heard.)

IVAN: Some more are lying down...

VOICE-2: Make-believe dead?

IVAN: Make-believe dead. Should I count them?

VOICE-2: C'mon, by all.

(Ivan murmurs the numbers. Starts over.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: If the count's not right they'll tell Dad... And he'll complain to stepma...

IVAN: Fifteen...

VOICE-2: Fifteen? Ya sure?


IVAN: I'm sure.

VOICE-2: And what are the others doing?

IVAN: Running. Even more are coming...

VOICE-2: How much more?

IVAN: Plenty... They are carrying those that don't move... Ya taping that?

VOICE-2: We're taping, no need to worry... What else are they doing?

IVAN: They're bringing little cannons. And some tubes on tiny legs... They're mighty sorry about something...

VOICE-2: ... And tubes on tiny legs... And where did they point them? Ivan, could ya tell yer uncle, where are they pointing?

IVAN: (Stutters.) I do-don't know... They did not set them up yet... Yeah, they're pointing them over the school and above – across the river...

VOICE-2: Across the river? (To someone.) Hit it! Hit it, you ass! No hesitating!!!

(Several whistles of grenades flying. They are closing in. Detonations resound, each stronger than the last. Rattling of windows. Rumble. The sounds of panicked people are heard from outside. Telephone falls, a kid's body also falls.)

IVAN-THOUGHT: Just don't disconnect. Don't hang up...

VOICE-2: Ivan? Ivan? Triple damn... Ivan, answer immediately!

IVAN: Here... I am... It has struck here...

VOICE-2: Ya hurt? Ivan, did it wound ya?

IVAN: It has hit the building... I'm allright. Just the ears... My ears are a little...

VOICE-2: Look, sonny, you go nice and easy to the window and tell yer uncle what do you see. Ya can do it or maybe I have stop the movie?

IVAN: I can do it...

(Crawling to the window is heard. Heavy breathing.)

IVAN: Uncle?

VOICE-2: I hear you, my hawk, I hear you...

IVAN: Uncle, something's wrong here... Wrong...

(Ivan starts to cry. Murmur on the other side. A screams from the outside.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, are ya crying there? Ya crying on me? Don't you go letting me down now, by saints!

IVAN: They're split... It' running... The blood. And other stuff...

VOICE-2: Don't cry, bless you. Don't embarrass me here, I've been saying to people here what a great guy you are...

IVAN: Saying I'm great?

VOICE-2: Great, sure! And that's not real blood! Just the movie stuff, you little turkey. I'm a surgeon, and my daughter goes with me when I operate. She's not afraid even of real blood. How old you are?

IVAN: Eight... Aren't you the movie director?

VOICE-2: (Pause.) And my little girl is not yet nine! Let's not embarrass ourselves now. We won't, right?

IVAN: We won't.

(Pause. Outside the cries are heard, someone is asking for water, hollering.)

IVAN: Uncle, they're asking for water...

VOICE-2: It's hot, they're thirsty. Anybody running?

IVAN: Plenty of them... More are coming...

VOICE-2: Good, good, let them do their work... (To someone.) Let her go.

(A whistle, a detonation. Rattling of windows.)

VOICE-2: Anything there, Ivan?

IVAN: Plenty, they've all fallen down... Uncle?

VOICE-2: Hold it... (Pause, commotion.) Say, my hawk.

IVAN: Uncle, they've seen me.

VOICE-2: Who's seen you, my poor one?!

IVAN: The actors. They waved to me. I waved to them, too. Will I be in the mo...

VOICE-2: Ivan, hold it... (Calms down.) Ivan, tell yer uncle, did any of the actors see you holding the phone? Ya had the receiver in your hand when you were on the window?

IVAN: Yes, I wanted to hear you...

VOICE-2: Ivan, listen me, run now! Ivan, run from the apartment! Right now!!!

IVAN: I will, but wh...

(A powerful burst of automatic weapon fire breaks the windows of Ivan's apartment. Something flies through the window and with a dull thud rolls on the floor. More bursts.)

VOICE-2: Ivan?!

(Explosion of a hand grenade in the apartment.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, ya there? Answer your uncle... Ivan?!

(Steps of heavy boots in the hall. Breaking down of the doors. Steps in the apartment.)

VOICE-2: Ivan, ya there?

(Boots stepping on broken glass. Receiver being lifted. A breathless and hoarse male voice answers: Voice-3.)

VOICE-3: Stinker, you still there?


VOICE-3: Hallo, stinker, answer if you've got any balls left!

VOICE-2: Here I'm, you pig, here. You started throwing bombs on kids!

VOICE-3: Don't play the joker with me, stinker. You know very well what I'm talking about!

VOICE-2: We got you good with this one, ha? Well, no more charities... And you, killing even the kids!

VOICE-3: Tonight I'll come to you on the line. To pay court – with steel. To deliver a bill for all this...

VOICE-2: Come, you pig. I'll skin you alive.

VOICE-3: I'll come, I'll come. You'll be eating yourself, bit by bit.

VOICE-2: Starting on the kids...

(The receiver is put down. Sound of several people stepping on glass.)

VOICE-3: You two, take the canvas and put the boy on it.

VOICE-4: What for? He's gone.

VOICE-3: Ya wanna me to repeat that?

VOICE-4: Bless ya, where do ya think ya're – the marines?

(Rustling of the canvas. Movement of people in the room. Heavy breathing. Carrying of the body. Opening of doors, steps going down the hall.)

VOICE-3: You. On your way out put them a tripwire on the door.

VOICE-5: Maybe the kid's family will come...

VOICE-3: I don't give a fuck. Don't ya go thinking too much on me...

(Tired steps going out.)

VOICE-5: And the day has just started.

VOICE-4: Yep, I'll say...


Belgrade, May 1992.

(Translated from Serbian by Marko Fancovic, 1995)

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