A Perfect Day for the Answering Machine
by Zoran Ciric

"Dear Citizen! Here is Secretary General of SOS (non-parliamentary but definitely humane) Party speaking! According to the rules stated in our Party's Statute, I am bound to inform you when our last uprising in Serbia is due. I say last because this one is going to be a successful one, unlike all the other uprisings stirred in this country! We will keep you informed in order to join our ranks in due course and see the happy end of our endeavours. Bless your eternal wounds, our respectable Citizen!"

"Hey, Alex, I forgot to tell yer. While we were waiting for you, I found them old lyrics of yours in my guitar case. Y'know the ones we rejected 'cause too pathetic. Think the title was "City Prayer". Jumbo and I made music to it, just for fun, and it turned out quite OK. Everybody who's heard the song said that the tune is the perfect match for the text. I'm playing the demo for you now. Don't yer go sulkin' 'cause this is just a working copy cooked up in Max's garage. Here, listen to it. (A soft guitar distortion serves as an introduction to a medium slow song which wants to be pop, but in a deliberately weird way. The lyrics say: "There are no drummers in this town/ there are no guitars in this town/ there are no dreamers in this town/ there are no suckers in this town/ there are no trumpeters in this town/ there are no singers in this town/ there are no readers in this town/ there are no vagrants in this town/ there are no stenches in this town/ there are no cities in this town.")'

"Hello, Alex, hi. Jumbo's here. You don't have to take up the receiver - that's your right - but I have to tell you something. Movie Shag must have blurted out a whole pack of lies about that party. But you're a man of the world and you know to tell a good man from a bad woman. I'm not gonna swear in my mum's or my brother's life, I won't tell you tales - just hear what I have to say. Movie Shag did give me a blowjob that night, but I felt as if nothing had happened, believe me! I'm not telling you this just to bail myself out - I don't fucking need to make excuses, not even to you! I just want you to know - nothing happened between me and Movie Shag, neither before nor after the fucking party! That's it. The rest is up to you. The band's waiting for you. Bye."

"I wish you spent these past seven days doing something. I wish you were really busy. I wouldn't mind then. But I know what you were up to! You were wasting your time and strolling with that company of yours you said I don't deserve meeting! You were fooling around with all those characters, you know why? Just out of spite! Confess, my son, you think that the only thing I deserve is to worry. Well, then. I suppose mother should live the way her son wishes her to. Do you hear me, you brat! Answer the phone, I'm your mother! I did not find you on the road!"

"Hey, you miserable misanthropic! Just wanted to tell you that Joe's psychedelic matinee was awesome. All the elite-top-pop editors were there, even Homo Brad in a brand new tricot. For the first time he was not wearing dots and piping. Everybody took that as an important hint. There were the whole bunch of Gestalt-vibrations. They served brandy, vodka, dope, juice, mineral water and muffins. Joe was so charming and magnetic that he managed to gather a new band on the spot! He named it "Joe and The Flying Asteroids". I won't tell you who the members are - you deserve to suffer, yeah. Fuck you, and call me later. Byee."

"Hi, hi from Heaven! Eno speaking. Listen, you fallen angel, it worked. I dodged the plantations, coffee bars and groceries... Man, it was the case of serendipity! You know who I am now? A new person. The distinguished Mister Eno. The desk clerk at the hotel "Fort O'Hara" hosting exclusively Irish tourists. Whadya say? Groovy, man. I'm swimming in the sea of whiskey and long-of-yore-shagged women. Alex, get yr arse here as soon as you can, we have to make plans. Sod off your arty-farty stuff. The island of Crete is a naive virgin who can't wait to get laid. Zox will give you a ring in a few days. He knows all about the visa issuing and safe cross-over. Pack only the basic things and no cigars rolled - it pisses those transit guys off. Get your ass going and wait for the call. Buy, Alex. Be patient for a little while. You'll see it's worth the trouble."

"Hail my old friend Harry - you ex-dirt! Your comrade Joe was waiting for you, where were you? Something came up, right? Too bad for you, really. I call you from the epicentre of postrock'n'roll art fed on the same stuff as the old prerock'n'roll art, just it was called in a different way. Well, war times and peaceful people do what they can: the time has come - but not for all! For some of them only! Only for some! Since you did not appear at the battlefield of history, art and universal humanity, you're fallen out of the Mystery Train! There's no way for you to get back on it, not even as an engine worker. Go down to the cellar, sniff the coal and try to picture this. You'll have to work your butt off to become the imitation of the black man, my rock'n'roll sham! Until then, sing for your mama's ears only. I almost forgot: that chick of yours, whatshername - oh, yes, Movie Shag - she's shagging all right! I'd bring her to the phone, but she can't speak right now. She's very busy, just like you are. Greetings to you forever and ever!"

"What's up, babe? Geela doesn't light your fire anymore? The exotic scent of my pussy doesn't thrill your hairy nostrils anymore? Or your cock hid in your pocket? Well? What's up, my horny sweetie? Murky castigated me for not getting your lyrics (and I myself guaranteed for them!). He put me up to a solo-orgy. Just imagine: musicians, technician, spectators and security! And Murky taped it all - I mean audio taped - because I did not let him use the camera. He threatened that my album will consist only of such recordings if you don't produce the lyrics by Monday. The idea sounds exciting, but I'm not sure that would be good for my singing career. Honey, do your best to hand him the lyrics by tomorrow night. You know the time of my recording sessions, don't you? Don't you give me no artistic ego trips. C'mon, hon. You know that my tongue's the only remedy for your phimosis. I wait for you, all wet and sweaty. Don't you call, just get into me. Knock, knock, sweetie."

"Alexander, my only son. You can sneer at me, humiliate me and break my heart, but don't kill me. Don't do that, my son. Mother is one and only, and you cannot afford to lose her just like that. Nobody got over his mother, let alone forget her. Alexander, why should we behave like this? We are grown-ups. I know you hold my womanliness against me, but, son, I promise you, cross my heart, I will not dress in stretch pants when I meet you and your friends, and I will always wear bra, even if I had three sweaters on. Believe you me, I dumped the myopic architect! He's history, really! He's done. As far as I'm concerned. That engineer fool, I don't care what he thinks. That's his problem, and I don't care. The heck with him, my son, if I have to say so! There, you heard what you wanted to hear, now please give me a ring and come to see me. Aunt Berta's birthday's on Saturday - you know the family reunion means the world to her. That is just a nice thing to do, nothing more. It will be over quickly - noone and nothing is going to bother you. I will explain to her that you were very busy and tied up with important things. Don't you worry - it won't do no harm. Let me tell you one more thing, my son - you were christened as a little boy. So, please, be careful what you do because He sees your every move!I'm through now. Your mother is waiting for you."

Translated by Vladislava Gordic