Thursday, 4 August 2011
Extract from Louis-Ferdinand Céline, North:
I've got to admit, I was worried ... specifically about Le Vig ... he was acting funny ... he was always funny ... but after that trek he seemed weirder than ever ... I didn't sleep much ... fits and starts ... soon as I saw a little light in the window slit, I jump up ...
"Lili, I'm going down to see Le Vig!"
"I think he's sick!"
Nothing to it ... I hop out of bed and I'm ready ... we never undress, we're always ready ... Down the stairs ... Iago's corner ... his chain's still there and his big collar ... Le Vig's door at the end, his cell ... I don't knock, I go right in ... hm, just as I thought! ...
"You! ... you! ... a rat! ... a rat!"
"Le Vig, you're nuts! ... I'm not a rat, I'm me! sit down! ... you give me a pain!"
He's standing on his fleabag, waving his arms ... he says he's scared of me, I'm a monster, I'm going to eat him!
"That'll do, Le Vig! sit down!"
"Yes! Yes! cool it! you're making too much noise!"
"All right, look at my hand! did they bite me or didn't they?!"
I look at his thumb! ... sure as shit! ... a rat bite!
"And my pants ... look! ... am I making it up?"
Right again ... they've ripped the bottom off one pants leg ...
"Well, you can't stay here, you'll sleep upstairs with us ... we've got rats too, but not as many, we manage! what made them come here all of a sudden?"
"The dog's gone! and they were after bread ... take a look!"
Sure thing, they'd eaten at least half his loaf ...
"You didn't light your candle?"
"With all this straw? I'd have gone up in flames! I fought all night in the dark!"
God's truth! ... he was all rumpled, his face was grimy, sticky, dripping ... his hair hung down over his nose ...
"To think I played Le Misanthrope!"
"Not so long ago, Le Vig!"
"Centuries, Ferdie! centuries!"
"Right you are, son! centuries!"
"And today I wouldn't even know what to do with a piece of ass!"
"You! you were ardor personified! ..."
"Thing of the past! ... women turn my stomach! how about you?"
"I'd drown every one of them to make them stop simpering!"
"What about Inge von Lieden?"
"It's pink in the sky ... you noticed? a new color ..."
"I suppose so, Le Vig ... who cares? ... the clouds can look after their own business ..."
"The walls are shaking worse than yesterday!"
"The ground too!"
And boom! ... and boo-oom! ... scattered explosions ... across Berlin ... to the south ... and east ...
"Maybe the Russian Army?"
I'm not eager to reassure him ...