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The final push

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Hamid Ismailov Hamid Ismailov | 12:36 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

Dear co-writers, to continue with the writing of our short story... I do agree with saram15 comment: 'The story seems to be gaining substance'. Like water in a funnel it was whirling slowly and surely in the beginning and now speeds up towards the resolution. So these are the scenes, which you have to write up and send it to me.

Scene 1

Dimitar/Boris comes back home to Burgas, he is in his room, unemployed, dispirited with a bleak future. His mother died while waiting for her prodigal son. He is now on his own in an empty flat. Burning tower of gas - a legacy of a new pipeline, reminds him something of a fire somewhere far away in his past. Distracting him is BBC World Service on the radio. "E kabo dara ju e kule lo" - "To be welcomed back from work is much better than staying at home and welcoming others back from work."

Scene 2

After a sleepless night Dimitar goes for an aimless walk along the seashore, but far away, where no annoying tourists, no irritating compatriots. A gas fire is left far behind him. "What time is it?" (as person stares at clock display on an expensive mobile phone) - asks he himself.

Scene 3

Lugo is an industrial salty lake in the suburbs of Burgas, where some old people cure their rheumatisms and arthritis. Dimitar goes there for a nostalgic drive and while lying in the water makes a random acquaintance with Alfred Cooper. Alfred is preoccupied with his own thoughts and finds divine meaning every time he hears someone saying, "What time is it?" He is a priest and knows the importance of time.

After he learns that Dimitar has come back from the West, he tells him the story of how he has come to be here (There was a fire in his church. His daughter was caught in it as she searched for a doll she promised she'd return to a child from a needy family, and falling debris severely damaged her legs.) He has a feeling of endless guilt, because he allowed foreigners to stay in the church and believes that either them or the doll caused the fire. In Burgas he works predominantly with the disillusioned and down-and-outs.

While they are coming back to the town by the seashore Father Alfred tells the story of how he grabbed a sci fi novel from the desk instead of the Bible, and gives the glimpses of that book. (Here's a sci-fi bit, which nicely plays with the rest of the story).

Though this story reminds Dimitar something from his life in the West, when they were rough-sleeping with Mexicans, Nigerians and Costa-Ricans in a church, ultimately he says: "I don't want to know about bloody meditation, Father Alfred. I just want a job and a girlfriend."

Scene 4

Dimitar wants to drag himself out to an assortment of employment agencies, and in answer to wanted ads, he spends his days on buses and on foot going from shop to warehouse, from factory to building site in search of work. But finally he goes to internet-café in the shop-street to make an online search for a job, but in fact he is searching for someone to spend the evening with. The presence of kids nearby means that he can't look up escort girls, so he looks for chat in online forums and finds someone under the name of Alice Cooper (!), who is campaigning against the Russian pipeline, and for clean ecology of the Black Sea. They start an online conversation which ends up with a notion: "And anyway, I told the truth, but I'm afraid I told a lie".

Scene 5

Father Alfred comes home and mumbles something about his new acquaintance to his daughter, whom he has a feeling of seeing somewhere, whereas Alice is in online conversation and is quite irritated by the interference to her 'uncontrollable attraction'. There's tension between father and daughter. Father is not good at caring for close family members, better in the wider world. Daughter is preoccupied with thoughts of Dimitar and half dizzy with a crush on him, but insecure with her present physical condition, is disruptive and distracting among Alfred's down-and-outs. Father fearful Alice will fall in love with one of then, which he doesn't want as Alice is really a serious scientist (not just a book one like her father). Shouting match between them regarding the fire. They chew over again and again their past with that fire and the incident, when Alice was burnt and maimed trying to save that notorious doll, and saved by someone who lived that time in the church. She exclaims: "I can't be the only one left alive?"

Scene 6

Alice is afraid to meet Dimitar because of her disability, but is very lonely as she spends so much time online, and has had the opportunity to talk to him on the phone. After lots of hesitation Alice decides to invite him, who is hiding under the pen-name of 'Boris' to their house. Nervous and excitable, she is afraid that her disability will put Dimitar/Boris off. Doesn't know Boris already knows the situation. They meet. Alice is wearing a pendant of a shiny buckle around her neck. Mitko remarks on it. Alice explains: it's from a belt her mother loved. She died giving birth to Alice. Grandmother always kept it and passed it on to Alice in her late teens. Alice was wearing when she entered the burning church. It was found in the remains in the debris afterwards. "The metal buckle on my belt was rusted when I got it back".

She shined it up and cherishes it above all else as a symbol of hope that her physical appearance can be brought back to what it was before the fire, just like the buckle.

They begin to fall in love. Dialogue between them "There is sorrow in birth" referring to her mother. "Death is liberty" never entered Alice's head as a solution to her present condition but Boris often thought of it as a relief to his "toska". Here Father Alfred enters home... "E kabo dara ju e kule lo"

I'm looking forward for your write-ups of those scenes.

BBC iD

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