prose

Marko Gregur: Booze Mirinda

Marko Gregur (1982) hails from Koprivnica. He has authored a book of poetry, Lirska grafomanija (2011), two collections of short stories Peglica u prosincu (2012), and Divan dan za Drinkopoly (2014) (A Fine Day for Drinkopoloy) and a novel, Kak je zgorel presvetli Trombetassicz (2017). His short stories and poetry have appeared in many Croatian and international literary magazines as well as the anthology of prose by young Croatian writers, Bez vrata, bez kucanja (2012) (No Doors, No Knocking). Gregur has received multiple awards for his writing, including the Ulaznica award as well as the Prozak award for the best prose by anyone in Croatia under the age of 35.



 

 

 

BOOZE MIRINDA, BY MARKO GREGUR

 

 

 

Mirinda went to the bathroom and like every morning tried to make himself throw up. This time it wasn’t going well, and that spoilt his mood a little. He walked out of the bathroom, went over to the fridge, and looking in at its empty interior made him feel even worse.

‘It seems you’ve done your share of throwing up’, he said  to himself, and slammed the door closed. He got dressed, and set off for Frankopanska street. His cevabdzinica[1] was there waiting for him.

‘Hi babe!’, he greeted the waitress.

‘Hi, Booze Mirinda. Shall I bring you something?’

‘Of course. Today I am arriving on an empty stomach.’

‘That’s good. What will you have then?’ asked the waitress.

‘The usual’, Mirinda replied.

As soon as she brought him the loza and a large beer, Mirinda instantly downed the loza[2], and half the bottle of beer.

That’s better’, said Booze Mirinda, who earned his nickname precisely because he had booze even for breakfast.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and yelled over to Sonja who was washing glasses.

‘Babe, have I ever told you the story of how Ayerton Senna died in my arms? ‘

‘Yes, you have, Booze Mirinda, probably a thousand times already’, said the waitress, who felt she couldn’t handle one of his stories this early in the morning.

Mirinda started talking anyway.

‘I was at the race track when my best friend Senna hit the fence. I had a bad feeling that day. The night before he was kind of tense. I told him. Come on, Senna, let’s drink this one up and then move on, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said he was tired and that he was going to sleep.

At the moment of the crash, when he went off the track, I knew that he was badly injured. I ran down through the stands and over to his car. I was running so hard that the guys from the athletic federation said  I was a new a world champion in the hundred meters, but I didn’t care about that and I refused to accept the medal. When I came to his car, I took his head in my arms and asked him, ‘Senna, are you okay?’

‘I’m not, Mirinda’, he said.

I realised we had to work quickly. I went over to the track, and stopped a car that was passing at that moment, I think it was Coulthard. He was out of his mind, but he recognised me straight away so gave me the car. I then drove back and said, ‘Senna, now I’m driving you to the hospital!’

He looked at me, his eyes weary, and said, and I’ll never forget this, ‘Mirinda, anyone but you!’ He said that, and lost his consciousness. Those were his last words. The guys came, the medics, and put him in a van. I drove behind them to the hospital in a racing car. Do you want to know how they were driving? It was so slow, I thought they wanted him to die. Not to mention that the slow driving got my tyres cold, and I almost skidded off the road. Oh, It would all have been different, if Senna had not been scared of me driving too fast!

You know babe, that was one of the saddest days of my life and I still feel terrible when I remember it, even though it’s been five years now’, finished Mirinda, leaving out that he still owed Coulthard a hundred deutch marks for the gas and the tyres.

The waitress put the glass away and looked at him. She knew the story was over.

‘Finished?’

‘Yes’, said Mirinda, finishing his beer and then ordering another.

He then opened the briefcase he was always carrying around, and took out a pen and a piece of paper.

‘Let’s do some work now’, he said.

‘I’ve already told you to do your business elsewhere. This is not your office’.

‘Will you calm down? I’m just going to write something. Is that illegal?’

He scribbled for some fifteen minutes before he asked Sonja the waitress if she knew the address of the Official Gazette where the ads are sent. She told him the address, she knew it by heart because Mirinda would ask her for it every so often, then she repeated would he please do his work elsewhere.

‘I mean it’, she said.

‘Why are you so nervous? As if three billion trillion million wasps were biting you’, said Booze Mirinda and then he left for the post office.

*

Vjeko hadn’t been sleeping for nights. It became clear to him he’d got a bit too carried away, that he had skipped at least two leagues, that these were the big boys and that there was no fooling around with them. He knew they were serious. He believed them when they said the other day that the river would swallow him if he couldn’t raise the money in ten days. Of course he didn’t trust them, that’s why he hadn’t been leaving the flat, and that was precisely the reason why he kept looking out the window. Sure, there was no chance for him to come up with that kind of money. Even if he did lift a few wallets, that wouldn’t get him far. All those idiots with credit cards that were all sold out, he was sick of them. If there was even the slightest chance of getting some money, Vjeko would have left the flat, but instead he was just sitting and waiting, ready to face the worst.

All the prozac was making him lethargic. A rush of fear and then a rush of lethargy. Fear, booze, panic, prozac, booze, prozac, some more prozac, excitement, lethargy. In that order, more or less. Lethe, the river of oblivion. Still, with every new day it would take him more effort to swim down Lethe, he was evermore cowered in fear. ‘You wanted to play mobsters, you idiot, and only yesterday you were an altar boy. Why, you still go for lunch at your mum’s every Sunday’, he was telling himself while helplessness was coming over his body and his mind. He decided to split from Osijek.

Mirinda was sitting at his table, drinking loza and taking his papers out of the briefcase.

‘You are waiting on your customer?’ Sonja asked, because she was feeling bored and Mirinda was her only guest.

‘Maybe.’

‘Who gets you these papers, anyway?’

‘What do you mean? English queen gave them to me’, he said and Sonja laughed.

‘What are you laughing about? Elisabeth II gave them to me. Her signature is here, look’, he pushed the paper towards her, but she decided to stay in the monotony of the empty bar.

‘Sure. You met her at the farmer’s market?’

‘Oh, all right, feel free to take the piss out of me. But Mirinda knows what he is doing. Old Betty and me, we’re old pals. Once, I even grabbed hold of her a bit, the fire was about to break out, but then this carriage came to pick her up and she said she had to go.’

 

Read the rest of the story here

 

panorama

How to Spend a Spring Day in Zagreb

Wondering where to start exploring Croatia’s small but vibrant capital city, Zagreb? Check out Time Out’s list of must sees in Zagreb from the most famous market in town to where to sample the best rakija (local brandy).

panorama

Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.

panorama

Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.

news

Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future - Multimedia Exhibition in Zagreb

A spectacular multimedia exhibition honouring Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest visionaries, titled ‘Nikola Tesla – Mind from the Future’, will stay open until 20 March 2018.
“Immersed into the magical world of the genius Nikola Tesla, by merging the elements of a ‘live’ film, video set design, computer game, and magical hologram and light adventure into a unique multimedia experience of extended reality, with this exhibition we seek to take you on a contemplative ‘journey’ without beginning or end, through a process of inspiration, creativity and production.” - Helena Bulaja Madunić, exhibition author

report

Hollywood and Dubrovnik

The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.
Hollywood seems to have discovered Dubrovnik. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, also take place in the fortress town. Filming wrapped this year on a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Eagerton, Jamie Foxx, and Jamie Dornan (and produced by Leonard DiCaprio). The 25th James Bond film is reported to begin shooting in the city in January 2018.
But not everyone appreciates all the attention.

panorama

Great films shot in Zagreb

There's a surprising raft of indelible productions shot in and around Croatia's capital, like the world-dominating spy-caper 'James Bond: From Russia with Love' and Orson Welles' interpretation of Kafka's absurd, existentialist novel 'The Trial'...

report

LitLink Thoughts. The Publisher's View by Mitch Albert, Periscope Books.

The curation of a festival of literature naturally entails the “curation” of its participants. Lit Link excelled in this regard – the authors invited from the UK represented a very fine, accomplished tranche of contemporary British writing, and the publishers, for the most part, represented a scrappy, independent ethos and pride in advancing thought-provoking fiction and literary fiction in translation.

report

LitLink. The Editor's View. By: Anna Kelly

As far as I know, LitLink festival is unique. Each year it takes a group of writers and publishers to three Croatian cities – Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb – for a series of evening readings. Along the way there are coach journeys on winding roads, stunning vistas of deep green fields and icy mountains, excellent Croatian wine and food, sea swimming, plenty of book chat...

report

A very rough guide to LitLink. The Author's View. By: Joanna Kavenna

Each night there is a bilingual Croatian-English event. Translations are projected behind the writers as they read. It becomes apparent that many contemporary Croatian writers are high ironists, forging dark comedy from aspects of life that most disturb them – war, corruption, the riotous hypocrisy of those who claim to govern us.
The tour runs from Zagreb to Pula to Rijeka...

review

Olja Savičević Ivančević: Singer in the Night review

Read a review of the much acclaimed contemporary Croatian writer, Olja Savičević Ivančević’s book, Pjevač u noći (2016) (Singer in the Night).

panorama

New wave in Yugoslavia

As its counterparts, the British and the US new wave, from which the main influences came, the Yugoslav scene was also closely related to punk rock, ska, reggae, 2 Tone, power pop and mod revival.
Important artists were: Azra, Šarlo Akrobata, Idoli (famous for their song "Maljčiki" and its respective video in which they ridiculed the soviet soc-realism), Pankrti (first Yugoslav punk band), Prljavo kazalište (started as a punk unit; the title of their second album Crno-bijeli svijet which means "black and white world" holds a reference to the 2 Tone movement), Električni Orgazam (punk at the beginning, they moved towards post-punk and psychedelia later and were described as "The Punk Doors"), Slađana Milošević, Haustor (mostly reggae, ska and similar influences, but with a more poetic and intellectual approach compared to some danceable bands), Buldožer, Laboratorija Zvuka, Film (one of the first new wave groups), Lačni Franz and many others.
New wave was especially advocated by the magazines Polet from Zagreb and Džuboks from Belgrade.

panorama

Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

panorama

Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

panorama

Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

Authors' pages

Književna Republika Relations Quorum Hrvatska književna enciklopedija PRAVOnaPROFESIJU LitLink mk zg