accepting everything exactly as it was. Nothing was off-
limits, just like in better times.
In the courtyard we got out the way of a car – bright
headlights, lumbering tanklike over the potholes in the
When we opened the door to the apartments, we saw a
motionless, doll-like figure lying upside down on the stairs,
and at that moment – like the shadow of a bird passing over
all our faces – we felt the presence of death, like a seagull
over a fish, but it was not us it took, it already had its prey,
and the guy at the wheel of the car that had dazzled us was
death’s get-away driver, carrying her with him, in him, like
a future hernia in his abdomen.
Alik called the police. He knew the man spread-eagled
there, an antique dealer, well established, with his own
shop. The blood from his mouth told us he had been shot
through the lung.
The investigating authorities failed to solve the murder,
although the name of the person who commissioned it can
hardly have been unknown to them. They just lacked
evidence, and no doubt the hitman had slipped out of the
city that same evening.