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Monday, 23 June 2008

My May 68


Translated by Steve Novak



May 68, let’s talk about it. My memory is of a dream, of a wild jig.  I’m not speaking about barricades or cobblestones. Nor about fiery meetings, party nights or wild sex - all that was not for me. I didn’t give a damn about those students, the daddy’s boys and girls, dressing up as plebs to bash the cops (in fact those guys were the true plebs!), all in the name of the people or something. Didn’t give a damn either about all these workers who had found a way for a general time off, machines idle while demanding the impossible. Just for the pure pleasure to piss people off.  Didn’t even know they were going through a short interlude in an era without the dole.


May 68, for me, it means the everyday grind. It’s the time when I worked with the most freedom, fun and efficiency. While all the others where playing the ‘let’s stop it all and never start again’ game, I sweated like a dog, running hundreds of miles, packages on my back, worse than an ass. Weeks being at least 24 hours work. I even wondered if I wasn’t the last and only worker in the land. Tell me: if I had told a journalist back then, maybe De Gaulle would have pinned that medal on me? …and they would have paraded me on TV, as a model to all of those bums and losers.


Now, of course I would have felt bad if the General had asked me, while pinning that medal to my chest, so tell me buddy…what’s your secret? What’s that job you like so much? Hard to answer: me, general?...I’m for hire to the highest bidder while the others wallow in the spring sun.  Come to think of it, maybe I’m making it all up. General - the jobs a bit like mine, just on much larger scale.


Yes, for us killers, May 68 was a blessed stint. Not a cop on the horizon. All busy clobbering those who had stopped working. No risks. No danger. Nobody to grass you up. No more petrol, so no pursuit. No neighbours. They were on a trip looking for adventure, when it was happening on their own doorstep while they were away.  Idiots!


What a bunch - those I slayed in 68… My best kill count. Three widows, one group captain, two bankers, a newsagent, a wine seller. And one lady chiropodist. Mind you, with that one I had some second thoughts. Can you strangle a lady chiropodist without knowing what’s in that job? Now, I did ask her: a chiropodist: what’s that but maybe a little too late. I think I was squeezing a bit too hard - still had trouble controlling my own strength at the time. When I left the lady’s premises I saw a big protest march on TV - the one for de Gaulle’s return. Against the ‘scum’, as he had said. Me, I liked that friendly general. So, I went and sang the Marseillaise, like the others. Next to me was a cabinet minister - white as a rat, looking forlorn and sad. For three weeks I’ve burrowed in my basement, he confessed. It’s the first time I have put my nose outside. No danger, you think? I calmed him down as best as I could. If someone goes after you, trust me, he’ll find here somebody to tackle with! Don’t laugh; I was really in good shape. And to me, the guy looked in a bad way. The march was a big success. We bawled at the top of our lungs, all together - arm in arm. We were taking over the street again. And we finished the day at a pub. Note here that he insisted. I was a bit embarrassed since things from the lady chiropodist were in my raincoat’s pocket and I didn’t want them to spill on the table. One thing led to another we became best friends. Since I had told him I was out of work (I was not about to let him know that…), he brought me into his staff as a driver and at the next election I became is deputy. You’re the only one I can trust, he insisted as I was a bit hesitant to enter that world. What got me is when he added: you’re the only one who doesn’t mean to take me out. All my political colleagues, they’re all ready to stab me in the back.


I waited two years to help with his suicide - and to take his place. It still took me a bit of time to become minister. Now, I can pilfer and kill in peace. Though, you know what I would give all the gold in the republic to get back to the carefree days of May 68. Ok, I’ve got to go, I have to give a speech. A new prison inauguration, I think.


Alain Berenboom
Last Updated ( Friday, 29 August 2008 )
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