Dettol@sanaz seyed esfahani
Naniz is standing in front of Tower no. 12. Tower no. 12 is located in block 3. Electricity runs in all of the blocks and towers of the township except tower 12 of block 3. It is raining. The umbrella trembles in Naniz’s hand. Rain strikes her face. The baggage is a heavy load in her other hand. No car is parked, down there, in front of the tower. It seems that tower no. 12 is evacuated. She goes upstairs in darkness. A whistle sound is heard from the heart of heavy rain. Pigeons are somersaulting in the air and cooing. Naniz takes her umbrella back to take a look at the pigeons. Her head and face becomes wet. She closes her umbrella and goes forward. Naniz coming close, the automatic glass door opens. She enters with hesitation. She can’t see clearly. The automatic glass door strikes Naniz and closes. Naniz is caught in the door. She pushes herself forward to the lobby. There is no trace of my noisy lobby. She can’t see clearly. She can hear her own breathe. Her heart is beating hard. Cigarette smell! She turns towards the smoke and sees the burning tip of the cigarette. “What are you doing here?” Naniz turns back and gropes for a wall behind in the dark. The automatic glass door has gone crazy and opens and closes in an endless play. “Are you dumb? Why are you back?” The man’s voice is cracked. He coughs. At the lobby, the smell of hygienic detergent irritates the throat. The man comes closer with his cigarette. It is he. From the movement of burning tip of the cigarette in darkness, it could be guessed that he is that dwarf birdman. He comes closer. Naniz goes backward and keeps her umbrella in front of her. The man is standing in front of her. Naniz goes backwards and hits the wall behind. “Don’t get closer!” The man throws the cigarette on the floor and squeezes it under his shoes. His voice comes closer, “What if I come closer?” Naniz has stuck at her baggage. She should protect it at any price. “Why the lights are off? Isn’t there anybody here?” The man laughs and imitates her, “Isn’t there anybody here? It isn’t a movie.” Naniz notices the orange lit numbers on the emergency elevator and runs toward that. She stumbles. The automatic glass door is till opening and closing for itself. The man jumps over her and
presses his knees firmly on Naniz’s flanks and back. “Go bastard. Go forward. Hey!” Naniz tries to stand up. She is still clinging on the baggage with one hand. She shouts, “leave me, hey nasty man!” The man bites Naniz’s neck. Naniz screams loudly, presses herself on the hand by which she has stuck the baggage and stands up firmly. The man fells on the floor. Naniz runs to the elevator. Not yet feeling in peace she sees the man in the elevator. Under the deem light of the elevator, the man’s face is seen. He has become bold. No eyebrows. His projected jaw is the only thing Naniz remembers. She was scared of this greedy jaw. The door of elevator closes. The elevator does not move. The man comes closer. His head hardly reached her waist. He puts his head on Naniz’s belly. “Now that you have got your inheritance you are back? Where were you before? Naniz Pushes him away with one hand and then pushes the elevator buttons firmly. The man, whose head is bigger than his trunk and has short hands and legs, looks at him and laughs. He pushes the handle beside the door of elevator and the elevator starts moving upwards. “I asked you why you are back.” Naniz feels safe, the elevator is going upward. She replies, “I have brought medications for her.” The man stops the elevator. He stares at her high heel boots. Naniz hears the sound of his teeth chattering. She has to put the baggage on the floor. The man has bent down and is licking Naniz’s boots. Naniz unlaces her boots, takes them off and throws them towards the man. One of the boots is in the man’s hands. “Are you pleased now? Please run the elevator.” The man stares at Naniz. His eyes become white. Saliva is pouring out of his thick lips. He pushes the boots under his belly. Naniz sees that the man is sexually stimulated. His penis erects under her pants and pushes up. He moves the boot on his penis. Naniz takes her baggage. She shouts, “Nobody here? Devora… Devora?” The man while stimulating himself, pushes the elevator handle again. The elevator starts moving upward. “What medication?” He stops the elevator again. Naniz’s breast are bursting from anxiety under her dress. Her heart is beating irregularly. She wants to make her mother die in peace. “I want to let her die in peace and comfort.” The man brings out garden scissors from under his leather coat in a rapid move. He opens and closes the scissors very fast. Naniz puts the baggage down. She sits down and starts screaming. The man has brought out his tongue and is moving it back and forth. Saliva is pouring out of his moth. He wants to scare her. “Look at me. I am talking to you. Look at me.” Pupils of his eyes moves around in his eye sockets. Naniz turns her
head up. The man’s face is very close to her face. He has got the scissors upon her head and opens and closes it. He twists his tongue. He laughs. Suddenly he stops laughing. “Do you think only you are an actress, hey cover girl?!” Naniz murmured: “Foka, Foka, Please stop it. Let the elevator goes up. I beg you, please.” Foka puts his hand on his testicles. Naniz tries to take the scissors out of Foka’s hand. Foka kicks her on face violently. “Get back.” Dettol smell is in the air in the elevator. Naniz starts coughing. Foka puts the scissors inside the pocket of his leather coat. He brings out a cigarette out if the other pocket. He lights it. Smoke fills up the elevator. “Cough to death”. Naniz stands up. She has worn wool stockings. Her boots are on the elevator floor. She stands up. She is scared to look at herself in the mirror. She is looking down staring at the baggage. Foka asks, “So you still remember my name. What do you have there?” Naniz looks at Foka. “Oh, I am out of breath.” She coughs. Foka looks at her fiercely. “Are you suffocating?” Naniz has kept her nose with her two hands. Tears come out of her eyes. Foka brings his tongue out. He extinguishes the cigarette on her tongue, then turns the handle and the elevator starts moving up. Naniz burst into tears. She takes her baggage with fear and trembling. The elevator reaches the last floor. Their home were located at this floor. No neighbors. The whole roof of the tower belonged to them. Smell of Dettol is everywhere. Naniz enters. All windows are open. The curtains are fluttering in the wind. But the Dettol smell seems not to vanish. Naniz turns her head back. Foka has disappeared. On the edge of window, the pigeons are sitting together. Out there, the lights are flickering. Far away lights, yellow and white and sometimes red. The sound of the waves are heard. Naniz walks forward slowly. The coldness of the tiles freezes her soul. She is trembling. “Devora?” Whistle sound is heard. Foka directs his birds with these whistle sounds. Sends them to the air and takes them back to the earth. Somewhere a water tap is left open. It is dripping. There is no furniture at home except a blue sofa. “Devora? It’s me. Nobody at home?” Devora hears her voice. Her 8 year old daughter is now 38. She doesn’t recognize the voice. It is 30 years that she has not heard her voice. She has a lantern in one hand. She puts the mop inside the bucket of Dettol and foam. She lumbers with her plastic slippers. No nails on her feet fingers. Her hands skin are red and dry. Her hairs smoothly grey. Her hairs dancing in the wind blowing through the windows. “Naniz?” She assumed that her daughter will be back. She takes the lantern forward; looks at her black wool
stockings. “Don’t come closer.” Naniz puts the baggage down on the floor. “Don’t put it there.” She comes closer. She sees her daughter. She looks like a stranger for her. Stranger and familiar at the same time. She looks like her young age photos. She points somewhere with her finger. “First go there. There is a bathroom there. A big bathroom. Wash yourself well. Very well. With hot water. There are shampoo, sponge and whatever you may need. Remove your nails polish. …Then call me.” She comes closer. Face to face. Eye to eye. “Then call me. Did you hear?” She takes the baggage from the girl. Naniz does not let her to. “Don’t worry. I’ll put it into the closet.” She takes the baggage. Naniz goes to the bathroom.
Power is back.
The tap in the bath is opened. Devora is sitting on the floor. She dips a piece of cleaning towel into the bucket not wearing cleaning gloves. The bucket is full of Dettol and de-sedimentation material. She washes that piece of cloth. She polishes and squeezes the cleaning towels. Under the light of the lamp the dirt stains might be seen better. Devora washes the floor carefully from right to left and from left to right; polishes the tiles again. She wants to kill all microbes. Dettol smell has overcome the smell of birds’ droppings. Naniz is still at the bathroom. Devora goes to the kitchen. She opens hot water tap and washes her hands thoroughly. It was said that washing the hands should take twenty seconds. She forked her fingers and washed them back and forth. She washes her hands and counts to twenty. She rubs her hands with alcohol and Dettol and cleans underneath her nails. Then she dries her hands with a white towel. Her skin dilates. Silence fills everywhere. “Mama.” Devora lumbers towards the bath.
Naniz is standing in front of Devora nude. There is a big hair drier in Devora’s hand. “I’ll make you dry just now.” She turns the hair drier on. The hot air dries Naniz’s skin. Her nose starts running. Devora starts crying. “You took all your inheritance, why are you back?” Naniz has put her hand on her pussy. “Take your hand from there.” Naniz takes her hand. “I want to bring peace for you mom.” Devora turns the hair drier off and stares at Naniz’s eyes. The girl’s eyes are red. “My eyes are burning. What are you doing with yourself?” Her mother’s eyes are deep in a pit. Blue capillaries, like roots of a tree, filled the eye sockets. There are no eyelashes. She is loose like a skeleton in her silk dress; as if the dress is hanged on a hanger made of bones. “I’m
doing nothing with myself. Are you back to ask this?” Naniz is choked with tears. “I’ll go tomorrow. You never liked me.” Devora turns on the hair drier. “Turn back.” She dries Naniz’s back. “How could you be with a bastard like him?” The hair drier is turned off. “That asshole has cancer.” Naniz is cold. She sneezes. The smell of Dettol has made her dizzy. She reels. She becomes unconscious and falls down. When she becomes conscious she finds herself, in squat position, on the green sofa, burning inside. She hears the sound of the bed springs; the sound of lash and the sound of Foka screaming. “I’m your slave. I have been bad to you. I like you but not more than my pigeons. I love my pigeons more than you. The mother is weeping. Naniz turns her head back. The rooms have no doors. The light from the tiles reflects in her eyes. In this house there is no telephone, no television and no clock. Naniz is in search of a trace from her childhood. Her lost childhood. The sound of waves crashing onto the shore of the island near the town is heard from far distance. The lighthouse is not burning. Father always was interested in this lighthouse. Father was a handsome man with a nice voice who had a live program every night at a definite time. He had lots of fans. He loved Devora. Television showed father always like cinema that sometimes showed her mother when she was an actress. Naniz bends her neck slowly. Her mother, like a moving skeleton, is in a strange lovemaking with Foka. They beat each other. They blind each other’s eyes. Dad’s fishing rod is in Foka’s hand. He lashes Devora’s body with that fishing rod. Mom laughs. There is no end to their fun. They enjoy with pain. Naniz goes to the baggage. She opens the door of bathroom closet and brings out her baggage. She opens the baggage zipper, brings out the bottle of medication and replaces the baggage in the closet. She goes towards the kitchen, bare feet and in a white gown. “May I prepare tonight’s dinner? I’m hungry.” Nobody answers. She finds the biggest pot and ladle from the kitchen cabinets. They are still beating each other and moaning. Naniz is maddened. She fills the pot with water. She goes out towards the edge of window and looks at the pigeons; to the syringes out there. She laughs.
Her mom has reached orgasm. Naniz cuts the head of the last bird she has caught with a cleaver, like a carrot head. She puts the head of the half dead pigeon into the pot; opens the medication bottle and pour half of its content into the pot. She sautes the birds’ heads with salt
and special spice. There is no sound. She is scared. She goes out slowly. Foka and Devora are injecting heroin. They don’t notice. They are in their own world.
Dinner is ready.
White table cover and two candle sticks and big pot of pigeons’ head soup in the middle of table. Foka gets up and slaps Naniz on the face. He goes towards the elevator. The sound of elevator chains is heard.
Devora shouts, “Why you did this?”
Naniz: “Because you transferred all your assets to me. Why did you give your inheritance to me?” She takes the ladle and pours one head of pigeon with boiled water to her Mom’s plate. “Eat! I have added some medication to it. I want to bring you peace!” Devora looks at the pigeon’s head. “You have always hated me.” Naniz looks at her Mom and cries, “Eat!” Devora takes her spoon and tastes the soup. “Yes. Because I betrayed your father?” Naniz sips the soup with the ladle. “You see. There is no poison in it. You say I ate it myself. You see I don’t hate you.” Devora puts the pigeon’s head into her mouth and chews it. The sound of pigeon’s skull being crushed between her teeth is heard. She laughs. “Delicious.” Naniz laughs too. Devora: “he doesn’t love me anymore. He loves his pigeons. He is not a winner in pigeon racing anymore. He loses always. He only loses!”
Morning is not supposed to come. Everywhere is dark. Foka has slept on a hammock. The pigeons are eating grains in his mind. He fondles their feathers. He beats them with a stick. They all fly to the air. Foka is in the air with his pigeons.
Devora washes her wounds with betadine, then pours Whitex on her head and cleans her body with Dettol and soap foam. Naniz wants to return. There are still some pigeons out there sitting on the edge of the window, puffed up. Devora puts her hairs inside a lattice basket and wears a plastic apron. She wears yellow rubber boots. She throws away her gloves after touching anything. She covers the bloody bed sheets from the bed and from the floor. She takes the cleaning towels and the sheets to the roof, pours oil on them and put them in fire. Naniz is sleepy. She goes to the roof. She bursts into a coughing fit. She looks at the bonfire. She wants
to sit there until morning. The pigeons’ dovecote is here on the roof. All have cowered like statues inside the dovecote. The might be dead or addicted.
It is morning. The sun is rising. Its ray is over tower no. 12. Naniz has slept beside the ash of the bed sheets. She wakes up; looks at tower no. 13, the opposite tower. She has always made fantasies about that tower. She has seen her mother making sexual overtures for Foka the dwarf. She has always imagined her beautiful attractive mother seducing Foka the dwarf. His imagination stops here and does not go further. It freezes here. How could her mother swap his father with another man? And this man! She gives up. She goes down. She wants to take her baggage. She is being suffocated from the smell of Dettol. Her throat is burning. They told that all the people in block 3 were complaining of this smell. It seems that Devora has bought all the tower 12 to make people go away. So that she can wash, polish and clean everything easily. She should turn back. She has to take her baggage and go away barefoot. She goes down. Foka is still sleeping on the hammock. The windows are closed. The sun is reflected over the tiles. Devora is laying on the floor. She may be sleeping. Naniz notices that Devora’s head is bleeding. Blood has formed a spiral line, twisting on the floor. Naniz goes closer. There is a gun with silencer in her hand. Her other hand is on the tiles, lifeless. Her neck is bent to one side. Her skull is smashed. A piece of paper is beside her. Naniz bends down and picks up the letter. Her mother has written it in a shivering hands: “All my longing was to take Tisa’s place in his life. I couldn’t take anybody’s place. Tisa was Foka’s wife. She also was a dwarf, like Foka. Tisa loved Foka. Tisa was lost forever when her husband started affairs with the most famous actress of the city- Devora.
Naniz looks at Foka who is still drawn in heroin. She spits on her mother’s corpse. “Mom, why didn’t you let me do this?” She takes her baggage and whispered “I wish the herbal drug was a real poison! I wish I dared to do that. Now it will be my regret all my life. I should have finished this. She shouldn’t have given her inheritance to me.” She enters the elevator, pushes the ground floor button. The elevator goes down. The End
Sanaz Seyed Esfahani
**This story is taken from one of One Thousands and One Night stories titled The Fisherman and the Jinny, which points to the Jinny in the bottle and is an irony of suppressed desires.
sanaz seyed esfahani