With that it was the weekend. The first coffee became a second - with just a drop of slivovitz – to wash away the taste of the week’s frustrations. It had been a long week, but the boys decided to be responsible. After the second round of fiery plum brandy, Josep headed off to his newly purchased semi in the suburbs, his tired wife and their three-year-old twin boys.
Marek stopped at Sanford Music on his way to his apartment in Bratislava’s old town. Pavel, the owner was am old friend who often saved unusual new recordings for him. On this balmy almost summer evening he was sitting in front of his shop with a very nice Austrian Poire William by his elbow.
“Evening Marek, care for a drop?” were his welcoming words.
“I could be tempted…”
Soon both were happily seated watching the early strollers.
“It’s such a change from the old days – no?”
Mark nodded; remembering the old days when there had been so few possibilities for entertainment that becoming a priest had seemed like a good career move.
“The girls are prettier.”
“Is that what you left the seminary for – the girls?”
“You know why I left the seminary – Mozart made me do it.”
“That would have done for me,” Pavel agreed, taking a sip. “I guess being a priest didn’t allow much time to play the violin.”
“Not enough, anyway.”
“You have a rehearsal tonight?”
“Always on Fridays. The next concert’s only two weeks away.”
“You’ll save me a ticket?”
“No, I plan to forget this time.”
“Funny man. Want a top up?”
“Why not; but only the one. Remember I have to make beautiful music later on.”
The sun eased lower and lower in the sky, the changing angle of its rays bathing the old stone buildings in a monochrome rainbow of scarlet and amber, Marek did feel the frustrations of the week, if not disappearing entirely, at least removing to a place far enough away that he could anticipate with pleasure the coming rehearsal The group was playing Mozart and Sibelius this time, each the foremost romantic of his age.
He had told Pavel the truth. With the fall of Communism and arrival of freedom of choice, the need to fill at least a part of his life with making music had been a powerful impetus pushing him out of the cloister and into the real world. His desire to serve humanity was supposed to be covered by joining the police force. Ah well, you can’t have everything.
The start of Josep’s evening had not been so idyllic. An all-mighty crash and his wife, Anya’s screech heralded his entrance into the family home.
“What happened? What’s the matter? Are you all right?”
“No Josep, I’m not all right. One of those boys of yours got into the garage and pulled a full box of nails off the counter you left it on.”
“Oh, Anya, kitten, I’m so sorry,” trying to wrap his arms around her.
“Don’t kitten me. If you would put things away properly like I ask, this wouldn’t happen so often.”
“Which one is responsible, this time?”
“How should I know? When they’re guilty they blame each other. I can’t tell them apart when they’re running and shouting like crazy boys.”
“All right. I’ll make them both help me clear up the mess. You go sit down and have a cup of tea. Do you want me to go and get a couple of pizzas for supper?”
“Yes…. No, isn’t that rewarding them?”
“Never mind. You need a break.”
After supper, Josep played catch in the backyard with Karel and Mikel until dark. His plan – get then tired enough to sleep early so he and Anya could spend some quiet time together. For once they had been lucky. Now his sated wife asleep beside him, Josep stared at the shadows on the ceiling and turned over the events of the past week.
‘What a mess,’ he thought. ‘Not one, but two unidentified bodies stinking up the city morgue. Are they related? How? However are we going to identify them? Hopefully Massan’s husband or brother-in-law will return on Sunday?’
Something she had said about how alike the brothers were, disturbed Josep. It reminded him of his boys. ‘Even if one Massan does turn up, how can we be sure which brother is in our morgue?’