31. The bar


The old man rose up from his bed… The moon pointed high over the mountain tops.

“It is time to continue the injection”

Then he took the Book next to him, placed it on his belly and stroked it with his flat hands. His breath pushed and the wind howled over the mountain tops.


Extract from the Book of the Shin Family.


9. The bar


The sign “The Red Dragon” flashes twenty steps away from us, close to the corner of the narrow street to the Avenue. The rain does not cease, it is a drizzle which seeps into the collar, and the tires of the cars make this very curious sucking noise on the tarmacadam. It is as if the noise is swallowed by this cottonwool of a drizzle, even almost by the droplet.

- Here it is!


He had heard him although he tried not to make any noise. He had known him to be following since he turned from the rue Emile Level to go up the Avenue de Clichy. He forced himself never to turn around so that the follower did not notice, like an Indian who benefits from the cars on the other side of the street to hide himself.

He knew that he was there; that is all. The training of the Shin Family.

Perhaps, seeing him stopping there, at the corner of the two streets, his hands in the pockets of his jacket, he had thought that he did not remember their information anymore. Perhaps he had thought that he was going to give up… Then he had crossed over and had whispered, still between two bumpers: “Here it is”.


Without looking at him, because he must not direct his eyes onto him… He would have run off! Flown away in his timidity, his weariness with life… Without looking at him, he stretched his left arm out and, without making it appear that he carried his weight on his leg on the same side, while bending the knee that he pushed outwards, he touched the lock of hair that hung on his forehead, wet with rain.


He must not feel a movement towards him, he would not have borne it.

- Why did you lie? asked Marc Antoine.

The voice did not hold a reproach anymore; just an observation. Bret took care not to move his hand. The forehead accepted it…

- Sometimes the truth cannot be said.

- I know, says the kid.

He “knew”! With twelve years of age.

The kid had let the hand of the man touch him, a somewhat rough hand from which the fingers opened fan-shaped and gripped the hair. He let them penetrate.

Bret felt the vibration of the scalp and, gently, massaged it. He had now placed all his weight on both legs, was released, could approach and come closer.

- You were not engaged by Steph.



I read the newspapers of my father… they have spoken about you on the telly too.

He had now transferred the weight of his body onto his right leg and his hip approached the boy who closed his eyes under the caress of the hand.

Why must one always explain…

I know.

There remained only to bring his left leg behind him. The boy came naturally and leant against his hip. He cried. People who passed, in a hurry, threw only a curious look at them. They confused the rain with the drops on his cheeks.


- Here it is.

- I know.

The kid felt safe against this thin body, under this hand… Ange passed his arm around his waist and took on the exact gait of his body, which turned into the small street.

- There…

- Yes…Stay.

Then, Marc Antoine dried his eyes with a vigorous hand movement while Bret pushed the door with the palm of his hand.


He took a deep breath before entering. The smoke was so thick, that at first he saw only hazy groups. His nostrils stinged, then his eyes. Marc Antoine shook against his left hip, his arm tightening around his waist. He let things happen. He had only released the buckle of his broad leather belt which masked the steel darts.


-Hey, you queer child molester, close the door, this is not Miami!


Laughter burst out. Close to the bar he heard: “But it is Marc Antoine, his chick… Come on! Who would have believed it! Then more laughter.

He took a step. The boy had stiffened, keeping close to him only by tightening his hold to the leather belt, with both hands.

He felt his fear, his shame, his extremely violent feelings!

Then he gently detached the hands from his belt, without pushing the boy back, but moved a step away from him. His half open eyelids did not let anything filter any more. His left leg, with the heel, stopped the movement of the door which had just been pushed back by a man at the end of the bar.



Suddenly it was silent.

The fresh air was flooding into the first room; Bret caught sight another one, further down. That was the room where Jose and his band were. Not a word was spoken. Bret crossed two steps to the right and stood in front of a window that he opened wide without turning his back to the room.


- Come on, loser! … What are you looking for? ”


Marc Antoine kept watching him, standing straight, almost tightened against the bar, close to the door. He did not want to give in, to show his fear. Not this time! All was forgotten, except this force that he had in him suddenly and which allowed him to hold himself upright, without turning a hair. What does it matter! …


A man, a type of market hall worker, gets down from the third stool and with a reflex gesture, pulls his black leather pants up over his beer belly. The two others which follow him in the row at the bar also get down from their seats.

Without having to agree, they slip between the two tables which separate them from this barely thirty year old young man, who is leaning on the window sill and who does not even look at them. It is true that with his sixty kilos, thoroughly wet, he does not look as if he can be taken seriously! He is used to this.


Once, “Little Father” asked him to take part in a combat, a kind of contest organized in a province in the North… Why then, on this very day, he had pulled the nuts of this fat slob in front of him, pretentious of his body mass? … Perhaps he had not managed his remark very well: “you! … you underdeveloped Biafran! …” And then, there are only idiot questions like: “Did you do that intentionally ? …”


And now, there is this sort of obese person who shoves everything away from him, with chains on his leather jacket, cowboy boots on his feet, a thick beard which leaves only a slit for the narrow greasy lips.

The two others are hard on his heels. The guy at the first table gets half his beer spilled onto his pants when the large guy with the broad shoulders passed him, hitting against the chairs with his boots.


And the second table is emptied. The one who seems to direct the bar is already behind his till, his hand in the drawer.

He lets them come towards him, in a vice-like movement, his spirit is as if it elsewhere, his look hazy and faraway.

The window is open. The breath of fresh wind of this evening slips under the suede jacket which he has opened at the bottom. His two hands, palms against the thighs, do not appear dangerous.


The door also remained open, with its draught which bothers those at the bar. But they do not dare to move, not yet. They are waiting for the result of what they know will happen. The actors place themselves.

Because they act. The three yobs did not understand! Perhaps the one behind the bar who is holding a Colt, with a short and squat muzzle in his hand?

He does not point it yet, his arm hangs by his thigh, he is frowning, his eyes going from this thin young man, not very tall, leaning his buttocks on the edge of the opened window, as one would do while relaxing in ones living room, to Marc Antoine, who remains beside the door, well planted on his legs, preventing it from being closed again by blocking it with his foot.


It is the kid who worries him; it is through him that he feels the danger. The other… perhaps he will have let himself be taken in! … But this kid! He radiates such a contentment! his shining eyes, his mouth half open. He perceives his short breathing. Then, he is afraid and he does not dare to raise the Colt that he has taken from the till.


Because he has understood well: it is for Marc Antoine that Bret is thus acting. He does not need the look of the others to live. He, this small man, still a child, he agreed to show his pain, without asking for anything; and it is precisely because he does not ask for anything that this precipice now opens, in front of this young man whom one does not approach without his will. This he can tell him. He told it to him.


Now, he does not look at anything anymore. He does not see well in this smoke, neither the three men who are advancing between the tables while pushing everything in their passage, nor the others at the bar, or still in the back room, which he knows, down at the bottom…

He understands the cold draught on his nape of his neck and the rain which comes in. He knows the open door that he is holding with his foot. He did not decide it. He did not look for his gesture. It is thus!


It is thus now with this man who, he seems to him, has bent his knees. The others did not realize that; but he had watched this silhouette before in the park, then afterwards, while following him, in the street. Yes, he has bent them, and Marc Antoine smiles without knowing it. It would have been impossible for him to say why. He smiled.



Extract from the Book of the SHIN Family


- So, little White One, have you decided ?

There were three of them in front of him. Two others watched the sides, ready to intervene at the first mistake. He felt two others moving behind his back, approaching a few meters and stopping four steps away.

The one who had spoken, big Korean soaked with bad regional beer, stared at him with his small slanting eyes, a malicious gleam between his eyelids. He was the gang leader, the others followed.

Why did they want to attack him?

Perhaps because he was the only White in this large mountain town, even hundreds of miles around. Perhaps because this White had not given in or had not pulled his head into his shoulders when the empty beer bottles were thrown onto him?

Perhaps, precisely therefore, is it because no bottle hit him?


Ange Bret does not know. He has followed his Roshi to this large town which they had seen for two days, walking on the path of the crest of the high mountains separating this area into two. The Roshi… The Master… is sitting on the edge of the well, in the centre of the village square. The scene does not seem to concern him, although it is happening twenty metres away from him. He drank fresh water that the young man had drawn from the well with the wooden bucket standing on the edge. Ange Bret could not wait to be refreshed in his turn.


When he lifted the cup to his lips, the first bottles were thrown on him. He dodged them easily, drawing some aside with the tips of his fingers which could have reached the Roshi and who had moved a few metres away from him to avoid that he was touched or even bothered by this situation which he does not even have the desire to call absurd.


For ten days now he has travelled with the Master, he notices with complete bewilderment what a vicious capriciousness there is in people! How well he had it during these last years, behind the palisades of the monastery, at the top of these mountains!


It is not even anger, it is a sadness which rises up in him, while he easily dodges the stream of bottles and some stones. It is moreover, perhaps, the saving of his movements, the flexibility of his dodging, which puts this group of bad lots into a rage. One meets these kind of people everywhere, on all latitudes and without having to go to the city....

Perhaps, at the beginning, they only wanted to have fun? To frighten this young White a little, who walked so quietly beside the Asian who could have been his father.


The kitbags on their shoulders revealed them as travelers. Their dusty rice straw sandals gave the measurement of their means: walkers… thus poor people.

Poor people: who do not defend themselves, who give in. One can pour without fear all the refuse of ones heart onto them. There will be no reprisals, even less police prosecutions!


It was, surely, quite simply that, at the beginning. It was the astonishing flexibility of this young White which made them continue. From a harmless play, but so frequently malicious, it had passed over to a will to beat, to bring him to his knees.

The “little” old man was seated on the edge of the well, keeping his stick and that of the young White close to him.

If these heavy peasants had had any knowledge of the arts of combat, they would have recognized Jos, combat staffs.

If these heavy peasants had had another look, they would have seen that the Asian had not once batted an eyelid and that fear was not part of his world.

If these heavy peasants had had more intuition, they would perhaps have perceived a color and a sound being released from the movements of the young man.

But they are stupid, heavy and many… Identical to these same groups everywhere in the world, with all skin colors.

- So, little White One, are you coming?


They are numerous ; this is their only strength. Individual physical courage is seldom among the men of this Earth.

Ange Bret is sad: “How can one live in all of THIS? ”

His momentary immobility constitutes an encouragement for the others; at least, it is thus they understood it.


Even in Korea, one stuffs oneself with American westerns. In their tradition, they encircle what they already regard as their victim, the one who will be beaten. As usual, unanimous action on all latitudes, the passers-by move away quickly, avoid the group: “It is not their problem! ” The tradesmen nearby draw the metal blinds over their stalls in preparation for the possible intervention of the police force. Not now, since there is no police force in the town, but perhaps for a future investigation. Thus they will not have seen anything!


The look of Angel Bret glides towards “Little Father”… His Roshi. He meets only a smooth face, his eyelids half lowered over the eyes. No indication will come from there. He leaves him alone. The decision must come from himself.

How stupid men are, malicious… and cowards”, say the thin lips of the young White.

He has spoken loudly, without realizing it, in his native tongue. The foreign sounds increase the fury of these large pretentious and violently clumsy persons. They thus advance since this small White still remains motionless.


They are wrong: the immobility is only feigned. The half-closed eyes, the breathing heating the belly, Ange estimates the Ma… the distance. His brain does not think any more. All the energy of the moment passes through his body.

He does not even remark to himself that the organization of the place and the position of his adversaries constitute a perfect geometry for the Bassaï Daï… the breaking of the fortress… and the Tekki… the pushing against the wall…

He feels it, this is sufficient!


- There is no advantage in the attack, the Master had tirelessly repeated to him.

He waits, supervising Ma, the distance.


… Bret is calmly refreshed with the cup that the Roshi, his Master, gives to him….

They fill their two water bottles, put their kitbags back on their shoulders and the Jo in their hands and go up the only road of this town.

At the end, one can already see the countryside.

They leave, behind them, seven heavy peasants, quite atrocious louts, lying in the dust.

- You put violence in your action.

It is not a question, it is a fact. It is also a reprimand.

He precedes the young man with a single step, as the custom wants, one of respect. They are now in the countryside. A group of howling and threatening people had followed them for a while to the exit of the village, some stones whistled through the air. Cowards have always liked distance. It is curious how uninterested one always is in foreigners and in the fate which can happen to them, but that one reacts with a lot of violence when these foreigners do something to one of them, even if these latter are wrong.


Bret does not answer Little Father, he knows that he tells the truth. To have, once more, to start a combat with stupid people has made him furious. So his already fast and dry blows were increased by the will to break.

- You could have been satisfied with breaking the encircling and withdrawing yourself from the situation.

- Yes, I know, he blew.

- But you wanted, in addition, to do harm.

- Yes… I know.

- It was a revenge… another one…”


The young man lowered his head: “Yes, another one”.


It had caught up with him again, once more. He who did so well in the beauty of the Kensho, saw fury rising up in him when he had to fight the idiotic people. His heart however overflowed with tenderness, with a wish to share the beauty of the world with the others, the beauty that he saw daily around him, the one which came in each meditation. He did not understand that the others did not see the same thing. He did not understand their blindness and even less their will to remain blind.


He, who saw the possibility of kindness between people, the absence of comparison and of mutually outdoing one another, he could transmit nothing, he managed to transmit nothing and the sorrow over this invaded his heart. He wanted to cry and often in his cell at night, tears ran down his cheeks.

- Why do you feel yourself so affected? asked the Master.

The young man could only shake his head with incomprehension, tears once more in his throat.

- One must have harmed you a lot… my little one.

His voice was sad too.


- I do not know… I do not manage to know. These words slipped from Bret’s lips like drops of blood that fall into grass wet from the dew of the morning. ”


end of the extract from the Books of the Shin Family.


Hey! ”Little Father”, I think that you did not understand my last letter too well. Without wanting to order you around, since we are joint authors, I am starting to find you cumbersome. Why are you telling them this story?

Firstly, it goes at least six years back. Thanks for having the kindness to agree to believe that since then I have made some progress in the comprehension of myself. You will notice, in passing, that I can ALSO not write like a dog. And that does not change anything. On the contrary. Since it seems necessary to me to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, I will humbly point out to you, like the very respectful son who I am, very loving of his father, that the courtesy, the witty remarks, the right verb, generally hide a very firm manner of making fun. Cultivated irony, it is called. Very fashionable in this bloody society which accepts things only in a chaste and highly civilized form. That this form contains malicious shit, one couldn’t care less. So, before telling them that I have spite in me, I would thank you deeply for paying more attention to my words and to what there lies behind them.


Secondly, the Kata Tekki of karate require short and very rapids blows. Not exactly for this bar! As also for the Kata Bassai. It is about breaking the fortress, if the culture that you have impressed upon me is correct, and, like the parrot I am, a first class one, as you have taken pleasure of hammering it into my skull for the nearly ten years I have been with you and breathing your more or less pleasant Asian odour of one who does not wash everyday, since “Low” means “the territory of the adversary” and “aï”, the will to beat. Or, in other words, to enter the KI of the other and to break it.


Oh well! Whether you like it or not, nothing of all these things are in this mess. Where do you see their destiny? Yokels who believe that only their presence is enough to terrorize! And their territory? Nothing ! That was all that was needed – for me to reach out my hand to them so that they could come to me without falling on their faces. And then! , the dry and short blows, you will pass again! I brought them down in the newest fashion, the one that you look at with so long a pout that your small goatee manages to clean your toes that you have also forgotten in the morning washing.


You want to know more? The first one, the large one, the obese one who breathes heavily in order to carry his own flesh, I gave him a blow on the kneecap with the right foot. Just above the knee. I do not have to tell you how much this hurts, that it makes you bend in two. Therefore, his nuts, which you discreetly call the family jewels, were in a good position for another blow from the same foot, which had not felt the need to come back to the ground. Not you do I have to teach that this sudden blow makes you bend in two. I did not have to raise my knee or just a little… his round chin was dislocated. So? What do you say to this fashionable blow where you hit three times in the same movement?


I will explain it to you better. When I knocked out with my knee, the guy on the right-hand side, well, he wanted to check if his knife was sharpened enough. You know the technique! Sabre in the left hand, redirection of the knife, seizure of the wrist… But, what I wanted to draw your attention to, is that my right leg, instead of going back to the ground, has swiveled with my hips and was stretched, a little brutally, it should be acknowledged! … to catch behind his elbow. What does an arm less and a wound for life mean. No need to moan. Its the least, isn’t it ?


But what I continue to draw your attention to, is that there is a third. I hope that your great age is not making you lose your memory, because for me, anyone over fifty years of age is an old fossil.

So alright, I dare to hope that you know that I never tell stories, my right leg, instead of being placed on the ground, has gone behind, with a stretched heel. At the same time, but this is only to be complete, because it is of no interest, I had leaned a little forward to finish with the second, by pulling up his nuts. I had to put my hips in prolongation of the thighbone so that his clash in return did not injure my pelvis. You know what I am saying. My blow was high. And the sternum of this guy made an odd cracking noise…


Then, if, after this dancing movement of which I am rather proud, I acknowledge this without beating about the bush, you return to the Tekki and to the Bassaï I will very highly advise you to go back to see your teacher, if he is still alive, considering that you already have a foot in the coffin.

Thirdly, it is all the same to you to learn the basic principle of his primary brain. Is necessary that the troubles, or what you discreetly call the karmic consequences, are higher than the advantages of the situation. You have sufficiently bored me with this basic problem for ten years, even if it meant coming to wake me on my straw mattress at four in the morning, by explaining to me that this is what explains the sudden changes of behavior, not to return to it. AH WELL!


Pardon guys. I had to go a long way back and explain something that could not wait. I realize that I have forgotten you a little. Where were we?

Ah! Thirdly. It interests you? … Come on, do not make fun of me. It is quite easy.

You want me to go into detail… just to check if we are talking about the same thing?

In short. Without going into details. It is this bloody structure which governs behavior, whatever it is. The structure is always in a state of defense. Of fighting for survival, if you want to express it differently. Nothing more to say to this! Normal. If it were not like this, the species would have disappeared ages ago.


But what counts is not the reflex of survival, but its content. And it is precisely here that you got nabbed by life and all the shrinks. Because the wrapping does not exist. Only the content exists.

The “famous” consciousness, to which you can add the unconsciousness, with an ‘under’ and an ‘above’ consciousness… does not exist. In the perceptions of the Kensho, it is obvious! I have already told you that the method of God has some good! Only the content exists. Empty the content, there remains no bag.


And the problem is to know what there is FOR YOU in this bag. For the moment, we will not go further. Another time.

But at present, to answer your question, we will stick to the survival of the structure, without going into the content.

This structure needs enhancing so as to be maintained and to progress. As long as the profit of the action, within the framework of this enhancing, is higher than the disadvantages of the action, there is a maintenance of the action and a wish for repetition.

If the disadvantages become a matter of priority, there is a search for a change of behavior, or even an integral abandonment.

Seen from the outside, you say: “hey, he has changed”. Not really, regarding the structure. Only regarding the contents.

You understand? It is great, what you have understood here. Isn't it?

This is exactly what occurs when you have been struggling with a problem for days, if not for years, perhaps with an ordinary guy, who is very often in your nearest space, and ONE DAY, you are FED UP, and you refuse to continue to play the game, without any importance for what it will cost you.


You REFUSE to continue your explanations, the opening of your wallet, the TIME always claimed so as TO CHANGE…


And what do you notice at this moment, full of consternation: a relief in the belly, a lighter breathing with a little something else behind it, which sounds like : “Shit! If I had known” and that ALL had been understood FROM the BEGINNING by your interlocutor…

What do you notice?: that it changes.

That the other gives up the situation, the attitude, the behavior, what do I know! This state of being which gave you a stomachache.


Quite simply because there is a change in the principle of the “profit”. Do not say that this is a terrible shame. The structure must be known. It is more than necessary. Essential, or you die!

It is the content which matters.

But you do not want to see this. Because then, you will have to hit quickly. From the beginning. A payment not done today is deferred until tomorrow.


The shrinks tell you to wait, for a time… of comprehension, of kindness… Truth is that it is useless to be malicious.

But to understand nothing of the structure and of its mechanisms of maintenance and of enhancement, is ALWAYS to defer the problem to tomorrow.

Unless that with the passing years, you are so fed up, and it is you who does not defend your structure anymore by ACCEPTANCE. Physical or psychological suicide guaranteed!


One manner of saving “a little bit” of your own structure.

You know, killers exist only in the SHIN family!

And the shrinks will never tell this to you. On the one hand, because they do not know it. Then, it would be shit if… how do I say, you could say NO, NO, NO, as soon as an emotion is not in conformity with your structure anymore.

And if you say NO, there would be perhaps a free-for-all. Since the validity of your NO will be dependant on the content of your structure.


You see quite well that there is an urgency.

Society has already made the choice for us. One pays enormous attention to medical refundings.

Fortunately there is a possibility of turning the problem around. Of jumping over the problem would be a more correct expression. In the SHIN family, this is the manner that we know and develop. For this reason “Little Father” drew my attention to the fact that I behaved like “a poor cop” a few hours ago. But now, his intervention is not correct. I, as you have started to know, do not defer clarifications until tomorrow. Moreover, I never become angry. At most, I express my dissatisfaction sharply… Like the senior officers who are never mistaken! At most they modify their opinion, as the intelligent people they are!


But I am talking, I am talking…


Do not think that I am hiding something from you. Nothing happens in this bar. Nothing interesting.

The three guys are lying prostrate. The tables around them are turned over. Idem for the beverages which soak quietly into the trousers and the shirts, a few yells and exclamations in passing.

Only what is very normal.

Like these two here who are coming towards me with a knife in their hands.


And the landlord who rummages about behind his bar in search of a little something to put between ones teeth, unless it is into my belly. Who knows! with all these impolite fellows who cannot recognize a generous action which will perhaps allow three idiots to…


- Put your hands up! hey, dope! the landlord asks me very nicely while pointing at me with the muzzle of a Colt cobra. Not the kind of weapon used by gangsters. For them it is preferably an automatic. But he looks as if he knows how to make use of his contraption! Alone his manner of holding it. Curious! Am putting this into a box of my memory. To come back to it later, with a rested head.

On the other hand, the two guys who come towards me with their syringes able to make 20 centimetre holes are the professionals of a cinema. They will pass in front of the line of the Colt which points at my navel. I know one person who must be laughing into his goatee. I hear him from here:


A wise and respectable man, therefore one who attracts respect, does not come into such a situation! What a shame, my son! No need to make unpleasant remarks on my momentums of kindness which have only one goal: to help you in your mission. Not to let you slide into the foolish things, which are, how curious! attached to your person like the mange on a lousy, badly trained dog.


… And then, to pay attention to these people of a Good Family who do you the great honor of reading to you and indicating to them the right moment, that they must not be all ears to your wild ravings that I forgive in my great kindness of loving grandfather, but that they, in the momentum of kindness which characterizes them, or else they would not have opened this cloth that you name “book” and that I try, to the best of my modest forces, to intervene intelligently and calmly, and that thus, for these people from a Good Family, it is essential to warn them against your extravagances.

I know what it has cost to me to keep you in the monastery for nearly ten years. What a chaos you brought there!



OK!, this is good. They are passing in front of the line of fire.

- Do not play the idiot… screams the boss.

Too late! My two darts have started. One for his hand. The other for his eye. The rest is rroutine.

Hey! You agree that this verb takes two “r”. I had said in my preceding book, “the swirl”, where I was very glad not to make any mistake with this verb, because I like to rrun with two legs. And well! believe me if you want, but there is a guy who wrote to me…Really! I will not cut my leg off to please him!


I need my two legs. To put over the two guys on the floor, for example. Besides, what are they doing there? In front of my shoes. Could they not stay sipping at the bar? Like the others who do not move. One would say it is now a silent film with a power cut in the roll of film.


Well really! Must do with what one has, that avoids using what one does not have.

And as I know that Jose is in the room down at the bottom, I ignore this silence and immobility in which I am the only one moving with ease and peace of spirit on my rubber soles.


Polite as I am! you know me! I dispense some smiles to the right, to the left, accompanied by small signs with my hand, fingers hardly moving, as I have seen the guy, “Emperor of the Francs”, do. I dare to hope that I do not disappoint him? It is well-known, one recognizes the greatness of the Master in the quality of his pupils.

And when I pass the door down at the bottom, there is the same silence that awaits me. The same immobility as a bonus.

Ultimately, I really believe that there is a mistake! Pardon, guys! Everything is completely wrong. It is a real wax museum!

Hey! They have made progress since the last time. They have automats now! Of course! It can be only that! I saw them moving quite alright a moment ago. Well! Really! I know one person who will laugh at me. Hitting automats!

Excuse me, guys! I had started to give you the logical sequence of happenings. But it is the editor!

He has said that one does not need too long a chapter because you could fall asleep. He has made a whole theory about it … that, for example, you could have some grub on the gas, and that, captivated by the course of the action, you say: “at the end of the chapter, I will see where it is…” and that it will be the firemen who get you out of your captivating reading with their flame-throwers in full flow.


But that also, in the evenings, you tell yourselves the same thing before going to bed and that your eyes have difficulties in staying open, even with matches that you have installed between your eyelids… and that you do not know anymore what you are reading, to the point that the next morning, you have to start ten pages back and you do not like this.

Sometimes to the point that you throw the book away, which constitutes a certain shortfall for his nibs. In short, he has it cut up.

As if you could fall asleep with me! Really!


Thus, let us return to our theme, without being preoccupied with this insincere guy.

Therefore, I advance towards Jose, whom the lads had described to me and whom I recognize right away with his gangling posture and his hair knot, in the most absolute silence. The wax museum has not yet switched the power on.


I open my arms as a sign of welcome that I give myself, considering that he does nothing of the sort, and I imitate the guy all in white who does idem on a balcony of St Peter’s square in Rome. He, who must have no strength left in him, considering how old he is, brings them back right away in front of him and does a little thing which looks like a doodle, to finish by holding them palm against palm, considering that he has understood that it it a practical means to prevent himself from falling to the ground.


I, on the other hand, as I still have energy in spite of the jet lag ; you remember that I arrived at Paname at the end of the morning, detour by Singapore, I bring them back like kind of bellows… on Jose’s ears. Who assembles his hands in reflex to escape the sudden buzz which gets to his head… which makes his ribs free.

What do you want, I must be fussy. I like the work well done. I do not know how to resist to such openings. My fists descend right away and close again on his floating ribs. I was right! It is really a bellows that I have imitated to perfection. I do the gestures, he the noises. You see that one should never despair. One always believes that one is a recluse. Not true! You sometimes find nice guys giving you a cue.

In front of such a momentum of collaboration, when he bends double, going towards the marble table, I wish to bring him my part of contribution. Without lying. Not to make him do all the work! Thus, nice as I am, I grasp his grimy hairknot, and to relieve his labour a little, I accelerate the movement of his descent.


You see that one can sometimes do badly, even with the best intentions of the world. But I must be starting to get tired. This is the excuse that I offer you before you hit the sack. I had not seen that the table was so close. Nor that there were glasses on it.

You know, when one does something stupid, it should be swallowed. To take it on, as one says nowadays. I thus do not excuse myself to him.


- Hey, Guy, I say nicely to him, while holding the end of his ear with a full hand while he has his two hands on his nose flowing with blood, as he has forgotten his ribs according to the well-known principle which says that one cannot feel pain in two places at the same time. There is a preference.


… Hey guy, I start again, because I have the impression that he has not well heard, even considering the pandemonium which is so low in the boozer. However! I have good ears and I did not hear the fire alarm. But who knows of these cultural mechanisms of townsmen who have opted out of nature. Sometimes, I have difficulties in understanding them. Must say that at the monastery, it is…



OK! Directly onwards. Promised. No need to shout. You know that I do not like noise. Besides, have you noticed? Since I entered this boozer, I have hardly opened my mouth. Hardly need to tell you how I like silence!

Hey guy! … I succeeded in articulating myself to finally break the silence that was becoming too heavy.

I am doing this for you. You do not believe me! Come on, count the words which I have said since I have been in Paname. If after this easy calculation, you still say that I speak all the time, then you are really insincere.


Ah! Direct. Or you will throw the book away! So there! … Oh, there, there! you would not know anymore what you would have missed.

It was like with this psychoanalyst guy… whose name I do not remember anymore. With him and his so well made speech, one was either conned, or shafted. It was simple. He abused you so much with his words that you felt as if you were in a crucible and him with the pestle beating you to a pulp. If you had had enough of being conned in this way, you beat it. Here, it was worse. You had the impression of being excluded from so interesting a speech that you …


Direct? Ok. Listen, it is late, it is night, it is raining on Paname and… Ah! you will throw the book into the fire! Hey, it is true that you have a fireplace with real logs in it, because nowadays…


- Are you the dude who makes the sis of Steph slog, who got nastily shot in the cellar of his house ? …Come on , you would not have done a little something in giving him a hand? … Steph had said BEFOREHAND that you were trying to pin something onto him...”

- It is not me!

Well, he did not lose the use of his voice.

And you, what do you think of my introduction?

Direct enough? Some good advice: when you enter into the cage of monsters, behave like a monster. Or else, watch out for your limbs.

It is like the Zen Master who said that he was sober with sober people, that he had a drink with the alcoholics, remained quiet with the non talking people, smashed those who…

It is only you who wants to remain sitting with quite a precise image of yourself.


- I did not kill the kid… You will not pin that onto me… It would not be fair! ”

Well, of course!

-Then, tell me what you were cooking up with him. And be serious. You have seen that I have no time to lose.

Without lying. It is true that it has been hardly five minutes since I entered this boozer. How time goes quickly, really. Do you not think so?

- He covered over his sis … The folks were not to know… He opened the door of the building for her when she returned during the night… and he made noise in her bedroom so that his folks thought that she was still there…

- And afterwards? , I ask.

- There is no “afterwards”. I swear!

- Ah! Then talk to me about the pinched cars. A little.

- How do you know? … If I get the bastard…

- At the moment it is me who is holding you. Do not forget that, dude.

- The cars… He did not agree to that…

- And?

- He warned the “customers…”

- You want to say that he went to see the future victims of theft and urged them to take care of their car.

- Yes…

- And that was your business?

- No…

- And?

- It was Tonio! … He crossed with the kid… I, you know, I was fine with the sis…

- And?

- Tonio, he had threatened to bump him off … But I did not say anything, hey!

- But no, I am as silent as the grave.

That seemed to reassure him, the dude! I, in his shoes…

- And Tonio, talk to me a little about him.

- The owner… of the boozer…

- Ah! the one with the colt cobra?

- Well yes… The one out of whom you have taken an eye. I work for him.

By the way, I must think of recovering my darts. Chinese manufacture. Cannot be found on the market.

- This is his only activity, to control you?

- Ahem… no…

- And?

It is necessary to drag the words out of his mouth!

- Hey, make a move on. I do not have all night to listen to you speaking.

- He organizes holdups… among other things…

- And Stephan? I ask intuitively.

There, I believe indeed, I just touched the visible hard bone of his Adam’s apple, because you have noticed that this is a guy.

- He did not want…

- What?

- To be the lookout.

- And?

- Tonio wanted to bump him off.

- Only for that?

- No,… He had tipped the jeweller off.

- Ah!

A very interesting conversation, as you see.

- And you, my pretty heart?

- Me?

- YES, YOU! You just leave Steph?

- You understand… his sister.

My fist moved by itself and his ribs cracked.

- I… could… not… Tonio… boss.

- And?

- I did not bump him off. I swear!

- And Tonio?

I said that there was a hard bone! I do not want to stay here forever. I move my karate hand in front of his eyes.

- That…

- Where was he, Tonio, the night of the murder?

- I do not know.

- Ah! So he was not here?

- No.

- Where?

- I do not know.

- And you?

- Here.

- Ah!

- I have witnesses! …


Hey, what do you think of me? Good, aren’t I!

And the guy, he is nice! isn't he? He liked Steph. For his sister, he would have been prepared to take him under his wing.

That the kid is impeding them in their progress is an amusement that José gererously forgives. As long as his hairknot is well made, he makes fun of the rest, this José. And then, the sister, this is serious. Not to ask her to be in on the game. No. Must not be malicious gossip.

- Come on, they have warned the cops! …

Marc Antoine pulls on the sleeve of Bret’s jacket. He does it quietly, just to draw his attention.

Ok! it is time to go …



End of the extract