The Open City (Lily Hoang)

Wednesday 7 March 2012
by  NLLG

How to Kill a Character

By Lily Hoang

Greenwich Village, The Open City, July 2010

This is how the great Patrik Ourednik kills a character. Let it be a lesson to one and all:

Naiman died as stupidly as he lived. One day he decided to get a new washing machine for the cottage. But what to do with the old one? He loaded it into his car, drove into the forest, and rolled the machine to the top of the hill, intending to push it into a gorge; one garbage dump more or less, the Czech woods had survived worse. But no matter how hard he leaned into the thing, it wouldn’t budge, so, taking a few steps back, he sprinted forward, spinning around and throwing his haunches into it; the washer sailed into the gorge and Naiman along with it. Some nosy hiker discovered the body five days later, and the South Bohemian Tribune ran a brief obituary headlined “Expert Meets Tragic Death.”

Dyk gave a creaky laugh. Memories are the balm of old age.