The Coin

by Gorun Manolescu
translation from Romanian by Camelia-Aura Barbu [MTTLC student]
click aici pentru versiunea română


I walked into a tavern. Actually a bar. Somewhere underground. After a boring day. A symphony of lights. Of those that spin constantly. With different colours and shades. Flashes that make you dizzy. I sat down right at the bar. I ordered something. A glass of vodka, whiskey, tequila… I don’t remember what any more. I wanted to get really drunk, to see things differently. And very slowly they actually started to become “different”… Next to me there was some guy. Kind of dull. He seemed decrepit anyway. And old. He must’ve been 70? No, he seemed about 80. Crumpled clothes. Some glasses with thick lenses, extremely thick. The type of glasses that some people wear after they (uselessly) change their dioptres and they don’t actually wear them. Now I only have blurry memories of the rest of his appearance. He whispered something to me in a tired voice. A name I think. Could it have been yours? I hadn’t asked anything. A name that started with… C. No, with A. Definitely not with A… Certainly with B. Ba…Bu…no, Bo… When he whispered the name, he had a tall glass of soda, and he stared hypnotically through his thick lenses at a coin, probably. Stuck in an odd balance on the edge. The flashes were also weirdly and hypnotically reflected in both of the coin’s sides under the continuously spinning lights. I focused on the coin. Something weirder was going on. Well, both sides where identical. However… however, one of them was shining dimly, obsolete, like the old silver that has a layer of verdigris and some clean parts. As if it had been recently cleaned up. The other one seemed barely made, new, and shined brightly. When he turned his head away from the coin, it fell on one side, with a small rattle. He gave it to me without a word. I put it in my pocket.
I’m looking at it now. It is a normal coin of fifty bani. With different heads and tails. No way it’s silver.
I make an effort. I try to remember the name. It was Boris… not Boian, maybe Borg… No, I’m sure it was Borges. And I think he said something… about Ianus and… life and death.

The Coin

3 thoughts on “The Coin

  1. I am a writer from Argentina and I absolutely love Borges and his themes. I was enthralled by this story, that reminds me of the Zahir.

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