Hana Sobotková


The Fence


Watchman: Hello! Hello! Sir! What are you doing here? This is private property. You’re not supposed to be here.


Man: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any harm. I was just looking around….


Watchman: But you’re not supposed to be here. I must ask you to leave. Now.


Man: Look, like I said. I didn’t mean any harm.


Watchman: It’s not about causing harm, sir, this place belongs to the convent, and you can’t walk around here without permission. Besides, it’s not safe, the ruins are very unstable. How did you get over the fence anyway?


Man: (Smiles.) There is a hole in the southern part of the fence. I slipped though it.


Watchman: (Watches him suspiciously)


Man: You see, I knew this place pretty well when I was a kid, some 30 years ago. And some things haven’t changed much. Like the hole in the fence, for example. It is still where I remember it.


Watchman: You were one of the orphans, huh?


Man: Yeah, I used to live here in the orphanage. I mean when it was still open. When they closed it down we were moved to another institution in the city. But soon I had to leave it too, because I was already at an age when I was supposed to take care of myself.


Watchman: Sir, I need you to show me where the hole in the fence is and then you really must be going.


Man: Ok, I will show you. It’s behind the former tool shed.


(They walk towards the shed. There are ruins of arches along the dusty road and a couple of low buildings, some trees, much bigger now, and old houses where only the pillars resisted the decay. There are weeds and little shrubs growing in places they should not grow.)


Man: We used to play children’s games in the arch passages. Mostly hide and seek. The point was none of the nuns could see you and if they did, you lost. It was a lot of fun.


Watchman: Well, it surely was. But…


Man: We are here. See? The wires are cut and if you suck in your belly you can still go through it. We used it a lot when we wanted to run away. The nuns were furious about the hole. They knew there was one somewhere in the fence, but they could not find it and it drove them crazy.


Watchman: It’s not so wide.


Man: It’s not, but still… It’s funny that I’ve just slipped though the fence to get in here. Usually it was the other way round. (Chuckles.)


Watchman: Well, I’m sorry, but I think I have to repair it…


Man: Well, sure, sure…It’s your job to take care of the premises. I’ll see if there are some pliers and wire in the shed.


Watchman: No, they are not. We moved the tools to the right wing of the main building.


Man: Yeah…I think I know where. I’ll be back in a minute.


Watchman: What? You can’t…! And don’t forget some gloves when you’re there! (To himself) What the hell, I don’t know what I am doing here mending the stupid fence with some psycho…


Man: (Comes back.) Here you go.


Watchman: Thanks, but I think I won’t do it right now, really. I’ll leave it to the service man.


Man: You don’t want to do it? So let me do it. It’s a simple job.


Watchman: Well… ok. If you want to.


Man: You just need to bend it like this and then cut a piece of wire and bind the parts together. Get me some of the wire, these pieces are too long…Thank you…


 There, it’s done.


Watchman: Well…Thank you …


Man: I know, I have to go now.


Watchman: Yes, you had better…


Man: But the gate is locked. (Grins.)