БУКВИТЕ - САЙТЪТ ЗА НОВА БЪЛГАРСКА ЛИТЕРАТУРА

De Jure and De Facto

Явор Емилов Тодоров (явор64)

Раздел: Проза на чужд език  Цикъл:

This law firm was on a crossing which went out at right angle to the street on which was located the Judicial Court. At about thirty meters was the entrance to the District Court and the District Prosecutor`s Office. The place was relatively comfortable and still wasn`t very outlined. A very ordinary signboard, without mentioning the name of the lawyer, but only that it was on the second floor. One had to come in a little inner courtyard, it had to be called and the door was opened then. Yavor was directed to this lawyer by several others, whose offices were in the "Commercial House", building with internal architectural distribution creating a feeling of anthill. In the corridors, located in the shape of a square around the central staircase were located the cellules of the lawyers, often two-three in a room, with a modest and dark atmosphere of bureaucracy, with the inevitable typewriter on every desk.
The "Commercial House" was owned by Jews before the war. It was nationalized after the revolution and most of the owners departed for the homeland of Israel.
Valentin Benatov was also Jewish. But Yavor had no bias against Jew as a lot of his friends. Maxim used the word "Jew" as appellative, as an offensive word, a vague term, like maybe "low-brow" or "philistine", label which he put on Bulgarians also. The namesake Yavor Tzvetkov loved to talk about the global conspiracy, about Baron Rotshild and the hidden power of money, about the secret and not completely understandable instruments of the financial government, creating inflation or inflaming wars, about secret decisions on secret suppers where steps were taken to dislocation, chaos and degradation. Yavor didn`t believe in all this. In philosophy he was cradled in the ideas of marxism. The marxism emphasizes on the economic base. With marxism, the national controversies, to the extent available, would be regarded as secondary and less important factor. But many people believe, some publish anti-Semitic books, others read them, there is stories about semi-mythical figures of the Zionist idea of national identity, territorial restitution and state sovereignty.
But Yavor wasn`t believing in conspiracy theories, though, if someone who was not educated as a Marxist was around, he could easily create for himself the impression that chaos and desorganization are caused artificially and not because of the blind play of market forces and democratic contingencies.
Four years in the French college Yavor had sat on the same desk with Jacques Paparo, the classmate with the rare family and he was friend with this guy before he leave with his wife and two children to Germany, having completed French Studies. Jacques had lived several years in Morocco and was very good during the French lessons. There his father was professor of astronomy, physics and mathematics. In the house of Jacques Yavor had heard for first time recordings of "Deep Purple", semilegal at that time. The question was that if Karl Marx had lived to see these days, he certainly would have been a great fan of "Deep Purple". And the question was still in it, can you hate someone that you rub together the desks for four years in the French college?
From the garden to the National Theater "Ivan Vazov", where he was playing chess, Yavor had another Jewish friend, the unique with his incredible jokes and biting and peppery remarks Mois Cohen. Mois was a great guy. He had a beautiful daughter, she was perhaps a little plump but she was fair-haired and blue-eyed and she had several time became republican chess champion for girls and she was studying homeopathy and advertising at the New Bulgarian University. Yavor even had promised to himself to get started to woo her. Mois Cohen was inviting sometimes Yavor to visit him that is not so often in Sofia. To Sofia applies in some way the English proverb "My home is my castle." But if someone calls you at home, this means that he appreciates you as a friend. From the garden of the chess players only Mois and Batte Niki the Great had invited Yavor at their homeplaces. Mois also was his friend. Why should he hate hin because he was Jewish?
Among the lawyers of the "Commercial House" was not found anyone who would be involved in the sphere of copyright. All Yavor`s terms was completed, he had long ago taken his examination on inventive and copyright law, he was knowing by heart the legal formula of the Article 23 of the then inventive and copyright law, all was to him as plainly as anything and as easy as ABC and therefore he could not understand why the lawyers refused to take the case. The first attorney recommended him another and the recommended, in his turn, recommended third, who welcomed him in his office with keys in hand, making haste to go and said:
- There is no sense to lie each other, I am not expert in these matters. I recommend to you Valentin Benatov. This is the only person who can help you - and he gave him the adress.
Valentin Benatov was getting bald, his brown suit was looking worn and his green winter shoes "Dahstein" was giving to him the form of modest worker. He was showing seriousness. Benatov was decent. In contact with such looks one was rejecting all talk and prejudices against lawyers that exist in the everyday legal consciousness.
- They recommended you to me as the unique specialist in Sofia in the field of the copyright law who might help me.
- What is the job?
- The question is about a short story, written by me, - Yavor started, - because, among others, I am a lawyer, jurist and now I pass the practical government experience, so I understand very well that my right is impaired.
- In what way?
- The story is of a military theme. I wrote it after my discharge from the army. I try to write from my school years. The story was very good before, so to say, it was "edited" in the editor`s office where I brought it. I brought it in the editor`s office of "Youth of Army". A friend of mine, fellow-student of the editor, his name is Julian Zhiliev, bring me to him. They both graduated from Bulgarian philology, they know each other and they are friends for long time. My friend actually explained me that the editor`s office was seeking materials to fill in the serial number and that stories of a military theme are welcome. And I brought up my story in the editor`s office. The story is very good, at least in my opinion, it is a story about the soldier who walks around the post at night, watching the stars, watching the flashing signals of the planes and dreaming. During the winter`s days he was watching the small cottages around with their smokes, the corn-field beyond where a wire fence was separating the division from the world. The boys carries the sentry service around the post and think about the girl, about the letters that comes less and less ... Then something happens, something that ends in any way, however, I bring you the story as a written proof in this case. The question is that although I got fifty levs for this only for the time being published by me story, I was very surprised and, of course, unpleasantly, when I opened the magazine and began to read it again, although, of course, I know it almost by heart. Each sentence is changed, phrases are added, phrases are withdrawn, sentences are entirely amended, the narrative is completely unrecognizable and nothing has left of it. I have a number of the magazine, I will show it to you and we will attach it as an exhibit, applicable in this case. They hadn`t consult with me and had not have my consent to publish the story, thus disfigured. Actually, they, the colonels in the editor`s office, asked me to change the finish and I agreed, I added a dozen sentences, although they didn`t tie well with the whole, but only with the sole purpose of my story to see the light. But this does not mean that I agreed to see something that is ostensibly written by private Todorov, but actually is not his story, although he still wrote it. And for all this moral damages also are derived for me, because, as a young author, I had commended here and there that in the magazine "Youth of Army" , the private, now passed in the reserves, has published a story in which he sing the praise of the hidden romance of the military life. I boasted to colleagues from the administrative group in the university, between them girls, to relatives, to friends. Actually, having read my story, now changed, I will look in their eyes as a lightweight and graphomaniac.
- I see, - lawyer Benatov put a new white sheet under carbon paper in the pole and rotated the platen of the typewriter. - I began to write the application. But you need to know that chances are fifty-fifty. However, what exactly is the purpose of this claim?
- Frankly, it is interesting to me as a trainee-lawyer. It is interesting to me how the claim process will develop, how things look inside. It is certainly much different than at lectures and exercises. And in addition, of course, I hope to get some amount as compensation for the moral damages incurred.
- How much money? - Benatov was interested?
- A three -digit sum. As much as a relatively large salary.
- Yes, - Benatov inserted, - much is no real and the claim is likely to be rejected.
- Let`s say, five hundred levs. By the way, today the three-year limitation period under the Law on Obligations and Contracts expires, it is special, as if for the rents, wages, the lodgement of claims for interest and penalties. The general prescription is the five-years term which is in Art 110 of the Law of Obligations and Contracts.
- In this case you will send the application today by mail, with return receipt to keep the time limit. - Benatov nodded with approval. - So you decided on this step in the last minute?
- Exactly. I long hesitated but in the end, I am a future lawyer.
- You are already a lawyer, Yavor, - Benatov cheered up. - If you let me to talk to you in "thou"!
- Of course!
Benatov started to knocking on the typewriter. The application was in this case a little non-standard. For the standard cases which he had to do - divorces, maintenancies, labor disputes for unpaid wages, deductions, establishing of employment, dismissals, retention of employment records, even for the judicial partitions he had prepared forms and patterns with blank spaces left, that in case of need only to fill in with the necessary variables.
Yavor had long time figured to oneself and thought over how to write an application, the training for which was abstract-theoretical. Certainly it had to be initiated by heading: "To the Honorable Court", district or county. Thereafter, the plaintiff had to indicate his personal data, against whom is directed the claim and the personal data of the defendant. Then, after the honorific to the judges it should follow tight, clear and precise description of the facts in the case: "Da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius!" - "Give me the facts and I will give you the right!", as the ancient Roman adage says. And then one had to write the "petitum" of the application or in what the request consists. This element of the document was particularly important. It should be clear and accurate, the claim should be both short and precise, it should not to forget the interest running from the time of injury and the claim for the expenses of the case - state fee and attorney`s fees and any costs securing evidence and also for expertise and fees of expert witnesses. Finally, it should be stated, listed in detail, the evidence on which the claim is based and the written documents must be attached with copies to the defendant. Actually, everything was exactly as they studied him in the University. Benatov was rattling away on the typewriter and was enunciating word by word the texts that he was composing in the moment, so that the customer to draw up feedback on the work performed before his eyes. Yavor rested satisfied. Everything sounded good and even if he was not a lawyer at all it would smell to him of jurisprudence.
Benatov explained to him how to submit fifty levs attorneys fees. At that time the fees were not received by hand, as now, but they were brought into the cashier of the lawyer team. It was the era of the developed socialism. Nobody knew then that only one year after the Berlin Wall will fall down. The state charge was imported in very remote from the center branch of the Savings Bank. One was travelling by bus 76 and went down shortly after the South Park district, which has been known more as "Emil Markov", though officially the name of the communist functionary has been deleted from the map of Sofia long time ago. The district now is called "Gotse Delchev". The attendance at this district always was creating in Yavor a special state of tension and sadness. State of expectation, of tense and disturbing attention. Ralitza was living two stops off here. Ralitza that he still was loving.
The hearing was held a month later. They congratulated each other with Benatov and entered the courtroom. At right of them, behind the special wooden furniture, which, for strange reason, remained unnamed in the Bulgarian language, the legal adviser of the magazine installed himself. After a short check for the presence of the parties and the participants in the process and after taking their identity, the court, which was a young and good looking lady around thirty-five years, launched the case to go into the merits.
- We are maintaining the claim! - Benatov said with the curtness of the veteran in these things. He was knowing that long pleadings and redundancy, especially in the first instance, were unnecessary and can only annoy the judge. The court gave the word to the defense. The legal adviser of "Youth of Army" make some attempt to be familiar with Benatov, he called him "colleague", which made Benatov to pull a face.
- Please to bear in mind, - the legal adviser began, - that our responsibility is regressive, which means that all staff of the magazine will be jointly and severally liable to satisfy the claim of the plaintiff, if the claim is respected. And what comes out, that we, the team of the magazine, provide the publicity of the narrative of the plaintiff, and he returns to us, this, in fact, black ingratitude as to condemn the magazine to pay five hundred levs compensation for moral damages suffered. I pleased the Honorable Court to permit me to ask the plaintiff why his claim is put forward in the last day of the period of liability and doesn`t he try to highlight something in this way.
"Regressive responsibility" meant that after the magazine paid compensation for damages to the plaintiff, then, to recover its economic loss, it returns to his subordinate responsible persons and employees and reimburse on their account that reduction of its property, in the case - money in its bank account or cash, which it has suffered. In other words, it was most likely for several months the staff of the magazine to receive lower wages. If the magazine, as a legal person, was convicted, it, in its turn, could condemn the officers on which fell the regression responsibility to recover damages, in the event of their refusal to carry out a voluntary payment.
The Lady-Judge invited Yavor to stand in the center of the courtroom to answer the question of the legal adviser.
- Why you submitted the application on the day of expiry of the limitation period? - She repeated the question of the jurisconsult.
- For I find now time and opportunity to do that. - Yavor said. - Furthermore, if I wasn`t made it on that day, I would forever lose the opportunity to look for my right through judicial channels.
The prescription was indeed a very special law institution. If Yavor was late by only one day, now the defendant could make an objection to the court for that lapse. This objection was paralysing in practice the possibility of legal remedies, transforming the claim of the procedural law, combined with the substantive claim in unverifiable, external-judicial, material-legal claim of the creditor, whose satisfaction is entirely depending on the goodwill of the debtor. With how flexible hypotheses is rich the civil law, assuming one or another possibility, solving one or another potential legal dispute. This differentiation could really cause in the learner of the law only admiration!
- I close the session! - the judge announced.
The first phase of the trial was approaching its end. After a week or two, at most a month, depending on the congestion of the court`s work, the parties would receive a message that the decision is made and the reasons shall be available to the clerk. It might be appealed within seven days.
It was a late autumn day when the process took place. At this time of the year the weather was very special, clear, quiet, calm and man involuntary started to enjoy life and something to hope, however little sense it was in any hope. At this time of the year the air was like crystal water in a swimming pool, the plunge in which was clearing and raising the spirit. Yavor decided not to take the tram and to walk in the center. How strange is actually the lawyer`s profession. Apparently the lawyer does almost nothing and, at the same, he is extremely important. He pulls the strings, he directs the play of the litigation and he is the mechanic which from time to time shakes the stopped clock of the process to make it to go again. Maybe he also one day, or even very soon, would become a lawyer. Would he gain well? And would that be important to Ralitsa? Usually, it is important for all people but she was only interested in her science, the cytology. She was very special. She was able to celebrate the eight of December, the student`s holiday, almost alone in the mountains and then to complain to Yavor she was feeling herself quite lonely. "Well, if you are alone, I am here for what?"- he was thinking angrily.
After a month Yavor received the notification that the decision was ready. From the recital Yavor learned what, of course, he already was knowing, that he brought a story in the editor`s office, that the story was published with such amendments, repeal of phrases and additions that made it unrecognizable compared with the original and reduced, even becoming to nothing its artistic merits. Conclusion was made that from the violation of the right of the author, who is only entitled to amend his work, followed for him damages which are moral in nature and are expressed in negative feelings and negative attitude of the audience to the author as a mockery, irony, opinion he is a graphomaniac. The decision said that the court ordered the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of three hundred levs principal plus interest from the time of occurence of the injury, namely, from the publication of the story. And it was that way because the infringement of the copyright by its nature is a legal tort and what is due because of tort is due immediately. This point could cause conflicts, as in the general case of the civil liability the date of occurrence of the interest-bearing debt is the day of filing the claim. Further, the court was explaining that the claim for an amount of five hundred levs compensation for moral damages was increased and in accordance with the principle of the justice was rejected for the surplus over three hundred levs. Yavor didn`t like this much as it meant that he remained responsible for two fifths of the costs of the case. For example, he could require from the debtor only thirty out of fifty levs for attorneys fees. The remaining twenty levs remained on his behalf. The same, of course, was relevant to the court fee. However, this was a real triumph. "I could say I won the first case in my life!"- Yavor smiled, thinking about what he would make with the money. A friend of him liked to say that with the receipt of advance or pay and he instantly also get an erection. Another liked to say that his hobby was to dream about naked lady-cashiers.
And when a person is to get his erection, it is good to call a woman. Yavor was thinking that way with inner smile.
This time the woman would be Lily. She was current at the time. When one is young, nolens volens he is angling in many places and sometimes the fish nibbles and one hopes and continues to put lines if the fish doesn`t nibble or nibbles slackily. In a sense no acquaintance of him had lost actuality, however, on the agenga was Lily.
Lily was a colleague of the group of joint exercises of the University, slender and lean little girl, fair-haired and with brown eyes, with air that seemed as if she wasn`t particularly interested in sex and men. At a party last summer they were dancing together and when he escorted her home and gave her his hand to help her to descend from the cab, he held her hand and pulled her slightly to him, she served him her lips. What was she hiding? Surely she had other suitors. Otherwise, why six long semesters at the University no one has seen her with her boyfriend?
The next day he called her on the phone, called her home and she agreed to come. The party of yesterday was held. On it they were only four - Max, James, Lily and Yavor. Throughout Maxim was playing complex guitar compositions by Bach, transcriptions from the baroque music for harpsichord, Villa-Lobos. He was a virtuoso. James was telling stories about the student`s life in Czech Republic. It was nice. Lily liked that:
- I was at a party a month ago. - she said. - The music was thundering with all forces and no one pays you any attention.
This confession was very much liked by Yavor. It was rare to got a girl openly to admit that she was needing to be paid attention to her, that she was feeling lonely.
At his home, however, Lily behaved frostily. What had happened yesterday, was irrelevant today. Why the girls were suchlike?
Then they drank coffee outside, in one of the new cafes in the neighbourhood, outdoor, fenced from all sides with oblong boxes with live flowers. It was puffing a breeze, very nice, and looking with eyes half-closed she let the wind to play with her hair and silent, she was sipping her coffee.
Yavor called her on the phone again. He wanted much everything to continue. He told her he would go to the porter`s market to make some money. He invited her to dinner in case he was lucky and someone hired him. He wanted one day of his student`s life to be a porter, as in the famous verse of Dalchev:|

Over the old market scarlet,
The sunset was like tomato.
And more slender, more young,
The poor porter was standing there.

Lily was in doubt whether to accept. She didn`t refused directly. And it was good, the possibility remained open to further. The porter`s exchange was then on both sides of "Vitoshka street", before the Court and the Spiritual Academy, but that day there was no luck for anybody. Yavor stayed to midday, then gave up, the next day he didn`t come.
The summer, without love and boring, as always, slipped away and the autumn came, and with it the state training of the five year`s students started also. Yavor reserved for him the potentiality to invite Lily some time, it was as if this "some time" was come now, it was remaining only to call Benatov tomorrow or, much better, to go personnally to his office and to understand how to proceed further and what was necessary to obtain the money. But he wasn`t patient and still the same evening he called Lily. He read her on the phone the decision of her colleague and Lily loved it much.
- According to me it is written very stylish! - she said. - I love it.
- Do you like after I`ve got my money to go somewhere? - why the hell, so simple things like asking a girl on a date was becoming some way something so hard, so nerve-racking!
- Well, - said at last Lily. - Agreed!
There was always people in the Benatov`s waiting room. He passed for a very good lawyer. Yavor asked himself whether he had any hobby or his sole passion was his job. He showed him the court decision.
- What needs to be done here as to gather my receipt? - he asked eagerly, though he was knowing very well that one should apply to the bailiff to issue writ of execution against the debtor. Among the other details of the writ of execution particular attention deserved the identification of the debtor`s property on which the enforcement might be directed. There were things on which for social purposes the enforcement was not allowed. And because the magazine "Youth of Army" was, according to the law, "socialist organisation", the enforcement could not be adressed on its property - movable and immovable. Neither a desk, nor even a typewriter, or something else could the bailiff describe to deliver it on a public sale to satisfy the creditor.
- You must write a request to the bailiff with an indication of the debtor`s bank account. They are a magazine, they must have one. The other way is to go personally to the editor`s office with the writ of execution that you give them, they destroy it but not before they gave you the amount.
- I have no desire to go to the editor`s office. - Yavor declared. - I think they won`t make it and I`ll come back empty-handed.
- Go to the accountant, carry him a bottle of whisky and a box of chocolates and tell him to give you the bank account number. Usually they don`t refuse. I advice my clients this way. Most often I conduct lawsuits against major companies whose bank accounts are since long known in the executive office. But we will think up something. You do need the money. They are not redundant to you.
- I don`t know the book-keeper. I am not a man internal to the company. Furthermore, in fact, the magazine is housed in a building that is an object of the military police, well guarded. There one enter with a pass or if at the portal they call for you that they expect you. I think they will not let me go second time there. I have been there only once.
- I don`t know. - Benatov sighed pensively. - We should to cope with in some way. We will see how.
For Yavor it was hard to believe that the executive-judicial office can not learn in any way the bank account of the "socialist organizations". He went and check personnally, knocking to various doors, and talking with the secretaries and the bailiff of the area on which territory the magazine was. But Benatov proved right.
So Lily fall under the column of the unfinished love. Maybe for good. Yet he had a great love. Only she was engaging his interest. Only she was important. His name was Ralitsa. But with her things had developped roughly as with Lily. Then why he could not refer to the "case" with the old boyish disregard. Why he could not close the "case"? And what were these associations? For example, the violonist with golden hair and blue eyes from the ad: "Intelligent, technical, beautiful - the brand is "Philips". Something reminds you of her. And so on. Sometimes she is the actress in the film. The competitor in the figure skating. The speaker on the news. Sometimes she is just a shade of the blue, a symbol or sign. Or verse. Or song.
What happens to your boyish cynism, Yavor? And what is that crying in the handset? Men never cry, right?
Yavor was laying in the hospital room and was thinking. The situation was reminding one of the Hemingway`s short stories - "The gambler, the nun and the radio". The character in the story lies in the hospital room and with merciless and cool mind thinks about the society. Just such an analysis - tough, cool, cynical, Yavor even was calling it "marxist". The hero thinks on the famous phrase of Marx - "The religion is opium for the people!" And he adds from himself: "The football is opium for the people!", "The coffee is opium for the people!", "The sex is opium for the people!" Yavor was smiling: "The justice is also opium for the people!" - he added by himself.
It was clear that the past must go. The colonels who had edited his story were people with no aesthetic sense. They had to fall from power at last. The generation of Yavor had to come to power. The "communists", primitive and rough people, with simple aesthetics, had to give place to the "marxists", people from the generation of Yavor. Thus he was figuring to himself the historical process. In practice it happened something else. The history does not like to wait. He loved to debate with himself as the hero of the story of Hemingway. To analyse all-embracingly. To detect unexpected and seemingly impossible logical circuits: "The revolution happens because of the prostitution!". "The prostitution is opium for the people!". "The new aesthetic is opium for the people!" At least for some, very elite part of the people. Ha-ha-ha. "The new economic policy is opium for the people!"
"The communist democratic pluralism is opium for the people!" Yavor was smiling in the hospital bed. Thinking about society was distracting him. Thus he was divagating from his thoughts about the girl he was loving. He had to get used to the idea that he should think no more about her.


2013-01-26

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