Page 62 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 62

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

             William closed his eyes in Roberto’s embrace: Just get it over with you closet fag.
             He felt some of the older man’s sweat brush onto his cheek, filling his nostrils with
             scent, and then he was released.

             You made it again, up the track, no turning back, yes? Such a good boy! You have
             everything we need, yes? We are ready for real work now! The real work. And you
             will stay, make the wine and then you can go, if you like. Or if you want you can
             stay, see what autumn brings.

             William rubbed the back of his neck, stepped away to be free of Roberto. He looked
             at the man, his complete opposite. Roberto: older, muscular and thick waisted, his
             hairy chest damp with sweat, thick black hair just turning to silver at the temples.

             And then William, just out of school and still looking like a student, although his
             hands were no longer school boy soft. The vineyard had seen to that. His pale skin
             had been burned so many times in the vines that he now sported a dense crop of
             freckles.  And  he’d  gained  weight  from  all  the  physical  work,  but  he  was  no
             Roberto.  Roberto  looked  like  he  was  made  out  of  the  earth.  William  closed  his
             eyes, thought about the generator, the work to come, and the holiday on the other
             side of it. He knew getting there would have to go through Roberto.

             The  argument  took  place  the  next  morning.  William  had  known  that  it  would
             happen eventually, it was just a matter of when. They had lifted the generator out of
             the back of the truck, plugged it into the mains near the grape press. Roberto filled
             it with diesel and tried to start it. He primed the engine, turned on the choke and
             pulled on the starter cord. The engine kicked over and then stalled, coughing out a
             chuff of blue smoke. Then he tried it again, for the same result. Then again, and
             again, and within a minute Roberto was swearing and cursing. The generator sat
             dead and whipped beneath him, as useless as it was when it left the vineyard for

             You ladyboy fuckingboy whore! Odjebi u skokovima!

             William knew from experience that it was serious when Roberto started swearing in
             Croat. Normally he just cursed in broken English, sometimes laughing between the
             phrases  when  he  realised  he  had  mangled  the  word  order.  William  didn’t  know
             what  Roberto  had  just  said  in  his  native  tongue,  but  the  generator  didn’t  seem
             impressed, the useless machine ignoring his strenuous efforts to bring it to life.

             Roberto stepped back, hands on hips. His shirt was rucked up, a patch of black
             hair running up past his waistband on his lower back. The rising sun was already
             starting to make William’s skin prickle.

             Roberto turned to him, his face still creased with effort.

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