DZHABA

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Nikolay Boykov was born in 1968. His published works include Book of Life, Ciela, 2010, To Petar, Janet 45, 2006, Declaredin Love, 2005, Poems With Biography, Janet 45, 2003, and Metaphysics, Free Poetic Society, 2000

I'm almost finished delivering Literary Newspaper. After stopping off at the Youth Theater, I take a detour through the Ladies' Market, it's dusk, all sorts of shady characters are coming out, hawking stuff on tarps, you can even buy yourself a Latin American dictionary for five bucks. I stroll through the darkening market, the vendors are packing up their stalls, others are letting down the shutters, I spot a little fish stand and head over to it.

Nikolay BoykovWhile looking over the selection, an ancient Gypsy appears out of the darkness, he is as ugly as Quasimodo, so ugly he's beautiful, carrying his little grandson, four or five years old, the child is shouting in childlike ecstasy that he wants dzhaba, the grandfather, beaming and radiant, promises him dzhaba. He turns to the vendor and asks for dzhaba, but the guy says he doesn't have any, what do you mean you don't have any, what's that there, I don't have any end-of-story. Pointing at the carp, I ever so pleasantly ask if that isn't dzhaba, the child has already disappeared, the vendor rudely tells the Gypsy to shove off, he helps himself to a sample of sprat, the guy is now screaming at him not to touch his merchandise, the Gypsy starts flinging around some small change, the vendor is screaming, and the Gypsy starts screaming, too, is this guy a real salesman or what, I quietly walk away, leaving the dzhaba and the flounder and the whitefish behind me, trying to take a deep breath, something is choking my throat, a wave of weeping surges out of nowhere and washes over me.

March 1, 7:39-8:00

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and VAGABOND Bulgaria's English Monthly, cooperate in order to enrich the English language with translations of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Every year we give you the chance to read the work of a dozen young and sometimes not-so-young Bulgarian writers that the EKF considers original, refreshing and valuable. Some of them have been translated in English for the first time. The EKF has decided to make the selection of authors' work and to ensure they get first-class English translation, and we at VAGABOND are only too happy to get them published in a quality magazine. Enjoy our fiction pages.

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