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Eestikeelsed artiklid



Björn Kowalski

Vilen of Viimsi

August Künnapu

Nathaniel Kahn

Harry Pye

Mehis Heinsaar

Lauri Sommer


Artist and age

Master Age appeared in a cafe entranceway. He was about forty-eight, wearing a dark blue shirt under a grey suit, with an aquiline nose and his white hair standing up like a brush. Leaning his left shoulder against the doorjamb, he crossed his arms and gazed over the people sitting at the tables. There were not many people, nor few. Among others, there sat Imat, an artist.

The artist raised his head and instantly recognized the figure in the doorway. If not for any other reason, then his steel-grey stare and a copper earring gave this dangerous man away.

„But it can’t be that he has come for me,” Imat thought, because there were people older than him sitting in the cafe. Besides, he had just turned forty-one.

Aapo Ilves. Four Times Mehis. Photomontage, 2006.

Nevertheless, thinking about the life wasted on parties and orgies, he raised his newspaper a little bit higher but kept observing the master. Whom would he chose?

Master Age had plenty of time. He contemplated the people thoughtfully, returned a child the ball that had rolled to his feet, looked out of the window into distance, and then suddenly fixed his eyes on the artist. It took Imat only a moment to acknowledge the master’s choice. His hands started trembling, his forehead covered in cold sweat, his feet felt like full of lead.

Imat had heard from more experienced friends that when Age comes to you, he does something, so that the next day you are no longer the same. Imat had a hard time accepting this fact. Very hard. He wanted to continue his life of fun and action.

That is why he decided to resist. To escape, actually, because no man could withstand Master Age by force.
So Imat stood, pretending to go for another coffee. He even left his hat and coat on the chair, that the old man would not suspect anything. And when Imat passed him at the threshold, the master indeed did not touch him. As soon as Imat reached the counter, he dashed out of the room. Leaping down the flight of stairs in a couple of steps he surged along the University street, his heart fluttering like a bird. From the University street he turned up to the Munga street, from there onto the Jakobi street and up the stairway to Toome Hill, and further to Kassitoome. It wasn’t more than three minutes, when he heard someone’s footsteps running behind him. Glancing over the shoulder, he saw Master Age’s wry face. And even though his pursuer was wearing an uncomfortable suit and black patent leather shoes, the artist understood that Master Age was a fast and relentless hunter who could not be shaken off easily.

But fear seems to give wings and Imat found enough strength to pick up the speed. Following Kastani street towards Riia road, he hoped to loose his pursuer in the narrow side-streets, but nothing helped. Imat climbed over the fences, jumped across park benches and dodged into the archways panting and exceeding his daily capabilities, but Master Age was still unto him, finding him in every nook and corner. Some people with children standing on the street looking at the two running men were all on the pursuer’s side for some reason. They must have thought Imat was a thief or something; the braver citizens even stepped in front of him trying to cut off his escape rout. But the desperate artist pushed his way through and kept running.

Kastani street led the fugitive and the follower to Karlova district and following the smaller streets they soon found themselves back in the centre. Imat was already feeling exhausted, he felt pain in his chest, and Master Age was moving closer and closer, when he suddenly noticed that in the Town Hall square, there was some crowd gathering. It must have been the Hansa Market, because many people were wearing medieval masks and wigs. So Imat plunged into the mob, grabbed a peasant mask from a little boy, pulled it on and warily kept an eye on his follower. What would he do?

He saw wild rage on the master’s face. The old man’s steel-grey eyes scrutinized the crowd looking for Imat, one could hear his teeth grinding. But people were smiling at him, because his old-fashioned face fit perfectly into the market masquerade. Realising that the artist had played a trick on him, Master Age grew bitter and revengeful. Without further ado, he bit into some three or four people standing close to him, and disappeared spitefully growling. His victims grew old and somewhat sad at the spot.

But Imat’s joy was boundless. He knew, that the one who was lucky enough to trick Master Age, would befall the pleasure of staying young for another eleven years.

Mehis Heinsaar

Mehis Heinsaar is a Tartu-based writer. He is the author of three books and a member of the literary movement “Erakkond”. See also his text “The Traveller’s Happiness” in Epifanio 4/2006.