Working upside of the factory meant an improvement of my mood.
At least I had multiple company.
The Egiptyan guys made a club on their own but the Italians, were an open group.
They were all friendly and nice though outside the factory they had different acquaintances on their own.
There were really some special characters among them.
Arturo, for instance, looked like he were out of his mind. And actually he was.
Someone told me he had taken too much of lysergic acid ( I never knew if it had been a wrong pill or taking too many pills on the going time, which got him out of tune for ever).
He worked hardly, nonetheless. he was a sort of stakanovist worker, cause it seemed that his mind could only see the job, with no distraction at all. Only he seemed out of context, except for the strict connections in the chain production.
- "Trolley"- he used to shout very often, showing he needed more pizzas to get inside the oven.
He was a thin, spirited man with hallucinated eyes, almost out of their orbits. He wore a long pendoulos earring which had extended his right lobe;he had small teeth with smoked stains that he showed all the time in a strange, almost silly smile. I never heard him make a meaningful speech though he was still nice and jovial with everybody.He appeared to be happy, but of that kind of happiness producede by the vacuum of your mind.
Also Natale was a kind boy but in a different way. Although he was smoked all the time he never failed a reasoning and was very brilliant and emphatic in conversation. Like Arturo he had different acquaintances outside the factory. He had two great loves: motobikes and smoke. They have led him to the end too soon.
Erminio and Marco instead were very close friends. They were both from Rome though, as I discovered in the following, they had knew each other in London and showed up to be a very different characters. Marco was a tall and slouching figure, with sweet, brown eyes and very calm manners; Erminio was quiet a low man, yet strong and well proportionated; he had a clever, quick look in his eyes; he showed to be a nice rogue later on.
Franco was the third good Italian friend of theirs. He was from Genoa or may be from some other place in Liguria. It was he who told me, later on, when we became close friends, that they had thought I was escaping from someone or something, since I had that long, thick beard and did not talk to anyone but old Jim downstairs.
Marco was the first who approached me, a couple of days after ascending the factory's floor.
- "Do you want to take part to Erminio's present for his next birthday?- he asked me at lunch time.
-" Yes, of course, I do!"- I answered nodding. In my shyness I was happy someone was talking to me.
-" Very pleased!" - he added. " I'll let you know your share. We're going to ask Natale for a small hashish quantity or some green grass. He likes very much smoking good stuff and Natale he's a good pusher"- he added keep on managing for his lunch.
- "Do you want a pizza for yourself?" - he asked after a while.
- "Yes, thanks; it's very kind of you!"
He was very skillful handling upside.
After a couple of days, when it was supposed to be the Erminio's anniversary, I asked Marco how much money I had to give for the common present. He smiled at me and told me Natale didn't want any money for a good piece of black pakistani he had presented to Erminio himself.
- " Why don't you come alone this evening? We have a party in my place, for Erminio, 'you know?"
He gave me the adress and I decided to go. Though I was not interested in smoking (as a matter of fact I had never smoked at all any other thing but cigarettes) I decided to go to the party.
When I arrived it seemed the party was already going at his top. A girl opened the door and I only said "Erminio", or some words with it. She let me in with a smile and told me to follow her. I entered a large room. There were a lot of people over there. It was all much unconventional, with people sat on the floor or lying in the carpet which occupied the centre of the room. Every body was drinking, smoking and laughing. I could not see Marco or anyone known. The girl who had introduced me told she was going upstairs. I notice some going up and down from the stairs. I took a sit in a sofa closed by the central carpet.
There was a lot of smoke inside and a pleasant yet tough smell. All around I could see some people passing each other a strange cigarette.
Everyone, after aspiring deeply once or twice, passed it away to the next, often without looking at; it was a mechanical gesture, though all the rest seemed so spantaneous and natural.
I wondered if I was also going to be passed it and what would do in that case.
Without thinking too much on it I decided to do as the others. It was not way to break the chain and there was no reason to do differently.
After smoking in that voluptous and fast way I've already tried to describe I start hearing a soft music an the background; I also could hear a cheerful murmur of voices that I didn't heard before.
I started focussing around me; I could realize and appreciate some particulars did not noticed before: the dress colors; some funny expressions of face; strange movements of the bodies on the carpet; tune of voices; but all in astounding way, as if everything was slowed by a camera.
I felt my throat was dry and I decided to go upstairs; I was hoping to find my friends and something to drink. I found both things upstairs.
"Come and see Erminio"- told me Marco after serving a frsh glass of beer.
We went to a small sleeping room; there were two bunk beds at the side of the room; I sat in the lower right bed. In front of me I saw Erminio; he cheered me laughing and gave me to light a smoking thing he had in his hands: - This is from Natale, 'you know? Can you light for me, please?"
So I did, and I passed it straight to him after a quick shot.
Then I lay in the bed. I woke up the day after, which was a saturday. I only remember a lot of laughing and a great sleep.
3. to be continued...