It was on Mondays that the man would assume his worst mood. ‘Or do I seem to be as hideous to him as he does to me’ wondered the accountant. It sounded logical to him.’’ After all everyone becomes disagreeable on Mondays, naturally so after tiring weekends consumed for pleasure times,going out,sleeping late and suddenly when it is Monday,everyone would be without enough time to relax and so you had all these hostile people all over the place.’’ 

He yawned,thinking back on his own weekend. Such fun it had been. The owner of the publishing house did not have the habit of checking them on on Saturdays which was a working day. This Saturday he had taken the liberty to quit early,had rushed to take the ferry to the other side of the city where all his friends were.It had been a day with colorful female company, with restless young male friends who forever seemed to fidget around like well fed ponies,jokes and stories over the most unlikely subjects, pieces of unnecessary conversations all improvised to keep the attention of the girls with them. Baskets were full with food to eat. Tunes were often sang to harmonicas carried in pockets to add to the day’s glamour. 

Had the rotten old man not come in suddenly, the adventure film in his mind would go on running in his mind and the continuing mood of Saturday would not have faded away. Funny enough while he was so consumed in the film altough he kept yawning all over the place actual sleepiness never took him over. But now with the interruption of the boss and his mood broken in, he felt himself engulfed in a sudden feeling of great drowsiness. 

Almost like every other Monday , the man was not only in bad humor,but he was obviously all strung up. At times like this he would wait on an excuse to start shouting around.If it did not come his way, then he’d find an occasion to create one.Having done that, he’d start an endless talking-shouting-questioning scene. Not a chance to stop him then. He’d fuss over anything: a piece of paper on the floor, the lid of an ink bottle,his not having checked the post box, or again his not having checked with the agencies and bookstores on his way to work.... 

-But sir, i did go and..

Whether he actually did go or not would not be the issue:

-So if you did why have you not told me so ?

-But sir you have just come in and haven’t given me the chance..

-Aha and what does that make me, a brute ?

-Beg your pardon sir. That’s not what I have meant.

-Oh shut up ! 

The accountant presumed his boss was more tired ,more exhausted and as a result even more aggressive than ever before. And he was right about it.The man , the unsmiling owner of the publishing house, really was tired, exhausted and aggressive today like he had never been before. How else could he possibly feel afer such a naughty Sunday. There had been three of them. They had spent a day away from their wives secretly taking away their girlfriends out.Imagine three young women for three friends.They had spent long hours eating at a restaurant on the coast at one of the nearby Princes Islands. They had at times ran down for a swim and come back to continue their endless orgasmic eating.All that drinking and eating had already spaced them out before they ever made it with women.They had all been suspiciously questioned by their wives when they returned home so late at night.Still,it was out of macho habits that they all refused any such event : 

-Question me ? My old lady , question me ? C’mon talk sensible. Who do you think we are? Or do you think we are like you ? 

Bastards, he thought to himself,when had they stopped being ‘like him’ anyway. As if he did not know the kind of treatment they got from their wives. He felt like saying all this out loud as if they were sitting accross him right that very moment. 

He left his accountant standing there and went to his office. To have to wrestle with a fresh energetic body that belonged to a young hot woman and to do so  after one reached forty.The saying was ‘He who loses his mind and body over women after the age of forty deserved the peace of his death in bed’.They were wrong.They should have made that ‘after sixty’. That would have more justified.He was way beyond his forties.He murmured to himself:’Do I look like I am in my death bed?’Hands behind, he walked up and down his room diagonally.

‘But to be honest,drunk as hell,with such a young glowing  woman again?No,never...Never again..’ 

The young woman was blond with staring blue eyes.If her name was Suna or Sunay,he could not remember. He tried to remember where he had jolted down her phone number. God knows maybe he had scribbled it on the cigarette box and when emptied had thrown it away,smashed out as he was. He did not ponder over it too long. Anyway that did not matter now. What did matter was that he had spent a fortune over the days adventure.The other two hadn’t even attempted sharing his bills-as usual-they considered him a millionarie or what?Not that he did not enjoy it,but money went down the drain like water on such adventures. 

Suddenly he remembered the mail and the money orders he expected from the books sent to Anatolia. 

He called out his accountant. 

The accountant was fighting sleep at his desk.He rose from his coma state and hurried up and stood by the door,his heart pounding in his chest. 


Without looking up:

‘Mail arrived?’

‘Arrived Sir.’

‘Money orders from Anatolia?’

‘None Sir.’ 

He suddenly fantasized his accountant  an ass. 

‘And why not?’ 

The accountant almost blew up. ‘Because they didn’t send any you dummy’.

Instead he swallowed down the thought and chose just to lower his eyes. The man rose from his desk carrying his bulky body with difficulty.

‘And tell me why not?’

His manic mood must have been at its peek.

‘Why the hell can you not tell me why?’

‘Because ,Sir, they chase their own interest like a dog and run away from debts like cats.’

Again his hands at his back, the boss crossed the room.

‘What is that? Cats for others and dogs for themselves? You bum, you can’t even get a saying right,can you? Why can’t you learn to say things correctly if you want so much to say them?Either say it right or cut that all knowing shit out. Get it ?’ 

The accountant suddenly woke up. With no specific reason he looked right then left.Next he tried smiling:

‘Why is that Sir?’

‘Because it is the other way around you idiot!’ 

The moment he said that he realized he had got it wrong himself, but it was already too late.He tried to pull himself together.He could not allow himself to be the fool to his embacil he was paying the salary of and to this idiot he preferred to fantasize as an ass in his times of anger.He could turn it into a joke or say he was being sarcastic about it.Before he could utter a word,however,the accountant replied : 

‘Yes Sir, you are quite right. The correct saying is they are cats to their own interest and dogs to others.’ That response got the boss absolutely furious.Could it be that this ass of an idiot he was paying to work for him was being sarcastic ?Could it be that he was going to go and meet his friends after work and tell them how he made fun of his boss?’

‘Think well!’ 

For the accountant the only purpose of the whole conversation was to rid himself of this idiot and make it to his desk where he could go on daydreaming.After all he could at least stretch his legs there and keep his peace of mind.There of course he would have to try to fight back his sleep but if nothing he could yawn to his pleasure! 

‘I thought it over, Sir, what you have said is quite right.’

‘Trying to be cute ,are you ? How does one behave like a dog for what he owes?’ 

It had slipped from his mouth, so he murmurred on :

‘There are of course some people who can! (Like you do idiot,he meant)’

The clerk grinned in a way he hoped would please the boss.

The boss equired :

‘Do you ever look at the mirror?’

The clerk grinned again.

‘At times, Sir.’

‘And what do you think you resemble ?’

The accountant was positive that the man was experiencing his absolute mania and that he was agressive to the point of getting sarcastically personal and there was only one thing that could be done, and that was to avoid him.

‘To myself, Sir’ he responded, hoping that would end it there.

The boss was sure that the accountant was making fun of him now.He would leave after the day was over and go tell his friends about how he had ridiculed the old man. He decided to cut the conversation short.

‘So you say a dog chaser to what they owe others are and an escaping cat to what other owe them’.

This was getting out of hand. The old man was surely being cynical.

‘Well,no,it is the other way around Sir.’

‘Then why the hell have you not said so before?’

‘Well, I got it wrong Sir quite by mistake. No harm meant.’

‘OK ,OK. Then go ,look at the mirror and come back and tell me what you see!’ 

He went back to his room. Looking at the mirror,he thought: ‘jackass, do you realise what you look like with those huge flappy ears? What else but an ass ?’

‘You’ve looked at yourself?’

‘yes Sir’

‘And what did you see?’

‘An ass Sir.’ He thought his boss really did look like an ass with those ears. 

The boss was suddenly releived of all depressive modd. He let his laughter fill the room.

‘A what ?’

He almost kept on laughing. ‘Wise ass’ he thought of his accountant ‘ indeed you do. Only I can’t say it to your face, you idiot,brainless nut.’

‘A what i asked. Repeat it,tell me what you look like’

‘An ass,Sir.’ 

All his Monday blues dissolve away. He went back to his desk in high spirits, took out his ‘Cool’ brand cigarette and was about to light one with his nickel lighter when the accountant held out the fire. The boss was even pleased about this.

‘Alright, now get back to work.’ 

The accountant hurried  back to his desk. The man drawing long tokes from the Cool menthol and blowing out rings of smoke while contemplating.This accountant had at least finished highschool. He ,himself, hadn’t even made it through the primary school. He kept this a secret as he was ashamed to say he hadn’t had any proper schooling. It was forever a bleeding scar for him. Yet he had to come and explain to idiots who had finished highschool what things actually were. Suddenly he felt proud.He could make the idiots say black to white and vice versa. He had the power to make them accept something beautiful was ugly, something fresh was stale or the other way around. Hot could be cold and cold argued to be hot.He felt triumphant. 

A few days at the Party House he put on his serious airs while talking:

‘Really’ he said, ‘one should get to know the common people well. Education,schooling just can’t add to the guy on the street. Let them study and not much has changed in the end. If you are a man of wisdom, you can make them accept things and especially if you are a bright business man..’ He noticed the keen eyes of the newspaper reporter sitting across and forgot what he was saying but quickly rounded up. ‘you can convince them into thinking that people are like chasing dogs for their interest and cats are in flight from others owe them instead of chasing dogs for what they owe and cats are in flight from others owe them,or make them say black is white and white is black.’

 Noone had quite understood what he said. The reporter did not miss the occasion: ‘The saying is that people act like chasing dogs for their own interest but will behave like cats on flight from debts they have. You see the idea is it is when they have to pay they run away but will follow up closely when they have to collect.’ 

He had always disliked the reporter anyway. 

First thing in the morning he called his accountant to repeat his now favourite question:

‘What do you look like?’ 

The accountant looking at his idiot boss,felt the joy of looking at him and seeing a perfect ass with up turned ears. He smiled and replied whole-heartedly,overflowing with pleasure:

‘An ass,Sir. A moronic ass!! ‘


                                                                                            Orhan Kemal