Yazı

DELI OSMAN THE INDEPANDIDATE
DELI OSMAN THE INDEPANDIDATE 

Özcan Nevres

I was new in town.

It was only two days since I had opened up shop. It was slightly past midnight. I had not realized how the time had passed while painting the shelves and cleaning up. Someone I didn’t know approached. He waved a large stone he held in his hand.
 
Now I’m going to break the windows of this shop”, he said. I came outside.
 
“Why are you going to break the glass, my friend? I can’t possibly have done you any harm. I don’t even know you”. But he repeated:
 
I’m going to break the windows of this shop”. I could see he wasn’t joking, but was determined to do it. “Now forget everything else and keep guard in the shop until morning!” I thought.
 
“Beat it, Friend! Don’t infuriate me! What do you want with my shopwindows?
 
I’ll break the windows of this shop. It’s my business. You can’t stop me”, he said, and he prepared to throw the stone. It was about to land on my shopwindow. I jumped on him, took the stone from his hand and tossed it far sideways. Angered, I knocked him off balance and lifted him onto my shoulders. My intention was to throw him into the lime pit nearby.
 
The man was scared at such a sharp and unexpected reaction. “Please let me go! I was joking!” he begged. “I beseech you! Please pardon me! I swear, vallahi billahi, I won’t do it again,” he wailed. I could smell a heavy stench of alcohol and understood he was drunk. Bending forward, I threw his body to the ground, butt forward. He was very hurt. 
 
So what? Did you take me for an easy mark just because I’m new here?
Nah, friend! Nah! I’m jus’ drunk. Me an’ my pals gotta skinful. I was jus’ kiddin’ you.”
 
What’s your job?” I asked.
 
I’ve gotta shop just across from here, on the street there. I clean clothes. They call me Deli Osman. Osman the Mad. Please come to my shop tomorrow, so that we make friends, and we drink a glass of tea at the same time.” He left me, apologizing again and again. That was how I met Deli Osman. He was going to become inseparable from me soon. He would drop by whenever he was free and he would tell me his plans at length and in detail. His biggest fixation was to transform his workshop into a modern installation and operate a chain of such places. True, it’s not easy to clean clothes with only one washing machine and by hand. “Ah! Ah!” he would say, “If I could buy a big, automatic machine, who could hold me down then?
 
It was election time. He came by as usual. But he came differently this time. He was as excited as one could possibly get.
 
I’m going to ask you something. You’re a journalist. You know such things”, he said.
 
What’s it about Osman? Are you planning to kill your mother-in-law or what? What is it that you want to ask?
 
If I became a candidate for mayor and if I won, could anyone prevent me from acceding to the post...of mayor?
 
Why would anyone want to prevent you?
 
I dunno...Since they call me Osman the Mad. I thought somebody might not want to let me become the mayor because of this.
 
Dear Osman! It’s true that you’re foolhardy. Some might call you just fool in short but you’re still the kind of fool who goes home. You’re not one of those certified madmen, like those who can’t be punished for a crime. There’s a world of difference between you and them. No doctor could diagnose you as a psychotic. And since you are not one and you can’t be declared as one, you can vote and get elected. The right to vote and the right to get elected are among your most fundamental rights.” I could see that he didn’t want to add anything and preferred to keep silent. Evidently there was something he had not come out with yet. But what? So I asked what.
 
So, what? Are you going to put forward your candidacy for the mayor’s place.
 
Something of the sort...” he mumbled. Clearly, some were pulling his leg.
 
Listen Osman! No one can obstruct your liberty to vote and to get elected. But this is the West, not the East. Tribal politics aren’t in control here. Where tribal politics dominate, as soon as you get the support of a few families, you guarantee the election’s outcome. You don’t even need the support of a political party. But here, as long as you don’t have the support of a strong political party, or to put it even better, as long as you are not the candidate of a strong political party, there’s not even one chance in a million of winning an election bid. To make you understand better, an independent candidacy will not go further than a daydream. Forget this candidacy business. If I’ve understood well, some people would like to swindle you. If you have some money in hand, they’ll siphon it off and finish you off for the sake of a daydream. Don’t use up what you have for nothing. In the end, you’ll regret ever having become a candidate and regret it a lot.” Osman left my shop, thanking me, once he finished the tea brought by the teahouse man.
 
Some time later the municipality’s loudspeakers started to announce the local administration candidates. I was surprised when I heard, after the candidates of the political parties, the name Osman Deliuzun as an independent candidate. Visibly, all I had told him had fallen on deaf ears. I went out to see what it was all about, straight to Osman’s shop. He greeted me in a very cold manner. To put it plainly, he did not even invite me to sit down, he who would previously welcome me standing and insist that I drink something. This time, there was no invitation to sit down nor a question on what I would want to drink.
 
“What’s up Osman! You look like you’re cross with me.”

Of course I’m cross with you. I don’t want to speak with you again. Don’t come to my shop anymore”. I asked why.
 
You were jealous of my becoming a mayor and you pressured me not to become a candidate. But all my neighbors are saying I’ll certainly win the election and they are swearing on it.
 
I can see that you’re into trouble. Do what you want. Come what may”. I said and I left his shop right away.
 
It was unbelievable. Everybody was talking about Osman. Everyone was deep into the gossip about his candidacy. But I was left out. I could see that there were no two ways about it. I had to do something to jump onto the chatter wagon. I was getting tired of the work anyway. I stood up and made my way to Osman’s shop again. I ordered two glasses of tea before entering. Once inside, I pulled up a footstool and sat down. Osman looked at me sourly. If it had not been for the previous chiding he had received, he would have chased me out of his shop. Both of us remained silent. Our glasses of tea were brought, and we started drinking the tea. I spoke with the meek tones of an offender.
 
“Osman! I’m ashamed before you. I came here to present you my apologies. I’ve been conducting an opinion poll for days. It’s amazing! Whoever I asked the question to told me that he was going to vote for you. And with promises and oaths. I was truly surprised about all this. These people seem to like you very much. It’s obvious that your election victory is guaranteed. And what did I do? Like a fool, I tried to stop you from using your civilized right. But you proved to be a more far-sighted person than I am. You rightly didn’t lend an ear to my obstructive efforts and you didn’t withdraw your candidacy. I congratulate you in advance on your future mayor’s office. From now on I will support you with all my might. But I do have one request,only one.”
 
“And what’s that?”
 
“Let’s conduct your election campaign together. Let me become your manager. And when you win the elections, you give me a job at the municipality. Thanks to you, I’ll become a civil servant myself. You know I’m unmarried. Around here, people don’t’ want their daughters to marry a craftsman or a tradesmen. But they gladly marry their daughters to a civil servant. With the easiest conditions attached. Thanks to you, I’ll become a civil servant and have a secure job. Then it’ll become possible for me to set up a family.”
 
“All right! Consider it done. I’ll make you my head secretary.”

“No! That’s not the job for me. For that you need to have had a good education and be able to keep records well. Instead, assign me to the sanitation service.”
 
“What kind of a job is that? Is it something that could make me lose the mayor’s office?”
 
“Of course not Mister Mayor! Am I the kind of person who would show ingratitude to someone who gave me my daily bread? Besides, your mayor’s post can be taken away from you only by a coup d’etat or by court decision. A decision by the municipal council wouldn’t do it, because, even if the council takes such a decision, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has to approve to make it effective. Making you lose your mayor’s job is far beyond me.”
 
“All right! But what kind of a job is that service? Tell me about it.”
 
“Mister Mayor! Enjoy the benefits and don’t ask any questions. Tell me if you are going to assign me to the sanitation service or not. The word you will give me here will be the bond, and it will be enough for me. I know your word you is more reliable than any contract.”

“So I make you the holder of that service.”
 
“Then I should get onto the job immediately.” I reached for the telephone and called the two local newspapers one after the other. I told the people who took my calls that our Honorable Independent Candidate for Mayor, Osman Uzun, was going to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. and I asked the newspapers to attend the conference.
 
“At 2 p.m. today?”, they asked me.
 
“Yes! At 2 p.m. today!” They arrived at two o’clock sharp. They tried to ask the questions they had prepared directly to my candidate, Deli Osman. I intervened.
 
“We’re conducting an Amerikan-style election here. As you know, in America, campaign managers take charge of such matters. Please direct your questions to me.”
 
I realized that the journalists were getting ready to leave and said to the future mayor: “Osman! Be quick and order glasses of tea for our friends. They have a lot to do and we shouldn’t keep them waiting.” Once Osman had left to order the tea, I said to the journalists: “My friends! As you know, I’m a journalist too. The news you have here is more interesting than man bites dog. Your mistake if you miss it.” Once Osman got back from ordering the tea, the interview got underway. The journalists asked the questions and I gave the answers.
 
“What do you intend to do if you get elected. Do you have a programme? If you have one, what changes do you want to make?”
 
“Of course we have a programme. If we get elected, we will transform our town into a model place. We’ll make innovations that will set an example for all the surrounding towns. As you know, garbage is presently tossed into barrels in the streets. By the time the collectors come to get it for transportation to the town dump, the garbage is scattered all over the place by street cats and dogs. Once on the ground, the garbage is blown around by the wind. To remedy this situation, we’ll dig underground garbage pits and we’ll collect the garbage from them by using garbage trucks equipped with vacuum mechanisms. That way, since the garbage won’t be scattered, we’ll make sure that the streets are as clean as possible. We’ll supply the municipal water free of charge. If we detect that establishments which handle food are not attaching the required importance to hygiene in spite of the water being free, then we’ll impose heavy fines on them. Water costs will be partially met in this way. We’ll look for new additions to the now insufficient city water supply. If we can’t find adequate springwater, then we’ll provide the water needed through a dam that we’ll build over Basmacı stream. To increase tourism revenues, we’ll publish and distribute brochures on our town. We’ll cover the river bed that crosses our township and we build commercial spaces above it. We’ll pursue a transparent administration. All our citizens will be able to conduct their official business as comfortably as when they’re at home. We’ll build housing for old people and also for the destitute. Three times a day, we’ll distribute free meals to the poor.” So, whatever action was to be taken for the city in the circumstances of those days was explained by us together with the remedies. Or, to put it better, I explained everything.
 
Our press conference made the headlines the next day. Readers found Osman’s declarations very positive. Some went so far as to say:
 
Yahu! We used to call him crazy, but are these words of a madman?” Truly, nobody was expecting such coherent explanations from Osman. That same day, the center left candidate came to visit me. We chatted awhile. While drinking the cups of coffee the coffee-shop owner brought, the conversation touched on this and that, and finally centered on politics.
 
Yahu! My good Sir! Whad’ave you done? You brought a fool to the forefront. We know perfectly well that you’re the one who made those statements, but how are we going to explain this to the electorate? Whad’if he surprises us all and win the election, what will happen around here?”
 
“A lot of good things would happen. I would help him in every way and make sure that he becomes a good mayor.”

“I kiss your eyes usta! We had just about guaranteed the election outcome, and you put this madman before us. You stirred everything up. Now everyone comes to your conferences. No one of any importance comes to ours.”
 
“Don’t worry! This candidacy will actually work for your interests. Look! Küpçülerin Nevzat, although he is center right, declared that he certainly was not going to vote for the center right candidate. He says he and his buddies will all vote for Deli Osman. I know well that he is reckless and foolhardy. Since there’s no chance of his winning, we are carrying on with the comedy. You shouldn’t ever see him as a danger. It’s the rightists who should worry about him. Each vote he will get will work for your benefit.” He left my shop recomforted.
 
Once I bade farewell to my guest, I went to the Menteşeli printhouse. I told Menteşeli to stop the machines so that we could have some fun with our candidate. The machines were brought to a halt. I went to the telephone. I asked the operator to connect me to nine hundred fifty six. Deli Osman was on the line. I covered the receiver with my handkerchief and asked him who he was.
 
“Osman the indepandidate”, he said. He meant “independent candidate”.
 
“Listen to me, you fool. Who are you to dream of being mayor? And you put yourself forth as a candidate! Since when did the mayor’s office become the lot of fools like you? Do you want to die like a dog? I was just about to guarantee the election outcome and you come in. You know well enough that the mayor has to be it among the living. If you care about your life and want to live on, you’ll withdraw your candidacy right now. Otherwise, you won’t even have a chance to regret what you’ve done. The dead can’t be sorry. I repeat, if you want to live on, and if you still have an ounce of intelligence left, you’ll withdraw your candidacy right now.”
 
“Who are you, sir?”

“And you still can’t understand who I am, dummy? Bonkers!” I shut up without waiting for his reply. Menteşeli, the owner of the printhouse asked:
 
“What’s up usta? What’s happening?”

“Just wait a while. It will smell bad”, I said and I left the printhouse. From there, I headed directly towards the workshop of Saki usta, the repairman. Saki usta said:
 
“What’s up? You’re all smiles. What’s going on?”
 
“Look outside! Our candidate is searching for me high and low. Would he be looking for me if there weren’t something important? Since he knows that there’s no telephone in your shop, he’s not even looking this way He’s looking for me in shops which have a telephone.”
 
“Well what is going on? I’m dying of curiosity.”
 
“Who are you sir?”
 
“Don’t be impatient. We’ll smell it soon.” I went outside and hailed Osman:
 
“What’s going on Osman? What are you looking for like that?”

“Ah! And I was looking for you. Somehow I had not throught of looking here. Come over! Let’s go to my shop.”
 
“Let’s go Osman”. I ordered two glass of tea from the teahouse man and entered Osman’s shop. Pulling up a footstool, i sat down.

“What’s up Osman? Did something happen that bothered you? You’re pale. Are you sick or something?”

“If only I was sick…It worse than that. I’m in a very bad way. That is why I looked for you.”
 
“What’s up?”

“You haven’t heard…?”
 
“What would I have heard? Saki Usta has neither radio nor telephone in his shop. If there’s any news, you have it. So, tell me.”

“The news is bad.”
 
“Why? Did a war break out? Has there been a coup d’etat? If there was anything of the sort, the radio would have given the news.”
 
Yok be! This news has nothing to do with a war or a coup d’etat.”
 
“What is it about then?”
 
“I got a death threat.”
 
“Why would anybody threaten you?”
 
“Why would they? They want me to withdraw my candidacy,that’s why. They‘re telling me to choose a way to die if I don’t.”
 
“Who is this reckless and disrespectful man? Didn’t he give you his name?”
 
“He didn’t. But I thought it was the center left candidate’s voice.”
 
“Amazing! What’s the matter with him?”

“He was just about to guarantee an election outcome and I came in, according to him.”
 
“Are you sure it was the center left candidate?”
 
“I know his voice. Sure it was him”

Vay be! This thing is becoming serious. That man is as dangerous as one can get. I’m not worried about the other candidates but he’s one is to be scared of.”

“Why?”

“Why do you think? He likes cockfights. He’s got a lot of fighting cocks himself. People like him take pleasure in seeing blood. By God, he could kill a man without blinking an eye. Even if he doesn’t kill anybody himself, he’d hire someone to do the job. He’s got a lot of money anyway. He’s very rich.”
 
“Then what are we going to do?”
 
“Your only solution is to withdraw.”

“What if I don’t?”

“They’ll kill you. If you look at the matter closely, they’d probably even kill me. Well now! I was dreaming I’d become a civil servant soon and jump into a proper job, and look at what happens! All my hopes and dreams! There go my plans for a marriage! What’s your last word? Vallahi, my friend, for my part, I still want to live. How old are we anyway? And life is beautiful. Announce your withdrawal and we’re done with it.”
 
“All right, all right! I will withdraw. You’re right about it.”
 
“It would be good thing.” I said and I stood up. “What can you do about it? This was the life span of our hopes and dreams.” I went straightl to my shop and started waiting for the outcome with curiosity. He came up to me soon afterwards. He looked relieved.

“What did you do?” I asked.
 
“I’m not withdrawing my candidacy. There will be no such thing as a resignation. With this venture, it’s either do or die trying. I talked with Uncle Mustafa the tailor and told him what happened. What he said was: ‘Are you crazy or something? Is it easy to kill someone these days? By God! They would bring the killer to the gallows’. So, I abandoned the idea of resignation.” Inevitably, my office of campaign manager was to continue.
 
At eight thirty in the evening Osman was to have a meeting in Tabakhane, the old tannery neighborhood. He was going to appear before the electors for the first time and give a speech. I prepared a good text for it, copying it with care so he could read it easily. I then made the necessary announcements through the municipality’s information office. “Osman the Indepandidate will give a speech to the public at eight thirty this evening. Osman the Indepandidate will come to this meeting sitting backwards on a donkey and accompanied by Çelebi’s drum. The public is invited. ”

I had the announcement repeated frequently. It was effective and attracted a very high degree of interest. At twenty past eight, we made our way to Tabakhane through an ebullient crowd.
 
Ahead of the crowd, Çelebi was beating his drum with all his strength. Just behind Çelebi, Osman the Indepandidate, sitting backwards on a donkey, was saluting the public. Among the applause and shouts of “Bravo!”, some booing and swearing could also be heard but he didn’t pay any attention to these. We arrived at Tabakhane and entered the coffee house where he was going to make his speech. We put two tables side by side and placed a chair on the tables. Our speaker’s platform was in place. I bent to the ear of İsmet the electrician.
 
“Don’t let him run out of water. He’s over excited. Let’s not lose our candidate just for the sake of some fun.” İsmet went out immediately to fetch water and was soon back beside me again. “Our candidate is in your hands”, I said and I went across to join the crowd. I readied my camera. Osman had laid out the papers on which I had written the speech text, and he was waiting for the cheering to cease in order to start. I pushed the shutter release a good many times and took pictures of both Osman and the crowd. Our candidate was having great difficulties in reading the text, groping his way in stammers. He finally succeeded in reading it all.
 
“Dear citizens!” A huge wave of applause broke out. “Bravo… ya sha sha…Long live Mayor Osman…Our man is the best man’. A number of boos also came out in between, but they got lost in the uproar. It was as if the earth was moving. Thousands of people had become one voice. İsmet held out the water so that Osman could calm down. Osman stooped to take the water, took one gulp from the glass and gave it back. Even the sight of our candidate drinking water had caused a huge outbreak of applause. Osman held the text to the level of his eyes again. He tried the read the text under the heading. He turned out to be unable to decipher it. Due to his state of excitement, he was also unable to bring the microphone closer to his mouth and he even had difficulties in keeping his papers at eye level. Without any alternative, he repeated the title he had just read. “Dear citizens!” Once again, a delirium of applause followed suit. He repeated the same phrase several times. Our half hour was over. My text, which I had prepared with such, great pains went into the litter box without being read. We made Osman mount the donkey backwards again. In front of the crowd, Çelebi once again started to beat his drum with all his strength. During that time, I was continuously taking photographs. Osman’s supporters, or to put it better, his roarers, became more and more exuberant. At the exact moment when I was going to take another photograph, the donkey took off in flight. He was stopped after a while by runners, but Osman was no longer on the animal. Our fallen candidate was trampled under feet of the stampeding crowd but no one took any notice. I went immediately to his help. With İsmet’s assistance, we managed to pick our candidate up from the ground, but with difficulty. During that time, my camera fell, together with the flash. I couldn’t prevent their being pounded under the crowd’s feet. Both my camera and its flash were transformed into scrap. I was extremely bothered about this because both were valuable instruments. I separated from the crowd and went to my shop, where I tried to repair and re-assemble my camera for a while. It was useless. The machine was finished. Passers by called at me:
 
Usta! Whad’are you doing there? There’s a carnival going on at the park. It is like the earth shaking. Your candidate is making havoc. And you sit there playing with your camera.”

“Never mind!” I said as I pursued my task. The camera was highly important for me. I was the regional correspondent for the newspapers Ulus and Demokrat İzmir. On top of this, I got some bad news from the municipal park manager the next day. He was holding me responsible for the events.
 
“I’ll apply to the court against both of you and make you pay the price of my broken tables and chairs”, was what was written in his message. I replied him by way of a joke.

“My friend! Who told you to buy such rotten tables and chairs. Was their wood struck by an epidemic? It was well done. Thanks to me, you’ve now realized that people have been selling you weak and rotten goods.”
 
The next day, my shop was constantly full. Each visitor asked if there were more fun to be had that evening.
 
“Let’s first get some rest and think about it for a while. We can spread the news when the time comes.” I said. In the meantime, since I was a former member of the center left party, I received a lot of reproaches from leftists.
 
“Get rid of this fool”, they said and they said nothing else. After some time, I saw Kara İlyas of Menemen in front of me in the shop.
 
“What have you done?”

“We’ve not done anything, brother İlyas!”
 
“How lucky that you haven’t done anything! What else could you have done? I heard that you assembled at least three thousand people in the square.”

“This is only the beginning İlyas. We’ll wait and see. We have a loooot of days with Osman before us. The gossip’s not going to die down anytime soon. ”
 
Hadi! You, me and Osman, the three of us, let’s go to Ejder’s place. Let’s drink tonight.”
 
“Good idea brother İlyas! Hadi, you go and let our mayor know. He loves free feasts. Let him have a night of fun tonight thanks to us.”
 
So we went to Ejder’s place that evening. It was the best alcohol-serving restaurant in town. We loaded our table with drinks and food. My intention was to keep our table as full as possible so as to leave no room on it for treatslikely to come from other tables. But my precautions still proved insufficient. Our table was overburdened with the dishes sent from the surrounding tables. As if these were not enough, the restaurant owner Ejder also took part in the treats offered to us. Our table was worth seeing. Towards midnight, I asked for the bill. Kara İlyas objected.
 
“I’ll pay the bill tonight. Tomorrow it will be on you.” The bill was paid. We went to my shop all together. Ilyas guaranteed high and loud that Osman was going to win the elections, that it was a sure thing, and he supported his words with swearing and oaths. These assurances put my candidate into very good humor. It was almost morning, and no one seemed to have any intention of leaving. I stood up.

“Friends! It’s almost morning. That’s enough for today. Let’s breqk up the party now. Tomorrow night at the same time we meet each other at Ejder’s place. Let’s go and get some sleep now. We’ll need a lot of energy tomorrow. And then we can go back to our public again. Our public expects new things from us.” We dispersed.
 
At the agreed hour, we met each other at Ejder’s place. We ate and drank a lot. Around us there were people who called upon Osman to incite him to speak. If it had not been for my pinching him he well might have stood up and started to speak! But each time he made a move to do so, I pinched him. He was obliged to shut up. He was hurt but nevertheless said nothing. At one moment, he became defiant.
 
“What are you pinching me for? Let me talk a little. Don’t you see that they want me to speak. ”
 
“Behave with dignity so that you’re treated with respect. We learned politics at İsmet Pasha’s school. We never speak of politics at the drink table.”

“All right, all right! I understand! I won’t speak anymore.” At that moment, İlyas intervened in the conversation.
 
“Let him speak yahu! Our people need his speeches. Whatever he will say is as good as gold. By God, what he will say will not only illuminate this city, but the entire world.”
 
“İlyas! Don’t let things go astray! Stay where you’re seated. I think you’ve got drunk too!”
 
“All right, all right! Let’s do as you say. Time had flown and it was quite late. I paid the bill. We went out of the restaurant. We headed directly for the city park. Once we had some coffee, we dispersed.”
 
                                                      ***
 
Back in my shop the next day, my head was hammering because of the drink. I wasn’t used to it. It was as if my head was too heavy for my body. Nothing I did helped. My hands just couldn’t move to the work I had in hand, and there was a good deal of it. I went outside, thinking I would revive myself in open air. My feet dragged me to Osman’s place again. I went into his shop. 
 
“Good day Osman!”
 
“Thank you abi! Welcome to you and same to you. What’s up?”
 
“Health and happiness! I feel like a bomb. I can explode anytime.”
 
“Keep well! Keep well so we can keep counting on you.”
 
“How are you?”

“Exhausted.”

“Why?”
 
“Why not? You’ve turned me into an alcoholic two nights in a row, I’m not used to drinking. And now my head’s too heavy for my body. In spite of there’s being a good deal of work, my hands don’t move to the work I have in hand. I can even get a complaint from a customer.”
 
At that precise moment, my eye was attracted to a thick spike placed vertically behind the door. I immediately pulled it to myself and weighed it with my hand. Sawed in two, it could easily carry a hundred-pound person like Osman. I put it in Osman’s hands right away.
 
“Take this quickly to Süleyman the carpenter. Have it sawed vertically in two. Have the edges filed down so that it won’t cut when handled.”
 
“What are we going to do with it?”
 
“Do what I tell you. There’s no time to lose in talking. Also, get four bolts about ten centimeters long and with washers.” Osman didn’t seem convinced at all.
 
“Allah Allah! What will become of the spike? What are you thinking of doing? Tell me.”
 
“Do what I tell you. As I told you, there is no time to be lost talk. The Minister of Internal Affairs is holding a meeting in Samanhane tonight.”
 
“Where?”
 
“In Samanhane.”
 
“What does it have to do with us?”
 
“We are going to have a meeting on the opposite side of town, in Yeniyol. That will show who is more powerful. Whoever gathers the bigger audience will have proven his strength. And whoever has more power will win the prize, the mayor’s office. ”
 
Osman went away to have the spike sawn. In the meantime, I called my apprentices. I gave the keys of my house to one of them and told him to fetch one of the armchairs quickly. The other apprentice, I told to go to the workshop and bring me pen and paper. He was off and back in a minute. I took the pen and paper, sat down at Osman’s desk and prepared a communiqué. I gave the paper with the text to my apprentice as well as ten liras. I asked him to take it quickly to the municipality’s publications office and have it announced by loudspeakers four times. Since most announcements were made three times, mine was going to stand out.
 
Shortly afterwards, my communiqué started to be announced. “Attention! Attention! This is the municipality publications office. We are announcing the news. The independent candidate Osman Akıllıuzun will hold a meeting in Yeniyol this evening at eight thirty and address the public. Osman Akıllıuzun will come to the meeting on a palanquin. Our esteemed public is invited.”
 
At the same time, Osman came in with two spikes in hand sawn from the single spike I had given him. He also brought the other stuff I had ordered. Once my apprentice who had gone to fetch the armchair was also back, I put myself to my task. Osman was in constant inquiries.
 
“What is going to happen with these spikes, bolts and armchair? What is the palanquin for?”
 
“Just wait! You will find out soon.” I said and I continued what I was doing. He opted for keeping silent and waiting. With the hand punch I had had brought from my workshop, I opened a hole to each of the armchair’s legs. I extended the spikes along these armchair legs. I carefully marked each of the holes to have a well balanced palanquin. Once I completed the holes along the legs, I started the assembly work. I placed the washers on the bolt Osman had brought and I screwed them tightly. While I was examining it was well balanced and could serve for the task, İsmet Kuru the electrician came:
 
“Usta! Whad’iz this palanguin bizness? I do not understand what kind of stuff it is.” I replied him in the same accents.
 
“Are you blind or whad? It is standing righd in front of you.”
 
“But that is not the way to do it.”
 
“How is it done?”
 
“It has to have lighting on.”
 
“You are right İsmet.” I immediately put my hands on two pieces of lath, and I nailed them on the upper part of the armchair. I had had brought a box of batteries, some cable and four lightbulbs of six volts of different colors.
 
Once I finished the assembly work, I inserted a switch into the lighting system. Our little mahya was as ready as the palanquin. At a certain moment, I turned my head towards the street. I saw that a large crowd had gathered in front of the shop. They had even brought the traffic to a halt. I said to İsmet:
 
“Hold this from the edge.”
 
“So what?”
 
“You don’t see what? The traffic is stopped because of the crowd in the street. The police may come in a minute. Let’s go and hide this before the situation degenerates.” We went off to conceal it in the boiler room of the municipality bath. Upon returning to Osman’s shop, we ordered tea to the teaman. İsmet asked while we were drinking our tea.
 
“At which rate did you have an announcement made?”
 
“Ten liras.”
 
“That’s not enough. Here, I put ten liras too”, he said, and he put the money on the table. At that same moment, Kara İlyas appeared at the door. 
 
“What is it? Are we feasting on tea?”
 
“Sort of.”
 
“For ten liras.”
 
“No, that’s İsmet’s contribution for an announcement. The tea is on the house. From the son of Nevres.”
 
“I heard about your announcement. Where did you find the palanquin? I got curious and I came just to see it.”
 
“How were we supposed to have found it. We made it ourselves. We hid it in the bath’s boiler room for the moment. You can go and take a look.” Once he was back from having seen the palanquin, he tended the ten liras he was holding in hand. “The palanquin is beautiful. Tale this ten liras so that I have a share in the expenses too.” he said. As such, together with the announcements I had placed in the beginning, we were going to have a total of thirty-six announcements. While our announcement was being repeated over and over, the invitation to the meeting the Minister of Internal Affairs was going to hold in Samanhane also started to be announced. Afterwards, it was the turn of the announcements by the Republican People’s Party and the Confidence Party. All of a sudden, a battle of announcements was launched in the streets of the city. Gradually, ours and those of the ruling Justice Party’s were the only announcements that were pursued. Those of the Republican People’s Party and the Confidence Party could no longer be heard. They had seemingly opted for following the tug of war of the debate between the independent candidate and the ruling Justice Party. We sent over new ten liras to the office of announcements and held good in our stand.
 
In the evening, the Republican People’s Party’s chairman for the province, Fevzi Bey came to me.
 
“They called me from Yıldoğan.They absolutely want to see you. They do not see anything useful in us going there if you don’t come too.”
 
“What would they want to see me for? The same ones rejected my application for membership to the party. What business do I have in the meeting of a party of which I am not a member?”
 
“I pray you, Nevres Usta! Don’t leave me in difficulty. We will fix the other business. Once these elections are over, those who do not want you may go, and you may come into our party. It is unthinkable that you will be here as the correspondent for the newspapers Ulus and Demokrat İzmir at the same time, and you will be admitted as a member to our party.”
 
“Okay my friend, I will come with you to Yıldoğan. I am accepting for your sake and for the sake of our friends in Yıldoğan.”
 
We met each other in Atapark at around seven in the evening. We chatted awhile, the province’s party chairman Fevzi Bey, the deputy Sadi Bey, and me, killing time until the hour of departure to the district center we were set to head for. Suddenly, in our city reputed for its calm and quietness, a thunder of a noise broke out from the upper quarters in uncommon clamor. We tended our ears to try to understand what was happening. Once we heard Osman’s name, we understood the reasons for the noise. I took a look towards Yeniyol Street and what was that? The street was full of people and bouncing in movement. If we lost a little more time where we were, it was going to become impossible to take the road to go to the neighboring town. When he saw me standing up, Doctor Seyfi Bey called at me:
 
“Let’s wait a while. Let’s watch this fool a little.”
 
“The fool is my doing. I would like to watch him too. But look at this street. If we linger on a little more, it will not be possible for us to leave.”
 
“Aman! What took place in this street? How come so many people could come together here?”
 
“How do you think they could come? Look! Tractors are bringing in people from the villages. Soon there will not be anybody left in any village. Everybody is here to see their candidate.” We got into Seyfi Bey’s car and took off. We also told the party’s provincial office people that they should be leaving fast too. We had great difficulty in opening ourselves a passage through the flood of people until the outskirts of the city. Once out of the urban zone, we were in Yıldoğan in half an hour. An exhilarated crowd met us in Yıldoğan. Since I had lived there for four months, everybody knew me. That night, upon the insistence of rally organizers, I made a long speech. They loved my speech and asked me to speak more, but I was exhausted. My thoughts went to my independent candidate’s meeting in the city. We left Yıldoğan rather late.
 
When we were in the city, people no longer seemed the same. Everybody without exception had a smile on the face. When I saw someone I knew, I asked Seyfi Bey to stop a minute.
 
“Have you been to the independent candidate’s meeting?” I asked.
 
“Sure we have. He is the pupil of our eyes. Never would we leave him alone.”
 
“Was the meeting crowded?”
 
“Very crowded it was. If I say five thousand people, you should say fifteen thousand. This city never saw such multitude of people to this day. The traffic was stopped because of the crowd. We were cut off from the outside world for at least two hours.”
 
“Do you have any information on the meeting with the Ministry of Internal Affairs?”
 
“Sure I do. I have also been there to take a look. There were some fifteen to twenty people as audience. They pushed us into jeeps and brought us to Osman’s rally, so that we would pick up people from there and bring them to the minister’s meeting. But we were almost going to receive a beating from Osman’s supporters. ”
 
We thanked him and we continued our way.
 
The next day, Hüseyin Bey, one of my customers, told me the whole story.
 
In order to open the way, the police placed the palanquin in my car’s trunk. When people saw the palanquin the trunk, they thought Osman was in my car too. They wanted to hold my car to the air. Fortunately, my car is heavy and they couldn’t take it from the ground. “Please, please, don’t do it.” I scream, but ne one hears me. When, at a certain moment, my car’s wheels started to rotate in the air, I sure was scared. I thought my car was going to go to shatters.
 
After having repaired a few radios my customers had brought for reparation in my workshop, I walked towards Atapark to beathe some fresh air. Once there, I saw Kara İlyas and İsmet the electrician. There were three other people I didn’t recpgnize sitting next to them. I was going to feign not having seen them, but it didn’t work. They saw me right away and invited me among them. Without avail, I sat next to them. The topic of the conversation in the agenda was once again our independent candidate. The rally held the day before was immensely crowded. İsmet pointed across the street.
 
“See! There is your man.” My candidate was bent ear to ear with three other people and they were discussing in an excited manner. I called the waiter. “Take these two liras and a half. This is your tip. There is Deli Osman right there, do you know him?”
 
“Shame on you, abi! How could I not know our mayor?”
 
“Now you will go next to him. You will button your jacket in front of him, you will bend slightly and present your respects and you will invite him to our table.” The waiter went beside him and did exactly what I had told him. Osman took permission from his company and stood up, but they insisted for him to stay. On this, Osman sat down again and although they took up the conversation, his eyes were on me.
 
I waved to come by us and he made signs to say he could not deliver himself. He finally obtained the permission he was waiting for. He made for us. I told the people who were with me at the table:
 
“When Osman arrives here, we will all stand up to meet him, and we will invite him to sit at our table all together.”
 
“Should we pull his chair from under him and let him land on the ground?”
 
“Never! That would be too much.” Each of us was like a clock spring that was set. When Osman came near ıs, we all sprang up from our places and said in chorus:
 
“Please Mister Mayor! Please be seated!” we said and pushed our chairs forward. Osman was highly impressed by our warm reception. 
 
“Please Sirs! Please! Please do not be imcommodated. You embarrass me.”, he kept on saying. We made him next to us. We chatted well into the evening, regreshing our tea continuously. We discussed long and large on how we would transform our city into an prosperous and exemplary one in shortest delays. Then we took leave from each other, promising to meet again the next day.
 
                              ***
The next day, the first thing I did was to look after Osman. I went straight to his shop.
 
“Go ahead Mr. Mayor! Order us some coffee so that we recollect our spirits! I am unable to rid myself of sleepiness. You order and I pay.” He ordered the coffee and came back. Once we drank our cups of coffee, I ventured:
 
“Mr. Mayor! It’s been days that we haven’t made our voice heard. Our citizens will either take us for dead or they will think that we pulled our candidacy back.”
 
“Well, what should we do then?”
 
“Organize a new press conference.”
 
“What are you waiting for in that case? The telephone is there. Start organizing one right away!” I was turning the telephone’s magneto already. I requested the switchboard operator to connect me first to the newspaper İlkadım, and then to the newspaper Devrim. I told my interlocutors in both newspaper offices that the independent candidate Osman Akıllıuzun was going to hold a press conference and that he was going to make important declarations in the conference.
 
“At which time will the conference be held?”
 
“Once again, at two in the afternoon.” ‘Okay, we are coming right away’ they said. Both teams of journalists arrived right at the determined time. I told them that the conference was going to be held the American way again. For that reason, I was going to be the one to reply to questions. At the same time, I gave them tips on the questions they could ask.
 
“What do you intend to do to develop tourism if you are elected?”
 
“We are going to install a cable car system between the Mount Asar and the Mount Hamursuz and organize shuttles for tourists. The cable car will have the particularity of being groundless.” Osman poked into my words immediately.
 
“What are you telling these people? How are the tourists going to shuttle in a groundless cable car?”
 
“For the sake of notoriety Osman! If anyone takes a cable car between those two hills, what use is he going to have in sitting or standing in it. You know well that, seen from the hills, our city is astoundingly beautiful. All the tourists will have to do is to hold the edges of the cable basket tight. As such, they will have the opportunity to admire both the hills across and the city below them in their full beauty.”
 
“Yeah, you are right. Well, write it then?”
 
“What are your thoughts on the issue of economic development?”
 
“You know well that our city’s plain is extremely fertile. Unfortunately, it is not used in full efficiency due to the lack of water. For this reason, we are going to install water jet systems all over the plain and we are going to realize the passage into agriculture with irrigation. Our city also lacks a sea shore. Thus, we will bring the shore to the city. Our citizens will be able to bath in the sea without having to go through the trouble of going to the sea. The world will come to our city to see this accomplishment on the spot. Some will even ask us the build a sea-shore for them also. There will be so many people coming that our shopkeepers and craftsmen will prosper greatly. We will fall short of safes to stack the money and especially the foreign currency our visitors will leave us. We will even be able to send aid to neighboring provinces.”
 
The next day, the newspapers gave the news of our press conference in the headlines once again, and in largest type sizes.
 
“Great usta! When is the seashore coming?”
 
“Usta! When will the water jets start operating?”
 
“Usta! How could you think of transporting tourists with a groundless cable car? What else is in the making?” In the evening, Abdullah Usta the coil winder came to my shop. He was all smiles. 
 
“Where did you search the idea of bringing seashore here? And besides, what is this business of tourist shuttling with groundless cable cars?”
 
“First of all, welcome to my shop. You should know that we are the true representatives of our people. We are sons of the people before everything else. And of course, our task is to offer the best and the most useful services to our people. Naturally, you already count the sea as having arrived under your feet as you are there, and that’s why you are all smiles in joy.”
 
“Will there be able new chapter of fun?”
 
“Wait a while and you will see. Now, you will play the role of the president of the Worker’s Party and you will call him to congratulate him in all sincerity. Are you ready?”
 
“Leave it there! Don’t mix me into this business.”
 
“You will become the president of the glorious Worker’s Party at least for a few minutes. It’s not peanuts.” I turned the telephone’s magneto and addressed the switchboard I had on the phone.
 
“I will have a request to ask from you.”
 
“The pleasure is mine Özcan Bey. Will there be some more fun?”

“As usual. Now send a signal to the number 956 and tell my candidate that he has a call from Ankara and then connect him to my line.” The signal was sent and the operator told Osman that he had a call from Ankara. I intervened immediately.
 
“Hello! Who am I speaking to?”
 
“Osman Akıllıuzun.”
 
“Sir! Let me check to make sure that there is no mistake. It’s Osman Akıllıuzun the independent candidate, isn’t it?”
 
“Yes sir! It’s me.”
 
“Please remain on the line. Our president Mehmet Ali Aybar wants to speak to you. ”
 
“Of course sir! I would be honored.” I quickly tended the receiver to Abdullah Bey. I also took the precaution of covering the receiving with a piece of cloth. Abdullah Bey spoke in a grave and extremely serious voice.
 
“Hello! Who are you?”
 
“Osman Akıllıuzun. The independidate for mayor.”
 
“My son! I am Mehmet Ali Aybar, the President of the Worker’s Party. I read in the newspapers that you were a cloth cleaner. A cloth cleaner is a worker. I was very pleased that a worker had put forth his candidacy for the mayor’s office in a province seat. I congratulate you for your civil courage. I kiss you on the eyes and I wish you continuous success. I will now instruct my party’s office in your province to support your candidacy. My dearest desire is to see you as a mayor first, and then as a member of our party. So my son, remain in good health. Above all, take care of yourself. I kiss your eyes.”
 
“And I kiss your hands my pasha! Bless you!” I shut the phone right away. Through the diaphone, I ordered tea. We quickly distanced ourselves from the phone and sat down in a corner. Osman had come out of his shop and he entered into our street. He was looking left and right. He was evidently in search of someone he could tell his great telephone conversation. When he saw that the teaman was bringing us tea, he followed him and came near us. His eyes were smiling. We stood up and said in chorus:
 
“Come in Mister Mayor. Welcome to you.”
 
“Please sirs! Don’t be incommodated. Please, I beg you.”
 
“Our affection and respect for our president is without limit.” He sat down to bury himself deep in one of the armchairs.
 
“Bring tea for our mayor too,” I said to the teaman. He was relieved to have some tea to drink. Abdullah Bey called out:
 
“Your affairs seem to go well. I notice that your meetings are incomparably more crowded that the meetings of other candidates. And you beat them not threefold or fivefold, but hundred fold. The extent to which our public seems to love you is remarkable. It appears that you already guaranteed the election outcome.”
 
“Kısmet! I think the same way as you. We will succeed inshallah.”
 
“Inshallah dear Osman, inshallah! Our hearts are with you.”
 
Once again, it was Osman who broke the silence.
 
“Do you know they called me from Ankara?”
 
“Who called you?”
 
“Don’t you know?”
 
“How can I know? You didn’t tell us anything.”
 
“Well, I thought somehow you would know.”
 
“That beats all Osman. You speak as if our telephones had a parallel line.” In his mind, he was trying to see if we were pulling his legs. Once he was convinced that we were not, he related us his previous conversation with some exaggeration and beautification. We explained him there was nothing unusual or surprising about the call.
 
“He is flattering you in order to enroll you into his party as a member. His intention is to parachute you into his party for the price of a phone call. He will land into our city from the air. Thanks to you, he willl appropriate the mayor’s office of a large city to his party. That’s too cheap. No party should have hope and fancy in vain. They will see such hopes and fancies wane. We are putting our heads in stake for the sake of independence. Why should we limit our liberty of action?”
 
“You are telling right,” he said and he stood up. “With your permission,” he added and he went away. He had to tell the event to a lot of more people.
 
                                                      ***
 
Only one day was left before the election. I borrowed a barrow from construction workers. Osman was going to hold his last meeting in Atatürk Square. He was going to render himself to the meeting inside a barrow. I had prepared the text of a speech for him in view of any eventuality. I had written the entire text in very large letters. He was not going to be able to read, but it was just in case, and it would have been much better if he could read. I said to him when handing out the text:
 
“Listen, Osman! These people are extremely afraid of you. For this reason, they are sure to cut the electricity just when you will be speaking. I am sure of this. You reading this text will not suit any candidate. If they cut the electricity as I predict, you will shout as loud as you can, ‘There may be those among who may do like me. Those who may not wish to vote for me should at least avoid voting for the Justice Party, which does not respect democracy at all. They should vote for the Republican People’s Party.’ You understood well what you should say, didn’t you? ”
 
“Okay, I understood.”
 
“Good! This is our last meeting. I wish you well.”, I said and I bode farewell to my candidate. My predictions proved to be justified. They cut the electricity at the exact moment Osman was speaking. During that time, my candidate told his public exactly what I had had him memorized. He came near me after the meeting.
 
“Oh oh! I did well. I told those who may not wish to vote for me to vote for the Republican People’s Party. So that they know what it is to cut the electricity when I am speaking. ”
 
I do not know if Osman had any effect on the outcome, but the election results were not as I had expected. Justice Party’s candidate had won with a very close advance.
 
I voted in Yıldoğan that Sunday. When I came back to our city with our motorcycle, I found my candidate waiting for me excitedly in front of his shop. When he saw me, he extended his arm towards me. He placed his thumb between two fingers and did the well known vulgar gesture.
 
“Naaaah! You would become the scanvenger’s service clerk.”
 
“What is it Osman? What happened that you became so angry towards me?”
 
“Nonsense! Which reaction did you expect? Where have you been wandering until this hour? Don’t you look at your watch? It’s almost noontime.”
 
“It’s not easy to come from Yıldoğan to here. Be thankful that I could come at the present hour. My tyres could have blown on the road, the engine could have break down, and I could even have an accident and die.”
 
“You make it too long. Let’s go and see the election ballots.”
 
“Yes, Mister Mayor.” We put ourselves in two on my motorcycle and started making a tour of the election ballots. For Osman, it was as if the time had stopped. “May them count the ballots quick. We can celebrate our victory right away in Ejder abi’s restaurant.” The thought that he could lose the elections did not even dawn on him.
 
We continued our inspection well into the evening when the election ballots were opened. We were asking their ballots results to the poll chairmen. I was showing in secret the number “100” I had written in my palm in letters large enough to be read from a distance.
 
“Well, Osman Bey! I don’t know how I should put it. More than a hundred votes were cast for you but they were all cancelled. We are very sorry too.”
 
“Why do you cancel my votes?”
 
“Why do you think? Some were inappropriately marked. Some were sealed in the wrong place.”
 
“Vay be! Listen to this! Are people so stupid? They are not even able to cast their votes properly. Damn it!”
 
We pursued our tour along all ballot boxes. The responses given by the poll chairmen were all the same. Whereas the number of votes corresponding to each ballot box did not exceed eighty at the highest. When the final results were announced, Osman had obtained fifty six valid votes. He was seriously shaken by the cancellation of the thousands of votes he thought were cast for him and by having obtained only fifty six valid votes. He was shattered. I tried to console him in vain. Whatever I could say was of no use for him.
 
“Osman, why were you so sorry? I lost more than you did. If you had won, I was in the scavenger’s office right now. What use did all my efforts and expenses bring me? What happened to my sweet hopes of marriage? They lit up and then were extinguished like hay fire.” He was not even listening to me. He was preoccupied with his grief for his lost votes. At a certain moment, I could not stand it anymore. I grabbed him by the arm and took him to the doctor who was also our neighbor. My friend the doctor examined him in length. He prescribes a good deal of drugs and vitamins. He did not ask anything for the visit but still, the drugs he had prescribed had burned away my budget bad.
 
Once Osman was away with his drugs, he was nowhere to be seen for a week. At the end of one week, he came back to my shop again. The drugs seemed to have had a positive effect and his mood was considerably better. His recovery was apparent in his joyful manners.
 
“Hayrola Osman? I see that you are in good spirits.”
 
“I came for you. Let’s go and congratulate the winner. We are civilized people. It would be a shame if we don’t go and congratulate him.”
 
“Go on your own, Osman! I will not be coming with you.”
 
“Of course you will not be coming with me. You are a coward anyway. Where could you find the courage to come with me?” I reached for the telephone. I turned the magneto and told the switchboard operator:
 
“Could you please connect me to the mayor?” I turned the magneto again. The call was taken on the other end.
 
“Yes!”
 
“Who am I speaking to sir?”
 
“Haluk the mayor”
 
“Mister Mayor, our independent candidate Osman Bey would like to com and congratulate you on your victory. Is your schedule suitable, could we come to your office?”
 
“Who are you?”
 
“Osman Bey’s manager.”
 
“I would be pleased to receive you. Please come.”
 
Osman’s countenance had turned yellow. He had not deemed it as possible that I would react by deciding to go.
 
Because of a news dispatch I had sent to the newspaper Ulus whose correspondent for the city I was in the past, my relations with the mayor was very sour. At the time, my dispatch had had effects of a scale to end the democracy in the country. İsmet Pasha had been obliged to speak in the National Assembly pulpit times and times again, advising moderation, and had assured a return of the top brass to their caserns with difficulty. My news dispatch was about the pilot of a military jet plane that had crashed near our city whose corpse was going to be undertaken with a garbage truck. The Air Force command had shown an extremely rigoruous reaction to the incident. Osman knew about the whole story and did not think it as possible that I would go after all.
 
“Let’s drop it. Let’s not go.”
 
“No, my friend, we will go. A man’s word is his bond.” I grabbed him by the arm and literally pulled him along while walking to the municipality building. He was still insisting for not going. He voiced his insistence well until we were inside the mayor’s office. The mayor greeted us very warmly. He was seemingly trying to avoid having me as an adversary once again. We sat down in the arcmchairs shown to us. He offered us chocolate first. And then our cups of coffee came. Osman had placed his hands on his knees and stuck his legs together, and was sitting in a posture as respectful as possible in his eyes. We inquired after each other’s health. The conversation became more intense while we were drinking the coffee. In the meantime, Osman had ventured extending his legs first, and then brought his arms to his side. He ended up by crossing his legs.
 
“Mister Mayor. You should be thankful that our public is ignorant and stupid.”
 
“Why is that Osman Bey?”
 
“Why would it be? Five to six thousand votes cast for me were cancelled. How many votes did you receive by the way? Get out of that desk. That place is mine.”
 
I jumped out of the office rapidly. In there, I was suffocated with a great urge to laugh. I was breathing with difficulty. I could not even ask for a permission to take my leave because of the spasms of laughter. Whenever I think of it, I cherish Haluk Bey’s memory. After what Osman told me afterwards, the mayor had stood up upon Osman’s shout and had come near him to put his hand on his shoulder to say:
 
“This is just a fatality Osman. Today the fortune smiled on me, and tomorrow it may smile on you. You are still young. We will have many elections before us. Who knows, maybe in the next elections, you will become the winner, and I will come to congratulate you. My door is open to you whenever you will have a need. This is your house too.”, and had seen him off to the door.
 
Days later, while I was sitting in the park, Osman came near me. He pulled a chair and sat down. He was sighing and heaving.
 
“Hayrola Osman? I see that you are breating from the nose. What is it that troubles you again?”
 
“For God’s sake! How can this people commit such a stupid act? My five to six thousand votes will be cancelled and the man will sit on the mayor’s chair with the three thousand votes he received. It’s inadmissible. It drives me mad.” While I was thinking of what to say in response, I saw the Head Sergent Kaya Bey crossing the park.
 
“Kaya!” I shouted.
 
He turned and looked at us. He looked puzzled since he did not expect being addressed by me in such an unmannerly fashion.
 
“What’s up Özcan bey?”
 
“Come here right away!”
 
“Abi, I apologize but I have a lot to do. I will not be able to remain with you.”
 
“My friend! How can you run counter to a call by the president-to-be of our new state that we will set up. This is an order. You will come here right away.” He understood that there was fun to be had and changed the course of his walk to come near us.
 
“I am at your orders Mister President.”
 
“Sit down and listen to me well. From now on, our city reached the stage of declaring itself as an independent state. I will become the President of the Republic of this new state. You will be the Chief of Staff. And our mayor is sitting just in front of you. Mr. Osman Akıllıuzun.”
 
“Yessir! Tell us to die and we will die.”
 
“How many heavy machine guns do we have at our disposal?” He thought a second. He was mentally counting the number of roads with access to the city.
 
“Four, sir!”
 
“Tonight, you will place the heavy machine guns at spots alongside the roads that connect our city to the neighboring cities and towns. In the meantime, I will prepare our declaration of independence. Tomorrow, we will announce our independence to the world through a powerful transmitter.” Osman mixed into the conversation.
 
“Why are we declaring our independence?”
 
“To be able to name you the mayor of course.”
 
“All right! But suppose we have intercepted the roads with the heavy machine guns. How are we going top assure our air defence? Won’t they bomb us with planes?”
 
“Yahu Osman! The mad in your name comes out at every opportunity. Think about it! How can they bomb twenty thousand people just for the sake of Deli Osman. The world will raise. Am I right, Kaya Bey?”
 
“Our president is right Osman. You don’t annihilate a city for only one man. It’s not easy to send twenty thousand people to death just like that.”
 
“Well, you are right after all”, said Osman.
 
“In that case, tomorrow we will gather our young supporters in Atatürk Square. I reckon we can bring at least five thousand youths together. After having read our declaration of independence, we will go straight to the municipality. We will throw the mayor out of the window, on his chair.”
 
“Stop it! Stop it! Why do you throw the chair? Where am I going to sit then?”
 
“What nonsense! Stand on your feet! What are your feet for? That mayor’s chair is sinister, otherwise it would have been of use for its rightful proprietor. Why keep a sinister chair? To be pulled down by a counter-revolution? One victim is enough, and new chairs are not in shortage. We can just go and buy a new one. And the best one at that.”
 
“You are right. And we ca buy one covered in gold sheath.” Osman was once again floating within the dreams of his place of mayor.
 
“Let’s rise and go our ways now. Each of us has a lot of work to do.”
 
“Okay, let’s go”, they both said.
 
The next day, I disappeared in the fields. Despite the load of work I had, I was unable to go to my workshop. Osman was searching for everywhere he could think I could be. I was disseminating misleading information on my whereabouts to make sure that he would not be able to find me. I heard that he had ended up by sitting in a cheap tavern, possibly despairing of being able to find me. I sent some money to the tavern keeper and made him offer much drink to Osman. As such, I was saved from being searched.
 
For a long time afterwards, Osman would blame me at each encounter for not having founded our independent state and accuse of being a coward and a turncoat. He would tell me that he was sore against me for this reason.
 
Since a laundry service larger than Osman’s was opened, his business did not go very well. I knew he had difficulties in earning a livelihood. One day, I looked after him and found him. I offered him to come to my shop so that we could drink tea. He feigned reluctancy for a while and he accepted and came. He kept his reproaches against me going while we were drinking our glasses of tea.
 
“Look Osman! In our country, there are about a thousand municipalities. That many mayors were elected for each of them. They are all drunk with their victories at this hour. Tonight, I will prepare a congratulation message in your name. You will have a thousand of these messages printed in the printhouse. For each congratulation message, you will pack a few candies. And then you will send the messages and the candies to all mayors as cash-on-delivery dispatches. The money that will come adds up to a hundred thousand liras by counting a hundred liras for each mayor. Deduct twenty thousand for the costs for the package, the candies, the messages as well as the postal expenses, and then deduct another twenty thousand for returned shipments, sixty thousand liras will remain. And this money will assure you the means to set up a modern laundry like the one you want. But you should be careful in never sending a package without the congratutation message I will prepare for you, otherwise you may get into trouble.” Osman seemed convinced.
 
That night, I prepared the text of a message. In the morning I took it to Osman and gave it to him. The text of my message was exactly as follows:
 
“Dear Mister Mayor. We congratulate you heartily on your election, and we wish your success to continue and your new term to be beneficial to you and to your locality. I was a candidate for mayor too. I spent all my fortune during the election campaign. The money you will pay for the few candies inside this cash-on-delivery package will help me set up a new business and deliver me from the poverty and hunger I find myself presently in. Your generosity will become a reason for me to remember you with thankfulness for my entire life. In the end, you may decide not to view me as deserving your hundred liras assistance. In the case of such a view, please communicate me your decision. I will return your money immediately. Taking this opportunity, I salute you, wish you health and well being, and present you my respects.”
 
After having taken the message text and having left, Osman was not seen around for some time. One morning, I was browsing through the newspapers. In one page, I saw the picture of the Mayor of Antalya, and a caption underneath. “Antalya Mayor swindled.” A package sent by cash-on-delivery to the mayor contained only three candies. The mayor was declaring that they were going to transmit the affair to the attention of the prosecutor and sue Osman Akıllıuzun. Visibly after having read the same news, Osman came near me running in alarm.
 
“Have you read the news in the papers?”
 
“Yes, I read. What can I do? You should have had the text I gave you printed and join it inside the packages you sent. You should go and ask assistance from whoever might have told you not to put the message. He should deliver you out of this.”
 
“You are right”, he said and he left.
 
A few days later, it was the turn of the Mayor of Erzurum to appear in the papers in the same context. He too was declaring that he had been swindled by someone named Osman Akıllıuzun and that he was going to transmit the affair to the court authorities. Upon these news, the packages sent started arriving one by one, returned by their recipients. In the face of the developments, I wrote two letters to the mayors of Antalya and Erzurum and sent them. The two mayors finally ended up by desisting from bringing their claims to the court. Another misfortune for Osman could be avoided as such.
 
I had to deliver Osman from the cul-de-sac he had fallen into, but how? The most reasonable solution seemed to be in sending him away to Germany as a worker. I called Osman.
 
“Osman! If I arranged for you to be sent to Germany as a worker, would you go?”
 
“They would not take me abi!”
 
“I will make sure that you go. All it requires is for you and your wife to give your assent.”
 
“My wife does not need to give assent. At home, whatever I say is done.” At that very moment, his daughter arrived. She was about twelve thirteen years of age.
 
“My daughter! Go to your house and ask your mother if she would agree to your father’s being sent to Germany as a worker. And tell me right away the answer she gave you. ”
 
“Okay uncle!”, she said and left. She was back in a few minutes. “My mother says, ‘if he is able to go, may he go!’”, she said.
 
“Osman, do whatever your daughter came to ask you and then come back here again.” Once Osman was away, I called the State Employment Agency. I told the official who took the phone that I wanted to speak to the director. When the director was on the line, I said to him:
 
“Dear Mister Director! Sometimes they ask you a worker with so and so required skills, and that you are unable the meet the request from this city, right? The file is kept waiting a long time. And then, when someone with the required skills comes up, you can send him right away.”
 
“Yes, it may happen like that.”
 
“Do you have such a request in hand?”
 
“Of course, we always have requests. What is it about?”
 
“I was saying that our Deli Osman would fit the required profile in full, and we would send him off to Germany. ”
 
“He is a madman. What sort of work can he do?”
 
“Of any kind. Don’t see him as a madman. His madness is a counter reaction of genius. He is mad because he is too intelligent.”
 
“Okay, Nevres Bey. Let’s seek a solution.”
 
Two days later, I was called from the agency.A job was already found for Osman. ‘He should make his application immediately’ they told me. I called Osman and I sent him to the agency. The necessary paperwork was started. They noticed that Osman did not have a primary school diploma. They called me again, telling me the problem.
 
“A diploma is not important. Public Education Center is seeking people in the streets to give out diplomas. We can obtain one for Osman as well.” This time, I called the Public Education Center. I explained them Osman’s case.
 
“Can he read and write?”
 
“Better than many others who finished primary school.”
 
“Send him here right away then!” Once again, I found Osman and sent him this time to the Public Education Center. Some time later, he came back holding a primary school diploma in hand. The road to Germany was now open. Osman started his preparations for the journey immediately. People who heard the news came to me:
 
“What’s up usta! We heard that you were sending Osman to Germany.”
 
“What could I have done? Germans need a fuehrer. They got the news that Osman was an expert in these matters. They sent a special request asking him to be sent to their country. You did not deem Osman worthy of the place of mayor for this city, and the Germans will now make him a fuehrer. Soon you will have to take out your hats to salute him.”
 
Many years later, Osman became a candidate for the National Assembly as a deputy, this time in the name of the proletariat. Since I had left that city to settle back in my hometown of Menemen, I missed that part of the fun. When he was a candidate for mayor, I and others had met all his expenses. He had not fully realized what an expensive and destructive venture this was. A group of adulators soon gathered around him, and ate up the economies he had earned and accumulated in Germany. A Mercedes that tumbled in an accident and lost, together with the dreams of the National Assembly, cae to finish it all.
 
Osman went back to Germany again to earn back what he had lost, and then came back to settle in his hometown of Denizli. I received no more news of him.


26 Aralık 2007  00:44:01 - Okuma: (844)  Yazdır




İstatistik