Lotte & Søren Hammer
Ensomme Hjerters Klub ('Lonely Hearts’ Club')
The date was August 13, the place was Police Plaza in Copenhagen, the weather was windy and gray. The night in the inner city had passed relatively peacefully: a couple of barroom brawls, a knifing with superficial wounds, a handful of drunks who needed to sleep it off in detention, a prostitute dead from an overdose – nothing major or unusual. The worst was a drunk driver who had led two pursuing patrol cars on an early morning chase through the city streets in an attempt to avoid capture. He had ultimately succeeded. With squealing tires racing at over 60 miles an hour, he had turned from South Harbor Street ,gone past the docks, then turned right onto a side street, where he had punched the accelerator to the floor as he looked in the mirror triumphantly and drove into the harbor. The divers were looking for him now, but the current was strong there. So, it might take some time before he was found. Everyone hoped that he had gotten out of the car in time and made it to shore, but that was doubtful.
The boy who crossed over to Police Plaza was quite obese. At the pedestrian crossing in front of Police Headquarters, he looked carefully both ways before he dared to walk out into the street, slowly and with difficulty. When he reached the other side, he stopped and wiped his cheeks and forehead with a handkerchief he pulled out of his pants pocket, whereupon he proceeded down Niels Brock Street. His feet hurt, and there was still a good way to go before he reached his school. A few of the people who passed him looked worried and, perhaps, gave him a fleeting, pitying look before they hastened on. Most ignored him.
The boy’s attire was as sad as he was. His parents didn’t lack for money, but it was his way of protesting. One of them. He had on worn-out, white sneakers, last year’s offering at the local supermarket, faded jeans that were hanging below his belly, and a beige wind jacket, zipped halfway down, so a wrist could rest on the zipper as if he had broken his arm. The jacket increased his perspiration and, with his natural upholstery, he could have done without it. It wasn’t that cold. But it was necessary. The hand inside his jacket was holding a machine pistol.
It was 8:16, and it was a Wednesday.
Translated by Russell Dees