We Wait Outside
Politically incorrect interviews
Text: Gianluca Mercadante
Images: Matteo Bertone
We’re in a crisis. We’re at war, although it has changed names and we no longer fight with bombs, guns and tanks. War “2.0” has been revamped and modernised, resulting in the economy becoming the catalyst in our victory or defeat, and the powers that be are trying to take people’s minds off the situation as best they can. But people are already extremely good at taking their own minds off things, and that’s how we arrive at a situation where the news that a planet in our Solar System has been downgraded and condemned to a life as a non-planet creates controversy, ignites fuses and causes certain individuals to take to the streets in order to publicly express their intense disapproval.
But is it really Pluto that’s the problem?
Your name is?
Why are you protesting against Pluto being downgraded, Anthony?
Because man has no right to make this kind of decision.
Who discovered Pluto?
Who named Pluto Pluto?
So don’t you think that man does have some sort of right to downgrade a planet?
What do you do, Anthony?
For a living or as a hobby?
You don’t choose to be unemployed, Anthony, you become unemployed. What did you do before you were unemployed?
I was unemployed.
So to sum up, you’ve never worked a day in your life? Is that correct…?
So couldn’t we downgrade you as well? From unemployed to never employed?
No, unemployed is fine.
Don’t you think “do-nothing” is more apt?
Then perhaps you’ll prefer the term ‘bum’, you know, like someone who sits on their bum all day doing nothing?
I repeat: unemployed is fine, thank you.
Unemployed means “no longer employed”, Anthony. You can’t aspire to the status of unemployed without having previously entered into an employment contract.
You, Anthony, are being downgraded.
I’ll leave that up to those in charge.
The State. Or my parents.
Do you live off your parents, Anthony?
Do you contribute to the household budget, Anthony?
Well, no… I’d like to but, you know, parents will be parents.
So if you lived with your aunt…
What’s my aunt got to do with it?
You tell me, Anthony. I wrongly imagined that the fact that you don’t contribute to the household budget is because you are unemployed, not because of family hierarchies.
How old are you, Anthony?
What did you study?
I’m an engineering graduate.
And you can’t find a placement?
No, it’s not that I can’t find a placement: I don’t give a damn about working. I mean, not now, come on, I’m still young.
Don’t you think that little word “still” says a lot, Anthony?
Ok, you don’t think so. You don’t think, you don’t work, you scrounge off others… what do you do during the day, Anthony?
I surf the Internet.
And you’ve embraced Pluto’s cause thanks to the web?
With all the problems we’ve got on this planet, why should we be worried about another planet being downgraded, Anthony?
Because man has no right to…
Anthony, the question is more complex than that: tell me why you think we should give a damn about Pluto, in your personal opinion. That’s all there is to it.
That’s all there is to it? Don’t you realise that the matter is delicate? Don’t you realise that a planet, a whole planet, can cease to exist from one day to the next? And how does that happen? All you have to do is sit around a table and make the decision. I’ll be interested to see whether you’ll still be saying “that’s all there is to it” the day that certain people decide to sit around a table to determine our lives.
Have you ever sat around a table to decide on your own life, at least?
I am the master of my life.
And what have you done with your life?
I’ve done what I’ve done.
Anthony, are you saying that you have done nothing with your life?
And you don’t think it would be better to deal with this issue in depth and with urgency instead of worrying about Pluto?
Anthony, you have nothing to say.
No, no, Anthony, you have misunderstood: it wasn’t a question. You, Anthony, have nothing to say.
You spend your time on the computer and take to the streets for something that’s such a load of bollocks that my Mum and Dad wouldn’t have a clue what I was going on about if I tried to explain it to them. And do you know why they wouldn’t have a clue?
Because my Mum and Dad have always worked, Anthony. They’ve lived their lives and have completely different issues to worry about.
I’m not going to be an engineer.
So what else could you do, besides your unpaid role as a pro-Pluto demonstrator? I’d like to be a builder.
A builder. I’ve always dreamed about being a builder. I know it’s strange, but it’s true.
But… hold on a minute, Anthony, couldn’t you have told your Mum and Dad that earlier? Do you have any idea how much money they would have saved? They might have even got a new house out of it, what with their son being a builder.
They say it’s important to have a degree.
And what have you done with your degree?
I’ve made a sign, hung it around my neck and taken to the streets to protest on Pluto’s behalf.
Have a nice life, Anthony.
Same to you.
Thank you, goodbye.
Gianluca Mercadante was born in 1976 in Vercelli. Dozens of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and in the Italian book series Giallo Mondadori. He has published “McLoveMenu” (Stampa Alternativa publishing, 2002, Parole di Sale prize), “Il Banco dei Somari” (NoReply publishing, 2005), “Nodo al Pettine — Confessioni di un parrucchiere anarchico” (AlacrÃ n publishing, 2006), “Polaroid” (Las Vegas publishing, 2008), “Cherosene” (Las Vegas publishing, 2010), “Caro scrittore in erba…” (Las Vegas publishing, 2013), “Noi aspettiamo fuori” (EffedÃ¬ publishing, 2014) and “CasinÃ² Hormonal (Lite Editions publishing, 2015). Together with Daniele Manini, he has also been responsible for the anthology “Liscio assassino” (Zona publishing, 2014), appended to the band Banda Putiferio’s album with the same name. He has written literary criticism articles for the Italian daily newspaper “La Stampa” and for the magazines “Orizzonti”, “Pulp” and “Satisfiction”.
His most recent works are “Caro lettore in erba…” (Las Vegas publishing, 2015) and “L’uomo che non esiste” (Intermezzi publishing, 2016).
Matteo Bertone was born in 1975 in Vercelli. He gained his school qualifications from the Italian ‘Liceo Classico’, a college focusing on humanities, and subsequently graduated from Milan University with a pharmacy degree. Since childhood he has had a talent for drawing, and after university he experienced a pressing need to write. He made his debut with two satirical novels: “La mossa del Bradipo”, an illustrated novel completed in 2002 and “Soggetti Smarriti” completed in 2004. In 2011, with L’inverno di Teresa”, he was one of the finalists in the ISBN Edizioni “Storie di Febbraio” competition, and with his short story “La memoria dell’acqua” he was the first runner up in the Isola del Giglio Literary Competition. In 2014 he illustrated “Noi Aspettiamo Fuori” – in English “We’ll Wait Outside” – by Gianluca Mercadante, published by EffedÃ¬ publishing. In April 2014 he created “Diurno Imperfetto” published by Nero Press publishing. In November 2015, again published by Nero Press publishing, he created “Illustri Vampiri”, an illustrated children’s book.