THE STORY OF SVEN

Sven Lasse and my father had been friends since boyhood. My parents had lived in Aarhus for a year, when Sven and Ane came to town. - Sven a bookbinder, quickly had clients among university librarians known for paying bills at once. He rented part of an old white bourgois house in Mid-Aabyhøj and an apartment across the street. Sven and Ane had two girls my age.
Back home, in Odense, Sven and my father were members of a boxing club. The big thing being the two american soldiers who after the war found Odense. To my mothers recollection, all men including her husband and Sven got a terrible face out of it.

Now, that's Aarhus, 1949-50-51 my father often felt Sven burned his candles at both ends. During the war Sven might have been involved with the resitance. I never got any details. Anyway, like thousands of others he'd gone illegally to Sweden joining the Danish Brigade training for the ultimate fight throwing out the germans. .- As peace settled May 1945 Sven returned to civilian life with a little arsenal of firearms, a well known attitude those days.

My parents apartment was situated at Ringgaden. Closer to down-town-Aarhus than where Sven and Ane lived in Aabyhøj. - Many a night my parents in bed maybe for hours they heard Sven´s caractaristic whissle from down in the streets taking a walk after long working hours. Ane and the girls well asleep. Svens navigation very likely lead to a night club,. Maritza, where another ex-american soldier, bartender, illegal enterpriser, who knows, was Svens amphetamin supplier. The Negro, you said.

Sven had become an addict to narcotics. But somehow controlled it, ran a business, earned money for his familys needs and his own.
. Sometimes in the evenings my father, walking by, saw light in Svens workshop and found him working himself. No one else. High speed, high spirit, tomorrow he would deliver and get a fine fee.
- What the hell , Eigil, it's okay, say hi to Grethe!

One day Ane called very upset and afraid: Sven had left the apartment and barricaded himself at the workshop
´s upper floor shouting anyone coming got shot. My father went over while Ane stayed by the girls...He remembered opening the main door looking up the stairs, clean and bright wooden stairs. - Sven shouted - from upstairs - and appeared waving a rifle. - It' s me! Dam´it, my father said. Everyone believed him - he might grab the phone with the very same remark. - Sven looked down. - Hell, Eigil. come on up...!

They talked for a while. Sven in a sofa surrounded by small arms and junk. Take the word for real or for slang. My father left. Sven had seemed to be reasonable about Ane, the girls and their dayly needs.
A day or two later he shot himself. Ane found him on the sofa.

Whatever we think or fear of our Svens, someone must dare talk to them.




Top Photo of sculpture on display Aug. 2010 at Somerset Terrace, London:"Dali's Cabinet Women" by Christian Jankowski, inspired by street art performers in Barcelona playing Salvadore Dali's sculpture, The Antropomorphic Cabinet Women - Link to front view NY 2009