Some of these people are ostensibly enjoying themselves, laughing for no apparent reason. Others are hurrying somewhere with an expression of anxiety or even terror in their faces. A Chinaman over there is stealthily sneaking below the windows, following someone. And over here, a criminal is on the prowl, with a small black patch over his eye.

– A shot sounds behind one of the doors but no-one pays attention. A sailor with a pock-marked face, wearing a black and yellow T-shirt, staggers drunkenly, belting out a lewd song. Three men with bare torsos and black masks covering their faces, arrogantly swagger down the street, daggers behind their belts. The crowd parts in front of them. A row of figures with purple hoods over their heads and round holes for eyes file down the street.

– The windows of dancing halls open wide with yellow laughter… Li-la-lo-lu, says a Japanese woman, an ornamental needle stuck in her hairdo, like a dagger piercing a black heart. She is walking arm in arm with a gangster who amuses himself by tripping up old men. As he bares his redstained teeth, he has just kicked a legless beggar and sent him sprawling over a sewer grate.

A black shop sign screams:

DIAMONDS AND COAL
FOR SALE!

A hawker wheezes:

‘OVA’ cube is T H E B E S T ! ! !

A green and black banner:

THE INN AT THE END
OF THE WORLD

A small window opens:

No more despair!
Buy KOKA!
Grey days will become rosy!
Cowards will be transformed into heroes!
Defeat will turn into victory!

Violet face powder like a mask on women’s faces. Gleaming white teeth, black squares of windows, jingle bells, and, under the red drop of a light bulb, a woman throws around penetrating words, her crude gestures suggesting that she is the seller, the shop and the merchandise all in one:

“Hurry along, young and old.
Before you pass me by
Look at my face!
Notice my hair,
Appreciate the colour of my eyes!
Feel the firmness of my breasts
For free…
Touch my calves
Hard as the rails
Along which passion speeds!
I am burning, I am burning
For eight argents
I will torture you to death with my love…”

 

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