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spanish translation | italian original

excerpt from DESTROY
by Isabella Santacroce

Anger is an energy


      I boost a few CDs in Tower and then I start wandering around the shop, just messing and listening to the Rancid single without the slightest interest. I manage to dodge the store's strict security and smoke a couple of Gauloises out of sight of a massive black woman dressed like a schoolgirl who has the look of an Australian prison warder. I move like a gypsy as I introduce particles of recycled boredom into the cracks of my desire. I consider the reticence of my stomach, emaciated and enraged by the scanty doses of edibility received in the last few hours. I listen to the excited vibrating of my polluted consciousness. Educational reverberations scream codes of behaviour chewed over on Italian soil. Not to be recommended. Too painful for virgin souls. Purity is mine, I'm aware of that, and it feeds itself regularly on regrets and Catholic guilt feelings right to the marrow. A thousand Ave Marias and a thousand Our Father who art in Heavens to atone for rebel sins and so be able to attain the warm waters of incestuous paradises.


     Authentic fuck by fuck by fuck. I adore myself when I sing Anarchy in the UK., utterly oblivious to what's inside me. To be utterly oblivious and fuck like a queen. Would you like that?


     In the street I meet this eighteen year-old who's wearing ankle-high Buffaloes with double thick flexible soles. I get talking to her and we end up going for a long walk together. Her boyfriend died five months ago in a road accident. When he crashed he was talking to her on the phone. She's got white teeth. Her breath smells of liquorice.

     "Fucking mobiles," she coughs and buys a vowel. "He was telling me a really funny joke about ten Indian dwarfs who rob a McDonalds' disguised as penguins," she spits on the pavement and buys a consonant. "I was in my room, sprawled on the bed, perfectly calm, stark naked in front of the fan, listening to him and laughing. Every so often Dennis would say 'I'm flying like a plane', as if he was hallucinating, and then he'd go on with the story about the ten dwarfs who were buggering a cheese and bacon burger. Then all of a sudden I heard a squeal of brakes and… God! Shit." She has a fit and threatens an old woman who bumps into her, holding a knife to her throat. "Don't touch me, grandma. Don't even think of touching me." She shows her teeth, drools and puts the knife away in her bag.

     I give her two CDs in the hope of appeasing her anger.

     "I've got no self-control, not the tiniest trace of self-control." She shoots into Prêt-à-Manger like a flash and takes two sandwiches without paying. "At 2.30 there are so many people you can eat half the shop and just walk out whistling."


     We're dancing on top of a bench.
     "I'm Arlette." She covers her head with her tracksuit hood, strokes my razored skull with a rapid gesture. She smiles.
     "I'm Misty." I touch myself shamelessly and spit at the passers-by with studied brutality.
     "You want to meet in the Old Compton? About ten?"
     "But only poofs go there."
     "Yes, it's true. Are you racist?"
     "In the underground there are adverts of different brains, and the racist's one is so small it's ridiculous," I answer. Ridiculous. I'm pleased to have met you, Arlette. When strange eyes look at me, I feel the need for words.
     "I always sleep with the fan on."
     "Why, Arlette?"
     "Because that way it's like I was in the street, lying on the pavement, right in the draught."
     "I have a friend who lives in the street. He sleeps in the street, eats in the street… Sometimes I spend whole days with him."

Yes, great that we've met each other, Arlette, that we can hold hands and keep on talking while the sky starts to cry and our voices get wet.

     "I like your coat." She smells the material of the Vivienne de Mary and rubs up against it like a child dying of cold.


I'm an Orange Road, buy me and I'll make you happy. I know you're dying to do it. Go on, buy me and try me straight away in the back of your limousine. To you it might seem too artificial or too easy, but the synthetic gives away miracles, and an Orange Road like me can turn into the most corrupt of lovers. Buy me, lonely girl, stinking whore, and make me wet.


©1996 Isabella Santacroce/Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore
English translation by Graham Thomson
spanish translation | italian original
©1998 Editorial Anagrama, S.A
This electronic extract from  Destroy is published by The Barcelona Review by arrangement with Editorial Anagrama. This story may not be archived or distributed further without the author's express permission. Please see our conditions of use.
IsabellaIsabella Santacroce was born in Riccione, Italy. She has been called "the most malignant of all the Cannibals" by Paolo Di Stefano, referring to her status in the group of young Italian writers that have been categorized as such. Her first novel, Fluo, was published in 1995. Her second novel, Destroy, was released in 1996 by Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore and has just been published in Spanish translation by Editorial Anagrama.

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