Friday, July 4, 2014


The sense of relief that Bjorn felt on learning that he could in fact get a car to get him back to the checkpoint was surprisingly strong, and he thanked the security officer wholeheartedly for the tip. Suddenly, Bjorn had gone from being more or less trapped in Lundby to being completely free to get back to his bed without having to wait for his colleagues, and this made everything suddenly seem so much better. "What a great place this is!" Bjorn thought to himself as he crossed the street, heading directly for one of the bouncers.

"Hi! Is it true that you can help me get home?" Bjorn asked, deliberately formulating his question in an open and nonspecific way to let the bouncer make recommendations himself.
"Depends where you live," the bouncer answered. "If you're from Neiden, you're stuck."
"How about Kirkenes?" Bjorn asked, curious to hear what kind of services were available.
"Then, you might have a chance."
"Yeah, there are two boats going in that direction. You'll find them over by the fish factory... Kids from Kirkenes who've come over to buy cheap stuff and make a few bucks ferrying people home."
"That's a good idea!"
"It sure is. Who needs the ferry over at the port when you can get a boat directly from here?"

The bouncer who had answered Bjorn without loosing sight of the guests coming and going, suddenly stepped forward to stop a beggar from harassing a couple of smokers.

"No begging here!" the bouncer said firmly. "If you need help, go up to the church. They run a charity."
"They are closed," the beggar protested.
"No, they are not. But even so, you can't go around hassling people here."
"Give me a break, will you."
"Not here I won't. Off you go!"

The beggar shrugged his shoulders and left, crossing the street back to the market where he came from. But even before the beggar reached the market, the Lance security officer was heading towards him, clearly prepared to send him away from the market too.

"I'm sorry about that," the bouncer said politely to the smokers who had followed the brief exchange with some discomfort. "But there is really no need for people to go around begging in this village. There are plenty of jobs for everyone."

The smokers thanked the bouncer for his intervention, but gave clear indication that they would not have minded giving the poor guy some spare change. However, the bouncer shook his head, telling them that such charity is better given to the church where they have a program to take care of the poor.

"You see that box over there?" the bouncer said, pointing to an old fashion collection box, clearly taken right out of the church. "Put whatever you would have liked to give to the beggar into it, and it will find its way to the right people."
"You think so?" one of the smokers asked sceptically. "More likely to end up being spent by some fat cat, I'd say."
The bouncer smiled politely. "Well, it's the charity that Jan supports, and he's not known for giving money away to fat cats."

"So Jan is a friend of Frederico?" Bjorn asked as he followed the bouncer back to his station by the door.
"A friend from college, I believe," the bouncer answered, still not paying much attention to Bjorn.

Bjorn found it interesting how everyone seemed to know everyone in the village, but did not pursue the thought. Instead he asked the question he had originally intended to ask.

"So you need a car?" the bouncer asked a little annoyed by Bjorn's continued presence. "Why didn't you say that right away?"
"To the checkpoint," Bjorn explained, ignoring the bouncer's rhetorical question.
"At the port?"
"No! Up the Lundby Neiden road."
"Okay," the bouncer answered, fishing out his smart phone from his pocket. "You need it now?"
"Can you give me ten minutes, I'll have to say goodbye to my buddies inside."
"Sure, go ahead, I'll get you a car."
"What will it cost me? Do you know?"
"It's sixty MG to the port, so it will be less than that."
"Less than sixty! Well, that's not much is it?"
"Not to you maybe, but it is to us," the bouncer answered with a polite smile.

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