|A screen capture from Scooby Doo or just another old house in Viljandi?|
Not only does Viljandi have the scenery down, but the characters, the characters. My pal Sten (name changed), a Vietnam vet with an expanding roster of offspring who lightens his load by doing flips on a trampoline. The school master Leivo (name changed again), who is like some kind of cross between Santa Claus and DIY painting guru Bob Ross. The local handyman Benno (another name changed) who is friendly on most days but especially friendly on the days that he drinks, and who I once saw collapse in a parking lot.
Then there are the poets and musicians: Kristiina (name not changed) writer of earthy poetry and her husband Silver (name not changed) whose talents include playing the bicycle tire. The motorcycle enthusiast (wait for it) who bought a sticker so that his yellow "Jeep" reads "Peep." Ruslan (name unchanged) the Ukrainian trombonist and Sofia (name unchanged) the Swedish folkie, plus the Armenian restaurateur and the Roma lady who told me she liked my books and then asked me for money (both names unknown), with all of whom I speak only Estonian, as if it was the only language in existence. It all adds up to something, an extravaganza, on ice, sometimes literally, but the only problem is that I just can't find a story line.
A madcap comedy? A murder mystery? A tale of passion and betrayal? Dangerous Estonian liaisons? An epic struggle between good and evil? Some modern-day rewrite of a Biblical parable? After our two cats disappeared, right in the neighborhood of a Chinese restaurant, I began to suspect that some kind of serial cat killer could pick up in Viljandi right where he left off in Kafka on the Shore. That one had no legs. The excitement over the discovery of a corpse in the lake after last winter's thaw (and there's always one or two) didn't lead me anywhere either. There's a haunted house around the corner too, but, who cares?
Fortunately, I've got plenty of other stories to write. But, for now, I am living in a book without a plot.