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Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King MedimonRevista Umělec 2004/1
Ivan Mečl | full happiness | en cs
There is nothing that has not already been done in culture, squeezed or pulled inside out, blown to dust. Classical culture today is made by scum. Those working in the fine arts who make paintings are called artists. Otherwise in the backwaters and marshlands the rest of the artists are lost in search of new and ever surprising methods. They must be earthbound, casual, political, managerial, cruel, nasty or outside of all worldly issues, charmingly angelic, cautious
gigolos, divine prostitutes and celestial beauties. And now recently the magic of criminality has been discovered.
It rarely happens that an artist rises from the bosom of crime. Historically, very few artists have made work while in prison. Here in the Czech Republic one such conceptual artist and man of letters has emerged, a man who has spent over half his life in custody or prison for fraud and theft. One of the names he goes by is Zdeněk Perský.
Introduction to the Problems of Young Writers
Maybe I’m supposed to write that I just stumbled across him, that he is my discovery. But he came all by himself. Just as Mrs. Vyhaňková had done in 1995. The same story. He stood there in the door, a directory of publishers in one hand opened to the letter ‘D’, and it read: “The publishing house works with beginning authors…” In his other hand he held a bag containing his manuscript. Mrs. Vyháňková had done did the same thing, and she was lucky — she was a genius artist.1 But I never saw her again.
It takes great courage to be a writer with no connections to anyone whatsoever and to come to a publishing house with only a directory, not even knowing whether the sentence in the book guarantees that anyone will listen to you. Sometimes the promise to look at work that others reject is hard to fulfill.
Several times as I was sitting with Perský, reading his mammoth story of crime and literature, he blurted out, “Man, you’re so lucky.” I asked him why he thought so. He said, “Well, that I found you…”
Perský has written two voluminous books. One of them is an autobiography which overlaps the genres of adventure and asocial philosophy, and the second is a work of a spiritual and Buddhist nature, a kind of My Battle written collectively by Jesus, Buddha, Osho and Hubbard. From this comes Persky’s idea of how to reform criminals and other bad people, following the examples of cardinal Vlk, the journalist J.X. Doležal and other high clergy and members of civil society. The author has contrived dozens of unbelievable storylines, deceptions and hoaxes, and he also writes breakneck crime stories, to be spoken about later.
Persky is justifiably convinced that by publishing his work and initiating the teaching of his theories in disciplinary institutions, plus perhaps through the establishment of institutions like Zen monasteries, crime could be brought down to a minimum. Like other young adepts, his advantage is his sincere faith. In some ways he resembles a follower and practitioner of the philosophy of Ladislav Klíma.2
King of Sherwood and Captain of the Great Ship Václav
Zdeněk was born a Rom in 1966. After his family came to Prague he began to commit crimes while a still minor. As he and his older brother look alike, they would often swap identity cards. When he needed to be older he would pretend to be his brother, and if he was caught by the police, he would be a minor and they had to let him go. Later these little tricks led to Perský’s big change. One time the whole police station fell into arguing about who Perský actually was and who the person they brought into the station was, or if he was there under someone else’s name.
From the beginning he took advantage of his extraordinary physical agility and quirky mind. In his book he describes the ways in which he perfected street crimes, and they are often reminiscent of performance art. For example, his description of how to rob a sleeping man.
“... But the socks I still haven’t checked, so I have to think of a way to do it? I begin to consider a special kind of surgical procedure, and anyway I have a pair of scissors, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The Chimpanzee is wearing shabby, half-torn Chinese sneakers, so I dive down into the stench… I have to cover my nose and mouth with my tie, like a surgeon, and with my scissors I start cutting the shoelaces along the tongue. Then I take out his comb and flip open the flaps of the shoes, and they fall open like lotus petals turning to the earth. I cut them off like two donkey ears, and all that’s left is the tongue on the instep. I cut that off too, and now he looks like a wildebeest with a rubber hoof. I break off the needles of the comb so that it looks like a hockey stick, and use it to get hold of the sock, and with the scissors I slice through it until it’s gone. Under his hoof just the insole is left, and the ways of God being unfathomable I begin to take great pleasure in all the cutting since it’s all going so smooth. I only want to cut and cut, nothing more. Just for the pleasure of it. I want to play. I missed my childhood, when I had no scrape book or stuffed monkey or teddy bear like other children had. So for Judy I cut off his collars, they’re dirty anyway, and his pockets, pant legs, sleeves, buttons. … He doesn’t even smell so bad now, and I begin to think he even smells kind of sweet. Now I wonder if a particular kind of cut might suit him better, whether simple strips or designs. In his cardigan I cut out semicircle and diamond shapes. He plays his snoring to me as I cut. … His hair is tied back into a ponytail like the American Indian called Vinetou, so I cut his hair short, as I like that look better and now he looks great. … Now I can leave, my work here is done. As I leave, I turn and give him a final look-over from the doorway and I feel sorry for him. Now I feel really attached to him, and I walk back thinking that I can’t leave him just like that, and I start cutting again, from his ankles to his knees. I make beautiful strips even in his sleeves. He now looks like a proper zebra…..”3
... And that was just the beginning. After exhausting all possibilities of classic robbery and duplicity, he began to create his own acts, performing them like an actor from the theater. The city of Prague is full of pawnshops where experienced and tough shop assistants work, and it is not easy to outsmart them. In almost every case the customer is robbed, and only stolen goods are worth selling to them. Or maybe something completely worthless, with added artistic value:
“... I found them somewhere in the cellar. The box was full of these rounded pieces of metal of the same size and material. There were piles of them. I took them with me and thought that I could put them to good use. At home I thoroughly investigated them and named them after myself FNO4, or the “universal process binder.” I took samples to pawnshops and rummage sales. No one knew what they were but they let me put them in the shop window displays. Three days later I sent a sophisticated-looking elderly man to one shop and he was supposed to pretend that he was a professor of Computer Science. His job was to suddenly look overjoyed, and shout out happily that they had FNO! In the USA there is no FNO in the normal shops. He would pay two dollars immediately for one piece. I hope you have at least 1000 pieces and that you can make good business, 10,000 pieces would be even better. The shop assistant was clearly puzzled. He said he had not expected anyone to be interested at all. He told him that three days ago a young boy had come in and wanted to display it here before he placed an ad in the papers. Then the man said: What? An ad? Find me that young man immediately, and I will pay him 60,000 Kč for 2,000 pieces. I’m ready to wait for him right here. The shop assistant was angry with himself for being such an idiot, and not writing down the address or phone number of the young man, and that he had underestimated the value of the object, and the boy even had to talk him into letting him display it! He said that he had only one piece in the shop. The man told him that he had made a big mistake, that he had not written down his address. The shop assistant explained that for sure the young man would stop by to see if anyone was interested in his thing. The old man promised that he would come back on Monday at five o’clock, and that he hoped the shop assistant would have all the pieces ready for him…
On Saturday I popped into the shop with a full suitcase of FNO and asked the shopkeeper if anyone had been interested in my object? He said that it was worthless junk, that it was good for nothing, but that maybe he could use it for something. That he has a friend who works in a steel mill. That he can melt it down and make a roof for his doghouse. But, he said, he could only melt it down if he had enough of them. He asked me how many I had? I said 5,032 and that I thought it was a rather strange story. I said, “You say that they’re worthless, but already many people answered my ad and I talked to two men who know a professor working in the USA. That professor was looking for them for a couple of weeks and he’d be glad to buy them from me and he pays good money too. But he didn’t say how much.” I told the shopkeeper that I thought he was playing a trick on me, and anyway I had another customer who wanted to pay 10 kč per piece. And don’t think that I came here to do business with you. I came for my missing piece and I would pay for my display space too. I gave him 200 Kč and I pretended that I was out the door, as I had no time because my customer was waiting for me on Sokolovská Street and he’d buy everything I had in my suitcase. I opened the suitcase for him and he saw lots of pieces of tin and he imagined how much he could make and I knew that instead of pieces of tin he saw US dollar signs. I tricked him the same way he tried to trick me with his dog house.
In such a situation the strategy is clear. I let him buy everything, just to make him more furious. He asked me how much I would take for all of it, and he said that he could give me 15,000 Kč now, and on Monday at 6 he would give me the rest, 35 000 Kč in all, and something on top of that, but that would be a surprise. I said OK, you talked me into it, but watch out man, if this is some kind of con job then this shop of yours is goin’ up in flames. He paid 15,000 kč in advance and I left behind the worthless tin trinkets. We shook hands, repeating our promise to meet on Monday. I went to pay a visit to the elderly sophisticated professor, who could be found every day lying in the railway station as a dirty bum. When I found him for the first time I had to give him some money to buy shampoo, and I paid for a public bath to make him look alright, and then we went to a second-hand shop, and I bought him a shirt for 15 kč, a jacket for 30 kč, pants for 35 kč, a hat for 10 kč, and the shoes were the most expensive, 70 kč. These days it’s risky business to put money into someone you don’t know.”5
Soon Perský became the uncrowned king of the parks around Prague’s main railway station, which is nicknamed “Sherwood.” On Wenceslas Square he was a master con artist and trickster.
It is no surprise then that at the age of 15 he did his first time behind bars, an eight month stint, and then again and again, until he’d spent a total of six years in prison with four breaks, growing from boyhood into manhood. And, according to him, his stay there was as formative as his stay outside his cell.
Who You Meet in the Clink
Altogether from 1981 to 2003 Perský spent roughly half his time behind bars. Today he considers himself reformed for good, but not by prison. He does not think of the years he spent there as lost years. On the contrary, those years were full of inspiring experiences in an interesting collective. Prison is not boring at all: you can experience great adventures. And it is an excellent place to meditate. But for Perský it was especially the people he met there who later inspired his literary works.
In 1982 while serving a sentence as a juvenile he got to know dissident Václav Benda in ways the official sources never knew him:
“He showed us what a made-up bed should look like. So we tried to make our beds in the same way. Then in the common room he read us a sample letter and explained how to write letters home. He wrote on the blackboard and we had to copy it down as the brigadier had written it. He did not allow us to make any changes, nothing less and nothing more. Then he made a duty roster. I got the best job there was to get — cloakroom attendant next to the bakery. I had loads of time to observe everything. The next day it started all over again. The flogging: wake up, wash, breakfast, duty, role-call, lining up, marching. Round and round. All of that’s OK, but what was not OK was that he was more active than the screws or warden at Přibylák. … The Brigadier put on false wake-up calls — he shouted at us to get up and he smacked the kids. When he caught us smoking or someone not listening to his orders or dissing him, he went to the screws and told them about it and they beat up the offender or sent him off to the fourth block among the killers. This happened to my friend Arnie. He got into physical conflict with him, and they sent him to the fourth block — a car thief in with the killers.”6
In Pankrác Prison, where he was transferred after sentencing:
“I see a guy who the young kids think is a good one, ‘cause he would bum us cigs. He just took a tobacco box out of his pocket. I sat down next to him and asked him if I could have a drag. He smiled at me and told me to roll one for myself, and when he saw how fast I was, he asked me if I could make a bunch of them for him for his cell, since he has something wrong with his hand, but I don’t remember what. So I rolled and rolled as I talked to him, filling his box, and when he wasn’t looking I popped every fifth cig down my shirt. When I finished rolling, I said: Hey Boss, it’s finished. The man looked at me dimly and with a smile on his face shook his head and said thanks and that it was good. I remember exactly what he said then, he said to: “When you get out of here if you pack and lick girls like you do cigarettes you’re going to be the happiest many on earth.”7
That man was Václav Havel. They met in 1984.
In his travel between prisons, being in custody and court he personally met Jaroslav Lizner, co-creator of Czech privatization, the original transaction that was supposed to distribute property of erstwhile socialist state to its citizens. The man was sentenced to six years for corruption. He met Ivan Jonák, the owner of a renowned Prague disco club, in prison for murdering his former wife, and Ali Karmov, sentenced for a relatively short period for numerous rackets, and in Perský’s own words, he planned to cook up various schemes with them all.
He describes the 1990s in prison as being extremely wild. In that time he met Michal Murajev, supposedly the strongest prisoner in the Czech prison system. All the prisons tossed this dangerous lifelong recidivist to each other like a hot potato. He could rip up tin food bowls like paper and he practiced martial arts on the prison equipment, as well as fellow prisoners. Once he smashed through his cell door, took the keys off the frightened guards and openly robbed the other prisoners. In the subsequent battle a troop of guards pounced on him, but Michal was still able to take a piece of most of them with him. As the prisons could do nothing to control the man, he was often set free early. On the outside he would immediately be hired to throw a scare into someone, and then one day he killed a man with a single blow, a certain liability in this type of business, and he landed in prison again. Then Perský met one guy named Lukáš who once chopped through the prison roof with an axe, and they say he successfully demanded that his lover, who was at the time in another prison, be escorted to him so they could have a good time together in his cell.
He also met the Romany Josef Šubrt, who while searching the prison library found books by an American plastic surgeon. Every day he learned the words from the book in his cell. With his new-found knowledge, natural good manners and the looks of a Greek-American doctor he was able to persuade plump women to have plastic surgery and in return they satisfied him sexually and took care of him. While having sex, he never removed his white shirt, so his victims would not notice his bad prison tattoo. Eventually he got caught and was taken to court. Standing there in his dirty undershirt, tattered oily overalls and speaking half Romanese, half Czech, he explained: “How stupid Czech girl believe me to be American Professor. Me not know English, only Dollar. Me want to fuck the blondies.” The whole trial turned into a comedy routine, and the witnesses ran out of the court room under the slaps of their husbands. He pointed out to the court that he never conned the naive ones.
He also spent time with fellow prisoner Jaroslav Šubrt, who was a perpetual inheritor. He met František Bříza, a prison veteran who died there of old age. The man always picked on the newcomers, saying that was sitting in prison for his faith. He believed that no one would catch him out.
Perský spent his formative years in the company of these exceptional criminal specialists from all social backgrounds, and he observed and absorbed their experiences, learned lessons from them and also learned from their mistakes. So it is no surprise that the combination of knowledge and his exaggerated self-confidence, suicidal recklessness and his unbelievable ability to combine lies and criminal activities started to resemble para-physical stories and dada performances.
“The prison society was like some kind of movie. Individuals like Goara (one of Perský’s pseudonyms) would stand on his toes. I was not at all bored when I talked to one drug cook, a real meathead. Even his name was strange. He was with me in Pankrác and his name was Pankrác. What would say Jung about that? Pankrác synchronicity. I asked him if he wanted to team up on a sweet deal. We break in and kidnap a he and she ostrich, and we put them in a garage we rent and have them lay eggs for us. We wait and when the eggs start coming out of her, we go off and sell them, and I know just the place, and we collect tons of money. We immediately get us a gram of pervitin, you loon, you get it? We won, we’re rich. Do you understand? Fuck cooking ephedrine, or solutan, murophen… Take a look at your teeth; they’re rotten from all the chemicals. But don’t worry, I can make a paste from the ostrich eggs and make some false teeth for you. There’s a lot of calcium in the eggs and your smile is just gonna shine. You’ll see, the two of us’ll put it all together, and you’ll look fine. Don’t tell anybody that instead of your hotplate we’ve got a he and she ostrich. Do you realize that each egg means something? They lay three eggs a day, that’s a lot. It’ll fetch us 90 grams a month. We’ll feed them leftovers we find in garbage cans. From time to time we can cut off their feathers and sell them too. This will earn us a fortune and we buy us pervitin wings. The cook asked me where we were gonna find them, and how we were gonna steal them since they kick and peck and he was afraid for his eyes. I told him not to be afraid, idiot, I know how to catch them in a special way. We only need to get a fishing rod, a paddle and a rake … A couple of times I caught them on ostrich farms, and I know all about it. I’m fully aware of everything and I know what to do. I know exactly what time they go to sleep, between ten and eleven at night, and they get up around four, the females do, and the males around five. We sneak up to them around four. Ostriches love vinegar and garlic. So we dip the garlic in vinegar put it on a hook and place it as close as possible to the ostrich hut. As soon as she smells it she’ll come out into the yard. In the morning she’ll still be sleepy and dull and when she tries to peck at the garlic I’ll reel it in towards us. She’ll chase after it and that means she’ll run right to us. As she comes running at full speed I’ll smack her with the paddle over the head and drag her in with the rake and then we cuff the legs. If she starts fighting back I’ll smack her with the paddle on the beak till she clams up. Only once it happened to me that one was really wild, otherwise they’re usually as docile as lambs. But one time I had to whip one with a fishing pole on its heels. But there’s only one problem, we need to steal a couple, not two males or two females. You’re to take a flashlight and shine it between its legs, and if a sack’s dangling there, then he’s a male, and if there’s a cut, then she’s a female. Then we throw them in the car, and we’re off. Pankrác asked me what we’d do if the police pulled us over on the road, and noticed that we had two ostriches on the back seat with handcuffs on their legs. I told him not to worry, that we just say like we did last time that we’re taking them to the vet and we had to handcuff them otherwise the beasts would kick our teeth out. To prove it you’d just open your mouth and show him your two hinges. And that’s the reason we had to bind them up. And now, listen, this is the most important part. You know they got this beak with two little holes in it, right? Sometimes we’re gonna give them some stuff to keep them laying eggs non-stop. We need high-quality goods. And that junkie called Pankrác said, Listen Persie, when you talk to me I feel dizzy in the back of my head. I told him, be glad because your brain is starting up, and it would be even worse if I started kicking your ass, you dick. For the whole month that loon dreamt about the ostriches in his cell and how they brought him only the good stuff. He desperately looked forward to a time when he could go collect eggs in the garage and get grams of shit in exchange. He felt happy, and felt no withdrawal, and he was released and happy for at least a few moments.”8
A Louis-Ferdinand Celin Type of Writer
The King of Persia, Edimon, as Zdeněk Perský also likes to call himself, is the author of two extensive manuscripts. The first, a book of stories titled Kde domov můj (Where is my Home), contains recollections from his criminal youth until his awakening and atonement in 2003. The author’s erudition and memory for endless references to many religious and philosophical concepts is obvious; though he mixes everything up, turns them upside down, places them next to each other making semi-insane connections and unbelievable textual overlapping. He spices issues of theology or philosophy with slang or Romanese, and full sentences are composed of slang idioms. This visionary amalgam is like a platter on which Perský serves up his modern desperado adventures.
At first the author faced basic difficulties in his writing, dictating his stories to girls he knew from the street, and afterwards he did his own proofreading. Reading the manuscript is like Celin’s torment among the worldly theatrical props of an insane Osho. Regarding the spelling and syntax, often it was a nearly insurmountable task to understand what was going on. When I finished reading the manuscript I felt as if Perský had pulled a fast one on me, just like one of the unfortunate characters in his stories.
He started initially by scribbling “scrolls” while in jail. But how would an author with no experience whatsoever prepare the manuscript for presentation to publishers? He offers us these instructions:
“On the table place an object of desire, a typewriter, a red IBM, and start rewriting your scroll. But I’m writing here, me, me, and the difference here is that it takes me two hours to write one page.
For the first time in his life Goar wrote on a typewriter and it was perfectly natural that it took him so long to find the ‘CH’ key. He felt betrayed by the shopkeeper who sold him this faulty machine and he went back to him to complain and he then explained to Goar that he was the faulty one since he didn’t know that ‘CH’ was made up of two separate letters — ‘C’ and ‘H.’
For Goar it was extremely painful to write at such a slow pace. Before, it was easy. Another person – an authority – always wrote on his behalf (a policeman taking down the confession of the arrested men). But now he himself was the authority and he had to rely on his own hands, which couldn’t be blamed for moving like half-blind woodpeckers. He knew it took time to practice. Later on he would be striking the keys as fast as lightening. But now there was no time to practice.
He had an idea. He went out to pick up a chick who could write real fast. On Perlová street (ed.—a notorious street in Prague known for its sex trade) he found one. Nothing prevented her from sitting behind a typewriter. Finally I started dictating to her, hundred percent sure she’d be unable to read my chicken scratch. I scratch ‘cause I’m a Persian tomcat. The stories and events I dictated enchanted her so much that soon instead of writing we’re fucking. Wild. And the poor little scrolls were crumpled up all over the floor. Very little was written. Three pages an hour, but two pages repeated the same story so overall it was the same as before when I typed myself. This happened a couple of time with other girls and the days passed… Slowly I began to doubt, I wasn’t sure what was more important, the universal pen in the scrolls or the pen in Perský’s underpants.
… During meditation the TV serial Cobra 11 came back to me where a lady secretary spoke into a microphone and a program was able to take down the spoken words and print them on numbered pages. I went searching for the same machine. I couldn’t wait, in the morning I ran to the nearest computer center and I started to explain and describe my acute interest. The boss helped me personally and with a Madonna-like church expression he explained that I was asking for something that wasn’t possible at the moment but he knew what I was talking about. He knew of that machine but he told me I had to wait, since it has not arrived on the European market yet…”9
Perský’s Mission for the Foreign Legion and Other Secret Operations
Like other men on the run from the law Perský tried to join the Foreign Legion, showing up already dressed in the legion uniform. But the sergeant on duty found out that he was only seventeen, which actually was not the truth, since he was traveling with someone’s else passport. He tried to explain all this to the sergeant, but when they discovered his real name, he was thrown out on his ear. That was 1991 and the Gulf war crisis was coming to a head.
He found himself alone in the French Riviera. After a period of desperation he formed a commando gang of thieves made up of other foreigners, and they went around stripping local unguarded buildings of everything they could pry loose. After some time this even helped the city to decide to install public lights on the beaches.
He traveled all around Europe and after a bout of homesickness he came back to the Czech Republic, where he was immediately arrested and jailed, but of course not under his real name.
Perský always enjoyed switching his identities to live undercover and perform mysterious operations. One of the first of this sort was a triplication of identities. It was a
performance for a girl who was just walking down the street, minding her own business:
“In a sec I changed into something unbelievable. I reeled around and suddenly stopped. I stepped out, confident and lithe as a panther. I chewed gum like I’d never chewed before. I was an American cool cat. I chewed gum and blew huge bubbles like I’d never chewed and blown before. I wanted her to look at me so I burst the bubble, like I’d never burst before. They were really loud booms. My walk was the walk of a sailor on the deck of a ship on a rough sea, and I was using my shoulders well, hands down, thumbs hooked in my belt. I suddenly shot my cigarette butt into a shop window and the hot ashes flew in all directions. It was timed so that it would startle her and she would know exactly who had shot it. This was a coding system, inserted directly into her memory. As she looked at me, I did the bubble trick and boom. I didn’t look at her at all and walked away victoriously. Then I went down into the Museum underground vestibule and rushed to the other side of the street, and here I ws heading towards he once again. I looked alarmed, I was looking for someone. I turned my head and walked fast. She stared at me with a puzzled look on her face, in the same way that I had looked at her before. She stopped and stared at me, perfectly fulfilling the role the operator had planned for her. I went up to her and asked her with a frightened expression if she’d seen my triplet walking around here? I said that he was wearing the same clothes and we were in a big hurry ‘cause our plane was leaving soon. What triplet? she bursts out. Exactly as I had programmed her to do. By now I knew I had her. You’re not the one who was walking over there a minute ago? She even said the sentence I planned for her in my script. No, it wasn’t me, I know it’s crazy. Please, if you have time, help me find him and you’ll see all three of us side by side... She very much wanted to see all three of us at once. She couldn’t believe that such a thing was possible. We set off in search of my brother and while looking for him she told me that he was an idiot and behaved like a child. I tell her she was very right. I kept telling him to be normal, you are someone, so behave like it, look at me, I don’t pretend to be anything and I’m OK… She said that that’s right and said, imagine, I was nearly burnt by his cigarette, he shot it into a shop window and the flying hot ashes nearly burnt my knee and if he’d burnt my stockings I would’ve beat him to the ground with my purse. And I told her that I felt sorry for him and that he was too much. Myself, I don’t like his chewing and booming, I always get scared…”10
In 1995 the police put out a public announcement that they were looking for good men to be managers and leaders for their crime department. Candidates were required to have a university degree, have completed their military service, be physically and psychologically fit and to be good managers. Perský immediately offered his services to the state with the following letter:
“I am pleased to inform you that I am to get the position and no one else, since I have a lot of experience and wisdom. Well, not traditional schooling, but a journeyman’s education, the university of life, which is far more real than the usual university education. Me and minister Zeman,11 we know both extremely wise men with only basic education, as well as academic assholes! And if you don’t already know, Minister of Interior Ruml completed only secondary education, and before he got his job he was shoveling black coal into a furnace. And he’s good and manages to maintain some order in our country. And I wish him acres of success and oceans of good luck.
I’m an upholsterer, educated in the pokey, and today I’m commander of room no. 37 EA-1 in Pankrác Prison. Feel free to question my educationalist Čára about the state of my room. And regarding technical equipment, I am a real specialist. I am a master in this field, since I completed the dactyloscopic, aromatic, planet and pickpocket examinations. My mental state is topnotch. I’m not at all manipulated by my surrounding influences and I suppose that I have reached a state of ‘satori.’ My physical state is massive. I am basically abstinent; only occasionally will I drink red wine. I also know how to fight with ‘Ninja’ strategies. As for managerial skills, I am familiar with the law, such as §250 on fraud and everything to do with it. For thirteen years I was in the business and I know as much as the wisest man. Basic military service I have not done, but for twelve months I did pre-military training in Libkovice, where I was trained by former KDS minister Václav Benda12, a political accomplice of president Václav Havel. In 1991 I was in the Foreign Legion for 4 hours, but from what I saw and learned, believe me, it would not be a problem for me to break up local mafia and wipe out organized crime. You understand, I don’t have a family, children, nobody else close to me. My only family is my existence.
I am well aware that I am not an altogether impeccable choice. That’s true and I admit that, but understand that it is much better to have knowledge and abilities in the field of crime, than to be an ignorant unpunished anti-recidivist.”
They never hired him, but he couldn’t get the matter out of his mind, and after he was released in 1995 he changed his methods. He founded a fictitious detective agency and secret police and army force. The later was intended to solve his own crimes. It went something like this:
He steals something from a well-to-do person, foreigners are best, something precious only to the victim. It could be a passport, valuable papers or a manager’s briefcase, it works best if it is stolen from a place the victim does not wish to be revealed — while picking up a prostitute, for example. During the discovery of the theft Perský’s accomplice is always at hand to immediately offer his services. He tells the victim that he knows someone from the secret police specialized in intimate and secret matters, and perhaps he could help him. The unfortunate victim then goes to a secret place to meet with an imitation Chuck Norris, who puts on a performance of his skills. As the victim approaches the meeting place, Perský, dressed in a paramilitary uniform, comes flipping out of the snow or is practicing his martial arts, shouting loudly. Being the good actor that he is, Perský allows the client to wait a moment as he puts on his commando show. Then he abruptly changes into a suit, takes out his notebook and starts the investigation. It takes about one week and Perský starts to bring in bits and pieces of the stolen merchandise. As he hands them over he immediately takes fat advances and charges extra costs to cover bribes for the imaginary criminals, mafia bosses and policemen. The victim is kept informed in detail of the unimaginable ways of criminals and the seedy underworld. Gradually Perský gives the stolen goods back, making a profit several times over again. The victim is happy, admires him and leaves with the real satisfaction of having had a true movie-like experience.
Perský Investment Fund
In 1995 Perský started to make his own business from jail. He describes this as an experiment to see how things worked. He found out that anything was possible, even if he was open about him being locked up in prison.
In order to get the money to open a bank account, he answered an ad offering quiet partnership in a firm. He pretended to be the heir of a huge amount of Australian dollars and he offered the investment of as much as one million Czech crowns. In his letter Perský explained that he was locked up at the moment and he would stay in prison for the next couple of years but he would like to invest now. In fact, it turns out that a partner in jail is a dream partner. Perský asked the company director for five thousand crowns to cover administrative costs, since he had no Czech money. His wish was granted. For Perský commanding the world from prison worked like a dream.
Having a bank account he could do a lot more. Once he joined a car auction of the former Communist government and he offered 8 million crowns for a ZiL 114, the car Soviet leader Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev presented to Czechoslovak president Gustav Husák. In his letter to the auction agency he revealed his wish to give the car to the judge who was in charge of his case. He also requested any fur coats or gloves of Russian leaders that they might have. The car was to be placed in front of the county court office in Ustí nad Orlicí. He promised to pay all the costs without any problem, since he had inherited large boats in Australia. He said that this could be easily confirmed. On the basis of a bad check he was officially entered in the auction, and sure enough it jacked up the value of the car. The collection of cars was eventually auctioned off to a steel magnate at an unbelievable price. The tycoon’s name was Vladimír Stehlík, and he was soon taken into custody for financial speculation on a much larger scale.
Of course with these and other operations he created a lot of chaos and fun. However, the fictitious business had the biggest impact in prison. Fellow prisoners, guards and even their superiors, observing the correspondence, believed that he was making real business and they gave him special treatment. They believed that this rich prisoner would pay back their favors once he was out. In prison Perský knew how to take advantage of this and he lived relatively well.
Top Games of Top Artists
In 1998 he constructed a model of the universe13 in his cell and from that moment some of his performances could be classified as absurd drama and science fiction. A year later Perský received a letter that he had to pay 1,000 crowns for taking the metro without a ticket. He argued back that he was an owner of Metro B line and was owed 289,000,000 crowns. He also wrote that he owns fifty percent of Prague Castle and he is in jail to be protected from political corruption. The court cancelled the order to pay the fine and sent a state deputy to visit him in jail. Perský told him that all of this is a cover operation and that his true authority, whom he obeys, is a deputy of the Czech branch of Interpol and that this man would explain everything to him. But to meet him he has to go to his residence on Kongresová street and once there he is to use the special secret codeword “Chas.”14 The confused official gave Perský a chocolate bar and allegedly left him for the Interpol directorate. In fourteen days another deputy came back with the proclamation that he was not as big an idiot as his former colleague and he would be uncompromising. For this deputy Perský acted out a crying scene about the fate of a frustrated child who only wants to play. His childhood was never so good. Eventually this game cost Perský nothing.
Another unbelievable matter was the five-year legal correspondence battle between Perský and Judge Pavel Sedláček, who in the end, perhaps out of desperation, accidentally signed a legal document chairwoman. According to descriptions, most of the trials, other lawsuits and documents turned into maze of Perský lies, proclamations, and judges’ vain attempts to penalize Perský effectively. For instance, after all the legal options to keep him in custody had fallen apart, and it became necessary to let Perský out of jail, he performed a comedy act in front of the judges, protesting that he didn’t want to go. So they had to push him out the door.
Birth of a Saint
Between 2000 and 2003 Perský tried to quit all criminal activities, and eventually he succeeded. He is not a sinner and he is an abstinent, a non-smoker and when he comes to the editorial offices he asks for only a glass of water. The former trickster, who felt sorry about spending stolen money, would not even take a tram ticket for free. He started to write literature and moralistic essays. He wrote hundreds of pages and he liked what he was writing so much that wrote down every idea and impulse from everything happening around him. He plans to spread his doctrine on how to convert criminals and he is putting all of his energy into it. If his written testimonies and commentaries have the kind of intense impact on institutions and people as they did on me, then there may be a social breakthrough. And then, God help us, there would only be good people left on earth.
The great historical question is the credibility of such converted sinners into Saints. Even if Perský was a master of duplicity and deception, I only have him to trust. Otherwise this article would come out only after years of proving the validity of his reality and visionary integrity. In conclusion, allow me to assure my readers – I am not the author of a fictional tale.
1 Michaela Vyháňková, Divus 3, 1997, p.130-144
2 Ladislav Klíma, radical Czech philosopher who applied his drastic theses of highly individualistic philosophy even on himself.
3 From story “Judy a malá domů” (“Judy and One Small Home”), text Kde domov můj, (Where Is My Home). Where Is My Home is the name of the Czech national anthem.
4 FNO = Filip nevídaný oblbovák, meaning Filip the unbelievably cunning guy
5 From the story Benda z přibyláku, (“Benda of Přibylák”), text Kde domov můj. (Where Is My Home)
6 Benda of Přibylák, text Kde domov můj. (Where Is My Home)
7 Story “Havel na eskortě” (Escorting Havel), text Kde domov můj (Where Is My Home)
8 Story “Trojice Hříšná” (Sinful Triplet), text Kde domov můj (Where Is My Home)
9 Story “Trojice Hříšná” (Sinful Triplet), text Kde domov můj (Where Is My Home)
10 Story “Šme na šme” (We are…), text Kde domov můj (Where Is My Home)
11 Miloš Zeman, prime minister of the Czech Republic and leader of Social Democrats in the 1990s. He was popular with Czechs for his vulgar attacks on journalists and some inconvenient intellectuals.
12 Václav Benda, political prisoner of the communist regime, later politician.
13 You will find a complete guide to the construction and flight of the cosmic ship INRI in this section.
14 Chas, means Eat it!
Letošní 50. ročník Art Basel přilákal celkem 93 000 návštěvníků a sběratelů z 80 zemí světa. 290 prémiových galerií představilo umělecká díla od počátku 20. století až po současnost. Hlavní sektor přehlídky, tradičně v prvním patře výstavního prostoru, představil 232 předních galerií z celého světa nabízející umění nejvyšší kvality. Veletrh ukázal vzestupný trend prodeje prostřednictvím galerií jak soukromým sbírkám, tak i institucím. Kromě hlavního veletrhu stály za návštěvu i ty přidružené: Volta, Liste a Photo Basel, k tomu doprovodné programy a výstavy v místních institucích, které kvalitou daleko přesahují hranice města tj. Kunsthalle Basel, Kunstmuseum, Tinguely muzeum nebo Fondation Beyeler.