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The Outsider by Albert Camus

Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday. Bof. Who cares? The old people's home old people's home old n (esp) (Brit) → maison f de retraite

old people's home old nAltersheim nt

 is 50 miles from Algiers so I asked my boss for two days off. He didn't seem pleased. I caught the two o'clock bus. It was very hot. I slept most of the way.

"Mrs Meursault was happy here," the warden WARDEN. A guardian; a keeper. This is the name given to various officers: as, the warden of the prison; the wardens of the port of Philadelphia; church wardens.  said. "She was bored living with you." It was true. She cried a lot the first few days at the home. But that was only because she wasn't used to it. After a month she'd have cried if she'd been taken away. That's partly why I never went to see her. And also because it was too much effort.

The caretaker began to unscrew the coffin lid. I stopped him. "Don't you want to see the body?" he asked. "No," I answered. "Why not?" "I'm not bovvered."

The inmates came to join the vigil vigil (vĭj`əl) [Lat.,=watch], in Christian calendars, eve of a feast, a day of penitential preparation. In ancient times worshipers gathered for vespers before a great feast and then waited outside the church until dawn for the liturgy (Mass). . I'd never before noticed what huge paunches old women can have. Their sobbing interrupted my sleep. The sun was already high in the sky as the procession pro·ces·sion  
1. The act of moving along or forward; progression.

2. Origination; emanation; rise.

a. A group of persons, vehicles, or objects moving along in an orderly, formal manner.
 moved off. "Was she old?" the undertaker asked. I shrugged. "Maybe." At last her body was in the blood-red earth. I could go home and sleep for 12 hours.

I decided to go swimming the next day. In the water I met Marie Cordona, who used to be a typist in the office. I brushed against her and asked if she wanted to go to the cinema. She seemed surprised when I turned up in a black tie. I told her Mother had died. She wanted to know when. "Whenever." The film was pretty stupid. Afterwards af·ter·ward   also af·ter·wards
At a later time; subsequently.

afterwards or afterward

later [Old English æfterweard]

Adv. 1.
 she came back to my place. When I woke up the next morning, Marie had gone. I spent the day smoking cigarettes and staring out of the window.

It was hot in the office the next day and I walked home by the docks. On my way upstairs I bumped into old Salamano, my next-door neighbour, who was swearing at his mange-ridden dog. "He's always here," he said. "Then why don't you get rid of it and get another one," I suggested. Just then my other neighbour came in. Locals say he lives off women. He's always seemed fine to me. He's called Raymond. He invited me in for black pudding black pudding
A French black sausage made of pork and seasoned pig's blood. Also called boudin noir.

black pudding

Brit a black sausage made from pig's blood, suet, etc.
 and told me he'd been in a fight with his Moorish girlfriend's brother. "He was upset that I'd beaten her up," he said. "But she had been deceiving me. Is that not fair enough?" I'd been smoking Raymond's cigarettes so I said it did seem fair. He asked me to write a letter for him that would hurt and punish her. He was extremely pleased when I agreed.

Marie and I were disturbed by dull thuds and a woman's shrill shrill  
adj. shrill·er, shrill·est
1. High-pitched and piercing in tone or sound: the shrill wail of a siren.

 voice. People gathered on the landing and banged on Raymond's door. "He hit me," the woman said. The plumber (programming, tool) Plumber - A system for obtaining information about memory leaks in Ada and C programs.
 called a policeman. Raymond asked me to be a witness. He told me to say she had cheated on him. I agreed and he asked if I wanted to go to a brothel. I refused as it was far too tiring.

The following week Raymond phoned me. He said that a friend had invited me to stay at his chalet on Sunday. I asked if I could bring Marie. That evening Marie asked me if I wanted to marry her. "If you want," I replied. "I ain't really bovvered." Did I love her? Bof. Maybe yes, maybe no. Probably not. We walked in silence for a while. I asked her if she wanted to eat with me. She said she was doing something. She looked at me. "Don't you want to know what?" I did, but I couldn't be bothered to ask.

The sun was very hot. We met up with Raymond and his friend, Masson, and went for a walk along the beach. We came across his former lover's brother sitting with a group of other Arabs. There was a fight. Masson got cut. The Arabs ran off. Later Raymond handed me his gun. I walked down the beach alone. I met the Arab. It was even hotter now. I shot him once. Then I shot him four times more.

"Why did you shoot him?" the magistrate Any individual who has the power of a public civil officer or inferior judicial officer, such as a Justice of the Peace.

The various state judicial systems provide for judicial officers who are often called magistrates, justices of the peace, or police justices.
 asked me. "It was too hot." "Do you miss your mother?" "I'm not bovvered." "Do you believe in God?" "I said I ain't bovvered."

Marie came to visit me once. "Would you have got married to anyone who had asked you?" she asked. "Probably." Apart from missing cigarettes, I quite enjoyed my 11 months in prison. And I even got used to not having cigarettes after a while.

My case came up the following summer. It was very hot in the court and I felt dizzy as the prosecuting lawyer questioned me. "Did I love my mother?" "Whateva." "Had I picked up a girl the day after the funeral After the Funeral is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1953 under the title of Funerals are Fatal ?" "Whateva." "Had I deliberately gone back to the beach to shoot the Arab?" "Whateva." It was very hot when the foreman of the jury read out the guilty verdict. The judge told me in a peculiar way that I would be decapitated de·cap·i·tate  
tr.v. de·cap·i·tat·ed, de·cap·i·tat·ing, de·cap·i·tates
To cut off the head of; behead.

[Late Latin d
 in a public square in the name of the French people. Did I have anything to say? I thought it over. "Not really," I said. "I ain't that bovvered."

Three times I refused to see the chaplain CHAPLAIN. A clergyman appointed to say prayers and perform divine service. Each house of congress usually appoints it own chaplain. . He'd looked at me sadly, begging me to hand my soul over to God. Eventually I grabbed his cassock in frustration. I'd lived in a certain way. I'd done some things and I hadn't done others. I realised that I'd been happy, that I was happy now. For the final consummation CONSUMMATION. The completion of a thing; as the consummation of marriage; (q.v.) the consummation of a contract, and the like.
     2. A contract is said to be consummated, when everything to be done in relation to it, has been accomplished.
, all I needed was a crowd of spectators at my execution saying they weren't bovvered either.

· John Crace's Digested Reads appear in G2 on Tuesdays
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Date:Jun 21, 2008
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