In a Whale's Belly
The happiest years of Jonah's life were the ones he spent in the belly of a
whale. He didn't have to strive towards anything, simply because there was
nothing to strive towards. He didn't even have to feed himself, since the
whale's stomach supplied Jonah's organism with a perfect combination of
proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Of course, it was stuffy in there, and it
smelt fishy, but in general Jonah found his situation quite bearable. In
those times he loved to talk about symbiosis and about the lengthy and
mutually profitable coexistence of a man and the outer world. Even so, he was
aware of the fact that neither time nor the outer world exists in the belly
of a big fish.
One day Jonah
got an idea in his head; that, namely, of freedom. He prayed unto the Lord
his God for deliverance, and so the whale was instructed to spit him up on
dry land, which proved to be much drier than he would expect.
Jonah regretted altogether getting out of the whale, and felt sorry for
himself, and spoke to the other swallowed-and-disgorged, always moaning about
not living a proper life. He even started searching for another whale
interested in swallowing him up. However, the whales were not in any
particular hurry to let him into their interiors, and they simply drenched
him with some of the water that had been processed inside them, and waved him
off with their massive fins.
When lions started speaking English, animal keepers were the only ones who
could understand them. Others didn't take the whole thing seriously –
Wittgenstein famously said that if lions could talk, they would stop being
lions. He didn't clarify, however, if animal keepers would remain human,
should they understand lions' roaring.
animal keepers and lions sit up straight at the round table in the local inn
and, scarcely exchanging remarks, divide between them a huge Union Jack cake.
The Worm of Doubt
In the spacious classroom of reason things learn to reveal their self-concepts
and make themselves useful. The worm of doubt is also there; it thins the
convolutions of some brains and subsists on forbidden fruit from the school
meantime, the sky blossoms with interrogation marks and elusive smiles. The
heavenly dictionary sheds words, and they fall like hail. People disassemble
them and build language barriers and thorny hedges. Surrounded by one of
these, the things take the exam for the right to be called things.
breeze wafts a whisper from inside, 'Pity stands the test: pity is always
pity. Love will have to take a re-examination.'
wriggles. It is convulsed with the sense of having done its duty.
The Book of Meros
Papyrus recently found in the Desert of Unthinkable stripped the profession
of chronicler of all covers of sense. At the very top of the scroll a few
words can be seen set down in very shaky handwriting: The Book of Meros. This
is believed to be the title of the manuscript. Down the endless glossy coils
riders gallop, chariots whirl, swords clink, buildings collapse. No one sits
there making sense from a past.
absorbs everything that has happened since the dawn of creation up to the
movable 'now'. With each passing day the Book of Meros is getting longer, but
the memory of generations is getting shorter. The march of events will soon
catch up with the flow of time, and then, possibly, overtake it. Maybe this
means that we shall read in the mornings of what we are destined to do
throughout the day – who knows? What we shall do after we find out what we're
to do: that is the question.
Setting off for a walk into town, Professor Tausendteufel puts on his blind
spectacles, takes his flowering walking stick and adjusts the angle of his body's
droop. The correct angle has to be forty-five degrees minus the current
temperature of the air.
subsists on odours. Since professors and odours feel at home in the city, he
enjoys the promenade. He smells every cow-dropping and each sunflower. Our
professor spends an especially long time in front of pigsties. Not that he
feasts his eyes on pigs, not at all, but he clearly enjoys their adoring
As soon as
the squeaking of mill wheels reaches his ears, he directs his steps into the
heart of the city. Watch him stand in the middle of the central square, and
sniff at the fresh azure of cornflowers; watch the man who resolves, by the
mere fact that he exists, all the contradictions of our illogical world.
© Anatoly Kudryavitsky