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.
     Before long 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.





British Lions

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.
     On Sundays 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 garden.
     In the 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.
     Soon the breeze wafts a whisper from inside, 'Pity stands the test: pity is always pity. Love will have to take a re-examination.'
     The worm 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.
     The roll 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.





A Promenade

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.
     The professor 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 looks.
     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 2008