by Ioana Jucan
The bottle is on the table. The table is in the middle of the room. Therefore, the bottle is in the middle of the room. Which means – by implication – that the center of the room has been found. The bottle is the center of the room!
The bottle is on the table. The table is in the middle of the room. The fly is flying towards the bottle – approaching it from not quite a distance. Therefore, the fly is approximately the center of the room.
Approximately in the middle of the room, the fly is flying in circles around the bottle – more precisely, around the bottle neck: sticky and delicate. The fly is in no way a down-to-earth fly, so it flies, flies, flies at quite an altitude from the wooden/concrete floor of the room, mid-way between the floor and the ceiling.
Mid-way between the ceiling and the floor, the fly is quite resolute: it possesses a great will. It knows not of the world as will and representation, but it intuits the insides of the bottle neck as representation and desire. Just you wait until the fly gets into the neck of the bottle!
The heart of the fly in the neck of the bottle. The heart of the fly hitting the insides of the neck of the bottle. As the bottle neck does not break, the fly gets dizzy.
Loss of consciousness.
Or not – yet. Yet to be determined remains how the fly made it to the mouth of the bottle and down its neck. Then it spread its wings to fly – outside. Off she goes. Off she’s gone.
The bottle is on the table. The table is in the middle of the room. The cell phone is on the table, next to the bottle. Which means that the cell phone is in the middle of the room. It is a brick-style cell phone – now widely out-of-date, except in some parts of the world, at some times of the day. The brick-style cell phone rang exactly at 12: midday/midnight.
Right. At one minute past twelve pam (that is, from p to am), the screen of the cell phone displayed a missed-call-warning in a rectangular red box and against a reddish background – not the right color, not the right color at all, in total disharmony as it is and has always been with the green-bluish color of the rest of the screen. The young, restless, and somewhat inexperienced revolutionary-born rightful owner of the cell phone missed the call at 12pam and saw/heard at 12:15pam the missed call signal displayed at 12:01pam. 0123456 was the number and it’s been obsessing his brains ever since.
Whose number could it be?
He repeated it in slow as well as fast rhythms, aloud and in thought, over and over again, but the obsession was still not-over. He felt so tempted to call back, but he was so reticent to do so. Most probably, his enormous vanity prevented him from calling back. So, he did not do it. The number grew more and more familiar to him – so familiar that, at one point, Anton/Anthony – for this is the name of the young, restless, and somewhat inexperienced revolutionary – was struck by the terrifying thought that the number might have been his. For quite some time, he was tightly stuck with the idea that he was called on his own cell phone from his own cell phone. And that was something.
Now the question remains why Anton/Anthony missed the call in the first place. In the second place, he missed it because he didn’t hear the phone ringing. But in the first place, he does not have any such an excuse. The true truth is that at 12pam – exactly when the cell phone rang – Anton/Anthony was sitting in a chair. The chair was in front of the table. The table was in the middle of the room. The bottle was on the table. The cell phone was next to the bottle and on the table. The bottle and the cell phone were therefore in the middle of the room. Therefore, the chair was in the middle of the room, a few inches away from the table, away from the cell phone, away from the center. More simply put, at 12pam, when the phone rang, Anton/ Anthony was sitting in the chair, at the table, in the middle of the room, in front of the cell phone.
Everybody ought to get this picture – also known by the name of the picture of the events – but this picture is not complete. For, just as Anton/Anthony was struck by the thought that he had been called on his own cell phone from his own cell phone simultaneously, hours after he had actually been called, so was Anton/Anthony struck by the idea that he was born to become president, that he would run for president, that he would win the election – exactly at 12pam, when the cell phone rang and he missed it. This Idea somehow awakened Anton/Anthony from his dogmatic slumber.
So, this is how Anton/Anthony – struck by the Idea – missed the call at 12pam. When he found out about the Idea, his father congratulated his son on his brilliant decision and offered him his whole-hearted support. Anton/Anthony’s father reiterated with all confidence his belief that his own son was a genius, but explained to him quite plainly that it was no easy business to get the people to vote for him. From the point of view of the people, he was a big, fat unknown. Therefore, Anton/Anthony ought to work hard to win the people’s hearts.
How should I know how? But I know how. And you know how. And the people know how – deep down, somewhere inside. It’s a quite simple matter, in fact. It’s so simple that our complicated minds often miss it. Because it is so simple. Well, well… “Ready/To swing/In the Ring”?
“My son”, said the father, “you are my only and most beloved son. For this reason, I share this family secret with you – which you are bound to share with your son – who is bound to share it with his son/daughter – and so on and so forth.” He interrupts himself briefly; he is so emotionally disturbed that he can hardly inhale and exhale – air – : in other words, breathe: he can hardly breathe.
“My only and most beloved son”, he starts again, “open your ears and listen carefully. The people are fools who love to play. Speculate well this colossal weakness of theirs/ours and you will make yourself a big man: the President of their Republic. A democratic Republic in which you – a big fat unknown struck by the Idea that he was born to be president – can actually run for president, and can actually win, if and only if you speculate their weakness as brilliantly as you publicly acknowledge that you also have it (meaning, the weakness), and that nobody can get rid of it.” A brief pause.
“My only and most beloved son”, he carries his thought further, “the people are all fools who love to play. The secret of your success is that you make the rules of the game. In fact, be generous: you make up a new game altogether! A game that is nothing but a hyper-real farce. Lie, play, pretend, cry, lie! Lie with the smile wide on your face. Lie until it hurts. Them. Fuck them all! Professionally, of course. Metaphorically speaking, obviously. These are the new rules of the new game! And the game is called ‘Set them up, my boy! Set them up!’” Once more, he runs out of breath and pauses: inevitably.
“Most importantly, lay down the rules of the game quite explicitly. From the very beginning. An honest truth means more than a thousand lies. The people have a short span of consciousness or suffer from acute loss of memory/ from acute loss of reality. But they never forget the rules! So, you tell them from the very first moment of the campaign that your fundamental principle is honesty. You’ll be honest – and let them know – in no uncertain terms – that you will be lying and cheating on them at every single point of your run for president as well as eternally thereafter. And they’ll praise you for your honesty, and they’ll love the game – which only seems brand new, unexpected, and original, but in fact is as old as time/language itself. Set them up, my brilliant boy! Set them up!”
His father’s words
– remembered forwards and backwards –
got stuck to his mind
as the number of the missed call on his cell
got stuck to his mind.
Remembered backwards and forwards
his father’s words
got stuck to his head
like the number behind the missed call on his cell.
Well, so revolutionary-born Anton/Anthony – young, restless, and somewhat inexperienced – made his plans for the future and set out to make himself president. He turned himself into a televisional personality – which has nothing to do with reality.
Fellows, I am delighted to welcome you to my press conference. Welcome! I am happy to learn that you’re watching me in such great numbers. What I want to say today is quite simple, but immensely important: I condemn the past and praise the future. That is all. As you know, I’m not the first to praise the future – at least as far as I remember – but I am the first to condemn the past – at least as far as I am aware. At this historical moment, I give voice to what all of you– at least once in a life-time – must have been secretly thinking inside your heads, perhaps from the day you were born on.
Yes, fellows, the past is bad! It is a disgrace to our history, a stain on our cheeks.
No, fellows, not the distant past is necessarily bad, but the quite recent past that you or your parents/you and your parents have experienced first-hand.
Now, to describe the past in more detail is virtually impossible, for we must keep silent of what we cannot speak. The unspeakable must remain buried deep under the ugly inflation of words. But I condemn it with all my heart and with perfect honesty, no matter what else might still be said about the unsayable.
Fellows, long live the future that I promise to furnish forth for you and your families!
We don’t have much time, so I’ll keep straight to the point. Believe it or not, I will raise your living standards so high that few will be able to reach them. This can only be fair: if you want them high, you’ll have them high, I’ll give them to you high. Prices will fall – especially the prices of bread, meat, salmon, kiwi, rice. The dice will be cast as soon as I take the oath to be your rightful president. I care for you, my fellows, I care for you so much, but the situation is as such that I cannot promise much more than I already have – promised. I will put the system up and running on its feet in no time – that much I still can undertake to promise. I can hear the mute hum of the voices inside your chests. This hum gives me confidence that you support me, that you’re with me, that you follow me. Just you wait and you’ll hear how I’ve raised you’re living standards: high, higher and higher, like a flyer with my face on it. And, to be completely honest, when I’ll be very high, I’ll look down on you from up there, and you’ll all look like flies to me –well, flies too preoccupied with flying in circles to ever be able to hear my sarcastic laugh. But we might have to edit this part. I’ll give it a thought.
To sum up briefly, I will: condemn the past and praise the future
raise the standards of living real’ high (he is too passionately involved in the act of speech-making to realize that he’s just swallowed a few sound-letters)
secure the borders of our land, its insides as well as its outsides.
To this, I add: I will: reform all the administrative institutions of the state
reform all the people who work in them
reform all the people who live in this country.
And, above anything and everything, I will: promise you solemnly that I will do all these, honestly, with all the force of my imagination, with all the power of my voice.
Meanwhile, the people have been won over to the side of justice and to the side of the truth and to the side of the good, and to the side of hope. They have been equally won to all the four sides and are now waiting – in a kind of unexplainable tension – for the results of the elections. The tension grows proportionately with the elapsed time until the result is found out by internal sources and – afterwards – in the shortest possible temporal interval, until it is made public by different possible means.
With every moment, the tension becomes unbearable, but they still bear it – in fact, they bear it quite well, given/ its degree/ of un-bearability.
I have the honor to announce to you
that/ you/ have
What’s done is done. So, Anton/Anthony – televisional and revolutionary personality who loves to bathe in crowds of people – finally won. He has made himself president. Which means that the thought that struck him and stuck with him to this very day was right at the very moment when he gave voice to it in the ears of his father. That happened after hours, after he missed the cell call: 0123456. Like all the people who suffer from acute loss of memory – or pretend to do so – Anton/Anthony has almost forgotten about that late night occurrence, an event of sorts: but not quite.
Right. Here we all are, then. Three days later …
At 12pam – midday/midnight – every television in every single room of every single home, suddenly, unexpectedly, unexplainably, unnecessarily, unbearably, unusually, and so forth, was turned on automatically: without any turn-on button having been pressed in advance. In simpler terms, if the TV had been on before 12pam and no body intentionally turned it off in the meantime, it stayed on at 12pam; but if it was off a few moments before 12pam, it was on at 12pam, without anyone having visibly turned it on in the meantime.
Of course, everybody panicked, but this is not in any way unusual. What is quite unusual, nevertheless, is the announcement that was made. Exclusively vocally. By means of radio waves. For, the TV screens were full with snow. Therefore, the announcement was made exclusively vocally, on a background that was snowy.
The voice that came from the direction of the screen announced to the people-turned-audience-in-their-own-rooms-in-their-own-homes that Anton/Anthony did not – I repeat: did NOT – win the presidential election he won three days ago.
How come? This is quite impossible! Nobody should mess up with the categories of possibility, necessity, and impossibility, if he or she wants to live a long life. The result cannot be contested: the people-turned-voters went to the polling places, entered the booths, and willingly gave their votes to the candidate who bears the name of Anton/Anthony. Anton/Anthony won with a smashing majority. The victory has been over-certified by a hundred committees.
True, except for the minor detail that no actual election took place in he first place, so there was no election to win at all. The period that ended three days ago and that began exactly at 12pam on the midnight/midday when Anton/Anthony missed the call, and about which everybody appears to have had mysteriously forgotten and/or passed over in silence, used to be called “Fake Election, Preceding Actual Election Period, Meant to Prepare an Informed and Mature Electorate”. Congratulations to the winner who put his voice, talents, and time in the service of the people! The “Fake Election, Preceding Actual Election Period, Meant to Prepare an Informed and Mature Electorate” is now officially over in the Land of All Farcical Farces, all right.
Quite. Bzz! Bzzzzzzzzzzz! BBzz! Bbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzz! Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzzz!