Test


„Izvolite, možete da uđete.“

ELN-Ž 7791 je zadrhtala i naglo podigla očne kapke, vrtoglavo cimnuvši glavu unazad. Ramenima su joj se pritom razlili slapovi riđih uvojaka, koje je bila brižljivo skupila u punđu pre nego što će izaći iz kuće. Brzo se uspravila i dovela sve funkcije u normalu, pa ušla u prostoriju.

Unutra nije bilo ničega osim četiri mat bela zida, običnog poda od bledosmeđe imitacije drveta i jednog minijaturnog prozora na čijem simsu je stajala tamnocrvena saksijica sa malom zelenom biljkom. Prešavši pogledom prostoriju kao skenerom i omirisavši vazduh, pomislila je kako u njoj sigurno nema ni delića otiska nečijeg prsta, nijedne dlačice, čak ni ljuspice mrtvog epitela.

  Glasledenica dobio je i svoje neoljudsko obličje u vidu tela obučenog u kombinezon iste mat bele boje kojom je bila obojena i sama prostorija.

 „Test će uskoro početi. Ovo je jedan od novih rutinskih testova provere sećanja, senzornih i ekstrasenzornih sposobnosti. Nema razloga za anksioznost.“ Mišići oko crnih očiju bez ikakvog odsjaja nisu se ni pomerili.

ELN-Ž 7791 je trenutak kasnije spazila i drugog neočoveka u prostoriji: izgledao je gotovo isto kao prvi, samo što je umesto crnih zenica imao bele, tako da je delovalo kao da u očima nema ničeg drugog osim beonjača.

„Od vas se očekuje sledeće: da na osnovu svega što se nalazi u prostoriji zaključite šta se u njoj juče desilo. Imate tri sata“, rekao je crnooki.

 Belooki nije rekao ni reči. Samo pošto je, savladavši prvobitnu zbunjenost, zaustila da ih nešto upita, okrenuli su se i izašli iz prostorije, zatvorivši za sobom vrata uz meko ,,škljoc“.

I ranije je polagala testove provere sećanja, senzornih i ekstrasenzornih sposobnosti, ali ništa od ovoga ni u kom pogledu nije nalikovalo prethodnim iskustvima. Započela je uobičajeno skeniranje prostorije, da proveri ima li u čitavoj toj apsolutnoj čistoći, belini i praznom prostoru bilo kakvih nedoslednosti, nečega što bi joj na prvi pogled promaklo, ali nečeg takvog nije bilo. Hodala je od zida do zida, od ugla do ugla, skenirala svaki delić, njušila svaku česticu vazduha, ali ništa nije uspela da uoči. Potom je, puzeći, skenirala, njušila i opipavala svaki milimetar poda, u potrazi za skrivenim pukotinama ili nečem sličnom, ali sve što je neokorteks vraćao bilo je: ,,Nađeno 0 nedoslednosti u građi. Pretraga nije uspela.“ 
Na koji, dođavola, način treba da saznam šta se desilo u potpuno praznoj i sterilno čistoj prostoriji? mislila je. Možda da pitam prokletu biljku da li se ona seća? Kladim se da bi im se to dopalo, toliko da bi me to odvelo pravo do Zavoda za re-kreiranje, pre isteka roka... A možda je sve ovo neki trik i test nije moguće položiti. Ustala je sa poda i prišla prozoru sa biljkom.

Svetlozelena biljka sa desetak malih ovalnih, glatkih, kožnatih listova, stabljike dugačke oko petnaest centimetara, u saksiji crvenoj poput krvi, delovala je gotovo besmisleno u čitavoj toj belini koja kao da je gutala svaki trag o postojanju bilo čega i bilo koga u prostoriji, pa i trag o postojanju same prostorije. ELN-Ž 7791 je primenila uobičajeno skeniranje očnim nervima, prelazeći biljku najpre u celosti, potom svaki njen delić, ali ni ovog puta pretraga nije dala nikakvog rezultata. Potom je, ne znajući više šta da radi, počela da opipava svaki list i da ga njuši, što takođe nije urodilo plodom. Nemajući više nikakvih ideja, sela je na pod tik ispod biljke, opruživši noge, naslonivši leđa na zid i zažmurivši.

Neokorteks joj je vrveo od života. Ćelije, dendriti, aksoni i sinapse iskrili su poput blistavih, vazda budnih očiju metropole usred noći, generišući sopstvene sadržaje na osnovu već postojećeg mentalnog materijala iz njenog mozga, tvoreći tačke, krake, ušća i brzake podataka, kao i mostove koji su ih spajali i pretvarali u složene lavirinte. Iz delova tih lavirinata potom bi nicali novi i novi kraci, brzaci, ušća i tačke, usložnjavajući dalje čitav proces, dok čitava moždana masa nije postala bela, užarena, pulsirajuća buktinja.
ELN-Ž 7791 je slušala zvuk pesme sopstvenog mozga, pesme koja nije nastajala ni po kakvim postojećim muzičkim načelima, ali svi tonovi slagali su se međusobno, zajedno tvoreći vrhunsku pesmu moždanih nebesa.
Potom se pesma promenila, postala smirenija; gasio se ton po ton, dok naposletku nije ostao samo jedan, ravni, tanki, bleštavi, zvonki ton, kao žica gitare koja vibrira belom svetlošću. Na kraju je i on utihnuo, ostavljajući za sobom bele iskrice koje su se takođe gasile jedna po jedna.
Onda ju je nešto povuklo napolje, izvan moždane mase utonule u sasvim novu vrstu tame, izvan lobanje, izvan čitavog tela, izvan čitavog vela dobro joj poznate stvarnosti, i to nešto je zujalo i brujalo sasvim drugačijom vrstom pesme, kakvu do tada nije čula...

Otvorivši oči trenutak kasnije, videla je da se nalazi u nečemu što je nalikovalo ogromnoj pokretnoj svetlozelenoj cevi čiji su se zidovi mreškali poput površine mora. Pred očima su joj promicali različiti prelivi zelene, a kroz zidove cevi, čija je površina bila izbrazdana strukturama nalik na vene, probijala se žućkasta svetlost. Naglavačke je padala kroz složene nervature koje su pulsirale, obrađujući i potiskujući dalje ono što je kroz njih proticalo, složnošću i složenošću koje su odavale utisak mašine... Ali sve teksture, boje i mirisi koji su je okruživali nikako nisu mogli da budu veštački... a ako nisu bili veštački, šta su drugo mogli da budu?

Naposletku, pad joj je zaustavilo nešto što je podsećalo na ogromni veo od neke polučvrste elastične tvari, na kome su se smenjivale razne nijanse svetlosti. Plutajući, odgurnula se od vela rukama i nogama kako bi iz daljine bolje mogla da sagleda o čemu je reč, shvativši potom da zapravo gleda neku vrstu ekrana. Na njemu je proticala jedna jedina video-sekvenca koja se ubrzano, u krupnom kadru, ponavljala unedogled: tanka, dugačka igla prodire u oko, u crnu zenicu, ostaje tu nekoliko sekundi, nakon čega zenica kao da iščezava, a od nje ostaju samo jedva vidljivi crni obrisi.

Ono što je videla bilo joj je dovoljno, te se vratila u sopstveno telo. Otvorivši oči, dala je sebi nekoliko trenutaka da se pribere i ponovo privikne na fizički prostor. Potom je lagano ustala sa poda i pošla ka vratima.
Crnooki i belooki već su čekali iza njih. Nije rekla ništa, samo je pogledala belookog pravo u oči. „Slobodni ste“, rekao joj je on ni ne trepnuvši.
Napolju, na putu do kuće, nagonski je podigla šaku do leve strane grudnog koša i kroz uniformu opipala metalni deo srčanog čvora, kako bi pritiskom na taster smirila otkucaje. Majušna dioda i dalje je treptala zeleno. Proći će barem još nekoliko godina dok svetlo ne postane žuto, pa potom još nekoliko dok ne postane crveno... a onda...

Onda se ponovo našla u sećanjima biljke, pred polutečnim ekranom, na kojem je ovog puta proticala sasvim drukčija video-sekvenca: riđokosa devojčica koja se, odgurujući se rukama i nogama, skladno kretala ogromnom plavom vodenom površinom. Imala je izraz lica kakav ELN-Ž 7791 dotad nije imala prilike da vidi: uglovi usana naizmenično su joj se zatezali nagore, mišići oko očiju su se pokretali, a u zenicama kao da je nešto odbleskivalo. Međutim, najviše ju je zapanjilo to što devojčica nije imala ni narukvicu koja je merila potrošnju energije, ni serijski broj na potiljku, čak ni srčani čvor.
Videvši to, telom joj je prostrujao drhtaj. Ponovo je po navici podigla šaku kako bi dotakla taster srčanog čvora, ali zastala je usred pokreta. Pređašnji drhtaj smenilo je osećanje prostornosti, koje je istovremeno bilo i unutar nje i van nje. Kao da joj se čitavo telo rastočilo na popodnevnom vazduhu, a iza njega ostalo je da pulsira i titra nešto nepropadljivo, večno, što nema rok trajanja, što je srce čitavog sveta, sveta čije granice izgleda nisu bile toliko zatvorene kako su je učili. Zapravo, granice kao da nisu ni postojale. Strgnula je narukvicu sa zgloba, bacila je u obližnji jarak i nastavila da hoda.

U prostoriji (((o))), crnooki i belooki nemo su se zgledali. Refleksno bacivši pogled ka dovratku na kom se nalazio mali kvadratni senzor koji je titrao crveno, crnooki se sagnuo i šapnuo belookom:

„Zar ne shvataš? Ovo je test! Test na kom ne smemo da padnemo!“ 

„Mislim da je kasno. Buđenje je već počelo.“


Tee-Q (by Ilija Tegeltija)




“I’m sick of this job!” he spoke while looking at himself in the mirror. His own face has become alien to him. He knew it was himself, but still... This man he was staring into was slowly becoming a paler and paler reflection of what he was still carrying inside. He was growing old. Tattered like sleeves of an old sweater. Vanishing and dying away. Devoid of recognition, devoid of decoration. Never turned into a street legend, never even mentioned as a pillar of an era.
Theodor Quantrell, originally from Ghana, born and raised in Los Angeles. An African-American in his forties. A detective in the Violent Crimes Unit.
Tee-Q, a cop from the hood, who dug his neighbors. Sometimes he would use his badge to force the leery dealers from the block to sell him some weed. “ ‘Violent Crimes Unit’  -  what a candy-coater , huh?” he would tell kids. “D’ya know what it means, little brother?”
“No, you don’t,” he would answer instead of the interlocutor, adding: “You don’t know, ’cause you’re a kid. That’s why I’ll tell you what it means...”
After explaining to the kids hungry for easy money that he’s a cop who’s never going to give them trouble because they’ll become one of his cases only after their blood has kissed the asphalt they’re raised on  -  they would sell him the goods. With lumps in their throats and an obligatory discount. Tee Q, however, never took advantage of his privileges. He would always pay the full amount, saying that money is a resource because of which a lot of important things are put at stake. That’s why one should use it abundantly and enjoy everything it can provide. For eventually it will return to make you pay. Like a pendulum that gives you an unforgettable ride to the very edge of energy. To the zero-point. And as soon as you’ve experienced that magical moment you’re already being rushed back unstoppably into the abyss from which you’ve come...

“It’s about to dawn! Again... The habitat of humans. The safe harbour. The domination of sight. The reality in full view of... I hate the fucking flashing thing!” he would say each time he pulled away from the computer at which he’d spent the whole night trying to tie the profile with the motive of a still unknown person. The person on which he’s supposed to pin the responsibility for yesterday’s front page headline of LA Daily News:
“Stripped, raped and strangled”.
He took a sip of coffee and dialled a number.
“Good morning, Sam! Look, I know it’s 5 A.M. and you’re sleeping and shit... but will you please call those hamsters of yours from the nightshift and announce me for the crime scene investigation! Something has just crossed my mind, I’d like to check it, OK?”
“For fuck’s sake, Tee, why are you doing this to me? Go fuck yourself, you idiot! It’s five A.M. for crying out loud! Yes, I will call them, you motherfucker...”
“Fucking cop – crackhead,” muttered Sam, the head of the evidence storage unit, as he was hanging up. Somehow, Tee-Q has really grown to like that greeting. He truly enjoyed waking Sam from his sleep during which he and the missus would fart out the leftovers from the previous day’s dinner under the sheets. Harmony. Marriage. Love...
“Fucking asshole! Here comes a new day. You, the missus and the hordes of the likes of you are about to crawl out soon, pretending to be fresh and rested. Pretending to be carrying the energy which will make this very day special. Masks of happiness. The whole fucking world has started to sport that fake smile woven with the fear of one’s own self. They have started to look like their favorite TV shows. You can just tell who’s hooked on which TV channel. You can follow the direction in which they ran away from themselves. And it’s in a world like this that I have to solve crimes. You’re all under investigation for crying out loud, you motherfuckers!” Tee-Q was mumbling to himself.
“Honey, you’ve been awake all night again? Why are you doing this to yourself, baby? And where’s that kiss, come on and give a kiss to your little girl guarded by a big nigger cop!” Adelle was babbling on her way to the kitchen with such a strength and speed as if she herself haven’t slept a wink.
“Oooh good morning to you too! Just make that coffee and don’t give me that load of shit like you always do, hoping for a different answer, OK? If you wanna take a shit go ahead, there’s the crapper, just don’t give me this!”
Not being able to stand the nagging anymore Tee-Q stormed out of the crib.

...

“Dawg, let’s move it to that wall next to the ceiling, whaddya think?”
“Let’s do it... You mean here?”
“Yeah!”
“Ace!” answered Tee, hoping that the pub owner and his worker are finally going to find a common language and agree on the new location for the tin sign which is to decorate the brick interior of the pub Tee-Q gladly visited.
“No one looks at the walls anyways, with all that glamour dazzling from the front pages of the new issues of Who’s Who lying on the tables. ’Cause everyone would like to know what you do to earn a star on the Hollywood Boulevard.”
“Hey Tee! Thanks for the advice, man! I always love to hear a word from my guests.”
“If I were you, I’d sooner thank me for leaving your jaw in one piece after all that honking at the intersection. I saw you, Tom, in that junk of an Audi. Think you’re a tough guy, huh?”
“Fuck dude, I was late for work...” the pub owner twisted his face into a grin, wanting to coax a shred of mercy out of Tee.
“Enough with that grinning, give me a break. We both know I’ve earned my free drink for today, don’t we?” asked Tee with a wink.
“Of course,” Tom smiled sourly, fearing the amount of drink which is about to go down Tee’s throat, leaving Tom with nothing other than utter loss. ’Cause Tee loves to cane it. Very much so.  
“Worry not, Tom, I’ll only have two or three glasses of poison, to get my inspiration going. There’s a fucked up murder I have to work on. I’ll spare your jeep for this morning.”
The glasses of whiskey with water started their race. The first, the second, the third... Tee-Q looked thoughtfully into the emptiness which had blocked out his whole world. He neither heard anybody nor saw anything anymore. There was nothing but darkness and silence. Why? Why rape someone in the park and hang them on a tree? It doesn’t fit neither of the MOs known to Tee.
“Damn it!” he grumbled to himself, pushed himself away from the bar and headed for the exit.
“Thanks, Tom. And watch how you’re driving, son!”
“No sweat, Tee!”

He went to the police station. The day was streaming in from the east, painting the dawn red. The night was withdrawing, looking for a place to stay within the new day, from where it will swallow the Sun all over again. A play of light and shadow. A mirage of nature.
“Good morning, gentlemen!”
“ ’Morning, Tee! What brings you here? Mitchells has called to announce you to the guys at the dive. He was pissed off at you for waking him up again.”
“I know, dude. I always do that to him. That old fart!”
They both laughed, shook hands and exchanged a few more friendly words at the check-in desk at the Eighth Police Station. Then Tee went along the hallway to get to the elevator. He pressed the button with an arrow pointing downward. Going down... What a funny symbolism, he thought. The door opened and Tee stepped into the evidence storage room.
“Greets, guys! What’s poppin’?”
“Greets, lieutenant! As usual... Shelves filled with various sealed destinies, judges that don’t sign receipts and cold coffee from home because the coffeemaker is out of order. And no one’s in the mood for walking all the way up to the Narcotics on the fifth floor just for coffee. The TV’s working and that’s OK. The match is tonight. I’ve changed my shift  -  I’ll be working a double shift so I can watch it in peace. The kids are driving me nuts at home. Huh? Whaddya say? Wise, huh? What I did with shifts.”
“Way to go, Mikey, you’re a true detective! The way you played it! A top strategist indeed!” Tee was encouraging fat Mike, a clerk at the evidence archive. The guy was so lazy and low-minded that Tee just loved going there and exchanging a few words with him. An average LA policeman.
“Say, lemme ask you something. I’m supposed to look at the one from a month ago. The little park near the school. Stabbed in the heart with a knitting needle. Poor thing. Remember?”
“Yeah, yeah... How far have you got with that? Any progress? Have you caught the maniac yet?”
“Nothing yet, Mikey, but I think I’m onto him. I think those two murders are connected! That’s why I need some stuff. I’m trying to put something together...”
“Ugh, I hope the guy burns in hell! Help yourself, Tee, take what you need. But how the hell are you going to find anything? I really admire you people. You always solve the case in the end. I don’t know how you detectives do it, but judging by that evidence there’s nothing more except cops’ fingerprints, dust and tape with the reference number under which I filed the evidence.”
“Art, Mikey, it’s art!” laughed Tee, taking the long knitting needle whose cutting edge had taken her soul 30 days ago and delivered it over to the Almighty.
“I’m kidding, buddy, of course!” he patted Mikey on the shoulder. “Analytics, guidance, constructing theories, dismissing faulty theories, real fingerprints, fake fingerprints, lack of evidence, logical dead ends... it’s hell, my friend! That’s where cases are solved. You see it’s six in the morning, son? And? Am I screwing my wife? No, I’m not! I’m working on the case!”
Mikey smiled at him. Tee smiled back.
“Any news about the cameras around the park, regarding that poor thing from the day before yesterday? The one hanged in the park?”
“Nothing new, Tee, just footage of the patrol from the morning she was found and of you wandering around that part of the park for the umpteenth time, looking for anything...”
“I know! And I’m circling the surrounding buildings like a fucking idiot, looking for a night vision surveillance camera. Do you know how many of them there are around the neighborhood?”
“No, I don’t?!”
“Only one! And it’s ours, in the front yard of the police station. The camera which covers the parking lot. The one that had caught Rodman on tape doing that twinkie from the PR in the patrol car with a fucked-up hood, remember?”
“Hahaha! How can I not remember! Hahaha!”
“I’m off, brother! Keep on keepin’ on!”
“Bye, Tee! Good luck, pal. Good thing you reminded me of it. Boy did I have a laugh! Remember his face in the morning when he realized that we’d all fuckin’ seen it! Ahahaha!”
Tee was already at the door. He waved them good-bye.
Having waited for the night to fall, Tee got out of the house and started the search. He had to find something. Anything! Was he supposed to wait for a new murder to happen every thirty days? He couldn’t let front pages become filled again in a month. He has made up his mind to finish it all not later than tonight. He was thinking: in the middle of the Big park, a crime scene from a month ago, a police checkpoint with a searchlight had been set up. Even if the killer were a complete moron he would never ever consider going back to that location. The little park near the school, a crime scene from three days ago, is still under the watchful eye of the neighborhood hungry for a new sensation. Hungry for attention from the press and for cameras. Hungry for the call from faraway relatives, who’d recognize the address on the news.
No. Those two locations were by no means a subject of interest to himself anymore. However, Tee, an experienced detective from the Eighth LA Police Station, was slowly falling under a keen premonition that he has to be outside tonight. He was roaming the streets which were losing their sharp outlines under the weight of the crawling november night mist. The yellow city lights were increasingly losing the power to light up the surroundings.
“Damn it, he could be anywhere now. If he happens to...”

The night was passing. A quiet, silent night, wrapped up in fog. The sirens have grown silent and so has the radio transmitter. After some roaming through the city Tee approached the police station. Only two blocks away from his workplace he realized he was at the end of his tether.
“I might as well go and deal with the papers, since I’m here. I’ll go search just this last quarter and I’m done walking through the turfs for the night no matter what,” he thought.
It was nearly 10 o’clock and the fog was thick as batter. It was only at a distance of a few meters that the night would unveil some scarce passers-by. They were mostly believers on their way to the evening mass.
Tee stared at his watch. Time was slipping away. Alone on the street, conspicuous and spooky in that fog, Tee was still looking at his watch. “Why not do it this way,” he thought and got even closer to the church.
“Excuse me, young lady! Detective Quantrell from the Eighth.”
“Good evening, detective! Maria, the librarian from from the bookstore opposite your police station, I know you by sight. How can I help you?” the young neighbor asked, smiling.
“I suppose you’re on your way to the mass so I won’t be keeping you too long. The thing is, I’m working on offender profiling regarding a specific crime and I could use a little help from you.”
“Certainly! I can spare a few minutes.”
“Excellent. And thank you. Please come with me to the back of the church. Just be careful, the fog is thick. You know that little grove there at the back, with those annoying crows shitting on the benches. There’s an illuminated spot there, that’s where we’ll talk.”
They went along the path filled with tissues and used condoms, which led to the church summer cottage through the undergrowth. At the first clang of the church bell Tee looked around, bent down and picked up a pointy stone he’d found along the way.
“Improvisation!” he whispered.
“I beg your pardon?’’ asked the librarian.
The blood rushed to Tee’s head. His eyes became bloodshot. His breathing quickened, his nostrils dilated. Pins and needles rushed through his whole body and he could barely keep himself from letting out a scream. The blunt stone blows to the head and the flapping of his coat have once again betrayed his impatience to the silence of the night and revealed him for who he truly is.
The bells died away. From the altar, the priest spoke:
“It’s the Lord’s own word.”


author: Ilija Tegeltija


In the funny house (by Ilija Tegeltija)




April 2005
Mental hospital ’’Nimes’’

The cawing of crowes, who were scattered on the birch branches that have just come into leaf, was dragging the fifth hour of the new day before the eyelids of the nurses from the night shift. The duty nurses, dozing on the chairs in the Nurses’ Room, were resting while the patients were sleeping, gathering strength for the new episodes of twisted fancies because of which the patients, once accepted by the society, were placed here now...
Here, on the glade, only a few kilometers from the quiet town whose lifestyle is withstanding the sands of time. Devoid of commotion, rush and strangers. Unaffected by changes. Maybe it was just the fact that an institution like this is one of the ’’trademarks’’ of this place that has contributed to it being avoided whenever possible. Or, to be exact, not being visited  -  until it becomes a necessity. For who wants to do business with lunatics?
It’s a cruel reality perception of our contemporaries who, with their influence  -  material, seldom spiritual, are participating in shaping the world of today. Rich and completely unaware of the responsibility. The blind painters of the group portrait of our flock. If we weren’t sheep, they wouldn’t be painters either. But those are the facts which we shall leave to some future time... a deep, deep future, in all likelihood.

5:05 AM

Granny Martha, a former cleaning lady in an elementary school, was suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, so in this manner she was the one to be the ’’earliest rooster’’ of the department. Every day, exactly at 5 AM, she would begin her ’’countdown’’ by getting ready for work, which she, poor thing, was still going to in her imagination. She has never stopped taking care of her students, teachers, brooms and floors. Her day was often ruined by questions about a young woman teacher named Margoth, who at one time staged Martha a unique ’’flashback’’ into Martha’s early youth  -  a period filled with hope and lightheartedness. A place that looks magical as long as you’re riding that effervescent wave of the youth vivacity. You’re relishing the winds that are caressing your body, as you’re drifting above everyone. Intoxicated by enjoyment, you don’t see the giant rock which your wave too will crash into. Waking you cruelly at the foot of a crag. The one you’re supposed to climb in order not to drown. The cold shoulders of the mountain called Life.

...

’’Those from the Public Transport are coming today, they’re handing out the brochures about etiquette in public transport to the kids. And they’re coming from garages, with greasy soles. The floor looks as if it’s been shat on. It’s the same every year!’’
’’Whenever they came... Whenever they’d come... Whenever the road would bring them.’’
’’Come on then, Martha,’’ she was ordering herself, ’’in that case it would be better if you picked up the pace!’’

Sitting on the edge of the bed, short and chubby as she was, with her hair cut short and her feet swinging back and forth, one couldn’t help but compare her to a cockroach. Her big white teeth completed the scene; she was speaking through them:

’’Where’s the broom? Where are the scrubber and the bucket? Everything’s scattered all around the building again. Shame on you, you whippersnappers. You behave like that at home too? How careless! So many kids and yet you don’t take care of anything. All you care about is screwing around. Ah, if only I had Joseph, the late janitor, here with me, to have him pull out that broad belt of his... But nooo, little princes and princesses are protected today by children’s rights, didn’t you know? And how can you not be so spoiled and careless, when your teachers are children as well... Soon you’ll all be sneaking into toilets together.’’ She quickly crossed herself and opened her mouth wishing to continue the monologue, but she was interrupted by Simon, a black man in his fourties. A former politician who, due to the unsuccessful prime minister race, has flipped out and started talking solely to the dead. They listened to him and gave him useful advice. Conversations with them have maybe robbed him of his career, but they have helped improve his mental state a lot. He now was leading a peaceful and harmonious life. Devoid of wrangles. Living a bit farther from the center, he could enjoy nature and spend his hours in a friendly environment, having fruitful conversations. He appreciated this opportunity. He loved what he had become and he was trying to keep his friends protected. Thus he addressed Martha:

’’Hey hey hey! My friend, I’m going to ask you to leave Joseph out of this! What do you think, there’s no work up there? Whenever you mention his name  -  he, poor man, starts to lose balance... Right now he’s on the ladder, fixing the gutter, so please let him finish. We can come visit you later, and then we can talk. Please, Martha. This man means a lot to me. I don’t want to lose him...’’

Silence was leaving the Nurses’ Room, driven away by the sounds of munching, stretching and yawning.

’’Come on, dear ladies, it’s time for coffee! Martha and Simon have begun the overture. Let’s hand out the medicines before they’re all fully awake, to keep this morning nice and cuddly at least until 8 AM. As Jessy’s been doing since the night she’d spent with the doctor. Come on, siren! I think it’s your turn to make coffee. You’ve wet your beak...

’’Tsk-tsk-tsk! Come on, you jellies... You’re all saints, sure! Why, none of you has fucked the doctor yet, right?’’

Smiling proudly, Jessy agreed to make coffee and share the details of the last night’s experience.

’’Come on, come on! Hurry up, Martha and Simon will enter the coffee kitchen any moment now, you know we’ve let them because they’re the only ones who remember to switch off the burner after use. When they park themselves there it takes them forever to leave. And the kitchen’s as spacious as an asshole.’’

’’OK darlings, I’m off.’’

She smiled and as she was leaving she shook her bottom for the rest of the shift. A joke of theirs.
When she came to the coffee kitchen, she realized that Martha and Simon had beaten her to it. They were already there. Talking. Discovering communication again. In their own way. With their own topics.

’’Simon, lemme ask you something...’’
’’Yes, Martha?’’
’’You’re saying that Joseph is fixing the gutter, right?’’
’’That’s right.’’
’’And do you know, Simon, that Joseph died about ten years ago?’’
’’I know. I told you the last time you questioned me about it...’’
’’Did you? I don’t remember. Whatever... So Joseph isn’t alive anymore, is he?’’
’’That’s right.’’
’’So how can he fix the gutter then?’’
’’Why, in the world of the dead, of course.’’
’’I beg your pardon?? The world of the dead? Simon, I think you’re nuts! What do you mean, the world of the dead??’’
’’Martha, it’s not me who’s nuts, it’s you who’s forgetful. I’ve already told you about this!’’
’’About what?’’
’’About me having the privilege of being able to talk to the dead. I hear and see them just as I can hear and see you right now.’’
’’Reeealy?’’ Martha marvelled.
’’God, you’ve completely lost your marbles, Martha. I‘ve told you about this a couple of times already.’’
’’Reaaaly?’’
They started to laugh. They were happy in their insanity. They loved the fact that they’ve overcome the doctors’ attempts to classify their world view as a diagnosis, and they were laughing.

’’Say, Simon... I don’t know if I’ve already asked you this?’’
’’Go ahead, Martha.’’
’’When you’re looking at them, can they, for instance, sit here where I’m sitting now? Do you understand? Can we all sit at the same spot, because they’re not of this world, you savvy?’’
’’No, Martha, they can’t, because they’re somewhat smaller than us, you know...’’
’’Aha...! That’s nicely arranged. Little people. Like my children. My schoolchildren. Whiny whippersnappers, with muddy shoes. All they do is fuss and eat and cry.’’
’’Children, Martha. They’re children. We have to understand them.’’
’’And tell me, Simon... do these dead people of yours cry?’’
’’No, it’s more like they don’t give a fuck...’’
’’Aha! Well, that’s OK, in a way.’’
’’Everything’s OK in a way.’’


author: Ilija Tegeltija


N.E.W. (by Ilija Tegeltija)



The third Session of the Treasury  Committee of the United Government of Tuona

Luun_ja_veren maa, the first Era, time entry 4008

Opening of the treasury lockbox, number 38124785037;

Subject: Preserved goods from the point of origin  -  the final reading of the data

’’Bring in the lockbox!’’, was a brief order given by Borgh, the Chairman of the Treasury Committee, in the amphitheater filled with curious media representatives, high-level science-carers, and a few female students who have just shed the scales from their bodies, thus embracing the Innate Right of the Maturity of the Womb.

In the room situated in the central part of the complex of the United Government of Tuona YLI-T, Chairman Borgh addressed the attendees, thus beginning the official part of the ceremony:

’’Respected Tuonian life companions,

For a long time I’ve been sincerely hoping that this final reading of the remaining data would give us answers regarding the missing link of the Tuonian order.

As a reminder:
The principles on which our constitution is based have been established according to the ancestors’ instructions, located in the first two data lockboxes. They were read aloud 4000 entries ago  -  during the period when the second generation of the native Tuonians reached the era of the maturity of the being. 4000 entries was also the deadline given for the opening of this third lockbox, which is the last one. The deadline instructed by our ancestors  -  The First of the Subsequent Ones .

He moved from the rostrum and took a few steps closer to the transparent window pane in the hall, and then he continued with the introductory speech:

’’We have managed to raise a peaceful and orderly civilization. We have refined the useful and discarded the useless achievements which had served our ancestors and the ancestors of The First of the Subsequent Ones in their worlds. And we’ve done well by doing so.

He took a sip of water from the small aluminum container he brought closer to the window frame.

’’For, as told by the Travel Log of the SOS Earth-1 craft, which follows as an appendix to the historical archives of the first data lockbox, it was the very state-of-the-art achievements of humankind that caused the destruction of planet Earth  -  our primeval homeland from the Milky Way. Since humans on that level of consciousness were not  able to recognize the Problem of the Mind Resources Collapse, Earthlings had lost the balance in the time-knowledge-products triangle to such an extent that it eventually had come not only to the collapse of the civilization as the weakest point, but also the habitat itself. In the end, the only thing that remained from the progress of the civilization was the SOS Earth-1 craft, with the crew consisting of the 10.000 chosen people from planet Earth  -  the very same people known to us as The First of the Subsequent Ones.

Floating through Space in search of a new mother, they had been carrying with them, among other things, the three data lockboxes containing the heritage of their time. And after 33 generations which didn’t get to know any other life except for the life in the dankness of the flying fortress  -  they found their new habitat. They finally settled on our Tuona. They breathed life into it, utterly carefully and conscientiously this time, for as I’ve read in one of the records from the Travel log, they wrote this: ’’We are grieved by the graves on which there are no flowers’’  -  whatever that meant. For I still haven’t fathomed what it was all about...

We, Tuonians, prompted by the historical teachings, have established the ultimate harmony of relations. We have embraced facts as the only measurable units, and we have raised ratio to the throne of our realizations. We have become perfectly aware of the measurability of everything, and thus we have, from the joint action of the said aspects, drawn a lesson about the harmfulness of using the anthropic principle as a constant. Although that principle tells us about the fact that we’re seeing the Universe as it really is  -  for if it was different we wouldn’t be here to observe it  -  we have realized that within that model we have to work responsibly on preserving the atmosphere required for the change and progress we’re striving for. Thus we have rejected inequality and ignorance. We have chosen the path of science. The path which rewards us with solutions. The path of contribution to the development of society...

But, despite all that  -  we have remained devoid of one specific experience I find very important.

By considering everything, again and again, repeating the same process for days, coming back to the same task every year  -  I’d always reach the same logical dead end, followed by the feeling of a rift between the conscious and the mental part of the being.

Neither I nor any of us have, until now, succeeded in finding the answer to something that’s troubling us all, as Tuonians:

The feeling of emptiness...’’

Eyes fixed on the window from which one had a crystal clear view of the two Suns shining on Tuona by bathing it with crimson tones, Borgh continued:

’’Due to the very fact that none of us has ever succeeded in solving the mystery of the missing link which unites all aspects of the being, the missing piece which has been weaved into us for eons as a mere defect, the lack of which is felt deeper and deeper by each new generation  -  it’s for this very reason that today’s opening of the last data lockbox containing the herritage of The First of the Subsequent Ones is arousing such a strong feeling among us that the missing answer will finally be revealed. The answer to the question about the essence of the being as a whole.

Finishing the introductory speech, Borgh moved back to his rostrum. According to the protocol, it was a sign that the lockbox should be brought in. The guards of the United Government of Tuona YLI-T came in and bowed to the Chairman. They moved away after they’ve lowered the lockbox onto the white pad which was levitating above the point from which the data were supposed to be projected onto the hologram platform, placed in front of the western wall of the amphitheater.

The hall became filled with silence. Without uttering a single word, Borgh connected the lockbox with the projector, and ran the software programmed to read the data written by the technology of those olden times. The hologram platform took a two-dimensional form and then it showed a screen, similar in color to the Tuonian mists  -  pale and bluish.

A moment later, the answer was keeping silent together with the Tuonians in the speechless amphitheater. The one and only word contained in the last of the three lockboxes  -  the herrigate of the ancestors, was flickering on the screen, shy and pale:

’’L O V E’’


author: Ilija Tegeltija