๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น End of Story

โ€œIn court I once met a person I had never seen before,โ€ the prince said, โ€œbut who reminded me of all the people I have ever seen. He said he had something magnificent in store for his head. But I must not think he was going to cut it off himself. He put a knife into my hand and said: Cut my head off, my dear fellow. I have long waited for you to turn up to cut off my head. For I have something magnificent in store for my head. Donโ€™t be afraid, this eccentric said, I have calculated everything in advance. It cannot go wrong. Here, cut! He gave me three minutes. Here, he said, this is the spot where I want my head cut off. Iโ€™ll continue to stand, because it seems to me thoroughly undignified to have your head cut off while lying down, let alone sitting. I wonโ€™t embarrass you! the stranger said. Incidentally, the knife is manufactured by the Christofle Company, he said. And I actually saw the name Christofle engraved on the knife. I seized the head and cut it off. I was quite astonished at how easy it was. The head then said: You see, you had no difficulty cutting off my head. But then I see that I havenโ€™t cut off his head, and the stranger said: You didnโ€™t seriously imagine you could cut off my head, did you? Or did you? Let us go on, the stranger said. He was my cousin. Actually,โ€ the prince said, โ€œI did not dream the story to its end. That was a pity.โ€

โ€” fromย Gargoyles by Thomas Bernhard

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Taste of Hell

They ate at a place called El Rey del Taco. At the entrance there was a neon sign: a kid wearing a big crown mounted on a burro that regularly kicked up its hind legs and tried to throw him. The boy never fell, although in one hand he was holding a taco and in the other a kind of scepter that could also serve as a riding crop. The inside was decorated like a McDonald’s, but in an unsettling way. The chairs were straw, not plastic. The tables were wooden. The floor was covered in big green tiles, some of them printed with desert landscapes and episodes from the life of El Rey del Taco. From the ceiling hung pinatas featuring more adventures of the boy king, always accompanied by the burro. Some of the scenes depicted were charmingly ordinary: the boy, the burro, and a one-eyed old woman, or the boy, the burro, and a well, or the boy, the burro, and a pot of beans. Other scenes were set firmly in the realm of the fantastic: in some the boy and the burro fell down a ravine, in others, the boy and the burro were tied to a funeral pyre, and there was even one in which the boy threatened to shoot his burro, holding a gun to its head. It was as if El Rey del Taco weren’t the name of a restaurant but a character in a comic book Fate happened never to have heard of. Still, the feeling of being in a McDonald’s persisted. Maybe the waitresses and waiters, very young and dressed in military uniforms (Chucho Flores told him they were dressed up as federales), helped create the impression. This was certainly no victorious army. The young waiters radiated exhaustion, although they smiled at the customers. Some of them seemed lost in the desert that was El Rey del Taco. Others, fifteen-year-olds or fourteen-year-olds, tried in vain to joke with some of the diners, men on their own or in pairs who looked like government workers or cops, men who eyed them grimly, in no mood for jokes. Some of the girls had tears in their eyes, and they seemed unreal, faces glimpsed in a dream.

“This place is like hell,” he said to Rosa Amalfitano.

“You’re right,” she said, looking at him sympathetically, “but the food isn’t bad.”

“I’ve lost my appetite,” said Fate.

“As soon as they put a plate of tacos in front of you it’ll come back,” said Rosa Amalfitano.

“I hope you’re right,” said Fate.

โ€” from 2666 by Roberto Bolaรฑo, translated by Natasha Wimmer

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น ุงู„ู…ุงุก ูˆุงู„ุทูŠู†

ูŠุง ู‡ุฐุงุŒ ู‡ุฐุง ูˆุตูู ุบุฑูŠุจู ู†ุฃู‰ ุนู† ูˆุทู†ู ุจูู†ููŠูŽ ุจุงู„ู…ุงุกู ูˆุงู„ุทูŠู†ุŒ ูˆุจูŽุนูุฏูŽ ุนู† ุฃูู„ุงู‘ูู ู„ู‡ ุนู‡ุฏู‡ู… ุงู„ุฎุดูˆู†ุฉ ูˆุงู„ู„ูŠู†. ูุฃูŠู† ุฃู†ุช ุนู† ุบุฑูŠุจู ุทุงู„ุช ุบุฑุจุชู‡ ููŠ ูˆุทู†ู‡ุŒ ูˆู‚ู„ูŽู‘ ุญุธู‘ู‡ ูˆู†ุตูŠุจู‡ ู…ู† ุญุจูŠุจู‡ ูˆุณูƒู†ู‡ุŸ ูˆุฃูŠู† ุฃู†ุช ุนู† ุบุฑูŠุจ ู„ุง ุณุจูŠู„ ู„ู‡ ุฅู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฃูˆุทุงู†ุŒ ูˆู„ุง ุทุงู‚ุฉ ุจู‡ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุงุณุชูŠุทุงู†ุŸ ู‚ุฏ ุนูŽู„ุงู‡ู ุงู„ุดูู‘ุญูˆุจ ูˆู‡ูˆ ููŠ ูƒูู†ู‘ู’ุŒ ูˆุบู„ุจู‡ ุงู„ุญูุฒู† ุญุชู‰ ุตุงุฑ ูƒุฃู†ู‡ ุดูู†ู‘. ุฅู† ู†ูŽุทูŽู‚ูŽ ู†ุทู‚ ุญุฒู†ุงู† ู…ู†ู‚ุทุนุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุณูŽูƒูŽุชูŽ ุณูƒุช ุญูŠุฑุงู† ู…ุฑุชุฏุนุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ู‚ูŽุฑูุจูŽ ู‚ุฑุจ ุฎุงุถุนุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุจูŽุนูุฏูŽ ุจุนุฏ ุฎุงุดุนุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุธูŽู‡ูŽุฑูŽ ุธู‡ุฑ ุฐู„ูŠู„ุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุชูˆุงุฑู‰ ุนู„ูŠู„ุงุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุทูŽู„ูŽุจูŽ ุทู„ุจ ูˆุงู„ูŠุฃุณู ุบุงู„ุจูŒ ุนู„ูŠู‡ุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุฃู…ุณูŽูƒูŽ ุฃู…ุณูƒ ูˆุงู„ุจู„ุงุกู ู‚ุงุตุฏูŒ ุฅู„ูŠู‡ุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุฃุตุจูŽุญูŽ ุฃุตุจุญ ุญุงุฆู„ ุงู„ู„ูˆู† ู…ู† ูˆุณุงูˆุณ ุงู„ููƒุฑุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุฃู…ุณูŽู‰ ุฃู…ุณู‰ ู…ูู†ู’ุชูŽู‡ูŽุจูŽ ุงู„ุณุฑูู‘ ู…ู† ู‡ูŽูˆุงุชููƒู’ ุงู„ุณู‘ุชู’ุฑุŒ ูˆุฅู† ู‚ุงู„ูŽ ู‚ุงู„ ู‡ุงุฆุจุงู‹ุŒ ูˆุฅู† ุณูƒุชูŽ ุณูƒุช ุฎุงุฆุจุงู‹ุŒ ู‚ุฏ ุฃูƒู„ู‡ู ุงู„ุฎู…ูˆู„ุŒ ูˆู…ูŽุตู‘ู‡ู ุงู„ุฐุจูˆู„ุŒ ูˆุญุงู„ูู‡ ุงู„ู†ู‘ุญูˆู„. ู„ุง ูŠุชู…ู†ู‰ ุฅู„ุงู‘ ุนู„ู‰ ุจุนุถ ุจู†ูŠ ุฌูู†ุณูู‡ูุŒ ุญุชู‰ ูŠููู’ุถูŠ ุฅู„ูŠู‡ ุจูƒุงู…ูู†ุงุชู ู†ูุณู‡ุŒ ูˆูŠุชุนู„ู‘ู„ ุจุฑุคูŠุฉ ุทู„ุนุชู‡ุŒ ูˆูŠุชุฐูƒุฑ ู„ู…ุดุงู‡ุฏุชู‡ ู‚ุฏูŠู… ู„ูˆุนุชู‡.
โ€” ู…ู† ูƒุชุงุจย ุงู„ุฅุดุงุฑุงุช ุงู„ุฅู„ู‡ูŠุฉ ู„ุฃุจูŠ ุญูŠุงู† ุงู„ุชูˆุญูŠุฏูŠ (ูฉูขูขูกู ูขูฃ)

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Dark Realms

โ€œFreud sees the collision between psychoanalysis and our penal institutions: โ€˜It is not psychology that deserves to be laughed at, but the procedure of judicial inquiry.โ€™ Reik, in a moment of apocalyptic optimism, declares that โ€˜The enormous importance attached by criminal justice to the deed as such derives from a cultural phase which is approaching its end.โ€™ A social order based on the reality principle, a social order which draws the distinction between the wish and the deed, between the criminal and the righteous, is still the kingdom of darkness. It is only as long as a distinction is made between real and imaginary murders that real murders are worth committing: as long as the universal guilt is denied, there is a need to resort to individual crime, as a form of confession, and as a request for punishment. The strength of sin is the law.โ€

โ€” from Loveโ€™s Body byย Norman O. Brown

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Blood Eagle

When an Entomophthora spore lands on a fly, it grows into the insectโ€™s body and begins devouring it alive, consuming the fat first and leaving vital organs till last. When the fly is nearly spent, the fungus compels it to do three things. First, it climbs to a high point. Next, it extends its mouth as if to lap up some food, but becomes stuck to its perch thanks to a glue that the fungus produces. Finally, it lifts its wings like a fancy sports car raising its doors. This is how the fly dies: innards consumed, face stuck, and wings out of the way.

The fungus now pushes long tubes through the back of its dead host. Each tube is a cannon, which shoots out fungal spores at up to 21 miles per hour. The spores rain down on other passing flies, and new cycles of death and puppeteering begin.

โ€” from โ€œIs This Fungus Using a Virus To Control An Animalโ€™s Mind?โ€ by Ed Young in The Atlantic

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