Friday, 5 September 2014

The inexpressible adventures of…. whatever his name is


‘Life is so fragile’ said Stmtriütot to his friend, who was sitting facing him. Through the big glass window that took up most of the wall behind his friend, Stmtriütot could see the city cast in dull orange by the setting sun. On the glass he saw his face reflected like that of a ghost, a diaphanous mirage on the crystal.

‘Any of us, or both of us, but most likely neither of us may die any second now. A stroke, a heart attack, an aneurysm, that’s all it takes’ continued Stmtriütot. His friend nodded in approval, carefully shaking his head as if not to break his fragile neck.

Yes, life is fragile. For instance I could be dead by the time you read this or you could be dead by the time I write this. But I don’t believe that is your concern at the moment. You are wondering; what kind of a demented name is Stmtriütot? What language does he speak? What clothes does he wear? What does he look like? Is he human? In your desperation you probably tried to pronounce his name, to say it out loud, and obviously failed, ending in incomprehensible tits and tots and wondering how to pronounce the ü (I for one have no clue.)

Let me alleviate your discomfort. I will rename him as Sergio Gonzales. Thing are much better now, aren’t they? Let me tell you that he is Mexican, now that troublesome scene in the beginning probably has taken the following form in your subconscious-
‘Life is so fragile, amigo’, Sergio tells his friend, who is sitting across him. His friend, whose name is Raul or Juan, has a big moustache and wears a sombrero. Through the open window behind his friend Sergio can see the desert, cast in brilliant orange by the setting sun. ‘Si si’ his friend nods in approval. May be later they share a joint, or drink tequila, or have dinner at a cheap bar listening to a mariachi band playing in the street. And all they eat is plate of enchiladas.

That’s much better. What if I name him Vladimir IIyanovich. You will see vodka, a Kalashnikov resting near the table, the Siberian winter or the Kremlin outside the window (which for some reason is closed now), and a picture of Stalin hanging on the wall.
No, let him remain Stmtriütot. The inhabitant of a floating non-descript universe. His name is its anchor, the pivot that can fills it with colour, slang and beautiful women. I find this rather unfair. Doesn’t Stmtriütot deserve something better than this driftwood of a reality? Dear Reader, I am convinced that he does, and I am going to create one for him, and it will be beautiful I tell you, beautiful.


‘Goodbye then, I must be off’ Stmtriütot got up, took his coat from the stand and headed for the door. His friend just watched him leave in silence.

Stmtriütot stepped out of the building and into the street and he merged with an aimlessly flowing continuum of humanity. As he walked he pondered on the nature of his existence and about what the Writer said to the Reader who failed to pronounce his name. ‘How stupid’ thought Stmtriütot and he tried to pronounce his name under his breath, trying in mumbles so that people near him won’t notice. He failed, just like you before him. He realized with a poignant sigh that he had never heard his name pronounced, he had no memories of his name being called out in love or reproach, in fact he had no memories at all, nothing before the conversation he just had. Stmtriütot searched for his past frantically in a vacuum. The Vacuum* assured him that he existed long before the conversation, but for Stmtriütot’s coaxing it wouldn't tell him anything more.

‘Am I even human?’ he asked himself in desperation ‘Of course I am. The Writer just said that I merged in to a continuum of humanity. Which must mean I am human’
Mr Lin Xiang tapped on Stmtriütot shoulder and on securing his attention corrected Stmtriütot’s logical fallacy ‘the Writer was talking about the crowd. You could be an alien in a continuum of humanity’
‘Improbable’ said Stmtriütot looking around him, trying to catch his reflection off the shop windows.
‘Not impossible’ Mr Lin was not going to cut him any slack

Stmtriütot realized that the inept Writer had forgotten to account for reflection off shop windows in his imagination. And everywhere around him there were expressionless perfect faces, walking with their sights fixed on something far away, beyond the gaze of normal men. No one slowed their pace, no one picked their nose, dropped their purse or stop to tie their shoelaces. It is a march of lunatics, catatonic lunatics, thought Stmtriütot

‘They are not lunatics, they are background’ said Lin.
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘The Writer only imagined up both of us. The rest of the scenery he lifted form some book or movie’
‘Fucking plagiarist**’ Stmtriütot said. He noticed that the sun had not set yet, it was still hanging precariously over the sharp horizon like an orange about to be guillotined as seen by a man impaled upside down beside it.

‘The skyline is from New York. The crowd is composed only of Caucasians. The guy is clearly racist***’ Lin said
 ‘Boy. You sure know a lot about this writing business’ said Stmtriütot
‘Yup. It is cos of my backstory. I am a failed writer who cheated on his wife with his mistress, and then cheated on his mistress with a donkey’ said Lin
‘How do you cheat on someone with a donkey?’
‘I don’t know. The Writer didn’t imagine that yet’
‘I don’t even have a backstory’ Stmtriütot hung his head in sadness and watched his legs oscillate against a background of sliding cobblestones
‘Well, what are you waiting for then. Let’s go find the Writer. I have to ask him about the donkey thing’ said Lin, tugging Stmtriütot’s coat.
‘Yeah! You are right. This whole business is screwed up. I got to find this guy and set things straight’ Stmtriütot said.  A new found purpose propelled him forward. He walked as fast as he could, ahead.
‘Hey! Wait up man’ Lin shouted, trying to keep up.

* The clever reader will understand that the Vacuum exists because I started writing about Stmtriütot only from the conversation. But his organic make up is not that of an infant.
** That is a very strong word to use. This guy should watch his mouth.
*** I’m not racist. It is just easier to imagine a uniform racial demographic.


The Writer was in his study, writing with his ink pen on the smoothest paper in the most beautiful long hand. He was working on his best work, his magnum opus, which when finished would be the best work anyone has ever written. A revolution in literature. On his table there were pictures of him with famous writers, philosophers, painters, directors and scientists, who seemed to admire him in those photographs. He stopped occasionally to lean on his plush leather chair, take a sip of expensive (also the world’s best) scotch and gaze at the fire place. At such times he would look around and admire his well-furnished study, especially his collection of leather bound volumes that completely covered the eastern wall of his room and had in it all the classics of literature, philosophy and science.

He was taking such a break when he heard the knock on the door
‘Come in’ said the Writer
Stmtriütot peered into the room from the half open door. The tasteful excess of its furnishing caught hold of his senses. He entered as if in a trance, and looked around with wide eyes.
‘Ah Stmtriütot! I was just writing about you’ said the Writer. The Writers booming voice bought Stmtriütot’s attention back to the purpose of his visit.
‘You must be the Writer then?’ he asked
‘The one and only’ said the Writer
Stmtriütot sat down in a recliner kept near the fire place and shifted himself into a comfortable position facing the Writer. ‘We need to talk’ he said.
‘Yes, Why not?… Or why bother? I will just write about the whole conversation and save ourselves a lot of time and effort’ the Writer picked up his pen and took a half full sheet of paper to write on.
‘No! Stop! No writing’ Stmtriütot shouted. The Writer startled, looked at Stmtriütot for answers.
‘At least give me a proper name before you write anything more about me. Mr Writer, I’m not asking for anything grand. A simple name would do. And maybe a nice backstory too while you are at it. Nothing fancy’ pleaded Stmtriütot, his voice trailing off into a humble whisper 
The Writer laughed. ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that. I conceived you to write about things transcending cultural stereotypes. Giving you a name would make the Reader assume unnecessary details about you. As he did in the beginning; when I named you Sergio. The Reader can be very naïve you see’

There was another knock on the door. ‘Come in’ said the Writer
Lin opened the door and stumbled in panting. As he stopped to catch his breath he saw Stmtriütot near the fireplace and the Writer behind his desk.
‘I am the Writer’ he said, sensing the question is Lin’s gaze.
‘No. You can’t be the Writer’ said Lin as if stating an obvious fact.
‘Yes I am!’ said the Writer. He held up his pen, showing Lin the irrefutable evidence pointing to the nature of his work.
‘No you can’t be. If you were really the Writer, then me and my friend here should vanish into thin air the moment you stop writing. You sure aren’t writing now and we are still here, which must mean that you are not the Writer’
‘There is something wrong here. What was the last thing you wrote?’ Stmtriütot asked the Writer.
‘Well. Let me see….. Ah here it is. I was describing you knocking on my door’ said the Writer after shuffling through his papers.
‘Who then is writing all this?’ asked Stmtriütot. He was puzzled once again.
The Writer was stumped by the question. ‘I never thought of it that way. Who am I then? Why am I writing all this?’ the Writer shouted in despair. Both of them looked at Lin, who seemed adept at the writing business, for answers.
‘I know what’s going on. All of us here seem to be constructs of the real Writers imagination’ said Lin. He then asked the Writer ‘Tell me. Do you have a back story?’
The Writer thought for some time ‘None that I can remember’ he answered.
‘Interesting. Do you have a front story then?’
‘A what?’
‘A front story. Like what is going to happen in the future for you?’
‘Oh that. Yes I have. I will write the best novel ever written, win the Booker prize, the Nobel prize, the Fields Medal…’
‘Stop right there. I know who you are!’ said Lin, interrupting the Writer.
‘Who?’ asked the Writer and Stmtriütot in unison
‘You are his ego. The real Writer’s image of himself in his deep sub conscious’
Stmtriütot who had followed the conversation intently, then had an epiphany ‘That explains all the expensive furniture, the scotch and all those books. Real writers hardly ever make that sort of money’
‘Spot on!’ said Lin, shaking his head in approval.
The Writer looked around his room in sadness and sighed. ‘I knew all this was too good to be true….’ He then looked at Lin and said ‘Boy! You sure know a lot about this writing business’
‘It’s cos of my backstory. I am a failed writer who cheated on my wife with my mistress and then cheated on my mistress with a donkey’ said Lin
‘How do you cheat on someone with a donkey?’ asked the Writer
‘I don’t know. The guy didn’t think of that yet. I mean to find him and ask him’
‘I have a couple of things to ask him myself’ said the Writer, twirling his scotch and gazing at the fire with an expression of vacant remorse.
‘Me too. Let’s go and find him then’ said Stmtriütot, getting up from the recliner.


Dear Reader, I must apologize. This whole thing has blown up into an embarrassing business. I made a promise to you, that I will create a wonderful universe for Stmtriütot. But I can no longer do that, because the more I write the more these lunatics get close to finding me. If they find me, they will make me write grotesque things about donkeys that I have no intention in writing. I am deeply sorry, but I must go, I have little time. I hear knocking on the door*. I hope it is not them. I will not write about them opening the door and entering** for that will put me in grave danger.

*I have realized that they are knocking because I mentioned in text about them knocking
**I have realized that I just mentioned in text about them opening the door and entering also. Too late now.


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