Monday, November 24, 2008

The Archive

The Archive is complete. Nothing is missing from it. Its tomes have been catalogued with absolute precision, with meticulous care, and a detailed index has been constructed for all time. There is nothing more to add. To subtract is a capital offence. The task of the Master Archivist is to maintain the order of the Archive; to ensure its completeness; to eternalize its perfection; to preserve its integrity and purity. In fact, his title is misleading. His not truly an Archivist, for he does not archive anything. As said, the Archive is complete. It contains everything that is to be contained. Nothing exists, or is allowed to exist, that is not already there. Therefore, the Archivist is more like a guardian; or a keeper, a watcher, a minder. He exists in order to guarantee that everything remains so forevermore. That nothing will be either lost or added. So that the balance may never be disturbed. If however, as it occasionally happens, a new piece of material is created, by some paradoxical twist of misfortune, then the Archivist must initiate the process of it destruction. He must order a message to be sent to the prefect agent and thereof to the field agents in the area of creation, who in turn will have to make sure the material gets eliminated immediately. You could say that the order of things is incarnated in the watchful preservation of the Archive. The Archive is all there is.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


In the disturbed village of Saint Horribilum, in the northern borders of our empire, the clock that one finds in the rather faceless central square comprises a series of noteworthy technical oddities. Such has been the apparent intent of its makers, to elucidate the vanity of existence, that they have – most strikingly - omitted the dials. Then, they introduced a functionless  automaton, a self-negation of a machine that does not work, cannot work, will never work, but nevertheless creates to the beholder the feeling of imminent working. Eyes closed, limps hanging, a diaphanous skeleton which may, if awaken, speak the time. No one lives in the central square since the clock was brought to the village, installed in the church tower and inaugurated by the Emperor’s envoy. The villagers abandoned their homes soon afterwards and all access to the square has been blocked ever since. The visitor (alas, one has to be a believer in miracles to imagine anyone wanting to visit Saint Horribilum) will have to offer considerable bribery and swear secrecy to the gods, in order to be taken to see the notorious clock. One such visitor, probably the only one ever, has written to me recently with his report. There are aspects of the report pertaining to matters of imperial security which I must conceal for obvious reasons. But I am at liberty to disclose one more interesting aspect of the village’s engineering anathema: its cunning resemblance to a miniscule globulin first encountered by the great English polymath Robert Hooke. Perhaps then, the clock is not made of nuts and bolts. Perhaps is not man-made. Perhaps it is an animal. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The girl comes dressed like a character from a video game. She materializes out of thin air. Or, perhaps, she comes in through the air, with the blowing of the wind. She says, pointing at the TV. “Anything on?”

But the girl cannot go through walls. She has tried many times and failed. Bangs her head, hurts her hands as she tries to push her way into the tightly-knit molecules of tar and plaster. In the end she gives up. “OK, what's new?” she huffs and plops on the side of the bed. 

The character she impersonates changes every time she visits. One day she may be dressed like something out of Super Mario, or Goemon, or Twin Bee, or Mortal Combat. Dragon Quest makes her look the sexiest. She arrives with a twin blade axe and boots up to her thighs and a bra made of leather imitation plastic. Nothing on TV. “Have you got something to eat?” Leftovers from McDonalds.

The girl fades away.


The girl returns.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hot chocolate in Mexico City

Cortez annihilated the Aztec Empire and enthroned himself as the new ruler of what was to be henceforth named New Spain of the Ocean Sea. Faithful to a centuries-long tradition of establishing the victor’s capital upon the ruins of the vanquished he gave instructions for the new imperial capital to be built on the swamplands of Tenochtitlan. The result, the modern megapolis of Mexico City has been slowly sinking under its own weight ever since, a curious testament to Cortez’s ill-informed vision. They say that some day most of the buildings will have become too unsafe to inhabit. Perhaps in the next century Mexico City will become a ghost town abandoned by its populace. As I drink a cup of hot chocolate in a Starbucks in La Zona Rosa I am thinking of Cortez. Throngs of shoppers and passers-by parade in front of my eyes and they look to me like reincarnated Aztecs bidding their time against eternity, or like ghosts going in and out of time. A gay couple canoodles happily at a table nearby oblivious to the underground forces of suction, and more interested in their own. I imagine a Spanish soldier dreaming a nightmare and waking up in the middle of the night, rushing to Cortez, finding the big man sleeping in the company of two young native girls, and crying out to him, let us leave this place now chief, let us go back down to the coast, let us build our city there. I am a coffee drinker really. Chocolate I chose because, originally, it has been a native American drink exported to the so-called Old World. My attempt to an honest tribute is tainted with unfortunate franchise irony. Fat dark clouds seal the last remaining porthole of blueness in the sky and rain begins to fall in abundance. I feel the water entering the underground veins of Mexico City, seeping and uniting with the never-defeated swamp, sapping the foundations, conspiring towards the city’s ultimate demise. Water from the sky, water underneath. Ten thousand years later: a mystery of city abandonment puzzles the visitors from Star Orion. They are descendants of long-forgotten Earth colonists returning to a deserted Earth, a world too hot to be inhabited, too lifeless to be loved. A young cosmonaut wakes up from a dream as the spaceship enters orbit, a nightmare of a serpent god. I get up and without care of getting wet return to my sinking hotel.