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A KAFKAIAN WORLD

Some time ago I sent this short story to someone who read it,appreciated it and commented it. He said this:"We find Kafka in your work!".

Kafka?I heard the name before et know just this expression related to the author:"A Kafkaian world!"I did not read any of his work.

I ask those who would read my short story  to tell me if this reader is right and that there is "some Kafka" in my work.

Note: The following story is a fantasy film script .Since the film script form is difficult for a non-initiated reader. I changed it into a short-story form to make it more accessible.

"Wisdom is just putting things in the place they deserve, the contrary always fathers mess and chaos."

                                                                                                     Hammoudi Abdelwahab

      It was another hot summer and another blazing day of mid-July in the remote country of BARE GUDA. The sky was blue and clear. Bob, a small, fat and in his late forties journalist, was walking on the deserted highway.

He had a big travel rucksack over his back. On the bag, we could see, stuck, many tiny flags representing different countries and names of capitals and famous places around the world: Great Britain, France, Italy, India, and the USA. Flags of all the countries he had visited while working for his newspaper.

Bob was wearing a thin white knitting on which was printed in capital letters, the word: THE BARE GUDY, the name of his newspaper. A tape recorder hung around his neck. He had his hands in his pants pockets and was singing.

He, at last, arrived at the entrance of a small town. On a road-sign was written:

                     Welcome to BARE GUDA

He went on walking and entered the town of BARE GUDA. The first person he met was a tall thin man wearing a long green coat. The man was walking out of the town and shouting: "Impossible! Impossible!"

Bob was a little puzzled and said to him:

"Hi! I'm Bob."

But the man did not pay any attention to him and kept on walking and shouting: "Impossible! Impossible!"

Bob connected the microphone to his tape-recorder and started recording some comments he wanted to make about this first odd encounter.

Suddenly, a man came, grabbed Bob's tape-recorder and ran away with it. Bob started shouting and running after him but with no results.

The man vanished.

Bob kept on wandering for a while, then arrived near a big building under construction. He sat down near the building and put his bag on the ground and opened it. He took out a note-book from the bag and started writing.

"...When I first arrived at the town of Bare Guda, I met with a man walking out of it and shouting: "Impossible! Impossible! I said to myself, "He must certainly be a lunatic......"

Suddenly, two cops appeared and grabbed him from the neck. Bob protested. The cops showed him a notice hooked on to the building. The notice read: "PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO-ONE IS ALLOWED TO SIT HERE."

Bob was put in jail with two others: a 13-year-old kid and an about forty year old man.

The kid came up to Bob, and then slipped his tiny left hand in his right foot's sock and took out a pipe! And at that moment, the forty year old man started crying. The kid took out a pacifier from his jacket's pocket and handed it to the man:

"Take this, Dad."

The man grabbed it, put it in his mouth and kept quiet. The kid lit his pipe and started smoking.

Three days later, the prison guard rushed into the cell and said to Bob:

"You are free. You can go."

Bob walked out of the jail with his bag over his back. Discouraged, he went to a café in the nearby. A customer came up and sat down at his table. Bob looked at him and asked,

"Did you seen a man running with a tape-recorder?"

The man did not answer. He did not seem to have understood. Bob asked the same question again. The man was surprised. He looked at Bob, and said:

"What did you say? You lost your ‘voice-robber'?

Bob replied angrily,

"No, my tape-recorder!"

The man: "Yes...Yes. We call it a voice-robber here. It robs your voice

and lets you hear it back. And people out here do not enjoy hearing back what they say. They do not like hearing things they have said to others. You get what I mean? Look. Come and see me tomorrow at 7.OO at the Stony-Hearted Park. I will see what I can do for you. Okay?"

Bob: "Okay. At Stony-Hearted Park then."

The Stony-Hearted Park is full of stones. Bob started walking in the park. The park was very big. Many things were thrown around, particularly books and camcorders. Books and camcorders are the most useless of things here.

Bob saw the man he had met in the café a day before, sitting in a corner.

The man: "Hi, Guy. I am the park's keeper."

The park-keeper was listening to the news from....an alarm-clock. Bob came up to the park-keeper. He noticed a small radio besides the park-keeper. The radio started ringing. At that very moment the park-keeper switched off the ‘alarm-clock' and said to Bob, "It's 7.o'clock. You're very punctual, sir."

Bob smiled and greeted the park-keeper. Then, he asked him, "Why are all these books and camcorders thrown around?"

The park keeper, politely replied, "The books, we keep them in store for the long winter nights. They help us to sit up late while feeding our fire and keeping us warm. The camcorders, which we call "image-robbers" here, nobody wants them because no one wants to see his image or actions shown back to him. They are banned and any image-robber that enters our town ends here."

Bob: "What do you know about my tape-recorder?"

The park keeper: "Will you sit down?"

Bob sat down.

The park keeper: "Your voice-robber is certainly at transy-Formy..."

Bob asked surprised: "Transy-Formy? What is that?"

The park keeper: "It is a secret factory. Your voice-robber is incompatible with Bare Guda. It is a dangerous thing here until it is ‘transfo-localized' at Transy Formy. It's only then that your voice-robber will become functional. It will ring!"

Bob: "Ring?"

The park keeper: "Look, you really do not need it now. You're still a stranger. Maybe you'll learn more about the "ringing process" by contacting Mr. Bingo."

Bob: "Mr Bingo? Who is he?"

The park keeper: "He is a well known teacher at Thunderbolt School."

Bob thanked the park-keeper, left the park and headed towards Thunderbolt School.

Thunderbolt School did not look like a school. Mr Bingo, a tall forty year old man with a thick moustache, a bizarre hat over the head, was teaching. On his desk, there were a pair of binoculars, a rifle, a pair of boxing gloves and handcuffs. The pupils, young boys and girls of six to seven years, were bound, hand and feet, to their seats. Mr. Bingo was speaking over a walky-talky:

"Yeah...Yeah... I am in class. I am working. I'm just teaching the pupils the art of being quiet. How about the flock? You said you sold it for 800,000? That's marvellous...See you tonight, Joe."

The class door opens and a man appears.

The man: "Mr. Bingo, someone wants to see you."

Mr Bingo: "Who is it?"

The man: "I do not know him. He is a stranger."

Mr Bingo: "Bring him in, Alex."

Bob walked hesitantly into the classroom. He looked at Mr Bingo. He was a little scared. Then he said to him in a halting voice, "Good morning, Mr Bingo."

Mr Bingo, looking over his glasses: "Morning. What can I do for ya?"

Bob: "I am Bob. I am a journalist. I lost my tape-recorder some days ago. The guy at Stony-Hearted Park sent me here. Maybe you..."

Mr Bingo: "Never say that again. Say ‘voice-robber'. That's what it really is. How did you lose it?"

Bob: "A man took it from me. He was running so fast I could not catch him..."

Mr Bingo: "When did you come to Bare Guda?"

Bob annoyed: "I do not exactly know."

Mr Bingo: "Your machine, is it a new one?"

Bob: "Yes."

Mr Bingo: "Oh, I see. You are a non-resident, then."

Bob: "Yes..."

Mr Bingo: "That's normal then."

Bob: "What? What's normal?"

Mr Bingo: "Oh, nothing. Have you been to the Apes Hunting Club?"

Bob: "No, I haven't. Why? Can they help me?"

Mr Bingo, shrugging his shoulders: "Who knows? They sometimes do."

Bob left and proceeded to Apes Hunting Club. He arrived at a small building. On the front door, a notice said: ‘Apes Hunting Club'.

Bob knocked on the door and an old lady opened.

The old lady: "Sorry, sir. They are not here. The club members must be hunting now."

Bob: "Where can I find them?"

The old lady: "At Big Apes Forest."

Bob: "Where is it?"

The old lady: "Just ask people and they will show you the way."

Bob arrived at Big Apes Forest. He was perspiring. He walked into the deep forest and started searching. Suddenly Bob heard a voice behind him: "Here is one!"

Bob turned his head and saw a big ape pointing a rifle towards him. It started firing. Other apes too started firing at him from everywhere.

Bob had just enough time to escape. He ran down the forest as fast as he could. Then he saw another man running in the same direction. He kept on running and caught up with him. Both were out of reach now. They stopped, panting.

The man, puffing and panting: "Hello. I am John Nitor."

Bob: "I am Bob. Glad to meet you, John."

John: "What are you doing here?"

Bob: "I wanted to meet the guys of the hunting club."

John: "So you too? You have lost your tape-recorder?"

Bob: "How do you know?"

John: "I lost mine too. It was a new one. I was advised to get in touch with the hunting club here, in this forest."

Bob: "Did you meet them?"

John: "Who?"

Bob: "The members of the hunting club."

John: "Oh sure I did. Big apes who welcomed me with a hail of automatic gunfire."

Bob: "The apes...?"

John, nodding his head: "Mmm..."

Bob: "Who sent you to the forest?"

John: "Mr Bingo. He told me I had the choice to either come here, or go to the local football team, at the town stadium."

Bob: "How about going to the football team. Let's hope they are less aggressive."

Fifteen minutes later Bob and John were walking into the stadium. They headed for the playing field. They were astonished by what they saw. The playing field was full of referees whistling in all directions, but there was just one footballer!

Bob amazed: "Fantastic! A referee-ball match! I wish I had my tape- recorder. I would describe this to my wife. At Bare Guda you really see ‘never seen' spectacles."

The match was soon over and the footballer got out of the field. Bob looked at him and said to John,

"He must be the local football team."

Then to the footballer: "Excuse me, sir. We were told that you could help us."

The footballer: "Help you with what?"

Bob: "Get our voice-robbers back..."

Footballer: "Are they new?"

Bob: "Yes."

Footballer: "When did you bring them to Bare Guda?"

Bob: "A couple of weeks ago."

Footballer: "I'm sorry. You are non-residents and your voice-robbers must be under metamorphosis for transfo-localization at the time-being. They are still voice-robbers. I advise you to go to the Big Deal Supermarket. They sell beautiful re-adjusted ones there. Now, I must go. Excuse me. Good-bye."

Bob and John together: "Good-bye!"

The Big Deal Supermarket is a colorful place. Bob and John walked in. They stopped at the electronic department. Tape-recorders of different brands were displayed. Bob took one and is surprised to hear a tic-tac coming from it. Bob switched on the tape-recorder. The tape-recorder started ringing. A lot of people gathered around them. Bob and John felt a bit embarrassed. The head of the department came up to them and said politely, "Can I help you, sir?"

Bob, a little bit disturbed and pointing his finger at the tape-recorder: "How much is this voice-robber?"

The head of the department: "I'm sorry sir. That's not a voice-robber. It's an alarm-clock. As you can see it, the price is stuck on the box."

Bob: "Thank you...Thank you very much."

Then turns to John: "We'd better go, John."

Bob and John stepped out of the Big Deal Supermarket. They wandered for a while on the streets. Suddenly a motor-cycle hit John and he fell down on the ground. John's left foot started bleeding. Bob started calling for help and stopped a taxi.Bob: "Please, my friend has had an accident. Is there a doctor in the nearby?"

John was taken in the taxi to the nearest doctor. They arrived at a very clean place. On the front door was written - "Dr. Butch Ercoin".

Bob and John walked in. John was dragging his foot. The doctor, a fifty year old stocky man, welcomed them, "What's the matter with your friend, sir?"

Bob: "He has been hit by a motorcycle...He is injured..."

The doctor looked at John's foot for a few seconds, and then said to Bob, "Your friend needn't have come here. He could have just sent his foot in a parcel to us by registered express mail..."

Bob: "What? What did you say?"

The doctor: "Sorry, sir. I am a specialist. Your friend's trouble is with his foot, so what does interest me is only his foot. Do you get what I mean?"

Bob astonished: "Thank you, doctor.  We surely will think about it in the future."

The doctor: "Don't bother. I'm going to cut your friend's foot off. You will come back here tomorrow and take it with you, repaired."

John, panicking: "Oh, no, Doctor. I'm all right now. My foot does not hurt me anymore. Bob, let's go."

The doctor: "Oh, no. You can't leave."

Bob: "Why can't we leave?"

The doctor: "To leave my office now, your friend needs a permit signed by the mayor."

Bob: "A permit?"

The doctor: "Yes. Your friend needs a permit to leave my office in W.I."

Bob: "W.I.?"

The doctor: "Yes, in Whole Integrity. Unless you..."

Bob: "Okay. I'll go right now to the mayor."

Then pointing his finger to John: "You wait for me here. Do not move."

Bob rushed out of the doctor's office.

Ten minutes later, Bob was sitting on a chair in a big room and was waiting for his turn to see the mayor. A man came up and said to Bob, "You can see the mayor now."

Bob stepped inside the mayor's office. A dirty mechanic was standing there. He was repairing a car. Bob was puzzled.

Bob, to the mechanic: "Excuse me. I must be at the wrong place. Could you tell me where the mayor's office is, please?"

The mechanic, wiping his hands: "I am the mayor. I am an encyclopaedia. I can do everything. Tell me what you want."

Bob, a little surprised: "My friend is at the doctor's office. He needs a permit to leave in W.I."

The mayor: "You are non-residents, aren't you?"

Bob: "Yes, we are."

The mayor: "That's why you do not know the rules. What's the doctor's name?"

Bob: "Dr. Butch Ercoin."

The mayor: "Oh, Woody. He is a specialist. He is specialized in wood-cutting."

Bob: "Wood-cutting?"

The mayor: "Does it sound strange?"

Bob: "Good Heavens! How could a wood-cutter be allowed to practise medicine?"

The mayor: "Woody too is an encyclopaedia. He can do everything - from mending shoes, treating patients to repairing TV sets."

The mayor sat at the desk, opened a drawer, took out a piece of paper, filled it, sealed it and handed it to Bob.

The mayor, to Bob: "Here you are, sir."

Bob: "Thank you Mecha... mecha... cha... mayor."

Bob dashed out.

Bob and John were soon wandering in the streets again.

John: "I am hungry. How about you, Bob?"

Bob: "Me, too. How about going to that bakery over there? Maybe we'll find some pastry."

Bob and John walked inside the bakery. A huge man stood behind the counter. The bakery was empty.

Bob, to the baker: "We'd like some pastry, please."

The baker forwarded them a book: "Choose the kind you like."

Bob opened the book. It was full of colorful pictures of pastry. Bob put his finger on a beautiful cake's picture and said to the baker, "We'd like two pieces of this, please."

The baker, to Bob: "Two Doll Eros."

Bob gave the baker two Doll Eros.

The baker, to Bob and John: "Your addresses, please..."

Bob, puzzled: "Why do you want our addresses?"

The baker: "To send you your pastry. We do not make them here. We import them from Sbangley Town. So you need to wait for six months, maybe less..."

Bob: "Sorry, sir. We can't wait all that time. Would you please give us our money back?"

The baker, threatening: "You're joking?"

Bob, who got the message: "Yes, sir. We're just joking. Like you..."

Bob and John walked out of the bakery. They were strolling in a street now. Suddenly they met with the Stony Hearted park keeper.

The park keeper: "Hello! How are you?"

Bob and John, who recognized him: "Fine, thanks."

The park keeper: "Where are you going?"

Bob: "We are leaving the town."

The park keeper, surprised: "You're leaving? Without your voice-robbers? Listen to me. It is a shame to let you go home without your things. That will be a very bad souvenir for you. I'm going to help you. Just go to the Barren Theater."

Bob, interrupting the park keeper: "What? There is a theater here? Has it got any relationship with our tape-recorders?"

The park keeper: "Just go straight along and turn right. You are then at the Barren Theater.

Half an hour later, Bob and John arrived at the Barren Theater and went in. They sat on two comfortable seats. On the stage, actors were playing a war scene. They were dressed as commandos and were heavily armed.

A soldier was looking for something. An officer came up to him and asked: "You've lost something?"

The soldier, pointing his finger to a tape-recorder lying on the ground, replied: ".....My alarm-clock..."

Bob felt scandalized and started shouting angrily to the actors on the stage: "It is not an Alarm Clock!!! It is a tape-recorder!"

At these words the soldiers started firing with real bullets at the horrified audience. A soldier, firing with his automatic shotgun, cries at the audience's face, "Take this rubbish... That's what we keep in store for non-residents at Bare Guda!"

Bob and John rushed out and succeeded in escaping safely.

Bob and John were leaving the town for real now. At that moment they heard a voice behind them. It was the park keeper again. Bob and John waited for him.

The park keeper: "Hello. Did you find your machines?"

Bob, upset: "Thank you. We don't need them anymore."

Bob and John started walking out of Bare Guda. The park keeper was walking behind them.

The park keeper: "Where are you going?"

Bob, reluctantly: "We're leaving I said."

The park keeper: "You really do not want to have your machines back?"

Bob: "No we don't."

The park keeper: "Will you wait for a few seconds?"

Bob surprised: "Why?"

The park keeper ran away. A few minutes later he came back with two tape-recorders. He handed them to Bob and John. Bob and John were delighted.

John and Bob, simultaneously: "My tape-recorder?"

The park keeper disappeared, leaving Bob and John alone. Bob lifted his tape-recorder up to his ears. He heard a ‘tic-tac'! He switched the tape-recorder on. It started ringing! The same thing happened to John's tape-recorder. The two men walked out of the town of Bare Guda, each one taking his alarm clock, sorry, his tape-recorder in his hands and shouting:

"Impossible!Impossible!

 Nothing in this place

  Is in its right place,

Nor are their people

 Recommendable"

In Bare Guda, You may try  

To understand why,

Everything is Unbelievable,   

 Bob there became a poet,

  Incredible!

 

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This is a wonderful story,

This is a wonderful story, Al Wahab. I too know very little about KAFKA but it reminds me of Paulo Coelho's writing.

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Thanks Jitu.

"This is a wonderful story".Coming from you means a lot to me.