October 19, 2021


                                     PUSHKIN'S REVENGE

                                                            by MANUEL LASSO 

          The greatest calamity that can happen to a writer is to lose his life while still very young and not being able to continue with his literary creation. This happened to John Keats, who, unknowingly or unwillingly, died coughing, overwhelmed by consumption like The Lady of the Camellias or Christopher Marlowe, who was stabbed to death, amid a penetrating smell of beer, during a violent and quick bar brawl. 

          For this reason I have always been moved by the story of Aleksander Pushkin. Countless times I have pondered about his premature death and have invariably come to the same conclusion. He was not allowed to continue living to complete his artistic work.

          It is known that Baron Georges d’Anthes, an exiled erotomaniac at the service of the Imperial Russian Army, as did Rodolfo Boulanger, Madame Bovary's wealthy lover, became obsessed with the idea of ​​seducing Pushkin's wife. He besieged her for a long time with her flowery water emanations, his military poses and his Ronsard verses. After achieving his desire, he confronted the poet further by insulting him in the worst manner and left no alternative, but to repair the injury with a duel to the death.

          I can imagine what would have passed through Pushkin's tormented mind during those moments. I am convinced that he would have taken great delight in terminating the life of his opponent; but the offender ended up eliminating him. And Pushkin died at the age of 38, following several days of agony, after being shot in the belly. He died unhappy and frustrated at not being able to punish his rival, to whom he only slightly injured.

          When I saw the black vest, with its row of shiny little buttons, which he was wearing when he was wounded by d'Anthes, the brown sofa on which they laid him already unconscious with his forehead sweaty and cold, the ancient clock with Roman numerals whose hands stopped at the moment of his death and the charcoal sketch done by Fyodor Bruni once he was settled inside his coffin, I seemed to see the image of a fallen brother, victim of a great injustice. Then I realized that he must have taken with him a great feeling of frustration at not being able to avenge the offense that  d’Anthes lustful obsession had caused him.

          At that moment I could sense what Pushkin was feeling. It was as if his personal pain had been transferred to my mind, as if his spirit had gradually taken possession of mine. Everything happened slowly and deliberately. First, I felt a great desire to know his work.  I spent many days in the library reading Eugene Onegin, Boris Godunov, and countless stories and poems written by him. Then I became interested in his life; I read his biographies, I saw his oil portraits done while he lived in Moscow and I learned everything that had happened to him. Then came the immense indignation, as if what had happened to Pushkin  had happened to me. Now I have his emotions, his jealousy, his thoughts and his inclinations. I also hate his adversary, which at first would seem to be inexplicable; but I have an immense contempt for Baron d'Anthes. If I could see him, I would remember Pushkin's black vest and fire all the bullets from my revolver into his chest before he knew it; but a gentleman cannot act in that way and he has to rather find the solution to his conflicts in the magnanimity of a duel. For that reason I look for him.

          If I had been in St. Petersburg after his death, I would have tried to achieve what Pushkin could not. I would have tracked Baron d'Anthes all over town until I could find him and challenged him. I have no doubt that I would find him in a party of the great Russian society, in some ballroom full of chandeliers and servants carrying silver trays with goblets full of champagne. In the midst of the ladies of the aristocracy and the couples dancing by, I approached him. I did my best to get closer to his ear and whispered to him, as calmly as possible, the worst of insults. Then Baron d'Anthes, completely flushed, with the closed collar of his military jacket and golden epaulettes, slapped me, splashing the bubbly champagne from my glass; but he would have fallen into the trap. We placed our hands on our swords. There was a great commotion and the ladies in their silk dresses raised their scented handkerchiefs to their mouths giving exclamations of anguish. Very offended, I told the baron that things could not remain in that way and we had to fix this in a duel. With my white glove I struck his face.

          I am convinced that the eyes of the lascivious injurer  blinked; he became pale and very furious. He looked at me with his blue eyes filled with irrepressible hatred. But we did not depart from that party without assuring each other that in a few hours we would meet again in the field of honor.

          Afterwards, I met with Pushkin's wife, Natalya Nicolayevna Goncharova, a very beautiful woman, although still a teenager, who was pale and terrified among the guests, looking at me tearfully without being able to understand what was happening. Perhaps I had imagined her in the arms of d ’Anthes and a bitterness made my lip tremble. Making a deep bow, I gave her my sincere compliments and said goodbye to her. She  stared at me in bewilderment as if she was making an effort to recognize someone. I left her muttering softly, “Aleksander? Aleksander?"

          I was very happy to see that my plan was working as I  conceived it from the beginning and I was very glad to know that my intentions were very close to being fulfilled.

          Then I went to my best man's house. After smelling the strong aroma of eucalyptus balm and other liniments that were in his room, I woke  him up with a candlestick in my other hand and pulled him out of his bed, sleepy, with his messy gray hair. I told him about what happened and begged him to take care of the details of the ceremony. As it was his custom he stared at me over his shiny glasses, yawned and asked me about the kind of duel I would like to fight.

          "A duel to the death", I replied excitedly. "On firm foot and shooting at will... At twenty-five steps..."

          "That is the most dangerous!", he said, opening his eyes with great concern. "They can kill you".

          "Do it so, my dear friend. Pushkin would not have preferred it otherwise. Besides, losing one's life is not very important these days”.

          At that point I went home very happy. After drinking a glass of brandy, I sat down to read, under the yellowish light of a candelabrum, my favorite chapter of War and Peace and I read it with the delight of someone who knows that he is going to die, because there is nothing that can give greater satisfaction than knowing that a mission is going to be fulfilled, even though its execution might lead to the maximal sacrifice.

          After taking one final glance at the page I was reading, I looked at the ancient clock in the living room and heard its loud tick-tock for the first time. I straightened myself up and I stretched out, beginning to feel, despite the fatigue of someone who has not slept, the weight of the responsibility of having to fulfill an irrevocable mission.

          After cooling off with the water of a lavatory, I dressed with my creamy pants just delivered by the tailor and my white shirt full of frills. I looked at myself in the large mirror of my dresser with my piercing brown eyes and ran my fingers over the thick black sideburns of my pale face. Without delay, I put my hand through my hairs, several times, until it was more disorderly. I put on my dark brown overcoat, and my black top hat. With my ivory cane from India under my arm, I left my house singing a fragment of a well-known aria:

          "Una furtiva lacrima... negli occhi suoi spuntò ...".

          I took a four-horse carriage of the kind that roam the streets of Saint Petersburg day and night and once inside, seeing the leather seats, I would obsessively wondered if in one of those vehicles Natalya and baron d'Anthes hugged in a romantic getaway. Mrs. Pushkin in her silk dress, her head resting on his shoulder. At five in the morning, under the persistent whipping and exclamations of the coachman, I continued my journey to the meeting place.

          I arrived early, very happy to be able to do what I had promised myself and what Pushkin would have liked. In the mutually agreed place I met my best man who had already placed on a table an old green-lined case with two dueling pistols.

          Almost without being noticed, my rival, or rather Aleksander Pushkin's rival, arrived with his best man and they, very seriously, discussed the details of the ceremony. As it had been already  agreed, it would be a duel on firm foot and shooting at will.

          While the details of the ritual were being debated, I liked to take a few steps to stretch myself and shake off the tiredness one feels when one has not slept through the night. Looking at the grove in the distance, I perceived the smell of cedars, as one who tries to enjoy the pleasure caused by the landscape before the beginning of the upcoming tragedy. 

          At that moment, I thought about Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova. Her beautiful face and the perfection of her eyebrows and eyelashes; her black eyes looking at me as if she wanted to ask me something and her luscious lips. The line of her bosom revealed her lush breasts behind her pink dress with numerous ribbons. How delightful and pleasant I found her. What a freshness and tenderness. So perfect and so young, with a small round face like a teenage girl. Maybe a little loaded on the back; but great in all other respects. So delightful that it would cause anyone to sin in thought and in deed. She is so dazzling, so strong in character that she dominates everyone in court. Men surround her and listen to what Natalia has to say, as if her words would come from a great character. Your wishes are our commands. What you ask for will be accomplished. No whips are needed. All she has to do is to reach out her hand to be kissed and fifty men around her will fall to their knees almost simultaneously, ready to do so. This is her strength. What a beautiful woman in everything. In her smile and in her gestures. The way she speaks and the way she looks at me, with her chubby, ruddy cheeks and two diamond earrings, immediately makes me want her in a fascinating way.  When she appears, dressed in black and adorned with jewels, observing with the immense strength of her personality, everyone kneels before her, from a simple cavalry officer to the zar himself, who are ready to confess their submission. At that time, they are at the mercy of her will. If she wanted, she could have a thousand lovers at once, and she would make them fight each other like toy soldiers. For this reason, Pushkin lost his head as soon as he saw her. Anyone would be blinded by such a woman. At least she attracts me so much that if I don't hold back I think I might fall in love with her, and soon I'll be thinking about her, day and night. If anyone dare to speak to her, I am seized by overwhelming jealousy and uncontrollable anger, and my hand instinctively reaches for the butt of my revolver. This is something animal. Something primal and wild. It's just the way it is. Then I would have to fight with Alexander Pushkin to see who becomes her man; which is not my intention and never will be. God has thrown these ideas into my head. But, undoubtedly, such a beauty would guarantee certain death to a husband from the moment he meets and courts her. I must admit that Pushkin has already captured me with such a force that I even feel the same feelings and the same passion like him... Ah, Natalya, Natalya... The very beautiful Natalya Goncharova...

          At this point, my best man interrupted me to say that everything was ready.

          I deliberately took off my coat and gave it to a servant who was nearby. I stuck to my golden vest and rolled up my white shirt sleeves like a surgeon preparing to amputate a leg on the battlefield. Looking coldly at my opponent, I approached the table and took one of the pistols. I lifted the weapon and brandished it until I got used to its weight. I looked at the metallic brightness of its barrel and felt the roughness of the curved walnut handle. It was an old pistol with scratches and marks which has apparently been used hundreds of times. I would be surprised if I thought of the lives that were cut off by it in previous trials.

          My opponent, the erotomaniac, also drew off his blue-green military jacket with shoulder straps. I would simply say that he is a tall, energetic and strong person, quite handsome, with a small blond mustache that quivers every time he speaks and a thick blond hair. He is a huge soldier. He kept his white long-sleeve shirt. He held a pistol to his chest, pointing at the sky, and looked at me with contempt.

          I have never seen anyone looking at me with such  a hatred. But I hope he knows that these feelings are reciprocal. Because every time I see him, anger and jealousy inevitably prevail in me. They are stronger than myself. I have never felt such a hatred for another human being as I feel now. It is so intense that it feels exquisite at times.

          Maybe it is because he reminds me of Alvaro Mesia, the villain from La Regenta. A mediocre being, who could not shine in other aspects of life. A lover who seduced a married woman simply to satisfy his low instincts, to amuse himself or to indulge in a conquest in order to subdue his vanity, without caring about the suffering that this may cause on her spouse, her family or the woman herself.

          The judge ordered us to turn on our backs. We did so and we stared at opposite directions. At that moment I asked him:

          "Baron d’Anthes, I suppose you already know that I have come to avenge Pushkin".

          Looking at the other way he said nothing; although I knew that his little blond mustache would be trembling.

          "Have you,  Baron d'Anthes, listened to me?", I asked  softly.

          "Yes. I have listened to you”.

          "I suppose you are still interested in Natalya, aren't you?"

          He continued being silent. 

          I asked again:

          “I guess you would like to know if she is still a virgin, wouldn't you?"

          At that moment, probably to prevent us from turning around and firing point-blank at each other, the judge gave  us the signal and we began walking the twenty-five indicated steps, which I did with great serenity. At last we stopped and turned around.

          I concentrated in holding my pistol firmly, placing it in line with my opponent's white chest. He had one foot advanced and placed his body diagonally, his pistol aiming at me. My hand trembled a little; to my surprise it was only slightly. This hand, which once wielded the pen to write Voices of Silence and Tremebundas, today it squeezes a trigger trying to avenge an affront.

          We  fired almost at the same time. I saw smoke around my gun and immediately I felt a sharp pain very near my shoulder which took my breath away and prevented me from breathing.

          It was a very intense burning that paralyzed my arm at the aiming position. In the midst of the smoke and the smell of gunpowder I saw the enormous body of my rival, the immense lustful soldier, slowly falling to his knees with his head bowed and a great stain of blood on his chest; then I saw him collapsing to the ground. 

          "Now tell me, Baron d'Anthes, what is the use of your passionate kisses, your tender glances, your seductive words, your admirable incontinence, your immense and irrepressible lust? Can you now desire the gorgeous Natalya Goncharova with that bullet in your chest? Do you still want to engage passionately with Natalya, the teenager with the rosy cheeks, to confirm that she is still a virgin?

          Incredibly, although weak, I still had enough strength to remain standing and to take one step after another, swaying, as if an immense weakness had taken over my entire body while a thousand  of ideas passed through my mind.

          Scared, I saw my best man running towards me very pale, with his white sideburns and his top hat still on, his scarf covering his chin, calling me, asking if I was all right.

          Meanwhile, I saw his best man, with his black cape, kneeling on the ground, moving the chin of the fallen duelist and patting the face of someone who could no longer answer him.

           I sensed an inexplicable fear. My vision became blurry despite my efforts to remain awake and to stay on my feet. I couldn't breathe. Blood would pool inside my chest. It would drown me. I said to him:

           "Excuse me, d’Anthes!... I beg you... It was not my intention”.

          My arm went down and I dropped my gun to the ground.

          “Get up d’Anthes! Forgive me for what I have done to you... Where did this hatred come from? Who started this rumor? Who started this plot? Anti-plotter! Where is the anti-plotter?... May he come here, to the field of honor, to untangle what the plotter has cruelly entangled... Who? Who hates who? Anti-plotter!"

          I tried to take another step towards my opponent to ask him to absolve me. My scared best man hugged me making efforts to support me. I continued:

          "Baron d 'Anthes, give me your mercy... I beg you..."

          I shook my face. My legs were not strong anymore. I could no longer walk. I was horrified. There was a great weakness. An intense buzzing.

          At that moment I saw Natalya Goncharova in front of me, crying, hugging me and asking me not to die:

          "Aleksander... Forgive me... Don't die, my love... It wasn't my fault... There was never anything between d’Anthes and I... Don't you see it?"

          And she would kiss my chest, my forehead, my hands, moistening me with her tears. With great difficulty and with the voice of a dying man, I would try to make her understand by raising the tone of my voice:

          "I am not Aleksander... madam! I am not Pushkin”.

          However she, sobbing, with her beautiful rosy face,  without being able to understand me, continued kissing me on my lips and my hands.

          With my last strength, my voice almost muffled, I  rectified again:

          "Madame... I am not Pushkin..."

          But she didn't listen to me. Rather she continued  saying:

          "It wasn't my fault, my love... It wasn't my fault... Don't go... Aleksander... Don't leave me!"

          At that point I had my last vision. I saw Aleksander Pushkin's with a smile of satisfaction on his face. I saw him happy. Then, my sight became obscure and I fell to the ground with a thud. My eyes remained open; but certainly  they could not see anymore.



                             PUSCHKINS RACHE
                                         (Eine Probe)
                                          von MANUEL LASSO

          Das größte Unglück, das einem Schriftsteller passieren kann, besteht darin, in jungen Jahren sein Leben zu verlieren und sein literarisches Schaffen nicht fortsetzen zu können. So erging es John Keats, der unwissentlich oder unfreiwillig an Husten starb, überwältigt von Schwindsucht, wie The Lady of the Camellias oder Christopher Marlowe, der unter penetrantem Biergeruch bei einer heftigen und schnellen Schlägerei in einer Bar erstochen wurde .

          Aus diesem Grund hat mich die Geschichte von Aleksander Puschkin schon immer bewegt. Unzählige Male habe ich über seinen vorzeitigen Tod nachgedacht und bin ausnahmslos zu demselben Schluss gekommen. Er durfte nicht weiterleben, um sein künstlerisches Werk zu vollenden.

          Es ist bekannt, dass Baron Georges d’Anthes, ein im Exil lebender Erotoman im Dienste der kaiserlich-russischen Armee, ebenso wie Rodolfo Boulanger, der wohlhabende Liebhaber von Madame Bovary, von der Idee besessen waren, Puschkins Frau zu verführen. Er belagerte sie lange Zeit mit ihren blumigen Wasserstrahlen, seinen militärischen Posen und seinen Ronsard-Versen. Nachdem er seinen Wunsch erfüllt hatte, konfrontierte er den Dichter weiter mit einer schlimmsten Beleidigung und ließ keine andere Wahl, als die Verletzung mit einem Duell auf Leben und Tod zu reparieren.

                              Hämnden från Pushkin
                                                             (Ett prov)
                                                                                  av Manuel Lasso

        I det ögonblicket, förmodligen för att hindra oss från att vända om och skjuta blankt mot varandra, gav domaren oss signalen och vi började gå de tjugofem angivna stegen, vilket jag gjorde med stor lugn. Till slut stannade vi och vände.

          Jag koncentrerade mig på att hålla min pistol stadigt och placera den i linje med min motståndares vita bröstkorg. Han hade en fot framåt och placerade kroppen diagonalt, med pistolen riktad mot mig. Min hand darrade lite; till min förvåning var det bara lite. Den här handen, som en gång använde pennan för att skriva Tystnadens röster och Tremebundas, klämmer i dag på en avtryckare som försöker hämnas en förolämpning.

          Vi sköt nästan samtidigt. Jag såg rök runt mitt vapen och kände genast en skarp smärta mycket nära min axel som tog andan och hindrade mig från att andas.

          Det var en mycket intensiv bränning som förlamade min arm vid riktningspositionen. Mitt i röken och lukten av krut såg jag min rivales enorma kropp, den enorma lustfulla soldaten, som långsamt föll på knä med böjt huvud och en stor fläck av blod på bröstet; då såg jag honom kollapsa till marken.

1171 / 5000

Translation results

LA VENDETTA DI PUSHKIN (Un frammento) di Manuel Lasso
In quel momento, probabilmente per impedirci di voltarci e spararci a bruciapelo, il giudice ci ha dato il segnale e abbiamo iniziato a percorrere i venticinque gradini indicati, cosa che ho fatto con molta serenità. Alla fine ci siamo fermati e ci siamo voltati. Mi concentrai nel tenere saldamente la mia pistola, posizionandola in linea con il petto bianco del mio avversario. Aveva un piede avanzato e mise il corpo in diagonale, la pistola puntata contro di me. La mia mano tremava un po'; con mia sorpresa era solo leggermente. Questa mano, che un tempo impugnava la penna per scrivere Voices of Silence e Tremebundas, oggi preme un grilletto cercando di vendicare un affronto. Abbiamo sparato quasi contemporaneamente. Ho visto del fumo intorno alla mia pistola e ho sentito subito un dolore acuto molto vicino alla mia spalla che mi ha tolto il respiro e mi ha impedito di respirare. Fu un bruciore molto intenso che mi paralizzò il braccio nella posizione di mira. In mezzo al fumo e all'odore di polvere da sparo vidi il corpo enorme del mio rivale, l'immenso soldato lussurioso, cadere lentamente in ginocchio con il capo chino e una grande macchia di sangue sul petto; poi l'ho visto crollare a terra.

                                                   Dendam PUSHKIN
                                                              (Sebuah sampel)
                                                                                         oleh Manuel Lasso

          Pada saat itu, mungkin untuk mencegah kami berbalik dan menembak satu sama lain, hakim memberi kami sinyal dan kami mulai berjalan di dua puluh lima langkah yang ditunjukkan, yang saya lakukan dengan sangat tenang. Akhirnya kami berhenti dan berbalik.

          Aku berkonsentrasi memegang pistolku dengan kuat, menempatkannya sejajar dengan dada putih lawanku. Dia memiliki satu kaki di depan dan menempatkan tubuhnya secara diagonal, pistolnya menunjuk ke arahku. Tanganku sedikit gemetar; yang mengejutkan saya itu hanya sedikit. Tangan ini, yang pernah memegang pena untuk menulis Voices of Silence dan Tremebundas, hari ini menekan pemicu mencoba membalas penghinaan.

          Kami menembak hampir bersamaan. Saya melihat asap di sekitar pistol saya dan segera merasakan sakit yang tajam di dekat bahu saya yang membuat saya terengah-engah dan mencegah saya untuk bernafas.

          Itu adalah rasa terbakar yang sangat hebat yang melumpuhkan lengan saya pada posisi membidik. Di tengah asap dan bau mesiu aku melihat tubuh besar sainganku, prajurit bernafsu yang sangat besar, perlahan-lahan jatuh berlutut dengan kepala tertunduk dan noda darah di dadanya; lalu aku melihatnya ambruk ke tanah.

October 15, 2021


Boundless Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans: 


          Remember that you are  only temporary                        occupants of this planet.                               

August 21, 2021



In my eternal home
I cannot rest
But, linger, to these lonesome years in solitude
Yet, with patience I do await.

Oh, my beloved, be strong
For your happiness, is my joy and peace
Your sorrows, my agony
Your sufferings, my lamentations.

Await, in our home with peace
To lie beside me, forever;
In our cold eternal haven.

And all eternity we will be in peace
Waiting... for

All our children to join us,
At the end, again,
We will be together
A family,
in peace!

Milaflor Garcia Barrera-Navarro
(1,942 - 2,019)


January 11, 2021


                        (Taken from Atunis Galaxy Poetry. POSTED ON AUGUST 1, 2016


Dialogues in front of an explosion at the center of a great city.


                                                by Manuel Lasso 

BERNARDO: What would happen, sir, if a nuclear missile explodes at the center of this great city?
ORESTES: As you can see it would be something extraordinarily frightening. From the distance it will be seen as an immense ball of red fire and black smoke rising swiftly and covering almost half of this ancient city.
BERNARDO: Half of this city?
ORESTES: As you perceive me and hear me. It would be a gigantic explosion which from the beginning would have instantaneously destroyed a large part of the city and would be advancing towards the periphery at an inconceivable speed.
BERNARDO: It will have to be observed from a considerable distance. …
ORESTES: Yes, indeed. Due to its extraordinary destructive power it could only be seen from a remote place. Before it used to be observed from a very close location, mainly by some megalomaniac generals who would get drunk as much as they could and climb to a tribune. Staggering, with teary eyes, their chests full of medals, they would sing their national anthem looking at the elevation of the red smoky mushroom in the distance.
BERNARDO: To see exactly how it could be used…
ORESTES: Yes. To see if they could use it, seeking for glory, in the splendor of the battlefield, either during an attack on the enemy forces that seemed meek, feeble and easy to defeat or during the disorderly retreat of their own terrified troops when the artillery of the adversary turned out to be more lethal and destructive than expected. In reality, those generals could not comprehend that the only eye of the soul is understanding as Aristotle taught us and not the liquor drank at an inappropriate moment. Later on, it was found that these curious spectators, despite the medals hanging from their jackets, would become very ill with Acute Radiation Syndrome. From that moment the generals gallery remained empty. This is a weapon that would charmingly amuse a homicidal and vicious leader like Hitler, Caligula or Attila the Hun.
BERNARDO: Couldn’t this be observed from the hypocenter of the explosion?
ORESTES: What did you say? To observe it from ground zero?… Bernardo, benedicite!… My dear fellow, you must hate yourself in an extraordinary way… Are you a martyr?
BERNARDO: No, sir. Why?
ORESTES: Because if you stand at the center of the detonation you will disappear… Why would you like to stand there?.. To say good-bye?… Or to say your last prayer?… The situation couldn’t be so bad… Your sweetie-thing couldn’t be gone forever… She should be back soon… Please, calm down…
BERNARDO: I was just simply asking, sir.
ORESTES: So then, please, ask the right question. Otherwise you may give the wrong impression… It would be impossible to see it from the hypocenter of the explosion, simply because, as you can imagine, you would blow up and disappear immediately in a phenomenal mass of fire… Nothing would be left of you… The speed of that explosion would be a thousand times faster than the blink of an eye. Do you understand?
BERNARDO: Yes, yes; I understand.
ORESTES: This explosion is quicker than an envious human thought. Infinitely faster than the moving fingers of a clever robber in front of a pocket full of money or of a smiling magician ready to do a trick on you. After the blinding detonation no one would realize that everything had disappeared because there would be nobody to confirm it. At one moment, life would continue as usual with their exceedingly delicious sexual urgencies, their philosophical disjunctives and their consecutive dilemmas. On the next, in the middle of the smoke, the colossal explosion with its immense ball of fire would have relentlessly destroyed a great part of that city and would be advancing towards the periphery, as if galloping under the beat of the Overture of William Tell… Half of that apothetical and transcendental city, including its population, would have ill-fatedly disappeared in less than a hundredth of a second leaving an immense area of black rubble with exposed high voltage wires, leaking gas ducts, fallen sharp objects and fires while the brightly illuminated souls, will be ascending from everywhere, one after another, among the rising bluish smoke and the radioactive dust. I wish you could understand this. I said, in less than a hundredth of a second… Hey, my dear fellow, wake up!… Well, I can not go against the designs of Heaven if you can not comprehend what I am saying…
BERNARDO: I understand. In less than a hundredth of a second… Of course, I understand… Extremely fast… Extraordinary sight… Would it also be too hot?
ORESTES: If you call it hot. I do not know how to call it. The truth is that it would be the worst of hell because temperature could ascend to ten million degrees centigrade.
BERNARDO: Ten million degrees centigrade? In the center of the explosion?
ORESTES: As you hear me, my dear fellow… Where you would like to stand up…
BERNARDO: That would be really too hot, wouldn’t it?
ORESTES: Well, imagine yourself… If water boils at one hundred degrees. What would happen at ten million? We would vaporize and vanish, without leaving on the floor not even a dirty drop of ourselves.
BERNARDO: Do you believe, sir, that at the gates of Hell the temperature would also climb to that level?
ORESTES: Hell?… My dear fellow, you will have to address that question to Virgil or to Dante or to Farinata degli Uberti if you find them somewhere on the road. They might be too old by now. But it is also possible that if you watch them with your binoculars you could see them moving and walking among the blaze and flames with the same red headdress and the same bluish green tunics of those times.
BERNARDO: What would happen to everything that existed in the center of this ancient and fabulous city?
ORESTES: Everything will vanish instantly. By that I mean the sanctified temples with their big columns and designs, the bustling whorehouses full of contentious penny-pinchers and the museums with their uninterrupted erotic act performances. The same would happen to us. All dissatisfied dreams and ambitions, the implacable sexual desires that do not yield with anything, the indolence from which you perpetually suffer and all the envy and hatred that we humans have towards each other, would melt together with the bricks and iron in a mass of fire, blood and contaminated dust. This entire megalopolis will be left in ruins emitting an enormous amount of radioactivity as it happened when God destroyed Cahors and Gomorra. It is too shocking for the imagination to conceive this but it is the truth.
BERNARDO: I have never heard something like this.
ORESTES: I am awfully frightened even by talking about it because it seems like a horror movie, a fiction, an exaggeration. It challenges the concept of the analysis of experience in terms of subject and object. However, it is astonishingly real. Do you think that I am saying something unseemly, my dear fellow?
BERNARDO: Not at all, sir. By the contrary. Now, could you, please, tell me if the public knows about the consequences of these nuclear explosions.
ORESTES: People in general, unfortunately, does not know how this is. Everyone speaks and reads about nuclear explosions. They look at photographs and films; but they rather see an erotic spectacle, like when a couple, say Othello and Desdemona, are anxiously and impatiently making love in the svanaka position. Then and only then, the spectators applaud and scream full of ardor and desire. But when the subject is the consequence of a nuclear disaster I doubt if any public could be interested.
BERNARDO: What would happen at 16 kilometers away from the center of the explosion?
ORESTES: The hellish heat would vaporize all metals.
BERNARDO: Do you mean that a war tank, with its uniformed occupants, standing on the top of a hill would disappear like ghosts?
ORESTES: That is exactly what I mean. They will dematerialize as the specter of Banquo did during the feast of Macbeth. I am delighted to hear that your epistemological understanding increases by the second. It calls for a congratulation… Let me applaud a little… It is true, the glass will melt and pour over the ground like lava falling down from the Vesuvius. If it falls over a face it will make a mascara. If it falls over an entire body it will make a radioactive cast for a bronze statue.
BERNARDO: As we see it in that painting by Dali?
ORESTES: You have said it. Clocks would melt and drip as if they were made of liquid wax. You will hear the dripping. Or they will hang from the trees and the electrical posts.
BERNARDO: So then, Dali had a prophetical vision.
ORESTES: It might have been intentional, coincidental or prophetical. Dali’s art, like our subconscious world, can not yet be well understood. It has too many scary situations, furious ghosts and screaming demons that makes it impossible to watch. On the other hand, science does not have to exhaust its own field in order to produce the necessary nexus between its determinant contexts.
BERNARDO: Between what, sir?
ORESTES: Between its determinant contexts…
BERNARDO: Oh, yes, yes… Science…. Its determinant contexts, of course; but, what would happen at 27 kilometers from the center of the explosion?
ORESTES: You can imagine that at that moment the white smoky mushroom will continue ascending and forming crooked white volutes. The intense heat would burn everything including the houses, buildings and monuments. It will be worse than the fire of Rome or the inferno of the Library of Alexandria. Large enchanted forests will go into flames with all their owls, wolves, deers, unicorns, playful gnomes and dwarf-queens included.
BERNARDO: Nothing would remain intact?
ORESTES: Absolutely nothing. The carbonized birds will drop over the ashes like hot stones. Everything would be transformed into a bleak place covered by cinders and leafless little trees. Below those trees, in that metafinite cosmos, under the shadow of its branches, we will keep waiting for Godot, eating carrots or turnips and announcing with Estragon and Vladimir that there is still nothing to do over the ground covered by radioactive dust.
BERNARDO: It would seem like an authentic Apocalypse.
ORESTES: You are absolutely right, my dear fellow. Your are a genius!… Seven times a genius!… When the sacred seals open, from different places of the enormous wall of white smoke, the four terrifying horsemen of Apocalypse will emerge covered by a fine layer of radioactive soot. They will look like four emaciated cadavers with their faces powdered with exaggeration and their fine lips painted on red. For an instant they will look in all directions. Upon seeing us they will spur their horses and will gallop towards us, swinging their heavy swords over their heads desperately, screeching and vociferating cries of battle in Greek, like Magnum Aleksander, raising radioactive dust and running at the beat of a grotesque and scratchy sound of bugles, violins, cellos and basses, in order to transform us, with their bloody weapons, into pieces of guts, hands and feet thrown all over the place. It would be a horrible nightmare…
BERNARDO: What would happen at 48 kilometers from the hypocenter of the explosion?
ORESTES: With such a potent heat anyone walking on the countryside, anxiously looking at the most attractive portions of the bodies of the three merry virgins, taking a bath in the flowing waters of the creek, would endure severe burns all over their bodies.
BERNARDO: What will happen at 89 kilometers from the explosion?
ORESTES: At that distance anyone who would turn their heads back, like Lot’s wife, to glance at the bright light of the enormous explosion would suffer an instantaneous blindness that could not be healed even if Maimonides in person would come, with his white turban, to rub their eyes with the best of his magic and scented oils while scratching his gray beard and reading in loud voice from an old volume of Iphigenia in Aulis… Do you know who Maimonides was?
BERNARDO: Yes, of course. He was a great physician and writer from antiquity.
ORESTES: Well then, you could imagine what David Hume would have done in this case inspired by his skeptical empiricism.
BERNARDO: Hume would not have believed in a nuclear explosion until seeing one. He only gave credit to what he could see, hear, smell or touch… So with eagerness he would have stared at the mushroom of smoke and fire…
ORESTES: I am glad he lived in a different age. Anyway Kant helped him get on line.
BERNARDO: Undoubtedly. But continuing with my questions. Would this explosion be the cause of a great number of deaths?
ORESTES: The amount of dead people would be unimaginable. There would be an incalculable number of cadavers resting everywhere like in the times of the Black Death. Worse than that, the bodies of these victims would remain in different positions, on the collapsing roofs of the destroyed buildings and on the devastated public plazas; on their boats, at the shores of the rivers, with a fish moving among their hands, or still holding desperately from the ropes of the church bells. Others would be on the corridors of the demolished whorehouses with their eyes and mouths opened in astonishment while holding flasks filled with ancient oil. What is more, the bloodcurdling rider of the red horse, the one with the sunken white eyes, without dismounting, would roll over the inert bodies with his sword, sticking its sharp tip in their bellies with mighty thrusts, to confirm that they were dead. There will be no one to entomb them and the carcasses will remain where they fell, for the contentment of the starving and jumping vultures and the voracious and delighted carrion dogs.
BERNARDO: What would happen if the infuriated corpses would get up and walk around to scare the carrion dogs that were eating them?
ORESTES: There would be no one who would raise to stretch and walk. To all those who would dare to stand up, the emaciated rider of the black horse, the one causing famine, will hit them on the head with its balance, making a metallic sound and will knock them down to the ground. Then the carrion dogs, wagging their tails with great enthusiasm, will come close again to continue licking and chomping on their heads.
BERNARDO: I understand. And the generals?
ORESTES: Do you think, that in the middle of that orgasmic cataclysm, the generals would be warming their throats to sing the national anthem with their falsetto voices?
BERNARDO: No, no; of course not. I mean if they were dead.
ORESTES: If those genocide officers, responsible for the disappearance and assassination of innocent citizens, were present at that moment, they would also be eaten by the black vultures, starting by their eyes and their tongues.
BERNARDO: Like Greek heroes…
ORESTES: Possibly…
BERNARDO: Such a tragic scene… My father was also a soldier…
ORESTES: I am very sorry for you and your father, my dear fellow, believe me; but as I said, at that moment no one would envy anybody and there would be no one who could hate other humans.
BERNARDO: Would racial hatred end with nuclear destruction?
ORESTES: It is possible that with these extreme catastrophes the unexplainable detestation that some humans feel for others would end. My dear fellow, we are all equal and no one is superior to anybody, because we descend from the same fragile bow-legged African woman who instead of long hairs on her head had small multicolor serpents that enjoyed by swiftly jumping over each other to bite their own little poisonous muzzle chops and their shinny throats.

BERNARDO: And the dictatorships?

ORESTES: They will also disappear.
BERNARDO: And the torturers?
ORESTES: There would be no low rank torturer, no brainless homo sapiens, who could electroshock, out of infinite pleasure, the didymus of an innocent prisoner, whatever his political agenda might be, simply to confirm the ontological relationship between the whole and its parts or to verify that electricity could conduct equally  between the total organ and their component cells.
BERNARDO: Excuse me, sir; but what is the didymus?
ORESTES: My dear fellow!… Don’t you know?… Haven’t you ever heard of the didymus of Hannibal’s elephants? Or the didymus of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand which was rather very small indeed? Or the one of Victor Hugo which was senile and fibrous but still highly functional? For God’s sake, this is utterly incredible!… You need to be hit on the head by the rider of the black horse… The didymus, my dear fellow, is the round and soft organ that exists below the existentialist epididymus.
BERNARDO: And what is the epididymus?
ORESTES: For that question you will have to consult with Being and nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre and the Fifth Book of Vesalius’s De Humanis Corporis Fabrica. There you will find a good illustration of it and you will see it clearly. Don’t tell me that you don’t know what the didymus is. Because it is a very elemental concept. If it were not for the didymus or the gonad of the females with their beautiful primordial germ cells, neither the homo erectus nor the homo sapiens, could have existed… Or the bluish red paintings of the caves of Altamira… Or the carved images of the temples of Khajuraho. They were extremely indispensable in the evolution of our ancestors… The only thing we can not have access to is eternity, my dear fellow, eternity…
BERNARDO: Of course, of course… Eternity… I understand you… That is where Nero wanted to enter and remain forever… But, please, tell me, sir, would there be too many injured people after the explosion?
ORESTES: It will be an extraordinary sight. Countless numbers of wounded people, saintly or sinful, will lie on the outer area of the explosion. It would be horrifying because they would be piled up, on top of each other, like morsels in the market, even when they would not like to be in that position, moaning of pain and terror, calling for the benevolence and the mercy of the Almighty; but regretfully no one could come to help them because there would be no one to assist anybody, nor even the witches or the hob-goblins because they will also be among the dead. It would resemble the end of a cruel battle of Antiquity, with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse riding with their banners, between the victims, blowing their trumpets vigorously and announcing their victory in all directions.
BERNARDO: Would it be like in the paintings of Bruegel?
ORESTES: Something immensely more frightful. Honestly, I would not wish to be there.
BERNARDO: And the survivors?
ORESTES: Only those who were far enough from the explosion will survive; but sometimes I think it would be better not to survive.
BERNARDO: Why not?
ORESTES: Because those poor ones, would suffer terrible deformities. Grotesque bumps will emerge from the skulls of hoarders and spendthrifts. Burns and lethal illnesses will follow. Unexpectedly, third eyes will appear on their foreheads looking at the passing women and moving at their own will. Some survivors will suddenly grow seven heads from their necks and five tails from their rear end, moving each one at different speed and with different rhythm. We’ll be surrounded by monsters. It would be a hecatomb, an abstract unity which could not return rationally to the world of the phenomenon. Something that could not even be understood. The worst would be the nuclear winter which will follow soon afterwards.
BERNARDO: What is that?
ORESTES: I am delighted to hear that you ask this because, as I have explained before, if a nuclear winter is produced, all cinder and residues of the explosion will form a gigantic cloud around the planet. The sunlight will not be seen for an indefinite period of time and all plants and animals will die. It would be like a gruesome and macabre night of unknown duration with demons screaming and howling in the darkness. Besides, the massive radioactivity accumulated in that global cloud would fall over the earth and contaminate all food and water with cesium-137, strontium-90 and Iodine-131. There would be nothing to eat or drink, not even a little red hot pepper which was intended to be used in a Kung Pao Chicken. The horses of the Apocalypses will have no hay or water to consume either. They will remain neighing and snorting, waiting for everybody to expire before departing. In a short lapse the entire humanity will have ceased to exist with all its hatred and bellicosities.
BERNARDO: Would the horsemen have anything to eat or drink?
ORESTES: Don’t worry about them because they are biblical and do not eat or drink like us.
BERNARDO: But they drink beer and wine.
ORESTES: No, they don’t. They drink blood and feed on rotting flesh.
BERNARDO: I understand. So, the entire humanity would become extinct?
ORESTES: As simple as that, sir.
BERNARDO: Isn’t it possible that a single homo sapiens could survive hidden somewhere, between the rocks?
ORESTES: I don’t think so. No man can survive without the ardent love of his woman and viceverse, no woman can continue on living without her idolized male making love to her at all times. Nature made them inseparable. They just can not hold it for too long. Therefore, a scared homo sapiens, hiding behind the rocks, would die immediately screaming the name of his adored woman. His feeling of defeat and despair would be immense. All species have the potential to become extinct and this would be the end of the homo sapiens. In that way we would arrive to the last paragraph of our universal history without finding yet the best way to govern our political societies and without responding to all the questions that constantly perplex us.
BERNARDO: That is the most regrettable. Could the explosion of this city produce a nuclear winter?
ORESTES: One hundred megatons are enough to produce it.
BERNARDO: The explosion of this city was of twenty.
ORESTES: Yes, indeed. But every action provokes a reaction. If a pipsqueak and fanatical individual explodes a bomb somewhere, retaliations of more megatons will necessarily follow. I don’t believe that there would be a nation that will not respond, unless it is full of dumb people or if the necessary weapons are non existent. If there is a nuclear exchange between several nations, above all if there is an insane leader, who would launch a strayed missile, as if it were a firecracker of a town fair, then more than one hundred megatons would accumulate quickly and the arrival of the nuclear winter would be over us.
BERNARDO: This is absurd. Do you really think that this could happen? I don’t want to die…
ORESTES: Me either. But I can assure you that this will happen. Do not harbor any doubt. Sooner or later, at some point, this will occur. Unfortunately the only way we have to delay it is the peaceful one. We are very near absolute acosmism and nihilism…
BERNARDO: I humbly apologize, sir; but, what is acosmism?
ORESTES: Don’t you know?… For God’s sake!… Hey, someone call for the rider of the black horse, please!… What university did you attend, my dear fellow?
BERNARDO: None, sir. As you might remember I am a self educated theologian turned revolutionary.
ORESTES: How excellent!… How marvelous the human mind is!… Theologian turned revolutionary… Extraordinary!… But obviously, you need to go back and review your philosophy notes… A revolutionary who is not well prepared and who does not know his theory is an easy pray for his adversaries in the battlefield.
BERNARDO: Will there always be a revolutionary, sir?
ORESTES: Of course, there will always be a three headed revolutionary with an assault rifle in his hands ready to use it, whatever the times or the century may be, because the revolutionary spirit is part of the human nature, a portion of gray matter of the human brain. The political theory and the ideology will be different because they change with the passage of time, but there will always be a reason for the young revolutionary to take action against his or her own society. The revolutionaries are the undeniably enforcers of the thoughts of their times.
BERNARDO: What were you saying about the Holy Scriptures, sir?
ORESTES: I was saying that we are very near absolute acosmism and nihilism. What we do not know is the exact moment. The clocks are ticking and it is only a matter of time. Nuclear missiles are already set on their launching pads aiming at their assigned targets. There are martyrs who would have a great spiritual satisfaction in exploding them in person in the downtown area of any big city. All nations want to have their own atomic weapons to terrify and threaten their neighboring country. It is as if we would give loaded machine guns to a group of young people and ask them to shoot at each other to see what happens. Perhaps they would act with more common sense and refuse to do it. Children many times have a better judgment that adults.
BERNARDO: Isn’t it the proper moment to accomplish a total and absolute nuclear disarmament?
ORESTES: It is. But no one wishes to disarm because nobody wants to lose the superiority they believe they have achieved with these weapons without thinking that they are harboring their own destruction. It is as if the great potencies would have obtained a marvelous toy which they would not like to lose. The reason is that the homo sapiens, despite his exceptional intelligence and his developed civilization, full of Euripides, Einsteins and Newtons, that can inquire in the infinite dimensions of the universe or within the intimacies of the atom particles, is still a very primitive and immature animal as dim-witted as an earth worm… When total disarmament is the subject of discussion all world leaders pretend not to be the involved ones as if their nations could not be targeted for nuclear destruction. It is unbelievable how certain human brains could reason so fallaciously in such a dangerous moment. Epistemology sentences that their thoughts are untrue; however the fierce determination of a shortsighted head of state is the only condition needed to send the world into complete chaos and annihilations. Besides, there are insane and demential leaders, full of abhorrence for their enemies, who compulsively continue building reactors to produce plutonium, missile control centers and launching pads, without thinking that almost immediately after they strike their own cities will be completely annihilated and erased from the surface of the earth by massive and extraordinary retaliations. Most importantly, we have to consider that these deranged leaders, out of exquisite hatred, are the ones sending the missiles, but the noble and innocent civilians, women and children, are the ones suffering the horrible consequences of these tremendous nuclear explosions. Why should they allow this?
BERNARDO: Then, what can we do, sir?
ORESTES: It is very simple… As King Richard III used to say: “Chop their heads and tails off!”
BERNARDO: Of course. It is obvious that without their tails they could not go anywhere. But besides that, what else can the nations do?
ORESTES: What we can do is very well known. However we do not act because we are victims of our own estultitia. Our difficulty does not reside in not knowing what to do because we know what to do; but in not doing or not being able to do what we know we have to do. Near the end, I will mention something that is so evident. First, we have to self contain the loathing and detestation we have for our neighboring countries and use more maturity to peacefully resolve our international conflicts instead of recurring to our primitive tendencies of making war because of childish and insignificant reasons in the name of our patriotism and our affronted national honor. Secondly, this should be a planet without nuclear weapons or it will not be. Therefore we have t o give away our arsenals without exceptions. We have to chose between our existence or our non existence. Thirdly, we have to dissuade, in any possible way, all fanatical attempts to build and use this type of weapons because there is no nuclear attack without colossal retaliation. The end will justify the means. And fear the retaliation, my dear fellow, as you fear the monsters that chase you during your horrible nightmares, because there is no nuclear attack without extraordinary and gigantic reciprocation. So then, curse the clunky hand that will detonate the first bomb, my dear fellow. We are at the edge of a safety zone. A little push more and the 160,000 years of humanity existence may come to its end. Obviously, we need more peace efforts.

  De Cabañas la Montaña