The Raccoon dog of the Tower of Babel
- I fantasize and make plans.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a poor poet. I like sitting on a bench in the P… park and fantasize or make plans. I enjoy not only thinking about poetry but also like invent scientific tools. Solving mathematical problems is more fun than poetry. Women`s legs are like trembing curves. When a woman passes by, the curves of her legs make my mind tremble. Once she is gone, my mind is left with a math equation of that shaking. I put my weight on the back of the bench and immerse myself in solving that equation. From that equation various fantasies and plans are born.
For example, I think of the head of Medusa. I think that it is strange that it is said that if you look at the head of Medusa you are turned into stone. If that was true, there would be no living human being that had ever seen Medusa and so no one would even know about the existence of Medusa. But this mystery can be solved by thinking in the following way. There is some special reason for turning into stone when one looks at the head of Medusa, and if one understands that reason, one will not turn into stone. I concluded the following: Medusa was very beautiful and because she competed with Venus for being the most beautiful woman, her hair was changed into snakes as punishment. Well, she must have been very beautiful. No doubt, one becomes fascinated with her beauty and as described by Stendhal`s ”crystallization” in the process of falling in love, one becomes stone. Therefore, there is no danger of becoming stone for the person who has a cold heart and is not moved by the beauty of Medusa. Perhaps Perseus must have been such a man. I also want to be such a man. A person who is sensitive to everything but is not moved by anything, and has a cold heart is a person qualified to be a poet. “Cold heart, cold heart, …” I repeated those words many times, and made sure of their meaning. Since then, this has become a magic spell whenever I walk through the streets of the city and enjoy women`s legs. I feel that one can better understand the meaning of women’s legs when one uses that spell.
2. A strange animal appeared, grabbed my shadow and ran away.
Well, that morning, the park was still deserted. I opened my notebook and had a look at my fantasies and plans that I had written down the day before. Each one reminded me of some woman’s legs that I was strongly inspired by. In the beginning, I wrote about the problem of whether it is possible to fit a limited number of squares of different sizes in a rectangle and concluded that it is not possible if one uses less than 38 squares. I remembered the smooth legs of a bare-footed teenaged girl. Next I had some ideas about making a binary application calculator that came from card tricks. This came from seeing a call girl wearing tight brown silk stockings. In addition, my notebook contained notes about ‘eating mice’ a ‘stereo microscoop’, a ‘liquid lens’, a ‘time engraving machine’, an inverted gallow’, ‘a diagram to calculate information about humans’, etc.
At the end, there was a poem about a book flying through a dark universe.
But none of these ideas were complete. In short, everything was a fantasy, a plan. So, I called my notebook ‘don`t count your chickens (jp. raccoon dogs) before they are hatch’. Then it happened. I lifted my eyes and I saw a strange beast. Its hair was too thick to be a cat, its tail too thick to be a dog, it was not a fox, a wolf or a raccoon dog, much less a rat or a tiger; it was an unfamiliar animal. Rather than using words to explain it, let ‘s take a quick look at the following picture. This strange creature was sitting still under an Acacia bush, and had his gaze fixed on me. When I looked back, he didn`t avert his eyes and kept staring with shining big eyes, making me feel uncomfortable. Rather than a beast hungry for human flesh, he made the impression of an animal that had just escaped from the zoo and was holding a grudge to humans for keeping him locked up. I tried to shush it away, but it didn`t move; then it quietly got up and moved in this direction. I panicked. However, looking closely, it seemed it had no intention to harm, so I decided to see what would happen. I opened my military knife inside my pocket, just in case. The animal slowly approached with an innocent look on its face. About five steps away from me, it was suddenly shaking fiercely at the place where the morning sun had cast a shadow of my head. It exposed its teeth and tried to eat the ground. It was holding something in its mouth and was pulling it up. It was my shadow! The beast was biting on my shadow and tore it off from the ground. I thought that I heard my shadow scream faintly for help, but I may have imagined it. As my shadow was being taken away, I jumped towards it, but the beast was faster. It turned around, and fled into the trees. The beast was too quick so it was no use chasing it.
I was dumfounded and frozen to the ground, … if I explained in detail what had happened next, I wouldn`t be able to do justice to the truth. Try to imagine it yourself. For a while, I just stood there in amazement without being able to move.
3. What happened before I returned to my apartment. I became transparent and ran through the city. The police force is dispatched.
I heard footsteps coming near and heard the voices of a young man and a woman. I quickly moved into the shade of a tree. Depending on how you look at it, it may be said that I was lucky. What would I do if it was not my shadow that was lost, but my nose, my ears, or my face? I would definitely not be able to hide it. But what I lost was my shadow. Nobody would notice it as long as I stayed in the shade. What is a shadow good for, anyway? It is necessary when children play ‘shadow stepping’, but after all, I`m an adult. Shadows are useless. The man and woman seemed to be lovers. Both of them were deeply immersed in their thoughts. It seemed they had just left their office and were all too eager to spend their coffee break together. Their love was like a crystalized radiant flame.
While saying to myself “cold heart, cold heart”, I repeatedly looked at the woman ‘s legs. That might help me to forget that I didn`t have a shadow. Woman’s legs always enable me immediately to enter into a woman’s skin; only in this primordial union do I really exist. Beautiful legs are beautiful, awkward legs are awkward: these are the equations of my being. But there was something wrong. I thought those legs were a bit short; I couldn`t quite get inside of them. Legs were somehow more meaningless to me than pebbles now. Without realizing it, I was fascinated by and clinging to the combined long shadow of the two lovers.
My eyes and the woman’s eyes met at a glance. The woman`s shoulders were trembling. As she breathed out she groaned, here face becoming pale as her head fell down on the man’s shoulder. At the same time the man lifted his face and looked at me. The man also screamed and sat down on the ground with the woman.
I was not less surprised than them by this unexpected spectacle. I had no idea what had surprised them and felt an impulse to protect myself. I raised my hand in front of my face and noticed that it was transparent. In a panic, I looked at my other hand. It was also transparent; it was the same as having no hands. I put up my hands and stared at them. They were more transparent than glass, and what was behind them was fully permeated through them. I wrang my hands together and knew that they were still there. When I looked at them again, I could feel the fear expanding through my invisible hands.
I rolled up the sleeves of my shirt and realized that my arms were also completely transparent. Looking at my bare chest, I saw that it was also transparent. Rolling up my trousers, my legs were transparent too. I could not see my face, but it must have been transparent too.
I had become a transparent person!
Coming to think about it, I did lose my shadow. Of course, it is only natural that the physical body, which is the cause of one`s shadow, disappears if there is no shadow. This way of thinking reverses cause and effect, I thought, and I could not afford myself to think like this; thinking that it was only my shadow that had been torn off, had given me a false sense of relief. Together with my shadow, the cause of my shadow had also been snatched away. Both the shade and the night would not conceal me anymore. I suddenly cried out; it was a long unheralded primordeal scream like a monkey.
Because of my cry, the two lovers returned to their senses and fled away. I immediately took off my clothes. This way nobody would be able to see me. But I didn`t know how to bring my clothes with me. What would people think, if they saw a bundle of clothes moving through the air. Even so, I didn`t feel like throwing them away. They were my only summer clothes. I was bewildered and couldn`t think of what to do other than respond to the situation in the moment. This was easier said than done, I quickly rolled up my clothes with my shoes inside, put them under my arm and ran towards the back streets.
It was just the end of rush hour. Fortunately, in the center of town, there was an area where, curiously, there were almost no people. I knew every corner of the town and knew immediately where I would encounter the least amount of people. But this would only be for a few moments, so I`d better hurry up. It would take at least thirty minutes to run to my apartment. I ran between a row of buildings and like a madman ran along a canal with lined-up factories. I passed P road and W street.
However, when I came to a corner and only had to cross S road, I came across a group of troublesome looking boys. I quickly put my clothes on the ground and waited for the boys to pass. Just when the boys were about to pass, they suddenly noticed my bundle of clothes. “Hey, what`s that’, said a boys, while reaching out. I quickly shifted the bundle of clothes a bit. The boy stepped back in a shudder. “Hey, these clothes moved.” “They moved? Don`t be stupid.”
Another boy reached out his hand. Reluctantly, I moved the clothes a little more. One of the boys decided to be bold and came closer. Quickly, I picked up the clothes and moved them frantically around. This really surprised the boys!
Then one of the boy shouted out and pointed to my face. He was really pointing to my face! Thereupon the boys cringed with fear, cried out and ran away like crazy.
What had happened? Was there something on my face that was still visible? It was not the time to hesitate, so I rushed away, while wondering what had happened. I reached the corner of the L district.
There was a cigarette shop that I frequented. I tried see if I could see the reflection of my face on the shop window. I almost cried out. What had not disappeared and what had made the boys cry out, were my eyes. The eyes in my transparent face were floating in the air like eyeballs displayed in an exhibition. The door opened and a girl came out. This girl was in love with me. Every Saturday evening, she came to my house to study poetry. She always stayed until late studying various poems. Her lesson fee was allowing me to enjoy the impression of her legs. Fortunately, her legs were beautiful, and pleased me very much.
For a moment our eyes met. She was as stiff as a plank, moving slightly from left to right. Then, a happy smile seemed to appeared around her eyes. As I remembered that she always behaved like a lunatic, I quickly left.
From there to the apartment, it would only take one minute if nothing went wrong. Unfortunately, because of road construction, the road was dotted with pebbles, which would be a problem if one was barefoot. I was barely half way, when I saw a woman with a dog walking toward me.
This was annoying. I intended to hide behind a gate, but when I looked around and suddenly saw the boys with several cops coming up from behind, I was struck with fear! I didn`t care about my clothes anymore and thought that I should leave them and just ran away. However, the dog noticed me. I was desperate, swung my clothing around, picked up some stones and threw them around. The woman fainted.
The cops discovered me, and a sharp sound of a whistle was heard. I wasn`t worried anymore that the stones might hurt my feet and just started to run. The dog timidly barked from afar. It chased me for a while, but soon returned to the woman who was still unconscious. I intentionally passed my apartment, climbed over the side wall and entered from the back door. Luckily, nobody saw me when I entered my apartment.
Outside, the sound of the whistle was heard again and it seemed that the police force was mobilized. However, it would be difficult to find me. The only clue of my presence was two horsefly-like eyes. Because they couldn`t find me, gradually I became more confident and my fear disappeared. Instead, when I threw my invisible body onto the bed, tears flowed out from my eyeballs floating in the air. I thought that it would be okay if my eyeballs just melted away, so I let my tears run their course. When the tears had finally dried up, the policemen seemed to have left, and it was quiet outside.
4. Enquiring about shadows. Angels who operate lathes.
The apartment was in a quiet suburb and allowed me to calm down. Since my body had no outline, it felt like the walls of the room had taken over the role of my skin.
When I calmed down, I began thinking rationally about the events that had befallen me, evaluating them, trying to swallow them, and I began to think about a solution.
First of all, I would find out the identity of that beast. I couldn`t believe that there was an animal in this world that eats shadows. I would not be able to find out its identity by myself, so I thought about consulting some famous zoologist.
It certainly was not an ordinary animal. But there was the possibility that I would just be laughed at for thinking such an animal exists. Shadows are not material, they are the result of matter, so if I said that my shadow was taken by a beast that would be contrary to the laws of physics, so scientists would certainly not accept this. But are facts not more material than the laws of physics? Right, in fact, I am here because I am a victim of the beast. It can’t be helped. If they do not accept it, I will demand that the name of this new animal will be added to the illustrated reference book for animals. (I will name it, of course, and I will go to the library and look it up in a Latin dictionary!) Furthermore, I will have to change the fundamental concepts of zoology.
However, this may not simply be a matter of zoology alone. Understanding this fact requires a revolution in thinking about the concept of matter itself. And furthermore, couldn`t it also depend on understanding that matter can be a result, instead of a cause? Suddenly, I had a realization. Maybe my experience was the result of a new cosmic law? Could I be discovering a new cosmic theory? For a moment I felt like a conqueror, overlooking a huge panorama and my heart contracted; I felt I became like the Earth.
But then I realized I could not allow myself to be a hero, because I remembered that I was transparent and I felt very disappointed.
I felt that I had to do something. Where did that beast run away to, after it had taken my shadow? Was it hiding somewhere in a bush in the park, or did it go out into the city? Either way, in this big city, it would soon be caught and become the talk of the town. I worried about whether that beast had just grabbed my shadow or had eaten it. If it had only grabbed my shadow, unless it had left it somewhere, it would be found when the beast was caught. However, if it had eaten it ……., well , in that case there could be two problems. One was in case my shadow could not be digested and remained in the internal organs, the other, in case my shadow could be digested. The latter was the real problem. Well okay, in that case there was nothing I could do about it. If I researched the biology or physiology of the beast, I would be able to understand the process of how my shadow was digested. Then, if I could follow the process in reverse, I would be able to extract or synthesize a shadow. Well, this is a quite discovery. It may be a discovery that goes beyond the laws of the universe. If the structure and nature of shadows are elucidated, humans would be able to remove their shadow when they like, become transparent and then return to their original form. If it is possible to return to the original condition, being transparent would not be not at all inconvenient, it would be rather interesting. It would be fun.
However, I still had one concern. It is not always possible that things that have fallen apart will return to their original state. As if broken glass or earthenware will stick together again ! I felt terribly uneasy. You cannot just glue it, solder it, or staple it back together. But I quickly realized that the solution was easy. It would not be a problem. If one thinks theoretically, one will quickly understand why broken glass does not stick together. This is because one cannot enter the space where molecular attraction takes place. Consequently, by applying heat, this space widens and it becomes possible to stick together. One should then apply heat to the shadow. If heat doesn`t work, one can find a physical or scientific way to change it.
However, it is also possible that the shadow obtained in this way is not completely the same as the previous shadow. In that case, the reshaped body that was gained from the shadow that had been changed a little, may also be somewhat different from the original. If we can grasp how they are related in theory, we might be able to freely acquire the physical body we want…….. (I immediately became fascinated with this idea). Great! In that case, fashion will change from getting trendy clothes to getting a trendy body. I will built a big factory! You can create a body according to your liking there. First, you cut of the shadow of the applicant, then you transform it with a deforming machine, and then recreate a body. Everyone in the world would be as beautiful as an angel. That`s quite a dream. But that`s not all, as human bodies change, corresponding human relationships also change. Consequently, as proprietary rights disappear, the notion of ‘who I am’ will also disappear. Wouldn`t it be an amazing world? One would be completely free. It would be a complete and permanent redistribution of human relationships. Humans would be like an angels in an equal world! Suddenly I had a vision of a factory where Fra Angelico`s angels were manipulating a lathe while singing songs that are visible as halos. I was so happy and excited that I had difficulty breathing.
When I came to my senses, I immediately decided to study shadows. If I could understand the essence of shadows, I would no longer depend on the animal, and would be able to create shadows by the synthesis method. Besides, now that I had started to understand, I did not want to do things in a roundabout way. I decided to work on the shadow of the desk first. I tried to peel it off, using various methods such as sharpening, wetting, rubbing and pinching. It may have seemed foolish, but maybe nobody had ever had this idea before; I believed in it. However, it was impossible, after all. My fingers were red and swollen … no, that was a lie.
My fingers cannot be transparent and swollen at the same time. But if they were not transparent they would have undoubtedly been swollen. And my nails would also have been about to come off.
I was quite disappointed. While I was feeling ridicule with myself for believing in alchemy, I became aware of the fact that in order to remove the shadow, I needed a unique method that complied with the essence of the shadow. After all, I had to start from zero and could not do anything else then catching the beast that had demonstrated the method of catching a shadow.
Suddenly I became impatient. How could the beast be captured; how could I find someone that could catch it?
Just at that time the lady-janitor gave a shout from the bottom of the stairway, that could be heard in the whole building.
“Hey everyone, they say that a transparent man is hiding in this neighborhood. It seems that only his eyeballs can be seen. There are two policemen downstairs keeping watch, so please contact them as soon as you see something.”
Several doors opened at the same time, and people noisily and curiously gathered around the lady-janitor, talking with loud, excited high-pitched voices, gossiping about me.
I wondered if I should just reveal myself. — Everyone, I am actually the transparent person. As a result of such and such circumstances, I became like this. We have known each other for a long time so you know I`m not a violent person. This is all merely a misunderstanding and guesswork. Please testify on my behalf and help me in capturing the beast that attacked me.
Yes, this may be the proper way. From an embarrassing moment eventually an angelic world may be created. I boldly put my hand on the handle of the door.
At the same time, three gunshots were heard, followed by the sound of footsteps, and a little later the high-pitched voice of lady-janitor. “The policeman saw a gadfly and he mistook it for the transparent man’s eyes. But never mind, if think you see him, just shoot him, then we can have some peace of mind. I have no peace of mind, until you kill him. It`s very scary, very scary …. “
I didn`t have the courage to go out anymore and I also began to feel scared about my transparent body. Yes, I am a strange creature, I am more terrifying than a one-eyed goblin, Dali’s human furniture or the monster of Notre Dame. Before I can say anything, people will faint or go insane by just glancing at me. This is terrible, I have to find a way out….
I stood by the window and was very irritated. There were two policemen standing at the intersection. One was holding a cigarette, while the other one was trying to light it with a match, but couldn`t get the match to ignite. The police officers completely lost their composure.
When I saw it, I got depressed. My extraordinary cosmic experience, was turned into unpleasant instinctive fear, because of their vulgar disposition. A number of historical examples of persecution against poets and prophets came to mind. The masses are always like a wall, obstructing the truth.
On the spur of the moment, I put the receiver of a crystal radio against my ear. There may be people who would laugh at something like an old crystal radio, but poets like outdated things. They cannot forget the time when they were new and intimidating, and continue to be attached to and fascinated by them. That is why all poets still cannot let go of the crystal radio. The radio was just playing “Ghosts” by Malachov. Inside the crystal, the bass part was completely eroded, so it sounded like my dead mother sobbing after she had a hysteria attack. After a while, the bell rang, the music stopped, and I received some breaking news that I was expecting.
“We have some breaking news. As I mentioned earlier, the emergence of a transparent human being has become the talk of the town, and we will tell you of the results of the many inquiries that were made about it, by the authorities. First of all, Dr. H., professor at the National University and president of the World Biological Society. According to him, there is a very strong possibility that this transparent human being is an invader from Mars or Jupiter. But he was of the opinion that it was not possible to say more about this.”
“Next, Dr. U, an authority on public health. According to him, transparent humans are not real. Transparent humans are a delusion and should be considered to be a kind of mental epidemic. Finally, the Minister of State N. In his opinion, if one combines various available information, it is almost certain that this is an invasion from S country. He said that several months ago, he obtained information that S country had created transparent human beings. In addition, the reason for a recent sharp increase in unsolved violent incidents also confirms this line of thinking. The authorities, emphasizing Mr. N’s opinion in particular, is stepping up the investigation and are following various leads, asking citizens for their active cooperation, asking them to make sure that their doors are securely locked, an to inform the authorities of even the smallest thing that is out of the ordinary. The following news just came in. At 4:40 pm, a massive explosion occurred in an ammunition storage in the S ward. Although the extent of the damage is not known yet, it seems to be considerably widespread and currently 200 special riot police are dispatched and monitoring the situation closely. According to the source it seems it was not planned by the transparent human. That concludes this special news broadcast. We will now continue ‘Ghosts’ by Malachov.”
The announcer ‘s voice stopped, and the music sounding like someone sobbing, was heard again. Well, this is just a lot of baloney. It shows that the know-how of experts is very limited after all. Compared to this nonsense, my fantasy of reshaping a body from its shadow wasn`t so bad after all. What kind of cooperation and understanding could I expect from such people?
I felt very desperate and it would not be an exaggeration to say that I wanted to die. I could only rely on myself. But in this huge world, how would I be able to find that beast by myself? In desperation, I threw down the receiver, pounded my fist on the floor, and promised myself no to listen to the radio again. Not caring about the injury on my feet, I trampled the headphone, without realizing that the image of angels manipulating a lathe had changed into an image of angels that were persecuted.
5. A dream
The city is a sea of fire. The flames are shaped like red wild flowers and crystallized frost, creeping out from the cracks of the walls and windows, trembling like tumors appearing from peoples` noses, mouths and eyes. Countless bodies of myself are flying around above it. The right hands are holding a torch and the left hands a sword, while a demonic figure is crying out. But they are all imitations of myself. The real me is fluttering around in the shape of a litigation letter. In it, everything that had happened including my opinion about it, was written in detail. But why was the letter completely blank?
One of my imitation bodies, had noticed me, and had written “death penalty” on top of me. Then another me wrote “death penalty” in the same way. Then, the letter was passes from one to the other. In the end, I was completely covered in black with the word “death penalty”. Then, another beast appeared from somewhere and ate me.
6. A laughing traitorous raccoon. A flying coffin.
I woke up dripping in sweat.
I did not understand what time it was, only that it was night. It was quiet but it was not a normal silence, it was a strange uneasy silence. The moon appeared outside the window. It was a full moon, but its roundness was not your normal roundness, it was a somewhat uneasy roundness. Everything felt uneasy. I stood in the darkness, and was unwittingly murmuring to myself, ‘there was only one road to follow to visit the beast three thousands of miles way’ (the Japanese expression ‘visiting one`s mother three thousand miles away’ expresses a craving desire). Driven by a sudden unbearable loneliness, I walked round the room, this time murmuring ‘die, die, die’. At that moment the realization that I had lost my physical body griped my heart, I felt a sharp pressure coming up my nose which stimulated my tear gland, but instead of tears, a big sneeze came out.
I took out a telescope from the shelf. Every poet has one at hand. It is the best tool to calm the mind. It is wonderful to use it to look at the stars, look at the clouds, and especially to look at a woman`s legs, as she walks down the street. It is an exciting pleasure, as if one is standing next to someone so close, that you can touch him, without being noticed, making one feel like Perseus, wearing the hat (the Cap of Invisibility) of Hades, the King of Hell. Even when there was nothing to see, by watching a crack in a fence, withered grass at the edge of the road, or a scrap of paper dancing in the wind, one would forget about the passage of time. Just enjoying this feeling of looking freely at anything I like, is, together with sitting on a park bench ‘counting my chickens (jp. racoon dogs) before they are hatched’, one of my daily indispensable habits.
In an attempt to escape from the anxiety of having lost my body, I unconsciously remembered the habitual feeling of enjoyment of having no body.
I saw a star.
I slowly recovered from feeling anxious and sad. I kept looking through the telescope. Suddenly, among the stars, I saw something gradually approaching. It was moving too fast to be a comet and too slow to be a meteor. I noticed that it was not a star but an object flying not so far away from the earth. It flew straight towards me. Before long, I saw that it was a box. It was a rectangular box the size of a cart, with someone on the top.
Surprisingly, as it approached, I saw it was the beast. He straddled the box like he was riding a horse, looking at me with a big grin. With his manes fluttering freely in the wind、he looked like a demon from hell. His grin gave me a strange feeling. Alice had been surprised to see the cat grin, Darwin had proven that beasts laugh. So it may not have been so strange, but it didn`t feel good. My heart skipped a beat and my breath became painful. I felt relieved that the beast had appeared, and was hopeful that I would be able to catch the beast, and at the same time felt anxious because the beast might move in a different direction and disappear again, which made me feel like I was going crazy. However, I had become emotionally numb, so seeing a strange beast flying on a box didn`t make me feel surprised anymore. I was only hoping that the box would fly straight here without changing its way.
Before long, I saw the words ‘K. Anten’s coffee’, carved into the box.
Coffee? Coffee for me? I was surprised and wondered what it meant. There was quite a lot of coffee in the box. Roughly estimated it could be 500 pounds with a current market price of 400,000 yen, that`s a lot. But what am I supposed to do with it, I wonder if it is compensation for losing my shadow? Whatever, it’s terrible I lost my shadow. Even if one collects all the coffee in the world, coffee is just coffee. Someone said you can replace the whole world with a cup of tea, and of course, you can. However, the whole world is not your own body. I have no intention of doing this, but……… I thought. However, it`s no good pouting, let`s be cheerful. If I can make the beast careless , I might be able to catch it.
However, the next moment, I noticed that I had completely misread the letters on the box. The last two characters were not ‘ee’ but ‘in’. So it said, K. Anten`s coffin.
I became excited and internally cried out: “Damn it”! Instead of sitting on a box of coffee, he came towards me on a hearse. I could not be more humiliated. What shall I do? Who would want to get in there? He wants to make a fool out of me.
But at the same time, another thought entered my mind.
(‘A faint shadow’ means that death is approaching. [In the Japanese culture the expression ‘having a faint shadow’, means that one does not make a strong impression others] If that`s true, then if there is no shadow it means death. I see, then I am dead as well. So, he`s riding on a coffin to pick me up. He is making a fool out of me, but there is some logic in it).
“Actually, it`s completely logical”.
It was the beast on the box who said this. When the box was close, it stopped and floated in the air. It was strange that the beast could speak, but it was even stranger that when looking through the telescope, the distance between the box and me was short enough to have a conversation, but when the telescope was removed, the box was like a point, floating solitary in the distant space.
“Who the heck are you?”, I answered without thinking.
“I am the chicken (jp. racoon dog) you counted, but didn`t hatch yet”, the beast answered calmly. “I ate your shadow and became fully fledged. I am now able to speak, my fingers are grown and I am able to grab things. Thanks to you, I am really happy. I will be your faithful servant and promise to do whatever you wish. “
“Well, I wish to have my shadow back and you gone.” I replied violently.
“No way,” the raccoon laughed loudly. “Your wish is to ride the coffin and go to the tower of Babel.”
His way of laughing was exactly the same as my imitation self, who appeared in my dream. It was an unpleasant coincidence. I had never noticed that I actually laugh like that.
“It`s me who should say, ‘no way’. I have no idea what you’re talking about, please return my shadow.”
“Stop saying silly things and let`s go. Everything I say and do is the materialization of your heart`s desire. What I say reflects you more than your own mood. Please believe me, you truly want to go to the Tower of Babel. You probably don`t know, but all the incidents that have befallen you, are the result of your meticulous fantasies. They are the crystallization of your efforts, as it were. You gave me birth and brought me up. Your notebook is called by my name, and it has and intention and a course of action. I consumed your shadow, digested it, and became more you, than you yourself are. Now I am here and have a body and a shadow. I am your will, action, desire, and reason for existence.”
“That`s just wordplay!”, I replied.
“Right, you were hoping that your wordplay would become reality …”
“I was just thinking abstractly. I was certainly occupied with wordplays, but I didn`t expect this would happen to me. I didn`t know this would happen. I beg you, I didn`t know this would happen.”
“That’s funny. You`re still … In my opinion, in your present situation, you do not need to have any regrets. Isn`t it wonderful that you became transparent? Generally speaking, what does it mean when a person doesn`t have a shadow? It means he is the owner of a bright and pure character.”
“That`s just a metaphor.” I gradually started to feel fuzzy, and even though I tried to pull myself together, I still felt insecure and started flattering him. “But if you really did not have a shadow …”
“That would be the best condition you could ever reach. It should be called perfection, transcended personality, angelic brightness.”
“But how about the expression, ‘faint shadows mean that death is approaching’?
“That is just jealous talk. If someone tells you that you look dirty, just reply that life is dirty. It`s not really a problem. Aesop said the same in one of his fables. When the fox lost his tail, he told his comrade the following; not having a tail makes foxes quite elegant and it suits them. The comrade replied, if you hadn`t lost your tail, you would not have said such a thing …. “
“In bringing up this feeble、which fox` point of view do you sympathize with ?”
“Of course, with the fox that lost his tail.”
“I do not think so.”
“Well, it looks like that`s just sophistry. I am a thought, a materialized thought. I cannot agree to your way of thinking. But if you insist, I can give you another explanation. Think about it, what does the words “transparent poet” mean? It means that you are a wonderful poet, doesn`t it? For example, Rilke, Valery, ….. weren`t all critics of the opinion that their poetry was transparent. And not only that, there is still some other evidence that you were hoping to become transparent. You wanted to be like Perseus. You wanted to be the man who wore the King of Hell’s hat of Hades (the Cap of Invisibility), became transparent and exterminated Medusa. Now, you can proudly go and kill her.
“Surely Medusa is the Tower of Babel, and is waiting for you to kill her. ….. Also, didn`t you hope to become transparent in order get closer to women? You wanted to see naked women appear in front of you. So, there is countless evidence that you wanted to be transparent. Besides, most importantly, my desire to eat your shadow is the result of your desire to become transparent. Your desire was the reason for my growth. So you must go the Tower of Babel. You are the hero of the Tower of Babel. I have an obligation to guide you there, so let’s go.”
“But there isn`t any specific evidence of what I want.” I felt like I was having a confusing nightmare, in which I had become extremely small, and from anxiety, my voice had become very soft.
“No concrete evidence? What are you talking about! Is the fact that I`m here, not evidence enough? Besides, in your case, thinking that there is no evidence, is in itself proof. That is, the subject and flow of our conversation is indeed inevitable, it is even calculated in the ‘diagram about calculating information about humans’ that you invented.”
“I have never invented anything like that.”
“You must be kidding, didn`t you write about it in your notebook ‘don`t count your chickens (jp. racoon dogs) before they are hatched’? It was at once adopted in the Tower of Babel and was very useful. Thanks to it, all at once I gained about 4 kilos, and moreover, I received an award for distinguished service. However, the reward was under your name and actually given to you. If you doubt me, let’s go to the Tower of Babel and I`ll show it to you in the archive room. There is a record of your sub-conscious life in the tower of Babel. And not only that. What we will talking about and do and what you will experience in the future is all recorded in detail there.”
As you can image, I was confused and asked puzzled, “so eventually I’m supposed to be able to get my shadow back, right?”
“No, not at all,” said the raccoon with a grin.”
“But you won`t really go to the Tower of Babel with me anyway.”
“I will. Of course I will. You are whining about it now, but we will go eventually. Since you want it, you can`t avoid it. You are a celebrity in the Tower of Babel. Now you’re interested, right? You must be. I know exactly what you want. You should not be living in this world. Your experience today, that is, your great dream, my existence, makes that very clear. The contradictions you experience because of the state of your physical body is met with a lack of understanding, misunderstandings, hostility and fear. Are you aware of that? By staying in this lower world, you will be held accountable for your social responsibilities. Your presence, or in other words, the emergence of transparent human beings, will be used as an excuse by the right wing to cause a coup d’etat to prevent an invasion by S country. That is the objective result of your fantasies and plans. This is the world that you should live in, isn`t it? On the other hand, in the Tower of Babel, dreams are reality. Your fantasies and plans are concrete assets in itself. All your dreams are realized there. You cannot not go there.”
The raccoon dog clenched his fists like a human, or rather like a monkey, and hit the top of the coffin violently.
“Well then, a shadow is not good for anything, anymore.”
“You are very persistent, aren`t you?”
“I made a big discovery about my shadow. I am very obsessed with it and thought that I should analyze it.”
“Yes, I know, but that is the only plan that is not accepted in the Tower of Babel. That’s why wanting your shadow back will prevent my birth, and will scorn the reason of your existence. In other words, it`s a sure road to suicide. It`s too bad that in order to realize yourself, you had to kill yourself.”
“I want a body, I don’t want to change my life.”
“You are a fool. You don`t know yourself. You have to discover that everything is a result of your own true desires.
The raccoon dog was very assertive, and spoke with great confidence. I was upset. My reasoning seemed ambiguous and I felt like I could not trust even my own judgment.
“Can you please give me three minutes to think about it?”
“Okay”, replied the raccoon dog in an unexpectedly good mood. “I knew that you were going to say that. I knew that you were first going to think about it for three minutes, and eventually agree. The fact that the answer was already decided to be yes, enables me to accept it, so I can happily wait. But in three minutes, you are supposed to submit one question. A question about the fact that it seems that these events are happening in reverse order. But it’s tiresome to wait for your question, so I`ll answer now. It is not such a big deal what comes first or what comes later. It`s better to take care of annoying things as quickly as possible. ………About the question, it`s not an unreasonable question. In other words, in everything, the result comes ahead of the cause. At least I think so. For example, your shadow, which is the result of your body, dies first, and then your body disappears. Your body, which decomposes in the coffin disappears first, and then the coffin comes to pick you up. In this order, the actualization of your desire will be your own death. You must be wondering if the Tower of Babel is actually a graveyard, right? But, in terms of the relationship of cause and effect, it`s like this. After all, you invented a (time engraving machine), right. I mean, with that invention, time is now reversible. In other words, time is no longer something unmanageable, it’s a really handy tool that you can freely adjust. Please think about it like that. Why was it necessary to first remove your shadow before getting a technique to reverse time? Was it to enable you to die? Absolutely not. In that case, you would have died naturally. Our intention is to trace the cause and effect of life, overcome death, and then trace the negative consequences and stop at the realm of death, in other words terminate death and negate the function of death. Terminating death means immortality. In this way my birth, that is to say, eating your shadow, was inevitably connected with our purpose in eternity. You understand, right? How detailed and rationally, your fantasies and plans were designed and realized. It is not wat you want, but you don`t need to tell that to me, you should be proud of your wonderful dreams. Let me give you another three minutes. Please think about it. That`s the right order”, said the raccoon laughing loudly.
The idea of the reversal of cause and effect had created doubts in my heart that I had not formulated yet, and made me feel very agitated.
Helplessly, I looked away from the telescope. As I had been looking through it for a long of time, my eyes were swollen, and I felt painful pulsing sensation in my eyes. I kept some pressure on my eyes and when I released my hands, my eyes were not able to focus and I could not see anything. Eventually my eyes were able to focus again, but the night sky felt far away and I could only see the stars sparkling, there was no trace of the coffin to be found. Faintly, a dark black point could be seen in the distance, if you looked very hard. Below the window the same police officers as before were leaning on a fence with their hands clenching their handguns. They looked exhausted and had bloodshot eyes. A fire engine siren sounded like a wailing cat that was scratching its bloody claws on a black wall. The windows of the houses were covered with black curtains , and the sound of a special radio news bulletin with breaking news, creeped through the crack between the curtains spilling out over the fossilized town.
The more I tried to think, the more my head seemed to stray from what I was thinking. I was impotently listening to the sound of a bug that was crawling through a trash box in my head. I was in a state of absolute bewilderment. I don`t know why, but when I saw that a fourth meteor had slipped along the wall of the night sky, I realized that the three minutes were up.
I looked into the telescope again. The coffin and the beast were closer than before so I could see them clearly.
“How is it going”, the raccoon dog said, grinning from ear to ear.”Anything except for what you desire, is impossible.” Then, before I had said anything, he made rash assumption.
“Well then, since you agree, let’s go.”
“I haven’t said anything yet.”
“No, I do not care about formalities. We only care about the essence of the matter. The truth is, you cannot say anything but yes.”
I wanted to say, truth, what truth, but I was too confused and stayed quiet. I had no more energy to endure such brazen questions, and it was curious that I started to feel like answering ‘yes’.
The raccoon dog seemed to read my mind and said, ‘yes, that`s it, that`s right.” Then like in a magic trick, he made a piece of paper appear from somewhere and said, “Do you know this?”
It was the litigation letter I had seen in my dream. I nodded without thinking.
“It’s a blank proxy letter, which means you entrust all your business to me”.
“ That`s not what I meant. I nodded because I saw the letter in a dream.”
“I guess the death penalty is written on it, but it doesn`t matter.” ”Like this……” The raccoon dog rolled up the paper, and threw it in its mouth. “ I eat it.’ It`s the same. We are surrealists, let`s go.
The coffin slid through the air and approached the window.
“Get on board.”
It seemed it no longer mattered what I wanted. Like a sleepwalker or a mechanical doll, my muscles were controlled by the words of someone else. Going to the Tower of Babel willingly is without doubt much better for one`s mental health.
I stopped looking through the telescope and wanted to get on the coffin. However, looking with the naked eye, the coffin was just a black point between the stars. I quickly looked into the telescope again.
“How can I get on?”, I asked.
“What do mean, how can I get on?”, said the raccoon with displeasure. “Don`t stop looking through the telescope, just take it with you.”
“Well, it looks like you are right here but physically …”
“Talking about physically, what do you think you yourself are, physically? You are transparent. Your body`s refractive index is zero, it`s organic and I heard you are a poet. That`s nothing to be ashamed of, is it? “
“I completely agree with your philosophical theory but whatever you say, I can`t accept it. I may fall down and be arrested by the police.”
“Don`t you remember the litigation letter? Your logic is like that of a Communist, who talks about his humble origin. Now hold out your hand, and don`t stop looking through the telescope, you can reach it, right? “
I could indeed touch the hand of a raccoon dog who took it, so I could put my hand on the coffin.
“Come on, get on, don`t stop looking through the telescope … if you believe in me you will believe in yourself “.
I firmly held the telescope with one hand, grasped the coffin with the other, and with the help of the raccoon dog, crawled up onto the coffin.
At that moment, a sharp cry was heard from the bottom, followed by several shots of gunfire, and then a whistling sound. The bullet of the pistol grazed at my ear, and without thinking I dropped the telescope.
“ It’s okay, “ laughed raccoon dog. The sudden noise became distant and changed into the sound of rustling leaves. Looking down, the city was already far away, it was as far as the coffin had been when I saw it with my naked eye.
“Okay, let`s go.”
The coffin was shaking, there was a breeze, and I felt like I was flying in the sky. The city gradually disappeared in darkness, and one could only distinguish above and below by the position of the stars and the moon.
“Do you remember the last poem you wrote down?”, the raccoon dog asked me with a very friendly voice. “The poem about a book flying through a dark universe? Aren`t we just like that now? That poem was a prophecy and we are the book. And we are like a star contrasting the Earth. Well, if you do as I say, the plan will be materialized immediately.”