Uit: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
“In front of my eyes, one part of the world was becoming another. Atoms exploding . . . atom after atom breaking down into something new . . . It would go on for millions of years . . .”
“This long street, with all the doors of the houses shut and everything crowded next to each other . . . And then I start getting afraid that the vegetables are going to spoil . . . and that nobody’s going to buy anything . . .”
“Well, they say I came out of my room . . . and I started down the stairs, step by step . . . and I heard the choking and banging on the bed . . .”
A room of wood which was once a vegetable store — and a point of debarkation for a horse-drawn wagon to bring its wares to a small town.
But the store is gone, and a widow of confusion has placed her touch on everything. A door to Nanny’s room leads off from this main room, and in front of the door hang faded curtains which allow ventilation in the summer. There is a hallway and a telephone. A heavy wood staircase leads to a landing with a balustrade, two doors, and a short hall. Beatrice sleeps in one room; Tillie and Ruth share the other.
Objects which respectable people usually hide in closets are scattered about the main room: newspapers, magazines, dishes; empty bottles; clothes; suitcases; last week’s sheets. Such carelessness is the type which is so perfected it must have evolved from hereditary processes; but in all fairness to the occupants, it can be pointed out that after twilight, when shadows and weak bulbs work their magic, the room becomes interesting.“
Paul Zindel (15 mei 1936 – 27 maart 2003)
Uit: The Master and Margarita (Vertaald door Michael Glenny)
‘A glass of lemonade, please,’said Berlioz.
‘There isn’t any,’replied the woman in the kiosk. For some reason the request seemed to offend her.
‘Got any beer?’ enquired Bezdomny in a hoarse voice.
‘Beer’s being delivered later this evening’ said the woman.
‘Well what have you got?’ asked Berlioz.
‘Apricot juice, only it’s warm’ was the answer.
‘All right, let’s have some.’
The apricot juice produced a rich yellow froth, making the air smell like a hairdresser’s. After drinking it the two writers immediately began to hiccup. They paid and sat down on a bench facing the pond, their backs to Bronnaya Street.Then occurred the second oddness, which affected Berlioz
alone. He suddenly stopped hiccuping, his heart thumped and for a moment vanished, then returned but with a blunt needle sticking into it. In addition Berlioz was seized by a fear that was groundless but so powerful that he had an immediate impulse to run away from Patriarch’s Ponds without looking back.
Berlioz gazed miserably about him, unable to say what had frightened him. He went pale, wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and thought: ‘
What’s the matter with me? This has never happened before. Heart playing tricks . . . I’m overstrained … I think it’s time to chuck everything up and go and take the waters at Kislovodsk. . . .’
Just then the sultry air coagulated and wove itself into the shape of a man–a transparent man of the strangest appearance. On his small head was a jockey-cap and he wore a short check bum-freezer made of air. The man was seven feet tall but narrow in the shoulders, incredibly thin and with a face made for derision.”
Mikhail Bulgakov (15 mei 1891 – 10 mei 1940)
Uit: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
„It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly.
Today, however, they were not playing. Uncle Henry sat upon the doorstep and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even grayer than usual. Dorothy stood in the door with Toto in her arms, and looked at the sky too. Aunt Em was washing the dishes.
From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.
Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.
“There’s a cyclone coming, Em,” he called to his wife. “I’ll go look after the stock.” Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.
Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.
“Quick, Dorothy!” she screamed. “Run for the cellar!”
Toto jumped out of Dorothy’s arms and hid under the bed, and the girl started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and started to follow her aunt. When she was halfway across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor.“
Lyman Frank Baum (15 mei 1856 – 6 mei 1919)
Uit: Portrait: Old South
„My grandfather, a soldier, toward the end of the War was riding along one very cold morning, and he saw, out of all reason, a fine big thick slice of raw bacon rind lying beside the road. He dismounted, picked it up, dusted it off and made a hearty breakfast of it. “The best piece of bacon rind I ever ate in my life,” said my grandfather. These little yarns are the first that come to mind out of hundreds; they were the merest surface ripples over limitless deeps of bitter memory. My elders all remained nobly unreconstructed to their last moments, and my feet rest firmly on this rock of their strength to this day.
The woman who made That Brew and the soldier who ate the bacon rind had been bride and groom in a Kentucky wedding somewhere around 1850. Only a few years ago a cousin of mine showed me a letter from a lady then rising ninety-five who remembered that wedding as if it had been only yesterday. She was one of the flower girls, carrying a gilded basket of white roses and ferns, tied with white watered-silk ribbon. She couldn’t remember whether the bride’s skirt had been twentyfive
feet or twenty-five yards around, but she inclined to the latter figure; it was of white satin brocade with slippers to match.
The flower girl was allowed a glimpse of the table set for the bridal banquet. There were silver branched candlesticks everywhere, each holding seven white candles, and a crystal chandelier holding fifty white candles, all lighted.“
Katherine Anne Porter (15 mei 1890 – 18 september 1980)
Gedicht über das Gotthelf-Schulhaus
Ich kannte Gotthelf nicht,
als ich kleiner Wicht
in diesem Schulhaus stand,
verängstigt an der Wand.
Mein Name wurde aufgerufen,
ich erklomm die Treppenstufen,
befand mich bald in einem Zimmer –
da sass ich nun, mir schien’s für immer.
Lernte rechnen und auch schreiben,
aber schöner war das wilde Treiben
draussen, in den langen Pausen.
Weg war alle Angst und alles Grausen.
Der Lehrer brachte täglich jedem bei,
wie wichtig jetzt die Schule sei.
Das hatten wir vergessen,
schon vor dem nächsten Mittagessen.
Herr Fässler war der kluge Mann,
an den ich mich erinnern kann.
Als Lehrer stand er vor der Klasse,
mit viel Gewicht und mit Grimasse.
Die Stimme einmal laut, meist tief,
wenn er einem Schüler rief.
Verlor er aber die Geduld,
sprang er schnell herab vom Pult.
Er duldete nicht Lärm noch Schwatzen,
sonst gab’s auf Hand und Hintern Tatzen…
Dennoch denk ich gern an jene Zeit,
an diese Gotthelf-Herrlichkeit!
René Regenass (Basel, 15 mei 1935)