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The Last Days of the City  
02:13pm 25/08/2011
Mister Nihil

It started with a man in the village, a stranger, whom we discovered could speak only in quotations from Borges fictions, and those only when Borges quoted or interpolated others. He was revealed when he found himself suddenly unable to procure food at the stalls on the avenida. Other than a brief paragraph in his 1940 story regarding a Scot traveling the Penumbra of the Moon, Borges seems to have neglected any specifics regarding the ordering at restaurants. The man was taken to the castle, where the profusion of films already uploaded and distributed rendered the decision regarding his fate moot. The man was locked in a holding pen for a period not to exceed three days, and a doctor sent for and arrested to oversee his recovery, execution or entrapment, pending a decision.

The following Wednesday, a man was brought before the magistrate for interpreting the position of two crows on the statue in the plaza centrale as an omen, and so closing his bakery two hours early. He was punished in the usual manner, whipped until tears were visible from a distance not less than six feet, but as he sat in the stocks, his attempts to swear and condemn the good name of the magistrate, as required by statute, proved futile, and he found that he could only shout the word “Now,” which puzzled the axeman and resulted in a substandard whipping, all present agreed.

That Friday was the Floating Sabbath, and nothing occurred.

On Saturday, a bicycle was seen flying across the courtyard outside the castle. It landed on the street and careened down the sidewalks, terrorizing two women and annoying a man and three dogs. When it finally came to a rest, pursued by a frenzied Guardsman, outside the Bakery of the man whipped on Wednesday, the Guardsman began to cry, mounted the bicycle, and left the City. He was heard from only once more, by picture postcard, lying and wishing that the residents of the City were in whatever sub-standard place he ceased his movements and chose to be. The postcard was passed around the City and scorned by the populace, although two women who lived near the Eastern gate are believed to have felt momentary envy. Although they never corroborated the story, they were seen both to walk down the sidewalks of their neighborhood while holding their arms in uncomfortable poses. The inference is not a difficult one.

Sunday, in spite of the Fixed Sabbath, the King died and was lost in a deep well behind the castle. Six mourners stood around the hole in a somber fashion and did not weep, for he was not a good King. That was almost the end of it.

Instead of choosing a new King, people began moving away. On Monday, we packed our cushions. On Tuesday, we packed our various furniture. On Wednesday, we packed our foodstuffs. On Thursday, the City was deserted.

I do not doubt that it still stands, there, in the precise center of the world, and the universe. Although we all drift aimlessly through the samsara, I have never met another who was thus expelled from the City. I have unpacked my foodstuffs, my various furniture and my cushions. I keep to the old ways, and I suppose that, maybe in this avatar, maybe not, I will meet another, and we will stand in silence and not speak of the City.

mood: slavered
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