ALTCULTURE MAGAZINE ֎ 56 ֎ 4/2022 ֎
POOLOURI adică Paranoia Schwartz (X)
De Gheorghe Schwartz
Tradus de / Translated by
Eugen / Eugene MATZOTA
ECOULTOUR le mulțumește tuturor celor care sunt alături în lupta pentru educație și cultură!
pildele cele mai însemnate din viața plină de învățăminte și îndrăzneală a preacinstitului și prealuminatului Gough, precum și a nu mai puțin strălucitului său contemporan Finch, cu precizări asupra modului în care înțelepții de ieri, de alaltăieri și dintotdeauna au știut să răsfrîngă aceste întâmplări în subtilele lor maxime și cugetări. Și asta nu este încă nici pe departe totul…
1. “Ce nu pot realiza oamenii îndrăzneţi?” – Harşadeva, Ratn., la Bötlingk, Chrest.
2. “Cel deştept nu comite prostii neînsemnate.” – Goethe, Max., 223.
“A doua zi după ce-şi susţinu epocala lucrare, se hotărî ca dl. dr. Gough să înceapă să-şi experimenteze practic ipotezele. Aşa că apărură afişe şi anunţuri prin care se interzicea categoric tuturor cetăţenilor să aprindă focuri timp de 24 de ore. Se arătă că această măsură este menită să împiedice eventuale accidente la contactul cu fumul a gazului experimentat la Institut.
Dr. Gough lucră cu înfrigurare toată noaptea, apoi toată duminica, iar asistenţilor le era imposibil să ţină pasul cu el. La cantină, oamenii au primit conserve de carne, mezeluri şi fructe.
În cursul serii, în faţa porţilor Institutului s-a adunat o mulţime impresionată. Dr. Gough le vorbi oamenilor despre pericolul focului deschis în condiţiile experimentelor sale.
În aceeaşi noapte au început să se facă socoteli pentru a se afla cât timp ar putea aduce prejudicii fumul la atingerea cu noua substanţă a lui Gough. Din aceste calcule s-a putut trage concluzia că respectivul gaz se volatilizează cu o penetraţie practic nelimitată, făcând explozie la contactul cu fumul. Dar câtă vreme va rămâne în aer această substanţă?
A doua zi, dr. Gough continua să lucreze. Spre dimineaţă, mulţimea de la porţile Institutului plecase acasă. Începuse o nouă săptămână.
Marţi încă nu s-a putu relua lucrul în oraş. Nu se ştia dacă gazul mai persistă sau nu deasupra localităţii.
Miercuri s-a petrecut o catastrofă: la 200 km. depărtare, o localitate a sărit în aer. Se părea că noul gaz se împrăştia concentric cu o viteză de 10 – 20 km/h.
Un comunicat internaţional a arătat că în câteva săptămâni tot continentul va fi contaminat. Peste tot a fost interzis să se facă foc. O lună mai târziu, s-a descoperit în Urania un sistem de foc cu fum captat. Fabrica la care a fost inaugurat acest sistem a sărit după zece minute în aer şi odată cu ea întreaga regiune a Insulelor Guru-Guru.
În ţara Purdea, un beţiv a aruncat în văzduh suburbiile Purdea-Town-ului, încercând, într-o noapte, să se încălzească la un foc, pe un maidan.
În Raica, un răufăcător fanatic a făcut să explodeze opt sate. În acelaşi timp, muri, bineînţeles, şi el.
Societatea Noua Generaţie Pierdută din Baga a lansat un apel de noncolaborare la prohibiţia focului. Proiectul, însă, nu şi-a găsit nici un partizan.
Societatea Anglicană a Antifumătorilor din San Silar a arătat limpede într-un editorial al organului său “Mens sana in corpore sano” că fumul a ajuns să-l supere şi pe Dumnezeu, care acum îi pedepseşte pe oameni pentru fărădelegile fumătorilor. Zvonuri din surse informate afirmau că şi Vaticanul pregătea o bulă.
Mâncare exista berechet, însă oamenii nu mai aveau curajul s-o fiarbă. În octombrie, lipsa hranei gătite începu să răspândească epidemii.
Emisfera australă fu atinsă prin decembrie. Insulele Cangurilor pieriră din pricina ignoranţei băştinaşilor, oameni primitivi care n-au putut fi convinşi să renunţe să-şi mai fiarbă mâncarea.
În mai multe colonii, 6.741 de negri au fost închişi pe termene lungi, fiind acuzaţi de tentativa de a face focul.
În cadrul unor societăţi internaţionale, s-a hotărât ca toate ţările membre să-şi unească eforturile spre a găsi un remediu acestei situaţii fără precedent.
În februarie, se părea că lumea a ieşit din impas: în Coralia s-a descoperit focul fără fum. În martie, dintr-o neglijenţă, Coralia a sărit în aer. 2 martie fu declarată zi de doliu mondial.
Aceste însemnări au fost făcute pe baza unor bogate cercetări arheologice prestate în anul 31 546.
După dispariţia mâncării fierte, oamenii au renunţat la civilizaţie, cu excepţia Marii Britanii, a cărei populaţie a preferat să moară de inaniţie.»
Materialul de faţă are o valoare cu atât mai mare cu cât azi ne aflăm din nou în faţa perspectivei decivilizării din cauza descoperirii aşa-zisei substanţe numite… Aici se întrerupe şi acest manuscris…
CARTEA A DOUA
Partea întâi: despre uneltirile banilor
în care este vorba despre părerea pe care şi-a făcut-o destoinicul domn Gough în legătură cu preţuirea banilor şi cum a acţionat el în consecinţă, precum şi despre lipsa de înţelegere şi îngâmfarea dovedite de Finch cu acest prilej şi totodată despre modul cum înţelepţii lumii au cugetat şi pe marginea acestor demne de laudă isprăvi şi la ce învăţăminte au ajuns (dacă e să le dăm crezare lor şi altora, asemenea lui Th. Simenschy, care n-au pregetat să le adune gândurile). Măreţe sunt paginile care urmează…
Ce ne spun documentele vremii?
“Omul numără banii,
Viaţa numără anii,
Odihnească-se în pace!”
(Epitaf pe mormântul lui Gough).
Drepturile pentru invenţie
“Dăruirea averii este o foarte mare asceză în această existenţă.” – (Somadeva, Kath, 28, 9.)
Gough îşi primise, în sfârşit, drepturile pentru invenţie.
Cumnatul lui veni în grabă să-i ceară o mică sumă pentru datoriile pe care le avea.
Finch, prietenul amicului său, îl rugă să-i procure bani pentru o mătuşă de a sa. (Ştia că Gough a primit un cec frumos pentru minunata sa realizare.)
Bahadur îl bătu la cap zi şi noapte, să-i vândă un orologiu antic. Îi cerea o sumă fixă cu care şi-ar fi putut trimite fiica infirmă la băi. (“Bine, dar tocmai aţi vândut una dintre casele dumneavoastră”, îndrăzni să-i amintească Gough. Dar din banii aceia Bahadur avea de gând să-şi cumpere o maşină nouă. Şi întrucât îl cunoscuse atât de bine pe tatăl lui Gough… Acum când Gough a fost, în fine, remunerat pentru invenţie…)
Un vecin, ce aştepta de multă vreme evenimentul, îl somă să-i dea un important împrumut.
Thor Jock în conjură în genunchi să-i împrumute o sumă frumuşică. Era dator vândut după o seară nefericită la cărţi.
Dl. Krupa îi ridică – păi, nu? – chiria. Acum că a primit Gough banii…
Gough le aminti de unul şi de altul care au vândut câte un teren, s-au ales cu o moştenire sau au făcut în alt mod rost de parale. Însă acestea erau cazuri prea banale, nu constituiau câştiguri muncite, constituiau dreptul inalienabil al fiecăruia, aşa că nu le lua nimeni în seamă. Şi nici nu era frumos ca acum, când a primit remuneraţia pe invenţie, remuneraţie aşteptată de toţi de atâta vreme…
După ce, în urma unor târguieli penibile, cedă şi le promise la toţi că-i va ajuta, Gough trebuise să se împrumute în stânga şi-n dreapta spre a-i putea satisface.
La sfârşit, veni şi doamna Smith (de fapt, Smithuber). Pentru ea îi era imposibil să mai facă rost şi de o leţcaie. Tocmai pentru doamna Smith, care îi amintea de atâtea ori pe zi că a lucrat întotdeauna pentru el ca ultima slujnică… şi acum asta îi era răsplata! Şi, fiindcă era văduvă şi părăsită şi fiindcă de ani de zile aştepta ca domnul Gough s-o răsplătească, mintea şi nervii doamnei Smith (în realitate Smithuber) cedară. Într-o seară, îi turnă otravă de şobolani în ceai.
Încă înainte de a apuca să fie înmormântat Gough, toţi prietenii şi cunoscuţii săi – şi nu numai ei – îi scotoceau noaptea în grădina casei, făcînd săpături cu scopul de a afla unde şi-a ascuns răposatul banii.
the most important parables of the life full of learning and boldness of the pre-eminent and pre-enlightened Gough, as well as of his no less brilliant contemporary Finch, with details on how the sages of yesterday, of the other day and always knew how to reflect these events in their maxims and thoughts. And that’s not all yet…
1. „What can’t bold people achieve?” – Harșadeva, Ratn., at Bötlingk, Chrest.
2. „The clever one does not commit trifling nonsense.” – Goethe, Max., 223.
The day after reading his epic work, it was decided that Dr. Gough should begin to experiment practically with his hypotheses. So there appeared posters and notices categorically forbidding all citizens to light fires for 24 hours. It was pointed out that this measure was intended to prevent possible accidents from contact with the fumes of the gas experimented with at the Institute.
Dr. Gough worked feverishly all night, then all Sunday, and it was impossible for the assistants to keep up with him. In the canteen, people were given tinned meat, cold cuts and fruit.
In the evening, an impressed crowd gathered outside the Institute gates. Dr Gough spoke to the people about the danger of open fire under the conditions of his experiments.
That same night, calculations began to be made as to how long the smoke would harm Gough’s new substance. From these calculations it could be concluded that the gas would volatilise with practically unlimited penetration, exploding on contact with the smoke. But how long will this substance remain in the air?
The next day, Dr. Gough continued working. By morning, the crowd at the Institute gates had gone home. A new week had begun.
On Tuesday, work still could not resume in the city. It was not known whether or not the gas still lingered over the town.
On Wednesday, a catastrophe occurred: 200 km away, a town blew up. It seemed that the new gas was spreading concentrically at a speed of 10 to 20 km/h.
An international statement revealed that in a few weeks the whole continent would be contaminated. Everywhere it was forbidden to set fires. A month later, a fire system with trapped smoke was discovered in Urania. The factory at which this system was inaugurated blew up ten minutes later, and with it the entire Guru-Guru Islands region.
In Purdea country, a drunkard has thrown Purdea-Town’s suburbs into the void by trying to warm himself by a fire in a maidan one night.
In Raica, a fanatical villain blew up eight villages. At the same time, he died, of course.
The Lost New Generation Society in Baga has launched a non-collaboration call for a fire ban. The project, however, found no supporters.
The Anglican Anti-Smoking Society of San Silar made it clear in an editorial in its organ „Mens sana in corpore sano” that smoking has come to upset even God, who now punishes people for the transgressions of smokers. Rumours from informed sources claimed that the Vatican was also preparing a bull.
Food was plentiful, but people no longer had the courage to boil it. In October, the lack of cooked food began to spread epidemics.
The southern hemisphere was hit by December. The Kangaroo Islands perished because of the ignorance of the natives, primitive people who could not be persuaded to stop boiling their food.
In several colonies, 6,741 blacks were imprisoned for long terms on charges of attempted arson.
In international societies, it was decided that all member countries should join forces to find a remedy to this unprecedented situation.
In February, the world seemed to have broken the deadlock: the smokeless fire was discovered in Coralia. In March, through an oversight, Coralia blew up. March 2 was declared a day of worldwide mourning.
These notes were made on the basis of extensive archaeological research carried out in the year 31 546.
After the disappearance of boiled food, people gave up on civilization, except for Great Britain, whose population preferred to die of starvation.”
This material is all the more valuable because today we are once again faced with the prospect of decivilisation due to the discovery of a so-called substance called…” This is also where this manuscript ends…
THE SECOND BOOK
Part One: On the Money Schemes
in which it is about the opinion which the sagacious Mr. Gough has reached in regard to the valuation of money, and how he has acted accordingly, and about the lack of understanding and conceit displayed by Finch on this occasion, and also about how the wise men of the world have also reflected on these praiseworthy exploits, and what lessons they have arrived at (if we are to believe them and others like Th. Simenschy, who have not hesitated to collect their thoughts). Magnificent are the pages that follow…
What do the documents of that time tell us?
„Man counts money,
Life counts the years,
Rest in peace!”
(Epitaph on Gough’s grave).
The rights for invention
„The giving of wealth is a very great asceticism in this existence.” – (Somadeva, Kath, 28, 9.)
Gough had finally received his rights to the invention.
His brother-in-law came in a hurry to ask him for a small sum for the debts he owed.
Finch, his friend’s friend, asked him to get money for an aunt of his. (He knew that Gough had received a handsome check for his wonderful accomplishment.)
Bahadur begged him day and night to sell him an antique clock. He demanded a fixed sum with which he could send his crippled daughter to the baths. („Okay, but you just sold one of your houses,” Gough dared to remind him. But with that money Bahadur was going to buy a new car. And since he knew Gough’s father so well… Now that Gough was finally being paid for his invention…)
A neighbour, who had been waiting a long time for the event, summoned him to give him an important loan.
Thor Jock conjured him on his knees to lend him a substantial sum. He was in debt after an unhappy evening at cards.
Mr. Krupa increased his rent – well, didn’t he? . Now that Gough’s got the money…
Gough reminded them of each other who had sold a piece of land, got an inheritance or otherwise made money. But these were too trivial cases, they were not hard-earned gains, they were everyone’s inalienable right, so nobody took any notice of them. And it wasn’t as nice as it is now, when he received the remuneration for his invention, remuneration that everyone had been waiting for so long…
After some awkward bargaining, he gave in and promised everyone he would help them, Gough had to borrow to satisfy them.
Finally, Mrs Smith (actually Smithuber) came along. It was impossible for her to get even one more penny. It was for Mrs. Smith, who reminded him so many times a day that she had always worked for him as his last servant… and now this was her reward! And because she was widowed and abandoned, and because she had waited for years for Mr. Gough to repay her, Mrs. Smith’s (really Smithuber’s) mind and nerves were breaking. One evening, he poured rat poison into his tea.
Even before Gough was buried, all his friends and acquaintances – and not only they – were scouring the garden of his house at night, digging up where the deceased had hidden his money.
„No reward, no matter how great, can equal that unspeakable satisfaction that a man feels when he can tell by showing his work: See? It is done!” – Wassermann, Stanley, 145.
At first he had the money. A considerable amount: coins of all kinds, with the faces of kings, emperors eagles, coats of arms, papers with effigies of the same men and women and still other faces, designs or places. Some coins had long since fallen out of use, but were valuable because of the metal on which they were printed; others, brand new, gleamed and sparkled. He liked to look at them more than the banknotes – the metal gives more of a treasured feel. However, Gough cannot be said to have been an avaricious man of the sort depicted in novels. He just preferred to know that he had these coins and these papers, that the money he possessed could satisfy a whole host of services and indulge his whims. And he indulged them.
Then the question arose as to how to keep the money. His money was safe and of all kinds. Those that were not gold bore the designs of states that had not known inflation. And there were plenty of them. So much that he didn’t want any more. That’s why he didn’t need to speculate or put it into stocks or other investments. It was enough.
He didn’t bother with stock market problems and he didn’t trust the banks. He wanted to live his life, to enjoy everything it had to offer, and he didn’t want to be bothered. With anything: not a stock market crash, not a bank crash, not any other kind of bankruptcy.
So he was advised – and came up with the idea himself – that he needed a safe, a safe place to keep his money.
At first, Gough starts looking at all kinds of vaults, iron cabinets, secret drawers. But all of these are part of a science of their own, and like any science, the science of safes has its scientists. The books he found easier to acquire, and so did the magazines. With the scientists it went more slowly.
Eventually he came to the conclusion that the people most skilled in the science of safes are not those who can close them, but those who can open them. And these are usually called „crackers”. Of course, even among burglars, the majority are simple crooks, but the gangster elite are really good at the job they love and honor with their creative spirit.
It hasn’t been cheap to consort with these artists. He still managed to pull them off, which was no mean task considering he had to travel to the back of a slum or the cells of honor of a prison. All of these were not always easy and cost him quite a lot, but after a while, Gough became something of a scholar in the field, like his illustrious masters.
However, in order to use his new knowledge to open a lock, someone had to have locked it first. He realised that he had gone the other way round, but as every shortcoming has its good points, he was able to imagine more special dice and more ingenious ciphers. And since Gough didn’t want to remain a dilettante in this direction either, he managed to get to know the most skilled lock masters.
He found them in a few modest workshops and in large conveyor belt factories, and within a few months he had patented a complicated lock system. He was, of course, careful not to divulge his most ingenious prototype, an invention for which he was as proud as an artist of his finest work, as a father of his beloved offspring.
It was only the fact that he could not boast of his most successful work that brought him back to the reason he made it. And it cost him enough money again…
As every lock must be attached to a door which must be fixed to the wall by its mechanism – otherwise the lock would lose its meaning – the question of the making of the safe itself arose, and it turned out that opinions differed widely as to the material needed for its assembly.
One small plant was helping Gough with the technical trials and another with the actual work. Tests of resistance to various explosives – and not just those used in the break-ins – yielded some surprising results, and the work became all the more exciting as the metal became more resistant to destruction.
For two years his men were hard at work, but the work went smoothly and with pleasure as the workmen and engineers were infected by the unrestrained enthusiasm that Gough managed to spread around him.
When all was finished – an industrial spy had in the meantime divulged to a tank factory the secrets of manufacture and it was necessary to start the whole job all over again – when the material had been poured into plates and when the material had stood all the tests, the problem of assembly arose. A complicated welding system – bought exclusively from an old Nobel Prize-winning scientist – solved this problem too.
In order to convince himself of the results, Gough decided to test them in the most effective way possible: he gathered a small group of burglars, their elite, proposed that they open the now-finished vault, one by one, and promised the one who succeeded a prize for which even the most sought-after gangsters took the time to try. But none succeeded.
The last problem, not the simplest, was assembling the safe. (For the sake of art, one of the illustrious burglars had stolen the cash box altogether, but returned it, after a while, because he had nothing to do afterwards with the locked, heavy crate.)
In order to prevent theft, but also to avoid having unwelcome guests when the safe was just opened, a whole series of photocells were installed around the room in question and around the building, as well as some medieval traps, some newly designed, some ideas taken from the old security devices of the ancient pyramids. (A trip with an archaeological expedition documented him in this regard.)
And, when it was all over, Gough found he was out of money. The wonderful safe was empty.
A massive metal locker that was very difficult to unlock, surrounded by a whole network of traps – this was all that was left of Gough’s fortune. When he had finished his „locker,” a newspaper carried a note about the safe and a cartoon depicting a notorious burglar carrying in his briefcase a hydrogen bomb needed to open the safe.
Now forgotten by everyone, Gough had to start working for a living. His spare time was spent greasing the rivets and checking the complicated machinery. He was aware that the safe had lost its reason, containing nothing, but he continued to look after it, not out of a morbid affection for a lost object or ideal, but because he vaguely hoped that he would one day be able to use the moneybox for the purpose for which he had invented and built it.
It was suggested, at first, that he should organize a competition centered around the safe, then it was suggested that he should sell it, turn it into a museum, patent it. He, perhaps more due to inertia, refused. So, little by little, it slipped into oblivion.
But oblivion is also relative. One moment you’re on the edge of the wave, the next you’re sliding, and when you’re not expecting it, you can get back up again. The only problem is to have learned something from past experiences.
It was one of his former friends who discovered him by chance. Then another. After that he became the man of the hour: the man with the most formidable safe in the world, the man with the perfect safe that has nothing to put in it. At first, the publicity surrounding Gough was tongue-in-cheek and quite mischievous. He felt worse at the time than when he had been forgotten by everyone. He, who had always been a cheerful and optimistic character, remained increasingly locked in one spot. He even forgot to grease his safe. Gloomy thoughts crossed his mind and one day he had the crazy idea of locking himself in the money-box he had designed, finding in this gesture all sorts of symbols, each more poetic than the last.
But there’s always someone who’s full of ideas, enterprising and sufficiently keen to find a bargain somewhere. After much and repeated nagging, our man admitted to parceling out his house for money and renting it out to various companies.
A monopoly was formed over his „locker,” stocks were printed, several bands of bandits were trapped like flies in honey in unsuccessful attempts to break in, which increased the publicity of the business. Any rich man of any self-respect could not afford not to boast to society – after a short time – that he kept his valuable papers, his jewels, his secret papers in this colossal safe. But depositing an object for a limited time was increasingly expensive and, naturally, fewer and fewer people could enjoy the privilege.
Gough was prospering like never before. But taxes were also skyrocketing. Eventually, he decides to sell all his stock and dispose of his work.
The vault’s new owners quarrel amongst themselves and someone divulged the secrets. The vault, his former vault, had become vulnerable.
He now had money again, he had as much money as he needed again, he was tired of the speculation he was tempted with on all sides. He was no longer young, he wanted nothing more than to live happily and peacefully.
But where would he deposit his money?
He made plans, looked for other famous engineers, and other elite gangsters, and discovered a new Nobel Prize winner. He imagined something grand. Meanwhile, Gough had only aged a few more years.