Oscar Marc

Comedians

It only occurred to us what was happening, when it was too late for anything much to be done. One moment things were just as they always had been and the next, everything had changed. Some people said that things were never one way or the other and were continually changing but we could not allow ourselves to listen to them. Some people thought we ought to listen, so that we might give ourselves a chance to do things better but these people were ignored and we continued with our work as usual. But events were beginning to cause us concern. A philosopher who lived in one of the houses in the square in front of the parliament building was the first to notice people he did not recognise, standing on the corner of each street leading into the square. He told us that this was not a good thing because these were people from elsewhere and different from us, not least because they were armed. There was no way of knowing how it had been done but it was obvious enough that the country had been penetrated as far as the capital, although this was a long way from the open sea. At all events, that was how it was. As time passed, it seemed that there were more of them, gathering in the central square without much purpose other than to intimidate us. Their presence soon transformed what had been the quiet, elegant heart of the town, into a crowded mass of human beings, men and women packed close in together, awkward and almost comic in their demeanour. And there they stayed, the comedians, without seeming to know if there was a reason for their presence. We were no better informed about the situation and each of us decided it would best if we remained inside, as to venture out into the open would be to risk a crack on the head from a rifle butt, or worse. Although the opportunity never presented itself, conversation with the comedians would have been difficult due to the fact that they were not familiar with our language and none of us could comprehend the strange sounds and peculiar facial expressions being made by them. Consequently, their intentions were clear to no one and we could not decide whether to meet them with acceptance and compromise or with the force of resistance – we ought to do something, someone said. Who was it, who dared to say this and then carried on doing nothing as before? Whatever the comedians needed, they took; it could be seen that there was violence in occupation. Some people laughed while other people thought there was nothing to laugh about, even though laughter itself was condemned by no one in particular. The economic statistician suffered more than most. No sooner had he brought out his collection of thoughts from nought through to numbers greater than the comedians minds could even begin to understand, they were all snatched away from him to be sorted through, fast moving hands disposing of whatever was considered to be of no interest, which was almost everything. Who knows what will occur to them next? said someone, who asked not to be named. The archeologist had the idea that she might at least save herself the trouble of cataloguing her new discoveries and so she left them all out in the street, without names or distinction – she was not allowed to this again. It was soon after this incident that we thought we had caught sight of the first minister at a window in the parliament building, looking out at the crowded mass of people in the square below. What will happen now, someone asked? No one seemed to know how to answer the question and so no response was given and nothing was said. It was the politicians themselves who had drawn the comedians to the town but on doing so, not one of them knew how to send them away again. Something ought to be done, someone said.

Oscar Marc

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