The Baptiser

His left shoe got stuck. The humid leather refused to let go. So he sat on the rocky shore of the river and pulled the shoe with both hands until it gave in. He placed the shoe symmetrically next to the other one and looked at them with a boyish pride. Then watched as the river went like a snake between the sharp corners of a bare mountain. It was a sunless day. Still, it was a promising day, he had thought. Let yesterday die with its shameful face, he said to himself. That morning had to be a blessing. On his way to the waiting spot he met a very young fellow with a handsome face and such apparitions were rare except those people who stopped their cars and took pictures of him. This young fellow did not have a camera and was wearing a rather fancy suit. The only strange thing was that he had a little notebook and took notes. So he must have been one of those sent to test his faith or to see if he was still doing his job. He works in mysterious ways. The people with the cameras were also testing his faith. Each time they came he could barely stop himself from swearing and doing obscene gestures with his hands. But good-looking fellows were a good sign.

The greenish water shyly caressed his toes. It was cold as ice. And smelly too. But suffering is a virtue of the flesh, just like pleasure. Still, pleasure has nothing to do with it, at least not here, not now. A few meters away the mouths of three sewers opened hungrily. A guardian at the gates of an unknown hell tied together with an endless highway. People in cars coming and going.

Today is the day. The water is so cold.

He forgot his stick on the shore. He went back to get it. Then resumed his position, ankles completely submerged in the slimy water. He could see his toes from time to time. And feel the numbing sensation of cold. So he waited for somebody to come and ask for his services.

And then the day drew to an end. The next morning the young fellow came again and took notes in his little notebook. He wore a different shirt but the same fancy suit. Then another day ended and the next morning the same fancy suit took notes. And every morning the same thing. He must have been a customer.

Then he asked the fancy suit what his name was and his name was Ycnaf Tius. And what kind of name is that. It was his father’s name and the name of his son and the name of his future grandchildren. And the name of his wife was also Ycnaf Tius. And how do you call your city? Horse, Ycnaf Tius replied. And every object bears this name, horse. And how do you say ‘I go to sleep every night’? And Ycnaf Tius said ‘I go to horse every horse’. Linguists were working day and night to simplify the vocabulary and the syntax so lately everything was horse, horse, horse. ‘I go to sleep every night’ becomes ‘horse horse horse horse horse horse’. And so horse (on) and so horse (forth). Et horse (etcetera).

Would you like to be baptised? He asked Ycnaf Tius.

Horse horse horse horse horse horse. Ycnaf Tius replied.

I said would you like to be baptised into the true faith? He asked Ycnaf Tius again.

Horse horse horse! Ycnaf Tius replied and left. He never came back. Other people came instead of him and they all spoke the same language. Kids laughed at him, pointing and saying ‘horse horse horse horse horse!’ He took every horse in silence pretending not to hear. By night groups of horses attacked him, by day his vision was flooded with white doves.

People came and questioned him but he refused to answer. He kept repeating the word ‘dove’.

Dove dove dove, dove dove dove dove dove dove dove dove dove dove!