After so many time trapped in a book, a full hand of loners from the Bible comes along to this room, where their master is stepping out of life. They all have their own character. The nervous Cain, always drilling with nervous contradiction. Paul with a fake ID after a long journey in the desert. Judas the one closer. Moses with his special unique and untold paranoia…
Judas was the first to arrive, he got there well ahead of the rest. Hours ahead. He sat in the waiting room. And waited. Lost in thought. Always alert. But he wasn’t alone. The room was filled with people. Featureless people. Of all shapes and sizes. A lot of Slavs, feeling cold. Women and men. A few children. One of them couldn’t stop weeping. Out there, the city. Indifferent. He didn’t look that way. He didn’t look anywhere. Numb. He lived. Then Nimrod arrived, with Cain and Abel. Cain ever protesting. That it was too far, that they should’ve taken a taxi, that it was better to take a break, that it was useless to go. Nimrod came in. Self-assured. In a glance he saw that Judas was already there smoking a cigarette by the window, looking at the street. He didn’t say anything. They looked at each other. It was Abel who got closer.
Question: “Do you know anything yet?” Answer: “Nothing!” Then: “Did you see him?” After: “No!” No one was in a talking mood. Cain: “I’m leaving”. And he did. Minutes later he was back. Laughing in tears, hand in hand with Lot. Judas raised his eyes. And they went silent. But Lot couldn’t stop talking. For that, he took the weeping child and naturally began telling her a story. In a language no one understood. It wasn’t Slavic. It wasn’t anything known. He made drawings in the air with his fingers. With his hands. With his eyes. Wide open. The child, who was called Agar started to laugh. In tears. In a second there was joy all around. Suddenly. They all exchanged the widest smiles they could offer. In silence. In their unknown languages. They stared. Bared their teeth. Stretched their lips. Joyful. Like the street outside that began peeking in through one of the windows.
From the inside, from a door, from the core of the building, a man came. Dressed in lights of blue he spoke to Judas for a moment or two and then went back. Through another door further ahead. As Levi arrived with his cousin Gad, Judas started to pace the middle of the room. Slowly, very slowly. Serious, too serious. Lot dropped the child who went to play in a corner. Levi put an arm around Judas’ shoulders pacing a half circle with him in the middle of the room. “That man, the doctor, told me to forget about it. He won’t make it. He was green when he came in and won’t change colour anymore.” And then: “Can we see him?” And after: “No! Not yet. Maybe never.”
For Cain, he wasn’t feeling so well. He mumbled. Silently. Thinking about the day outside. About time. External. The time living without him. Sealing alliances with other people. He was never satisfied, he always wanted more. To be somewhere else. In the country if he was in a street. Or he’d long for the sea if he was inland. Being dressed he’d want to be naked. And now Cain was dressed, so he got to his feet and took off all his clothes. Then he sat and when he did he remembered. Reversing. Stood up again and got dressed all along talking to himself in a whisper. As he put on his sandals, Moses showed up. Grand. Brilliant. Huge. Happy. But with Moses it was another story altogether. Much more complicated. Although he had a degree in medicine, for Moses everything was a matter of penis envy. That was the measure of the universe. His universe and everyones. The measure of history itself. The measure that justified the mathematic calculus. That weighted down philosophy. That listened to time. It was a comparative study, to compare His with someone else’s. When he found a peer it was always necessary to find a third organ to break the draw. He related well to everybody. His sole wish was to feel, to touch others, to learn with them, to listen to them and finally, amidst surprise, to measure them and take down a note on his little red book. Date, place, name, and at the bottom, whether it was longer or shorter. In Roman letters. When he came in, when he was noticed, when they felt his presence, they all looked away. Even Agar, the child, looked at the ceiling unaware of what was going on. When Moses queried a black male nurse that went by smiling, from all corners of the room came a bark: “Not here!” And they surrounded him immediately with hugs and kisses. From the ends of the room, hidden, nordic, came Isaac, who put his hand forth. Deep peace. Sweat. “November 3, 1999. Lunar Base Alpha. Isaac. Equal.”, crashed the lil’ incarnadine book.
But no one noticed Het´s arrival who had come after Moses. No one cared for Paul. If he’d made a long trip, if his ID was fake, if he was barefoot or not, if he came from nearby, if he’d drunk too much, if it had rained there inside him. No one cared for Michael. Nor for Neftali, the taxi driver who’d brought them. All of them. In his open van. No one cared for Mathew or Thomas, for the captain, for Salef, for Nacor, for Dali. Did anyone care? No one. Not even for Abraham did they care, or for Rome, the beautiful and her seven angels. When the Dragon came in, smelling like sulphur, they didn’t notice. Neither did they notice John, an older man, crazed, tired, thirsty, with his head in a suitcase. Not even a glance. Not even a smile. And men and women kept coming along with some animals. Twelve tribal leaders. The nightly Jacob, limping. Joseph and Putifar, Asquenez, Cetim, Fut and the strabismic Regma. They were so many that there wasn’t any more room. They filled the corridors. The sofas, The terraces. The stairs. The outside. The sidewalk. The middle of the road. Blocking the traffic. On top of the trees. On flower beds. At the garden. Eve was lying down under a water-truck reading in the coolness. She’d arranged to meet with David but he wasn’t there yet. He was still all the way at the back of the line of cars that circled the city.
Probably drifting with Adam. In the room, grouped in the afternoon’s sweat were all those who could fit. People. A hundred or more. In silence. Looking at a TV set in a hole in the wall. From the waiting, from inside of it, an image leapt, alive, in motion, out of focus, colourless. Just greenish. It contained another room. Similar. With the same dimensions. Or a bedroom with an iron bed. An unknown metal or a precious material. That, which was seen on the screen, wasn’t really real because it leapt, because it escaped either to the left or upwards. On the bed, a man. Thin, open-eyed in the vivid green of the TV cable scratching one of his ears. Judas shivered. He stood on the ground of the room. On this side, Benjamin, the friend of Dan, was the only one given to religious liturgies. Preferably Catholic. When the going got tough anything would go. If it got tougher he’d start babbling sentences without a sequence. He prayed, as soon as he heard, Isaac shut him up very pragmatically. “Everyone shut up!”, he said. And the noise dimmed down. Abel kicked the TV set. Fiercely. The image vanished and returned. Seconds after it was back to the start. Then: “Shut up!” And after: “Let it be heard!”
In the street a banker, owner of the best beer brewery in the world, Edmond, talks to a blonde girl of uncertain trade: “He came suddenly at night to unblock his nose. Maybe with leg pain. I don’t know. Maybe to ask for some cream. Or because of a square inch of irritated skin, that started to become greener. Yes, he was examined by chance and never left. They got him so unblocked that nothing was left inside. Trainees they were, so it seems. Apparently on a stag party or some such thing. But it could have been the cleaning woman, the security guard or even a Doctor, jumping billiard. It was all very quick. When the specialized staff realized it, was already too late. Someone who had heard about it told me over lunch and I came in a hurry. I wanted to see him. I must see him. I need to.” And the Lea woman replied: “I also need him. Otherwise, I’ll need you. A whole lot”
Cain wanted to listen. For he surely didn’t want to hear a thing, or even to see. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to want. He wanted the contrary of whatever he wanted. Always. Forever. He was looping now. Maybe right then it went through his head that he was blind or something and a trembling force was coming, for him, to shed some blood. He was the most fanatical, glued to the TV set, saying: “Shut up, you suckers!” Then: “Enough!” And after: “Not even a sigh!” He didn’t even see Peter coming in through the window without the Wolf. And the image on the screen leaping again. And finally, some sound from the man on the bed. The musician Habakkuk trying to sneak out from behind. His hands on the neck of Goliath, who was standing very still. A viper sliding on the greenish glass of the TV set. Filled with electricity. The silent man with the wild look lost in the metal of the ceiling. Wanting desperately to speak. Feeling all the eyes on him. One hundred or a thousand. Daydreaming with archers. Thinking of Jared who lived nine hundred and sixty-two years. Or maybe of Jezebel and her long legs. But he was there. Not a minute longer. Opening his arms. While on the other side of the wall: “Shut up”! Hands on the lap, facing what was coming. And at the waiting room: “He’s about to talk”! A mouth opening up. Lips being wetted with what was left of a tongue, saying, screaming in almost absolute peacefulness with the remains of a voice he used to use. The remains of the clown, topping onto his last riot. And the image outside, vanishing. Becoming rainy. Grey. And then completely black.
Noah at the bar next door. Hours later. Sitting at a table with a law student. Mary or Magdalene. They talk: “He was so quiet. So serene. Guessing everything. But confused with the looks. Possessing the truth without getting it pregnant. With a clean conscience for never having used it. And when he opened his mouth he was just thinking aloud.” And what did he say? “What did he say?” – the girl asked. “One word only.” – he replied, with a mouthful of animals. “A question. And he died. No one managed to hear. But since there were subtitles we all got it.”