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Something is wrong, that’s how it seemed to me at first, ‘cause I stay in my tiny room all night, just a row of tiles above, and I am watching the sky, and then in the janitor’s room throughout the day, so what if I got a wooden leg? It looks like a curse and a hoodoo to drag it ineffectively along the stairs, neither diving down, nor flying up, and luck will never come your way in this mayfly life, but gradually you start to comprehend and keep your fingers crossed that professors would hasten in discovering the medicine, which would approximate us to the eons of sea turtles. Yet eventually you realize that science has it all wrong and now you will exclaim – how simple it actually was! But do not forget the thirty years of gazing at the stars each and every night. One morning, when the sky grew lighter, I said to myself – since it cannot be this way, why not the other way!, and I felt my wooden leg extending into a sea turtle flipper. You know that the year is nothing but a rotation of the Earth around the Sun, or several million kilometers. If we move it away a little, for one round it will go, let’s say, twice as many kilometers. So, for one year we shall live twice as long. If we move it to go three times as much, we shall live thrice as long, and so on. Thus the likelihood of luck coming your way shall double, triple and so forth and I shall no longer drag my wooden leg along the stairs, I shall dive and I shall fly and I shall know that as long as you have the time to wait, luck is bound to come. You are asking me how we shall move the Earth. Not to worry, there should be at least one more like me in town, but capable of constructive thinking, all I have to do is hint him the idea. So many people are having it bitter all their life, dragging from the ground floor to the attic and back.
Hitting rock bottom has its good sides too, because anywhere you go from there will be better or at least less bad, just like all roads head south when you are at the North Pole, and north – when you are at the South Pole, so the poles with their minus seventy degrees of cold are the lowest you can go, and you feel like running down the streets and shouting “I’m happy!”, “I’m free!”, “I’m in love!”, “I’m rich!”, “I’m the boss!”, “I’m God!” – but just one look at how the pointer of the compass is spinning like crazy at the pole, forgetting the whereabouts of north and south or deciding that everywhere is north and south, and your heart unwinds – time to stop shouting on the street and get your knapsack packed since there is an infinite variety of directions from both poles and all you have to do is walk, walk, and you leave the glaciers behind and you enter apple, cherry, orange orchards, palms, hazel groves and sugar canes, roses and orchids and the minus seventy degree cold is just a memory on whose backdrop the sea and the sunset enthrall you even more and you feel like shouting – I am God, but another God this time! – but just when you are about to open your mouth, you see that the apple orchard and the palms are gone and you are crawling among rocks that have been here for generations without water or a grass leaf, and you apprehend that the countless directions have been no direction at all, and you feel like running down the street again and shouting with a frenzied grin – justice there is! – but you hit rock bottom, freezing in the cosmic chill and a black spark flickers in your head – wouldn’t you get warmer if you seized the compass by the neck so that the pointer would stop its crazy spin and show you only two directions instead, like any normal compass would do, with the hope that if you’re wrong again, you’d try again, but the black spark stammers with a black light – when you finally take the plunge you don’t want to see the compass pointer whirling out of its axis, so the only thing left for you to do is run along the street shouting – are there any break-proof compasses? – well, what could you possibly expect from a black spark…
People live in peace and quiet, a gray and uniform life, safe and slumberous, proud of the happiness of the stuffed eagle and the resignation that nothing can ever be changed. The biggest rebels sit on the balcony, sip from their glass and watch the clouds to see when will someone release manna on their table so that they can have their dinner. And suddenly a revolution falls from the sky. It will blow peaceful serenity away, it will color grayness and will disturb the sleep of monotony. It will wake up the stuffed eagle and remind it that once it has flown over mountain peaks. But can you believe a revolution that falls from the sky?
”Maquillage” tells us how such a revolution is prepared, how it conquers all and leads to a future that might be fresher and brighter than today. The hope for something better is so strong that it makes you take part even in revolutions that fall from the sky.
In his book Emil Krastev attempts to describe the mechanisms of this type of change, who does it and how, and in the name of what. It has no barricades, shooting and bloodshed. No land attack missiles are being detonated and no buildings ever collapse. No children corpses roll on the streets. But you read how people stare in the mirror, it is as if they do nothing and yet you feel like bombs are falling all around you. The author achieves this by the means of the absurd and the grotesque. With his original voice he leads you along the paths of thought and it is hard to stop.