The Persistence of Ulysses

 

Novel  11 / 2016

 

 

Three friends from a postgraduate course of urban planning and their pathways, which currently are trailed off and then again touch each other are traced here.

The first one, back then during studies just named “the Egyptian” some day steers an aircraft into a high riser at New York City.

The second one, back then named “the Sicilian” somehow ekes out a living. His name results from the story of his great-grandfather, who 16 years old leaves Palermo in the first days of the 20th century for somewhere finding a safe place for starting a life and founding a family. He ends up in the West German Rhineland. His family and his later born there live to see the troubles of the first half of the 20th century.

The third one, who already has completed his degree in precedent architectural studies there in the Rhineland together with “the Sicilian” originally comes from former GDR. Just shortly before completing the degree in urban planning David, as he’s going by the name by all friends avows himself to his Jewish roots. He, who actually never has been particularly religious doesn’t realize the discord with “the Egyptian”, who then distances himself from him. Much time afterwards “the Sicilian” calls his attention to that. In the “quarrels of everyday life” many things easily go under.     

 

Both, David and “the Sicilian” experience the day, when their former university friend commits a capital crime and becomes a tragic hero their way and in their own particular environment. Soon though certain doubt arises in both of them – also in their memories of “the Egyptian”.

David goes to Afghanistan as a “development aid worker”. There many traces also with “the Egyptian” cross each other again. His view on many things, he formerly sensed as a matter of course changes completely. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Persistence of Ulysses

 

 

 

 

 A European Narration - 3

 

 

                                                                               Stefan Frischauf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       Cover drawing – acrylic color, pigments and charcoal on linen

                       

©  Stefan Frischauf 2003

 

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters are invented and any similarities with real events and real people are just accidental and not intended by the author. It’s just pure fiction and imagination. But – of course things represented here could have been part of the about 70 to 80 % of supposed “true reality”, we as readers and “recipients” don’t see and recognize or – we maybe want and shall mostly easily forget. “True reality” as an eventual possibility, we might actually not be allowed to perceive. “Reality”, we that way often cannot and must not perceive. Reality, which that way can only be free immagination of a human mind and cannot display any coincidence with real events and real people. The story telling here of supposed constructed “realities”, which doesn’t claim to have any relationship to “reality” – not to mention to something like “truth” per se and “as a whole”.

Thus quite simply it’s about nothing less and nothing more here than a novel.

 

 

 

 

 

1               Fouad Leyla’s Dream                                4

 

On a plain                                                                            7

 

 

2               Stefano Fortunato’s Longing                   36

 

Can’t complain                                                                  47

 

 

3               David Moqi’s Anger                                89

           

I swear that I don't have a gun                                         107

 

 

4               The Dissolution of Space                       187

 

 

5               The Dream, the Longing,
                           
the Anger – what is about to Stay?             232

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

            “ ’I’m on a plain,

            I can’t complain...’

            ‘And I swear that I don't have a gun’ “

           

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994), Nirvana, „Nevermind“ 1991

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning / extracts

 

 

 

 

 

1               Fouad Leyla’s Dream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glazed surfaces got closer and closer. The reflection of the deep morning sun emitted from the piles of glazed fronts with steel frames, concrete and gypsum - cardboard and aluminum stud frame behind burnt something like a bright spot of pure light into the field of vision of his pupils. Despite of his sunglasses these rays of light and reflections of sunlight on mirroring facades seemed to have annealed their own footprint like a laser into his eyeballs. He twinkled – he tried to squeeze his pupils together – to focus on seeing beyond that painful white spot coming closer and closer.

 

Was he really himself steering that thing here or was he steered by somebody else?

He didn’t know the answer on that. Some doubts had raised from his deleted consciousness sitting here and steering this huge thing wherever – flying and not knowing, whether he was really flying or he was flown.  Waiting for paradise to come immediately. Coming – going – shifting away – flying – being flown or whatsoever. No time left any more – the bright spot covered his eyeballs – found its way back into his brain – all along the cortex the promised virgins were floating around him in a bubbling whirlpool of pure light. Pure sunshine. True false sunshine. Heavy clouds of black steam appeared just in the moment, when all of a sudden the white painfully burning spot disappeared and he saw the frightened look of a clerk in that high riser in front of him. The young man, who was just delivering some paperwork to his boss sitting there behind his desk with his computer screen in front of him. The officer had been looking up for the last time in his life noticing this big thing moving straight into his office. The spot, where he used to spend more time then at his home down there somewhere in an anonymous neighborhood in the shade of the highrisers. There, where his divorced wife and his kids once had shared their lives with him and where they had spent happy days together  -days of joy and confidence – full of hope and enlightened pleasure. The office now was that spot on earth he seemed to know better than any other one on earth. Up here in his story high above there in the clouds. At his desk there with the computer in his drywall box he just had started like every other morning. After his arrival together with all the other early bird commuters by the underground at that gigantic pile of steel and glazing the work preparation – making some coffee – a short look at the morning sky above the city’s gorges. Shaking off the smells of the long ride by bus and underground – sweat, cold smoke, spiritual drinks, which had left some bad breath with the tired travel passengers. Early birds, who actually all of them thought they knew what would happen that day – who had their office day planned like any other day not having the least idea that it might end that soon and that all of a sudden. Just like many of the seven billions or more or less on planet earth who just didn’t guess at all what might happen that day. Human beings, who had their routine – who thought, that this day was becoming like any other one.

 

The one behind the wheel there not knowing whether he was steering that airplane or whether he was flown by somebody else whoever there was or might have been in these moments didn’t see the black cloud of smoke as much. No doubts – no time left for any doubts – everything vanished in some pure light – virgins, smoke, airplanes, high risers – everything – paradise – hell – purgatory – whatsoever. “Tiresias – where the hell are we ending here?”– he might have asked there on the threshold crossing the Styx. But the hardware underneath his skull was already mostly deleted in the moment he broke through the glass front of the office with the frightened ones. Light – pure light.

The RAM had wiped out all REMs – ramdom-access memory had deleted all rapid eye movements – all fast movements of his pupils. Everything, he ever had felt in his dreams and nightmares. Nightmares, which again became dreams. Dreams, which again turned to nightmares. Endlessly – apparently. But now the program had shut down. True false sunlight covered everything with a halfway translucent smooth veil. Virgin dreams of paradise burnt in a black cloud of kerosene smoke. A cloud, that would wipe away the officer’s desk and his computer and the clerk’s dream of climbing a bit higher in the ranking of his company with some cardboard and gypsum walls and some interiors. A cloud, which would rather soon then disappear – leaving a big black hole in the façade of the high riser – and the lonesome silence of a ruin visible from far away places.

 

But – it wouldn’t be abandoned like a ruin in a romantic European landscape garden. Not at all. It would crumble down and fall into pieces quicker than any of those romantic transfiguration of decline like the cookies on the desk there. Decaying – crumbling away – breaking into thousands and more smallest pieces. And – there would be many more witnesses than in any romantic landscape designer’s dream’s creation. Many more witnesses seeing that tower collapse soon then. Together with the traces of a comparably small carrier having hit the stalactite of the two highest glass and steel structures there at Big Apple’s Downtown Manhattan. What soon also befell its twin.  And the millions of witnesses all around the globe would be shocked about such a crime happening just like that. In broad daylight. Just like that. Some would celebrate the collapse of these two – these three buildings that day and – there would also be reporters and cameras showing that immediately. They would forget about the third tower and about many other things soon anyway. They would forget about asking too many questions soon as well. They would accept, that the ruin crumbled because of the comparably small carrier – though the towers once were designed for withstanding the impact of a fully tanked predecessor. A Boeing 707 – at that time the biggest aircraft carrier in the world. Together with all increased safety factors that also meant, that the towers structure would withstand more than one of these airplanes crashing into them. And – those Boeing 767s now hitting the two towers were supposed to be replacing the Boeing 707.

 

But – after all – people would completely forget about the third building collapsing there that day. That house, that never got touched by an airplane - and just passed away like that that very strange day – inflamed by “office fires” and then collapsing in free fall speed just like that.  Molten steel or some other strange construction material, that behaved in a way never observed before under the impact of sudden flash overs of “office fires” of a kind, the world never had seen. Until that day happened.

The one behind the wheel, pretending to be a pilot but soon doubting, whether he was flying himself or whether he and the carrier behind him was steered by somebody else – he didn’t care as well. The promised dream award was surrounding him in a sudden glimpse of true false reality. That became the only temporal truth that moment. It permanently deleted all hard drives in his skull and many other people’s heads that day. A temporal truth becoming an apparently eternal statement soon. At least it seemed so for most of the about seven billions on planet earth. Thus – who cares – the show must go on – endlessly – it has always been that way. Well – definitely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on a plain

 

He woke up that morning and felt an incredible pain in his bones. His head – it was throbbing and hammering in there in a very dull and subtle way. The dull pain started from his neck and the back part of his skull. From there this deep groovy pain went all along the central axis of his skull – across the central groove up to his front plate. From there it spread out again. Again and again there were moments, when the pain burst out pulsed or even projectile like flushing starting from that central axis. From where actually the virtual pole was dug in and fixed, which enabled his upright walk and prevented him from stumbling and staggering and falling when he was walking. The pain then crawled to both sides and rather conquered the right or left hemisphere of the huge labyrinth there underneath the slim and fragile bony shell. That fragile protection shield for a firmament of grey cells. A firmament of Medieval darkness, when the human meant to be discovering him- or herself and its position in the whole universe. The human, who then broke through to enlightenment and was born again in a Renaissance of reason of man of truth. As human of truth. Of truths coexisting side by side, which should pursuit of sharing experiences – conveying and informing about them – passing them over to others. Truths, which as partial truths left behind increasingly wider gaps in a splintered overall picture lacking depth and full of shallows. Cracks and voids?

 

The bed was completely soaked from his sweat of nightmares and dreams he had lived through that night. The linen, the whole matrass was deeply soaked with the liquid, that had been evaporated from his fears, his anger – his sorrow and grief – his anxiety – and his fight against all odds there in the empire of his dreams. Odds of being trapped – odds of not being appreciated and acknowledged as the director of his own life – a film, that should be extraordinary and remarkable. A film, that should be screened at many places – a film, about which his grandchildren should still talk – a film, which would be shared by many people – the hero an admired person – a leading character – a Divine messenger even.

Every day he was about loosing it – every day he was confronted with personal proxy wars, where people build their own private hell and try to drag others in there. Humans like you and me, who apparently don´t know how to move on any more. Sartre´s "huis clos" – “No exit” at all - nowhere. But – wasn’t he part of the game as well – chasing the golden goose – trying to be better than others – to arrive at the highest targets? Who or what was hell – just the others, who tried to burn him in their personal hell’s kitchen? He himself? No way.

Whenever these doubts came up too close to the surface and were corroding him, he would try to get away from that as soon as possible. Like that morning in the drenched bed, that had soaked all his fears from his weak bodymindsoul. No way – he had to get away from all these doubts. Something immdiately underneath the surface – under the thick blanket of that cold German winter day in a drafty student’s flat told him. Gave him order. No place no time for showing weakness. Runrunrun away away away awe there will be better days and nights,  when he was able to change things and he and his friends would find a way and they would be heroes just for one day and for any other day furthermore for having changed things.

His eyes opened themselves wider. They were staring at the empty white greyish ceiling. In the early winter morning twilight they got closer to reality – whatever might be reality – his reality our reality – whatever might be there.  An absolute thing in a relative universe of true false identities. For not showing the least sign of weakness his reality needed to be absolute. No relativity – in daily battles he couldn’t afford that. He was a stranger and needed to be stronger than all these local wimps here. Life had become a battlefield – he was a warrior – a lonesome fighter looking for comrades to go for the ultimate battle.

No doubts – no weaknesses permitted. 

He got up. His body still feeling stiff and weak. His feet standing there besides the bed tried to find some firm soil. Found it. They found it. He moved to the bathroom he shared with two other students. Brushing his teeth he looked into the mirror – found a brave young man. One, who was ready for doing many good things for making the world a livable place again. One for that way doing his job – his personal task, he had to fulfill.

High time for getting things started. High time. There would be a way. He would find it. He – himself.

 

Although a big part of him felt like returning to bed and just moving the blanket up again hiding his weak mindnobodypoorsoul underneath he sensed the stronger parts taking over getting him ready for the day. No time to loose. There would be a way. For sure. He would find it.

No doubt.

 

(page 4-7 from the manuscript's raw version)