It was another hot summer and another blazing day of mid-July in the remote country of BARE GUDA. The sky was blue and clear. Bob, a small, fat and in his late forties journalist, was walking on the deserted highway.
He had a big travel rucksack over his back. On the bag, we could see, stuck, many tiny flags representing different countries and names of capitals and famous places around the world: Great Britain, France, Italy, India, and the USA. Flags of all the countries he had visited while working for his newspaper.
Bob was wearing a thin white knitting on which was printed in capital letters, the word: THE OLD YORK TIMES, the name of his newspaper. A tape recorder hung around his neck. He had his hands in his pants pockets and was singing.
He, at last, arrived at the entrance of a small town. On a road-sign was written:
Welcome to ROCKY EYES
He went on walking and entered the town of Rocky Eyes. The first person he met was a tall thin man wearing a long green coat. The man was walking out of the town and shouting: “Impossible! Impossible!”
Bob was a little puzzled and said to him:
“Hi! I’m Bob.”
But the man did not pay any attention to him and kept on walking and shouting: “Impossible! Impossible!”
Bob connected the microphone to his tape-recorder and started recording some comments he wanted to make about this first odd encounter. Suddenly, a man came, grabbed Bob’s tape-recorder and ran away with it. Bob started shouting and running after him but with no results. The man vanished.
Bob kept on wandering for a while, then arrived near a big building under construction. He sat down near the building and put his bag on the ground and opened it. He took out a note-book from the bag and started writing.
“...When I first arrived at the town of Rocky Eyes, I met with a man walking out of it and shouting: “Impossible! Impossible! I said to myself, “He must certainly be a lunatic……”
Suddenly, two cops appeared and grabbed him from the neck. Bob protested. The cops showed him a notice hooked on to the building. The notice read: “PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO-ONE IS ALLOWED TO SIT HERE.”
Bob was put in jail with two others: a 13-year-old kid and an about forty year old man.
The kid came up to Bob, and then slipped his tiny left hand in his right foot’s socket and took out a pipe! And at that moment, the forty year old man started crying. The kid took out a pacifier from his jacket’s pocket and handed it to the man:
“Take this, Dad.”
The man grabbed it, put it in his mouth and kept quiet. The kid lit his pipe and started smoking.
Three days later, the prison guard rushed into the cell and said to Bob:
“You are free. You can go.”
Bob walked out of the jail with his bag over his back. Discouraged, he went to a café nearby. A customer came up and sat down at his table. Bob looked at him and asked,
“Have you seen a man running with a tape-recorder?”
The man did not answer. He did not seem to have understood. Bob asked the same question again. The man was surprised. He looked at Bob, and said:
“What did you say? You lost your ‘voice-robber’?
Bob replied angrily,
“No, my tape-recorder!”
The man: “Yes...Yes. We call it a voice-robber here. It robs your voice
and lets you hear it back. And people out here do not enjoy hearing back what they say. They do not like hearing things they have said to others. You get what I mean? Look. Come and see me tomorrow at 7.OO at the Stony-Hearted Park. I will see what I can do for you. Okay?”
Bob: “Okay. At Stony-Hearted Park then.”
The Stony-Hearted Park is full of stones. Bob started walking in the park. The park was very big. Many things were thrown around, particularly books and camcorders. Books and camcorders are the most useless of things here.
Bob saw the man he had met in the café a day before, sitting in a corner.
The man: “Hi, Guy. I am the park's keeper.”
The park-keeper was listening to the news from....an alarm-clock. Bob came up to the park-keeper. He noticed a small radio besides the park-keeper. The radio started ringing. At that very moment the park-keeper switched off the ‘alarm-clock’ and said to Bob, “It’s 7.o’clock. You’re very punctual, sir.”
Bob smiled and greeted the park-keeper. Then, he asked him, “Why are all these books and camcorders thrown around?”
The park keeper, politely replied, “The books, we keep them in store for the long winter nights. They help us to sit up late while feeding our fire and keeping us warm. The camcorders, which we call “image-robbers” here, nobody wants them because no one wants to see his image or actions shown back to him. They are banned and any image-robber that enters our town ends here.”
Bob: “What do you know about my tape-recorder?”
The park keeper: “Will you sit down?”
Bob sat down.
The park keeper: “Your voice-robber is certainly at transy-Formy...”
Bob asked surprised: “Transy-Formy? What is that?”
The park keeper: “It is a secret factory. Your voice-robber is incompatible with Rocky Eyes. It is a dangerous thing here until it is ‘transfo-localized’ at Transy Formy. It's only then that your voice-robber will become functional. It will ring!”
The park keeper: “Look, you really do not need it now. You’re still a stranger. Maybe you’ll learn more about the “ringing process” by contacting Mr. Bingo.”
Bob: “Mr Bingo? Who is he?”
The park keeper: “He is a well known teacher at Thunderbolt School.”
Bob thanked the park-keeper, left the park and headed towards Thunderbolt School.
Thunderbolt School did not look like a school. Mr Bingo, a tall forty year old man with a thick moustache, a bizarre hat over the head, was teaching. On his desk, there were a pair of binoculars, a rifle, a pair of boxing gloves and a handcuff. The pupils, young boys and girls of six to seven years, were bound, hand and feet, to their seats. Mr. Bingo was speaking over a walky-talky:
“Yeah...Yeah... I am in class. I am working. I’m just teaching the pupils the art of being quiet. How about the flock? You said you sold it for 800,000? That's marvellous...See you tonight, Joe.”
The class door opens and a man appears.
The man: “Mr. Bingo, someone wants to see you.”
Mr Bingo: “Who is it?”
The man: “I do not know him. He is a stranger.”
Mr Bingo: “Bring him in, Alex.”