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Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Lately, I’ve been involved in a bunch of suspicious activities. It is weird how people who hadn’t bothered to even speak with you suddenly show a sudden need of your help. But what the hell, that’s more fun than sleeping anyways. Oh, yeah, the title of the post says: pretty pictures. So, I guess, you can have one.

This is my neat Orianna

There. And now we have a picture. Ok, where was I? One: I have to teach Latvian to my boss’s son. It’s harder than you might think, because really, kids. Nothing against them, and I’ve grown quite accustomed by working in my store, yet – I can give them advice on playing warhammer, but teaching them a language is hard. Kudos and respect to D503 for doing this on  daily basis. Man, teachers have balls in the size of an elephant.

Two: My manager has some female-related issues. Now, IF a girl is 16 years younger than you (He’s 36 so do the math) IF she hasn’t worked  for a single day of her life, IF you pay for her prolonged existence and IF she also dates other guys, then you just might be doing something terribly wrong with your life and I can’t help you. That’s a harsh lesson to teach, and I’m not sure if this blog is the best place to do it, but: Dump her, dude. Sometimes your so-perceived love is NOT an argument. But enough of this, here’s another nice picture.

This is a Space Dwarf. It is awesome. AWESOME!

And thirdly, of all things, I am finally happy, because in comparison my own problems seem less important. Frankly, because I have no problems. And let’s end with this awesome note. But really, HOW am I supposed to help my superiors? That’s….kinda stressful.

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And here I am, sitting in my Philosophy of History lecture, writing my blog.  Hurr, boring lecture, durr. But that’s not the point. What IS the point, however, is this http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-20/latvia-strikes-blow-to-corruption-in-system-by-voting-out-oligarchs-view.html

Basically, that’s an article which says something about our ex-president and our recent elections. And, frankly, it’s full of shit. At first, Harmony Center is an openly pro-russian, loyal to mr. Putin, pseudo-oligarhical party, and also they’re clearly populist – dropped most of their election campaign promises TWO HOURS after the end of the elections. Well, one has to be said, though: they HAVE made our capital better though. IF they’ll work properly with others, there MAY be some improvements. Second: Our ultra-right-wing Nationalist Union is as much full of crap as is Harmony Center. Sometimes even more. Ach, who am I kidding – they’re far worse. And they also whine about it. And now, after the elections, their members are seen spamming facebook with “boo, woo, Harmony Center are bad people” and spamming views about how multiculturalism spawned the recent Norway island shooting. (by mr. Iesalnieks, idiot extraordinaire)

And mr. Zatlers is on his way to make this country a presidential republic, which just doesn’t work for non-federative states. I think he’s obsessed with some sort of a neo-authoritarianism, and should chill down a bit.

By far the biggest problem that our little, shitty country has is that everyone either doesn’t give a shit completely, or, on the complete opposite side, tries to politicize everything, like we’re living in some sort of Piatigorsky’s “Absolute Politics” sphere. Protip: We’re not.

Both of these are neurotic activities and attempts to escape from this kind of newfangled freedom (and the responsibility that comes with it), just like Erich Fromm wrote in his work: “The Fear of Freedom” (or, “Escape from Freedom” for the US people) Either way, most people out there want to be given everything, they want their money, information, food and entertainment force-fed to them. They want the Soviet way, where you were given a job, either you liked it or not. They don’t want to think, and/or work for their money, because most Latvians have no idea about how capitalism works.

And so, we elect the people who are like us – except they can afford it. So, our government doesn’t educate people or make them better in any way, our government wants us to become more like Sweden. And Sweden is all fun and games, except it isn’t. Political correctness is lame per se and when a country punishes you for being rich, then you just know you’re on the wrong track. (I support healthcare, though. That SHOULD, and thankfully, IS partially funded by our government.) As about 1/3 of our voters are pensionnaries, nothing is going to change here, until all the people who grew up in Soviet Union will die out. Sorry to say this, old folks, but you’re assholes, taking loans which we’ll have to repay, electing people because you find their hair funny and they gave you flowers once or they’re your old schoolmate and you’ll ask them some money afterwards, and making your needs (such as bigger pensions) superior to actual economic growth of this country.

And a large part of them votes for their party, because they either a ) are ultranationalist and xenophobic b ) don’t know Latvian. Also, werent those people the one’s who didn’t resist the soviet union? Some of them fought in the SS legions, some of them fought for the Red Army, and they’re all making such a fuss about it. These people fucked our country in the past, and they’re continuing to do so now.

 

Yes, they are. No, I won't give you my seat in the bus.

Like a friend of mine once said: “If I’ll ever have to live from my pension, I’ll know that I’ve screwed up my life.” Now, I understand that some of these people are nice folks, I understand that some of these people actually helped to restore our independence, and I understand that some of these people are really, really smart. (Cracked told me so) But, as a social group, they dominate this country with their soviet mentality. And this just has to change.

 

 

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Because f**k you, I have insomnia. Also, a temperature of 38,5 degrees Celsius. And, while thinking about some totally unrelated problems, such as the Voyinich Manuscript I understood that gaming has made me a better person. I’ve learned things which I wouldn’t know otherwise, and I would be a much less of an asshole and than I am now, if not for the occasional desire to slaughter virtual zombie-nazi-mutants or just defeat an opponent in Warhammer. Yes, I’m not just speaking about video games here. And, again, this is mostly bullshit, spawned from my ill head. Because f**k you.

10.  Math is power! 

Tovarisch Stalin Approves!

“But Torq”, you might ask, “you’re a philosophy student, and you also play games. Now, what is this heresy?” It’s very simple actually. Grab a random gamer and ask why, for instance, a Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior is a much better troops choice than Slaanesh Chaos Space Marine in WH40K? Or, why Lightning Bolt is a much better M:TG card than Volcanic Hammer. Or, why you should use Laser Rifles over much stronger Plasma Rifles in X-Com? The answer is basically the same: They are much more cost effective. You get a bigger bang for your buck, thus owning the n00b and being competitive in the tournament scene. And, as every part of gaming is [sarcasm]serious business [/sarcasm] and if you do want to get that first place of whatever, because whatever, you start to calculate these things. You learn to manage and optimize your resources. And to calculate your chances. Woe betide the wargamer who doesn’t use statistics to his advantage. For 16 points, he gets a marine with a 43% chance to kill a Guardsman in a single shot. For 5 points per piece, I get a dude with a 5% chance of killing the said marine. But hey, I get 3 shots! And he only has a chance to kill 33% of his points per shot…besides, my guys get better, when their chances are calculated when evening the shots out against a different opponent, say Eldar. …and so it goes. In everything. All the time. If I wouldn’t be a gamer, I’m sure, I’d be a much less responsible person now, concerning money and expenses. But then again, I wouldn’t spend the said money on my plastic cocaine, so go figure. (Mmmm….plastic cocaine.)

9. Losing is FUN!

I've played dwarf fortress, and this is NOTHING in comparison...

Let’s face it, we’re goddamn masochists; “You WILL lose!” is a good thing to hear in a game review for our wicked minds, and when we hear phrases like that, something smiles within us, contemplating all the nice hardcore enjoyment we shall receive by getting smashed to pieces by that unfair Crysallid in the terror mission or those cheating Germans with their tanks, or those damn Space Wolves with their Longfangs, or my IG with my bassie, or Dwarf Fortress with…well, in this game, unfair EVERYTHING. Because losing is FUN! Actually, most fun comes from not losing anymore, but…until then, you torture yourself by doing things again. And again. And again. Rage ensues, and you die again. Then, there are those games who make you think that you’ve gotten better, but then – you die. Ad nauseam. And then…you stop dying. Or don’t. Because it’s….FUN! And do you think that a person who’s completed Terror from the Deep on Veteran difficulty level will stop being awesome when such puny things such as getting his skull broken and hearing nerve damaged and nearly dying from this and then lying in the hospital for two weeks and having to write graduation exams just the day he got out of the said hospital? F**K NO! Because LOSING IS FUN! Really, gamers can endure anything you toss at them. And then some.

8. Luck is what you make of it.

Nothing can roll so much 1's than the guys who need 2 or more to survive.

Some of you might think that this should be combined with the previous part. But no. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. BIG NO. You lose, when the game is cheating. When you’re doing something wrong. When the opponent is cheating, but no. This time, you made your army roster perfectly. Your deck is ideal. Your strategy – impossible to defend against. Your character – minmaxed to impossibility. And then, you roll a 1. Nine times in a row. And the person who’s obviously weaker, manages to win. That’s…just…NOT…fair anymore. But, as Wizards of the Coast spokesperson Mark Gottlieb once wrote in his House of Cards column: “There are games you cannot lose, there are games you cannot win, and those which can go either way, depending on the way you play. Once you learn to differ between them, you start to understand which are the ones you should care about.” And so we do. Luck…is just that. Luck. And there is no sense of complaining about it. And that’s what games taught me: Maximize what you can, even if you cannot win. Because doing everything to win is much more effective in the long term than winning in any given game. Including life.

7.  Style is important.

Two cars, two girls. If i have to explain further, then you are an idiot.

Victorian era? Awesome! Stylish mafia clothing? EPIC! Pirates? Yarr! Space knights with psypowers mixed with gigant robots of doom and destruction? ZOMGWIN! People like cool things. And beautiful things. Why do you think Global Agenda guys buy dyes for their equipment and why Warhammer guys paint their miniatures like maniacs. (Except me, I suck at painting.) And why did i enjoy the latest Alice game so much? Gaming, in a very weird way, has raised my aesthetical standards…and, although, I can’t speak about all the guys out there, it’s a weird stereotype that we’re fat, ugly people who dwell at basements and don’t take care of ourselves. What, I just spent two hours getting that awesome looking armor, what do you think, that I won’t wear my suit and a fedora hat, trying to look as fancy as I possibly can? Why, you are mistaken, good Sir! Yes, there is a reason why all the wargamers in my store use this form of adressing their opponents. Because good sirs we are. And we like to be such. Why? Because why the hell not? Pretty is cool. P.S. Thought it  would be bad, not to give some credit here. All the legal rights of the photo on the right belong to my coursemate, Zane Lodiņa, from whose frype profile it was blatantly stolen. But hey, any publicity is good, right?

6. Taking yourself too seriously is a bad thing.

And when I decided to go to the store, I had a nice evening with Cthulhu and Pinhead. Nice fellows, those two.

Actually, everything’s funny. As I’ve got told in my psychoanalysis lecture: In those societies where you can’t laugh about something, you, most likely, can’t cry about something as well. Basically, if something is so sacred as to not be made fun of, then don’t expect that you’ll be able to complain it about that as well. Hey, I’m a christian, and I love that Cyborg-Ninja-Zombie Jesus idea. It’s fun. And so is gaming. Whether you’re Abbaddon, destroyer of worlds or Vault Dweller, Messiah of the Wastes or whatever, really…those games who forget that they are just games and are there for a) art and  b) entertainment and try to be ultra-uuber serious just get annoying. Deus Ex, for example. It was a serious game, with a deep storyline and a huge moral value, talking about political responsibility and values of democracy, quite possibly like no commercially produced computer game before. And it didn’t even take itself serious – it had easter eggs, dark humour and everything a man needs to get a couple of hours of a good entertainment. And why should we be any different? We’re gaming, we’re gamers, in a way, we complete the game itself – for it is only completed, if there’s anybody playing it. So why bother. I am not a clever man. I’m a funny person with a lot of socially unacceptable quirks. Also, ducks. Ducks are fun too.

5. There will be bugs.

Unfortunately, this isn't a bug.

The first time in my life when I’ll see a game which, upon release, isn’t haunted by ridiculous bugs, I’ll shave my head and buy all my readers a box of their favorite beer. The first time when I’ll see something which isn’t riddled with incompetence, laziness and idiocy, I’ll accidentally myself, because es no posible, es ist nicht möglich, non est possibile, это невозможно and It’s not possible in any other language imaginable. But gamers are prepared for this. Because something will always lag (loading times…and frame rate) and sometimes, NO GODDAMN PC on the world will be able to run the game smoothly. (Civ V before the patches. Even Alienware PC’s were lagging on large maps in lategame.) Therefore…well, who am I to remind you that the real life has no beta-test.

4. Teamwork is essential.

I play a Demoman. I'm a black scottish cyclops, and nobody loves me.

There are those times in the Free-For-All servers when you just kill everyone. There are the honourable duels in any game, when skill is all that matters. And there are those days when someone must play the healer. When you’re on a domination map, and you win by points, and not by an individual frag count. When your tank is failing, and you yell at him, because your DPS mage is being whacked. And then…you play an engineer in Team Fortress 2. See, it’s TEAM fortress. And when you’re in a Team, everything changes. If you’re a good player, you will be respected, and, in spite of the traditional syndrome of everyone on your team (whatever you do – not limited to, but including, gaming) being a clumsy failbag and not doing their job well, you will try to do as much as you can to make sure you support your team members and are, like in the picture above, a credit to the team. This leads to me, not understanding the people for whom it’s hard to cooperate with someone else when doing something. Because it’s just natural. Like…YOU’RE THE TANK! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU NOT THE ONE, ABSORBING ALL THE DAMAGE FROM THE DRAGON! BAH!

3. Being good gives you more experience points

But don't forget: Good is not nice.

Everyone who’s played a RPG game know that the evil choices give you more monetary rewards and immediate gains, but the good choices give you more XP. Somehow, it’s built in all of them. Hell, it’s so important that even the 6th HoMM will have a morale system – blood and tears they call it. (As if making someone cry wasn’t bad. Go figure.) The bad part is, you can get the gear in other ways than quest rewards, such as…stealing it? (Fallout 1 & 2 didn’t carry any penalties for stealing…so…yeah, you did all the good quests, but stole everything. Which…wasn’t evil, for some reason.) Anyhow, as XP has always been more important than gear, in my eyes, at least, the fact that I am a gamer taught me that being good is beneficial to all, in the long term. And gives you experience. Which is more valuable than anything you can by for puny zorkmids.

2. Sanity is for the weak.

Picture is unrelated

What is this heresy? Orange muffins of doom? Why, yes, rabbit of total carnage, I accept your demands, and will trade this world domination for your fluffy loaded dice! In short – RULE OF COOL! Also…if i can will it, it must be true! Games are fun, because they’re abstract. Because they are more interesting than real life. Because they don’t care about the sanity, and you, basically, just click buttons for three hours, because the flickering images on your monitor made you so. And…the point is? Is there a goal? Why, in games there is! We spend hours, upon hours upon hours doing seemingly pointless things, to achieve seemingly pointless goals. And we do things which seem like hard work and make our achievements in gaming mean something. Because it does. Games force us to think outside of the box. Games force us to think…different. (Better than nike commercials) – and now and then, the truly indie ones actually take the matter deeper, and actually make weird things happen to our minds…but that’s ok….after i finished fallout three, i spent a night, reading german grammatics and writing my top10 relationship things. Because. Oh, wait…that brings me to number one. Thank you for the tea, rabbit. Your box is in that corner, thank you.

1. Because f**k you!

Truth. In a neat packaging.

We play games, because they are fun. In games, you can do whatever. You have the power of whatever. And it’s fun. It’s much better than the routine. But sitting and rolling dice and/or sitting next to a PC is dumb. So, I spent a night in front of my university, camping in line to get the #1 number. It doesn’t matter, except pointless bragging rights and high-score in life. Which is pointless to “serious” people. But hell, that was fun. I spoke with tourists, with the police…awesome. Also, I’ve lived together for two weeks in an apartment with 30 metalheads, who, at one point, decided to just go out in the streets and punch the hell out of douchebags. And so we did. Also, I’ve hitchhiked in the middle of the night from one side of my country to the other. And driven with drunk drivers. I’ve spoken, together with my friends, at about 2am in the night, in the center of the old Riga with an old, drunk Latvian language teacher about life. Have saved the life of a crazed bum, and then he called me “the savior of the world” – and spend a night in an abandoned hospital. My life has, probably, been shitty. Yet…it IS FUN! Because I make it so. Games inspired me. And so should you. And you know why?

Because the sky is blue, motherfuckers!

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I’ve written some more, and here it is, for your criticism and/or enjoyment. I don’t care, don’t do it for profit anyway. 🙂

P.S. For the newcomers: Here’s part 1. https://torquemadastark.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/madame-kurz-sells-time/

Madame Kurz Sells Time

Whomever said that winning isn’t important, that it’s the road to victory that matters surely hadn’t experienced a war. Striving to understand what was going on, i went to the front of the bus to inspect the body of the driver. He didn’t breathe and had no pulse – and was strangely cold. That means, he (well…we, to be precise) had been lying here for a couple of hours at least.

That was irritating to say the least. It didn’t seem likely that no one had noticed the car crash and called the police. I continued to read the book, as i had nothing better to do.

At least, it was warm here.

The orange cube had a warm, lovable feeling attached to it as well.

Half an hour passed, and i finished the chapter about the world war one. It’s a sad chapter really. It’s a shame that Germany lost, they seemed so lovable, and if they’d won, there would be no Soviet Union and no Hitler. And no France too, as an added bonus. Decided that it might be a nice time to have a smoke. I suppose, as i’ve waited here for some time, the police wouldn’t object if i waited for them right beside the bus, while having a cigarette.

Did you know, that sleeping takes you elsewhere? Well, i was there now. Still am. It’s a superposition of time and non-time.

I couldn’t open the door. It seemed stuck, even as i pulled the emergency switch. It was a stupid idea anyway, who could punish me for smoking in here right now? As I searched my pockets for a lighter, the bus driver took a long, sad look at me, and asked: “Looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Am doing this tomorrow, you know. I hope it’ll look natural enough.”

“Natural for what exactly?” I asked him back, while my cigarette fell on the floor, as my expression became gradually filled with surprise.

“Suicide, my imaginary friend, what else? It’s weird that my subconsciousness doesn’t know what i’m planning.” The driver’s smile was getting creepier by the moment, and his delusions got me scared. I didn’t know how much sense it made back then.

“Subconsciousness, yes. Indeed. Of course. Right. Well, seeing as you’re alive and almost sane after all, i’d be pleased if you’d tell the police that i’ve had no involvement in this, and would let me out so that i could walk home perhaps?”

The man laughed – he did that in the way that reminds you a clown in a kids party, except the clown is a mass murderer and the kid’s party is a bunch of police officers. And the police officers are all locked inside a bus. And the bus is on fire.

“You’re the strangest dream i’ve ever had. Usually, i get people talking to me when i’m sleeping, but this is funny too. So, my other me, explain me, why do i see and hear you, while i’m daydreaming on a bus? This is going to be over tomorrow, and i want to know while I still can.”

Instinctively, trying to get my phone, I checked my left pocket. Of course, the phone was still dead. And i had forgotten that i had put the phone in my jacket, to free some space for the glowing orange box. Now I occasionally  wonder, how it is like to forget something. Simple, enjoyable things are best left outside of pockets and in plain sight, lest we forget their importance, take them for granted and then they are irreversably lost, finding their place in the oblivion, next to our childhood dreams, past lovers and whatever else destiny has deemed necessary to be replaced by suffering.

Panic is never a good option…and the orange box seemed to calm me down. Hell, I had just bought some time. Sure, this was strange, but what the heck, if the man’s crazy, at least i’ll have a good story to tell. Besides, my glowing cube, although frightening and strange, was still cute, because it was orange. Orange things can’t be sad, you know. It doesn’t have any buttons too, so it’s protected from the people the likes of which can’t even press buttons properly.

Thus, i just grabbed a seat, lighted my cigarette and took a deep breath of the poisonous nicotine. I took my had off too, as to look more polite. The gush of redwind surrounded me for the first time ever. This wasn’t my world. This was his. All of it, he had lost more than his will to live, he had nothing else in his world but this damn bus. “So…this suicide. Tell me more about it.” If I were to be someone’s consciousness, i’d better be a responsible one.

“Nothing special, really. You know, i used to be a driver for an ambulance car. There went my dreams of becoming a race driver, kid.” He started to recognize me as something foreign to his world, but he wouldn’t have the ability to toss me out, even if he wanted to. I walk where I want. I’m the Offlock.

“Failing to reach childhood dreams, I see. Have a family?”

“Yeah, used to. Not much left, though. Wife left me and took the kids with her. The usual story about me, not achieving expectations. Didn’t earn enough money, didn’t arrive at home on time, didn’t raise children well. And now, i’m here. Alone with you in this tree. Doing this tomorrow. Last buses are perfect. Would have done this today, but i don’t want to take anyone with me, you know. The lad looks smart, is reading some sort of a book – i’m not that good with foreign languages, can’t tell. Would be a shame, really.”

She explained all of this later.  Madame Kurz introduced me to that damned picture, and that changed my life. I met her a couple of years later, in a completely different sphere. It’s important that you understand as well. We all live in our realities. You live, that is. Each one of us has their own sphere of reality, and we’re the authors there. Then, on a level above this, there are the spheres of our friends, family and colleagues. We have limited control over them, but they abide by the common rules, accepted in all the spheres where they are overlapping. Think of this, as an endless set of 3D Venn diagramms. In the grandest scale, our total sum of human realities interfere with each other, and produce our common reality, driven by our consciousness. The very real reality. The one where i live in.

And like crazy animals or primitive cavemen, the spheres are living in a world of eternal conflict, the bigger one’s consuming the smaller ones, and causing their extinction and alliances are being formed, as the smaller spheres often unite to overtake a larger one. And sometimes, there are spheres bigger than the reality itself. That’s why i must kill her now.

Not that you would notice this. The real reality, the common ground of all of us probably is where you spend the smallest portion of your day. Your sphere, i’m sure, connects to the reality through your society sphere, which is barely on the edge of it, and your own world is more or less on the edge on that one. And that is okay, otherwise we would all lose our individuality and would not care about such pity things as death. Or time. But now and then the spheres stray completely off our common sphere, and then we put the people in asylums and prisons.

And now, i have to kill her, the witch, the creator of the anti-sphere. She took mine, but now the redwind allows me to travel wherever i want. Due to the box, time has no meaning as well. And I don’t have a personal sphere where to hide in. I’m not the author. I’m not an author even. She was. Is. This man was.

Now, let me remind you that I was operating only on my instincts at that time. The box guided the way, and She wasn’t even there. And i hadn’t even heard of the redwind yet.

But still, even then, I understood that i had to do something, and I was about to do my best.

I’m still ashamed that it wasn’t enough.

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This just popped in my head. More or less is a prequel for my Offlock – which is a series that will be continued, if you’ll enjoy the para-psychological idea and the real it’s-in-your-head horror.


There are some things in this world that make even a weird person like me smile. Sometimes, it is enough to add: “Enough of this self-pity!” to a sentence to make it awesome. Sometimes, you want to come out of your corner, and just stop crying about how much of a bitch the life is for a second.
Most of the times, the things and the times like that are women and when you meet them. Being happy in a relationship is fucking important. Other times, it’s more like the feeling you have, when you wake up in the morning, and the first thing you do after waking up is having a cup of coffee and lighting up your morning cigarette. Feels so good. Feels almost godlike. These moments are the wonderful, excellent, beautiful little things that make you feel invincible; it’s when the whole world spins around you, and you are on top of it, giving the orders and organizing your own life.

But that doesn’t happen often.

And they won’t let you build upon it.

And otherwise, everything sucks.

But i live for those moments, and crave nothing else, but to feel them now and then again. This must read terribly like something written by Chuck…with the weird surname, which i cannot pronounce. Too bad it’s just ugly little me.

And i’m in your head too.

It all started when i decided to visit that little store. It was a strange advertisement: “Madame Kurz Sells Time!” it said. Nothing like the other things i’ve seen. Sure, there were some interesting cases about selling the land on Moon and Venus and whatnot, but…time. Wow. It must make a great and funny birthday gift, i thought.
So i went to the location which the paper informed me about. It changed things. Changed me. Changed you too. Except that you’ll find out about it later.

Yes, this is a fucking diary. Fuck you. Fuck you and your cynicism. Fuck you and your idealism. Just…Fuck You! Written in all-caps this can be seen on every wall, every fence…everywhere. But then again, fuck me too.

The woman opened the door. She looked quite old, yet elegant for her age. About sixty, maybe sixty five, she wore a long dress, blue like the midnight and awe inspiring like the old Russian nobility. I could recognize her from somewhere, yet i did not know from exactly where – and not that it mattered. I told her the reason of my arrival, and that one was important. At that time.
There was a beautiful young woman, who would celebrate her 24th birthday soon enough, and i had to buy her a gift. I fancied her, and wanted to seem more awesome to her than I actually was.

So, what the hell, I though. Maybe someting fancy, but that would make her think i’m a stalker – and not like in the video game – or something. It had to be original, and yet, polite. So, i needed some time. For her. For me. For me and her, hell, i didn’t need time, i needed a gift, and Madame Kurz warned me about it. She told me that in my face: “You don’t seek time, you seek a gift. I don’t sell gifts, so, please, i can offer you some Tea, but don’t expect to receive what you haven’t come here for.”

Of course, i thought she was joking. She wasn’t. Not that it mattered – i thought she’d sell me a card or something of that sort…the rather-pointless-gift shops are full with crap nobody needs, nor wants, yet people buy those things like the mindless drones they are. I asked for tea. A black one. With two spoons of sugar and some milk. We sat in her comfortable living room, she taking the comfy purple velvet-covered chair next to the cofee table, while i sat on the sofa – it seemed that all of this furniture was old. Really old. Ancient, yet, well preserved. I didn’t know what to say, so i kept my mouth shut, and waited for an offer of some sort. Maybe three euros, maybe four – i don’t know how much fancy greeting cards cost these days.
But she said nothing; she was just sitting there and silently looking at a painting of a beautiful blonde lady on the wall. Almost like a photograph, the painting was fascinating beyond all doubt. I’ve yet to see such a beautiful woman in my life, her blonde hair slightly covering her pale face and, of course, sapphirre blue eyes. Madame Kurz looked at me, and decided to speak. “What do you like the most about the picture?” An unexpected question indeed, yet, i’ve been through all kinds of trouble, and this seemed like a nice adventure to tell to your pals in a smoky, poorly lit bar over a pint of beer. So, i honestly answered, and waited what would happen next: “It’s the eyes, i suppose – they seem so lifelike. And it’s true that men are drawn to beautiful women, and by my standards, this one is extraordinarily charming one.”
She smiled, and replied with almost no sound coming from her lips, the answer was more silent than a whisper, i could barely hear it, yet i understood everything completely: “It’s my grandmother. Good old days when the artists were more precise, and didn’t draw such incomprehensible things. You’ll meet her in due time, and I assure you, nothing of that beauty is lost.”
That was weird, and made me feel terribly uneasy – like in the horror movies, when you’ve no idea what will happen next, because you know that the movie you are watching is not a random slashterpiece, but instead a quality film, probably from Spain, probably directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

Chose to ignore the remark.

Asked for some time instead; I had to give that girl something she’d remember, something awesome.

And i got some time. All the time in the world, even. No gifts. Like she promised. And it wasn’t that nice either.

Time feels like when you’re taking a shower, but then the hot water gets turned off and the soap gets in your eyes, but at the same time you’re getting the most genius idea ever.
She sold me that feeling, packaged in a small, brightly orange cube. I bought the cube for about 20 euros, but at that point, money started to lose all value. The small cube seemed to be made out of plastic, i wasn’t scrathcable, and was extremely lightweight. Madame Kurz smiled like it was her birthday when she gave that to me. She also said that people who are not allowed to, don’t see the advertisement – or, more precisley, they don’t see the advertisement when it’s not their time to see it. And it made sense, as…she literally sold me some time.
Not that surrealistic, if you ask me. You buy the mass of meat and vegetables, the lenght of a movie, the experience of a thrilling ride in the fair…why can’t people just buy a little time for themselves?
It’s the time that the soldier who received that bullet could’ve lived. It’s the time that the person in the bed next to yours in the hospital could’ve had, before the cancer got him. Time doesn’t care, and it doesn’t flow either. It is. And it can be lost, found and obviously sold. And i bought some.

I promise, i’ll never do that again.

And she’s better off with someone else anyway.

It’s hard to explain this to you, as you read this sentence by sentence, letter by letter, but i’ve made it as a complete text, as a monument to whatever made me understand how things are and whatever will happen next – or before.
Basically, i just took the small cube, said thanks, paid the money and left the Madame’s apartment. The picture of her grandmother still somehow remained in my head, and although it was a shame that i didn’t get a neat card to enhance my awesome gift, the thought was original, and now i had a story to tell.

But to whom?
It was dark, when i left the old lady’s place. I went to the closest bus stop, i needed to get on the 31st one to get back home. Walked to the stop in a hasty pace, because i wanted to play some games before going to sleep. The stop was empty, and i didn’t know what time it is….was. I must have spent more time looking at the picture and drinking tea than i should, but the last bus leaves at 23.45, and i was pretty sure that it wasn’t as late, because the store where i bought cigarettes while coming here was still open.
When the bus arrived, it was empty. I was too lazy to buy a ticket, so i decided to cheat some money out of our beloved government, and ride without one. Not that the driver cared, he surely has more troubles than caring about a single passenger in one of the last buses.
The drive home usually takes about 40 minutes from the university, and this was a bit further. So, i had some time to read – buses are ideal locatons for your studies, because then your annoying roommates aren’t disturbing you, and while your mp3 player is working, you’re immune to most outside effects. I took my book on the history of warfare and started studying it again.
But the bus crash soon after made me forget the original intent…the driver was dead, and everything around me was blue as a midnight and awe inspiring as old style Russian nobility. We had crashed into a tree. And the orange cube began glowing. It would do so every time it stole someone’s time – but the first time was horrid. My phone was dead, i couldn’t call the police – so, i decided just to wait here, until they arrive themselves – because running from a crime scene is never a good idea.
Except the times when it is.

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