Grigory Ryzhakov – Russian Writer

Literature: Rumours of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

The Spy's Funeral, by Hablot Knight Browne, Phiz (an illustration to Charles Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities", London, Wordsworth Classics, 1999, scanned by Robert Ferrieux)

The Spy’s Funeral, by Hablot Knight Browne, Phiz (an illustration to Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”, London, Wordsworth Classics, 1999, scanned by Robert Ferrieux)

Do you think real literature is becoming obsolete? Here’s what I think about it. My story is called – A Funeral.

Once upon a time, a tall bespectacled lady called Literature attended her own funeral for the very first time. She’s read a plethora of obituaries on herself in the past, but never bothered to attend the actual burials. Until now. This time the event coincided with Great Electronic Book Revolution.

So she came over there wearing  black robes of modern fashion and her long wavy copper hair contrasting with her ivory-pale oval face and the green eyes of a serpent. She was dissolved like a mediocrity in the brightly-dressed crowd of her admirers.
They looked unblinkingly at the open coffin yet failing to see it was empty.

The most prominent of them started his solemn speech. He talked of her grand past and Literature felt so proud and pleased that with each compliment she was becoming an inch taller. Orators that followed continued in the similar vein, only they gradually started expressing their grieves about her untimely departure.

Literature was moved and rained her tears on the gathering below as she’s now was two hundred feet tall like a statue of a vain sculptor. The audience opened their umbrellas, oblivious to the fact that not the skies but their very own idol produced the precipitate.

The next speaker blamed the involution of the mankind as the major reason of Literature’s extinction. The other proposed reasons included ADD, videogames, a brain virus that made its victims devour soft-porn and vampire books with astronomical speed, and also chewing gums and Marmite. Literature was unhappy to hear that about her favourite Marmite, which she had now to abandon for good. Just in case.

Eventually, she was bored with all the ramblings and went to a nearby coffee shop to drown her sorrows in latte. There she saw a teenage girl who was, to Literature’s surprise, already on page 42 of Ulysses. The nosy ginger asked the girl if she knew about the funeral taking place around the corner.

“It’s a play they have been rehearsing every single day as long as I remember myself. I’m not into theatre though,” the girl replied.
“When is it actually out?” Literature asked her.
“Once they find the right leading actress who could fit nicely into that coffin.”

Literature smiled to herself. At least, there was now one good use for her claustrophobia.



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