The baby by Hans-Jürgen John, translated by Anthony Cataldo

First chapter

It was in the year 1960. That isn´t important but it is one of the facts of the now following story.

On an ordinary day in the aforementioned year in the morning at around half past eight when the snow lying on the ground seemed to linger in difference of the warmth of the coming day a child is born, maybe it is more truth to say thrown into this world.

Its mother is a worker on an assembly line, in a factory, in a university town, near Stuttgart, in Baden-Württemberg, in Middle Europe, and there in Germany and that is where the story begins. This baby drew its first breath in a large park; another half an hour, and it would have been born in the warmth and safety of the factory where its mother worked. Surrounded by new and older inventions of whole generations of engineers. Yes there surrounded by waves of noisy worklife it would get the right impression of the world it would like to reign some day. But no, thanks to the unthinking shamefulness of a young desperate mother a very different world presents itself to the child. The other world would be denied to it for a very long time. The air was full of the changing songs of an escaped parrot and other birds, come to witness this strange event, then fly away to their own lifes.

The young woman doesn´t cares anymore about the rotten cards life had dealt her. She calls her living conditions fate and suffers for her inability to change them. She is convinced that life doesn´t cares about her. But she really did her best to lessen the impact of lifes injustices, even though she couldn´t do anything to avoid them.

In the beginning she would fantasize about the life she could have had with the guy whose child she carried under her heart. His face and everything about him invoked feelings that were now fading. Even the feelings she had experienced when he was near her she is now losing, contaminated and overwhelmed by the experiences of her life now. Again and again she remembers these feelings when the tiny life the impulse that became flesh and blood moves inside her.

Again and again she felt abandoned longing for his rough, warm voice. Again and again she was alone with her thoughts, thoughts of suicide. The baby was the reason for these thoughts, she told nobody these feelings and nobody was aware of her condition. Her silent guilt grew, as the baby inside her grew. Nine months of judgement, without the possibility of defense. No evidence to hear, no book of law or final speech. The absence of the father left the baby without a voice and allowed the mother the role of judge, public prosecutor and jury.

© 2010 Hans-Jürgen John

The scales by H.-J. John, translated by Anthony Cataldo

First chapter

Sometimes we are very persistent and insistant in the way we live our lifes. We take solicitudes and happiness, as they are served to us by destiny, and secretly we hope that there are people, who by their knowledge and pursuits, their ambitions, and perhaps a certain amount of freakishness, are able to ignore the circumstances of life, that we are subject to; looking for the outstanding, searching for it, and maybe play an important part in it and so be sucessful.

For we, or better still our children can learn a lesson from those who are gifted and enterprising, and learn to emulate them, and strive to make a name for themselves.

For everyone wants his name to be known and to mean something in the world, and to stand out from the crowd. To have some equality that makes them different: Be it tall like Abraham Lincoln or small like Napoleon, or big and strong like Robespierre or incredibly thin. To be tremendously clever or brainy, or have some special spiritual quality like Jesus or be a tyrant like Hitler or Stalin.

It is part of the caracter of men and woman to be attracted to the darker side of life as well as the lightning side, in the hope of drawing to themselves the attention that they desire.

This explains to why there are bank robbers, murderers, rapists and preachers. Bad is glorified in history books, where it is mentioned and described. For instance, Ivan the terrible has more prominence in history books than his unfortunate victims. He is portraid in printings, film and theatre.To be good is possible and normal, but considered unspectacular and boring.

In our times in Germany there lived a man who was average in every respect. He was 36 years old. An average income, all in all, an unremarkable life; he lived, travelled, ate, drank, smoked and loved just like everyone else, just an average man. His name was Smith, his appearance was the same as his neighbor, he had a wife and a television.

But like most of his circle of friends his marriage had ended in divorce after a few years. Smith had an average amount of debt, talked an average amount, sometimes he had nothing to say, and he was aware that he would probably have an average life-span, unless something had happened to him, to shorten his life.

A normal life he had, and it seemed to be how it would stay. Smith believed in justice in life. He didn´t aim to high, and believed that those that did, sometimes risked their downfall. It seemed to him that everything had to be in balance. There was good and evil, there were rich people and they sometimes exploited the poor. And there were poor people who worked for the rich. And many in between.

Of all the technical development, the discovery of electricity and its applications, seems the most important to him. It allowed him to listen to music, read a lot in the evening without candle light, use a dish-washer and washing machine, and not least watch television. Actually he thought man had indeed amounted to much. A time machine he pondered, could be usefull in addition. He thought this over a glass of wine, southhill; and a piece of curry sausage, from a food stall on the corner of Kelterstraße and Büchsenstadel….Reduce his weight? No, that would be to give in to consumption and to bend and to drawback to that invisible power that was dragging at him, and is know as gravity.

The scales showed these powers; it would show any changes in weight. He started dreaming and saw himself as a benefactor to mankind. They would cheer him, they would admire him, he would be the first to take the burden of gravity from them. The Nobel Prize in Physics was … to be his.

An overpowering sense of delight swept over him, like always when he was dreaming, and the he would be overwhelmed by his genius, which existed only in his mind. As usuall he did nothing to bring it into reality.  A little stone on a scale! One of various trials. And he intently watching the screen with one eye. That was his future as scientist. Knowledge of this subject was unknown to him. Patience and childish curiosity would be his tools, he tought, as he drunk all at once the cold, bitter coffee. It was like like a vow to achieve a weightless and antigravitational future for mankind. If he failed it would be bitterness indeed.

He smiled….Sven sneezed, he liked it here. He worked a lot and he only came to this place in order to sleep. An advertising poster of a local radio station was hanging on the wall opposite the window. When he came home in the evening and switched on the lights, the smile of a pretty and yet unknown woman beamed at him. He had got the poster one evening, while he was waiting at the bus stop from a guy called coincidence. At the bus station, in Tübingen, at the right place, at the right time. How remarkable he thought. From this time Sven got power from the smile of this unknown pretty woman, like from an endless fountain, and he wondered even from the beginning, that it did not ebb, that it did not diminish, because of his staring.

Power sources created by definition were limitless in their usefulness. To learn to fly was relatively easy for mankind. The birds had shown that they could do it. But how to switch off gravitiy? He had a look at the light switch. There was nothing like it in the wonderful and rich diversity of nature. His eyes went to the handy lying on the white table cloth.

Or was the solution hidding? What material should he use? Edison was popularly known for having made 9000 trials of various materials before finding the right one to use for the filement of his light bulb. Trial and error. How to succeed? He needed a scale with a very precise display. Then he had to make a list with all materials on it that could be useful, so that they could be tested to see if any of them would work.

Was there a material that was yet undiscovered somewhere on this earth? Was an alloy the key to a future without gravity? The scale would display it. Nervously he drew his right hand through his hair. Cars would be parked at the eaves or towed near the satellite dish. Old people, otherwise bedridden, or who used a walking frame, would fly through the kitchen window on the third floor, down to the bakery to do their shopping. The growing energy consumption would cease. And we would no longer be dependent on OPEC for our energy needs. For the carrying of great burdens, it would take only what strength was in the finger of a child.

© 2010 Hans-Jürgen John