Here are some short pieces about Dante and Kafka in the underground...
“For the love of God, let me have some friends,” cried Kafka from his eternity.
“Dante here, what’s up?”
“I feel like going,” said Kafka.
“Going? Going where? Asked Dante who was polishing his teeth with his long white beard just then…
“You know,” said Kafka, miserably.
“But you have already gone,” said Dante from his grave.
“Maybe I’ll go again,” said Kafka hopefully.
“You can only go once,” said Dante, making room for exactly nine more words.
“I want to see my friends again,” said Kafka.
“But they are all here, buried in the grave,” exclaimed Dante, down now to the last word.
“Life was so good,” moaned Kafka, and began to wait a very long time for another word to come.
A SHORT STORY
“Tell me a story,” said Dante, in need of a good story just then.
“It’s all fallen apart, dropped into a big hole; taken a turn for the worse; it’s all dark, and everything’s fizzled away into smoke,” said Kafka, and said no more.
“That’s it?” asked Dante, puzzled. “Well that’s not much of a story, is it?”
KAFKA’S NEW BOOK
”Dante!” said Kafka, suddenly.
“Yes?” said Dante, making it sound like a long drawn-out sigh.
“I’m feeling restless,” said Kafka as if his pants were on fire.
“I know,” said Dante, long suffering and patient as ever.
“You do?” said Kafka in surprise.
“Yes,” said Dante, “since before our first century together.
“Has it been that long?” said Kafka wearily and becoming quiet for a moment as if thinking.
“Dante?” said Kafka suddenly.
“Yes?” said Dante.
“Would you like to hear the first passage of my new book?”
“Of course,” said Dante, “sound it out.”
“OK then. What sentence this that we endure, that falls like night upon this our shore?”
And with that Kafka became silent.
A few moments later Kafka said: “Ahem.”
“That’s it?” said Dante, slightly bemused at the brevity of Kafka’s new book.
“Well it’s a start,” said Kafka.
“That’s all you’ve done in over a hundred years?”
“Oh no, there’s a lot more,” said Kafka enthusiastically… “It’s just, I keep forgetting what I’ve said and so have to start again from the beginning.”
“You’ve become senile,” said Dante, thinking this could be serious.
“I have not,” said Kafka, wondering if he was repeating himself.
“Well you are long in the tooth,” said Dante.
“Oh don’t start with the teeth again,” said Kafka, and went off on a sulk.
BRIEFLY AT THE END
“When I was up there I was encouraged to play the game, but I saw through the game and could take no heart in it at the end. It was as if I had to be passed through a straw, sieved up and held to inspection and squeezed into the same shape as all the others, and all about me was known to be judged and then allotted and graded a number so I could be packed and sent off to fulfil my quota in someone else’s plan that I wanted no part of,” said Kafka to himself.
“I see that you are wearing your death-face again,” said Dante as an aside and trying not to listen to what Kafka was mumbling.
“I’m just trying not to fall apart,” said Kafka.
“Tell me, what kind of death did you have, at the end?” said Dante.
“An electric one,” said Kafka.
“So you lit up then?” said Dante.
“Briefly,” said Kafka.
"Come on, let's go for a run around the block."
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