A minute glass
(The master is sitting at his desk, reading contentedly. The Pupil, obviously desperate, forces his way in, falls on his knees before the Master, and gushes forth.)
Pupil: Master! You are my last hope! They say you can lead a pupil to enlightenment in a single minute. Oh Master! Can you do the same for me?
Master: (Scarcely looks up from his reading, but turns over a large minute glass. Perfunctorily.) Certainly. If you forego making any and all judgments until the sand runs out, you shall be enlightened.
Pupil: (Enthusiastically.) What's that? Your method is so easy? That's great!
Master: You've missed your chance to become enlightened.
(Without looking up from his reading, the Master turns the minute glass back to its original position with his free hand. The Pupil comes to realize what has just happened. Darkness.)
(translated by G.S. Evans)
Daniela Fischerová is one of the foremost Czech writers of the post-Prague Spring generation. She is the author of numerous stage plays; screenplays for short, animated and feature-length films; radio plays; several works of prose for adults and for children; and one novel. In translation she has appeared in several anthologies, and her collection of short stories, Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else (Prst, který se nikdy nedotkne) was published by Catbird Press in 2000.
G.S. Evans is the coeditor of The Cafe Irreal. A book of his fiction, Tajný (český) deník Fredericka Barona a jiné texty (Aequitas, Prague, 2007), was recently published in translation in The Czech Republic; his translations of the work of the Czech writer Arnošt Lustig have appeared in The Kenyon Review and New Orleans Review.
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story copyright by author 2007 all rights reserved
translation copyright 2007 by Greg Evans all rights reserved