How It Will Turn Out

by Daniela Fischerová


UFO Alien

I was sitting at my computer writing a one-minute play. A UFO with an alien in it flew in through the open window. Thanks to the translating device in his head his monotonal buzzing was transformed into the full flow of speech. In order to fit everything into a minute, he had to speak very quickly, often sputtering as he did so.

UFO Alien: Hey there! Are you a writer?

Me (puzzled): Uh-huh.

UFO Alien: Iím here to tell you that writing has been abolished.

Me: Whatís that? Why?

UFO Alien: A story is the only model of thinking which wants to know how things will turn out. That is a subversive idea! Existence is, unfortunately, never ending. It will not end and it will not turn out a certain way, and will never reveal its true meaning. Between you and me, it doesnít have any. In the whole of the cosmos nobody else shares your concern over the question of meaning. At least so far! And weíre not taking any chances that this crazy idea will spread.

Me: So what will happen to us?

UFO Alien: The process has already begun. We are just now wiping away all the endings of stories. All that will remain are frustrating anecdotes without any point, whodunits in which the murderer is never revealed, tragedies without any catharsis, and Harlequin romances without a happy ending. To ask about the meaning of a story will no longer makes any sense. As a result, you will quickly give up writing.

Me: And then?

UFO Alien (exploding with evil laughter): Then comes the main part! Itís really quite thrilling, donít you know? Because then —

(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, kterż se nikdy nedotkne) was published by Catbird Press in 2000. Her one-minute play, "The Minute Glass," appeared in Issue #24 of The Cafe Irreal. "How It Will Turn Out" (Jak to dopadne) appeared in an annual supplement to the Czech literary bi-weekly A2 kulturní týdeník in June 2009, which presents "sixty-second dramatic miniatures" by leading Czech playwrights

G.S. Evans is the coeditor of The Cafe Irreal. His short novel, A Week in the Quiet Country (Týden v tiché zemi, Prague, David&Shoel, 2009), was recently published in translation in the Czech Republic; his fiction and essays have appeared in various Czech journals, including Host, Labyrint, Listy, and Britské listy; his translations of the work of the Czech writer Arnošt Lustig have appeared in The Kenyon Review, New England Review, and New Orleans Review.