Friday, 8 February 2013
Extract from Tor Ulven, Replacement:
The next time you wake up, it's light enough to see the numbers on the alarm clock: three minutes after eight. Did you remember to go shopping? You might as well get up. Is today the day they're launching the campaign for the new retirement accounts? You don't remember. What you do remember are those bank employees in their bleak gray or midnight-blue, those dour, obsessive-compulsive, humorless, bean-counting, anal-retentive pricks, arriving at the office and clutching their coffee mugs with grave and arrogant expressions, while they stuff their faces with free pastries, only theoretically able to find even the slightest bit of humor in his proposed newspaper ads, but definitely capable of worrying about how much the campaign will cost, whether they're being scammed, whether corners can't be cut, whether a cheaper medium can't be found, those puritanical penny-pinchers, those fossilized calculators, holdovers of old-school capitalism's pray, work, and save philosophy (like the bank president's inevitable story about his father, the man whom "waste not, want not" made rich, who'd find used nails, straighten them out, and put them in a special box for a rainy day, the same way he stuck every fucking spare shilling in the bank he's one day be president of, feeding an account that grew, bit by bit, into a gigantic, glittering load of dough, a constipation of cash, a horde of money he could loan out to desperate farmers and broke businessmen at interest rates that amounted to highway robbery, until his account was bursting at the seams, until it had swelled to monumental proportions, until it was a golden erection pointed straight at heaven, and all the while he continued to pick up used, even rusty nails, straighten them out, and put them in a special box for a rainy day); you remember those bank employees and their mind-numbing ad campaign, and still you get up, pressing your hand to your forehead, like that'll help, only to find it's covered in sweat, even though you're freezing.
Translated by Kerri A. Pierce