The wet bird

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On the last day of his life, which happens to be on the 33rd of this month, Germain Landfelder™ wakes up at 8:09 am. Today, he ponders, my death will make the headlines. We should not worry too much, though. Germain Landfelder™ was scheduled to give up his corporeal self on the 30th, but, as any fate-maker knows, this is a very unlikely event in the case of Germain Landfelder™. For this reason, time has been suspended for the last 72 hours, and will not resume its normal course until the matter is solved.

(This situation requires a minimal explanation. In a nutshell : there is a little blue book where the fate of every individual is written, but this book is not accurate, due to people like Germain Landfelder™ or Z the Polymorph™, who simply resist their fate. Fate-makers constantly rewrite the book to take this into account. It keeps them busy and alert, and makes them tweak the space-time continuum, which is a good thing. Otherwise our lives would be a big bore.)

So, as he brushes his teeth while saying

- Hi!

to the toilet bowl, Germain Landfelder™ builds some mental strength for his mission : he's supposed to go up the Chrysler Building in New York City and jump out the window. If everything goes according to Dr Pynchon's aerodynamic theory, the air under Germain Landfelder™'s body should accumulate during his fall, out of sheer love for mankind, until it forms a thick pillow that will prevent him from making a mess on the pavement. All of Dr Pynchon's volunteers but Germain Landfelder™ now lie encased in concrete, due to their lack of faith or understanding of the theory. Germain Landfelder™'s jump, if successful, is Dr Pynchon's last chance of obtaining the Nobel Prize™. The good doctor was a failure as an Elvis impersonator and doesn't want to go through the humiliation again.

It's a sorry day to die anyway. Not only it's been raining for the last 3 days (a short late spring shower that started at the wrong moment), but the city has come to a standstill due to the time freeze. Nobody moves. Even the birds are prevented from escaping the downpour : the poor things look like feathered sponges. Since Germain Landfelder™ can't hail a cab, he has to walk all the blocks between his hotel and the Chrysler Building, stopping at every traffic light (jaywalking is a serious misdemeanour here). Fortunately, the elevator is working (periodic devices are authorised to run during a freeze), so Germain Landfelder™ is only slightly sweating - and slightly swearing - when he arrives to the 89th floor. There are leftovers of his predecessors all over the place : diet soda cans, farewell letters, comic books, baseball gloves, Pokemon™ cards (to be updated in later versions of this story) and unused condoms (which is fortunate because sex is a serious misdemeanour here). The window is still open. Germain Landfelder™ looks down. He sees the little cars below, gets dizzy, grabs the metal frame, which is slippery from rain, and steps out the window, unwillingly.

Halfway, he wakes up from his fainting spell and looks at his watch. The hands are still blocked on 8:09 am. What did Dr Pynchon say ? Yes, he should lie flat on his belly, to build air resistance. Germain Landfelder™ obeys, but still can't feel any improvement. The cars grow bigger and bigger, he could read their plates if he was interested (he isn't really, he doesn't even drive). Where is the *£%#&@$ pillow, he says, I want the *£%#&@$ pillow ! He can't even hear himself scream, which is fortunate because profanity is a serious misdemeanour here.

At 4 yards, 6 feet and 7 inches from the concrete, Germain Landfelder™ stops falling. Because he's so close to the ground, he tries to regain his official verticality, but he misses and manages to hit the concrete with his hands and to smash his nose in the process. With a bloody face, he looks up. A bird is flying again.

And this is the end of the story, though I won't disclose whether Dr Pynchon was awarded the Nobel Prize or had to resume his Presley career instead. Just do a web search to find out !

Dear reader : click here to read the original Germain Landfelder™ adventures by François Dispot et al. (beware, they're in


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