Human skin is probably less than a millimeter thick, and below, through a network of blood vessels denser than the densely packed tussoreswhich crawl one over the other up the wall, there races hot red blood, radiating warmth. And with this warmth people charm, excite and attract each other, desperately eager to cuddle, kiss and embrace so as to enjoy the intoxicating ecstasy of life.
But one stab with a sharp knife through this thin, peachcoloured skin will make the hot red blood spurt out like an arrow to flood the killer directly with all its warmth; then, the exhalation of icy breath, the sight of pallid lips, will take him out of himself, bringing him the transcendent, supreme ecstasy of life; while as for his victim, he is forever steeped in the transcendent, supreme ecstasy of life.
This being so, the two of them, stripped naked and grasping sharp knives, confront each other in the vast wilderness.
The two of them will embrace, will kill each other...
From all sides passers-by hasten there, densely packed as tussores crawling up wall or ants carrying off salted fish-heads. They are smartly dressed but empty-handed. Yet from all sides they hasten there, and crane their necks desperately to feast their eyes on this embrace or slaughter. Already they have a foretaste of the sweat or blood on their own tongues when it is over.
However, the two of them confront each other in the vast wilderness, stripped naked and grasping sharp knives, neither embracing nor killing and, moreover, showing no intention of embracing or killing.
The two of them keep this up to eternity, their full, living bodies nearly atrophied, yet showing not the least intention of embracing or killing.
The passers-by become bored. They feel boredom seeping into their pores, feel boredom from their hearts seeping out of their pores to creep all over the wilderness and seep into the pores of others. Their throats and tongues become parched, their necks tiered. Finally they look at one another blankly and gradually disperse, feeling so atrophied that they have even lost their interest in life.
Then all that is left is the vast wilderness, with the two of them stripped naked and grasping sharp knives in atrophied confrontation. They feast their eyes, eyes like those of the dead, on the atrophy of the passers-by, their bloodless massacre, and are steeped forever in the transcendent, supreme ecstasy of life.
December 20, 1924
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