He ended his time on the shore in a makeshift asylum cell, shut away with the profligate stink of fish that clung to him all his days. The Great White. St. Jude of the Lost Cause. Sea Orphan. He seemed more or less content there, gnawing at the walls with a nail. Mary Tryphena Devine brought him bread and dried capelin that he left to gather bluebottles and mold on the floor.Now, six years after the fact, I realize things might have gone differently, but back then, on Sunday, March 8, 1998, when it all began, it was impossible to imagine any other way for events to unfold. Also perhaps I made no effort to imagine something different, believed I had no choice, no choice at all, but was instead looking at the inevitable, which I could not have influenced even if I had wanted to. It no longer matters, because what was happening, whether I chose it or not, became destiny, which nothing will ever be able to change.
Benji Nakamook thought we should waterboard each other, me and him and Vincie Portite. We wouldn't count the seconds to see who was bravest or whose lungs were deepest - this wasn't for a contest. We'd each be held under til the moment the possibility of death became real to us, and in that moment, according to Benji, we'd have to draw one of the following conclusions: "My best friends are about to accidentally drown me!" or "My best friends are actually trying to drown me!" The point was to learn what it was we feared more: being misunderstood or being betrayed.
Looking back on it later it could only have happened because Budai had gone through the wrong door in the confusion at the transit lounge and, having mistaken an exit sign, found himself on a plane bound elsewhere without the airport staff having noticed the change. After that it was impossible to say how far or for how long he had flown, for as soon as the engine purred into life he reclined his seat and fell asleep. He was quite exhausted, hardly having rested the last few days, working himself to a standstill, and apart from anything else there was the speech for the linguistic conference in Helsinki for which he had just now been preparing. He was woken only once during the flight when they brought him his meal, then he promptly fell asleep again, it might have been for ten minutes or for ten hours. He didn't even have his wristwatch with him since he intended buying one out there and didn't want to have to present two watches at customs back home, so he didn't have the least clue how far he was from home. It was only later, once he was in town, that he discovered it wasn't Helsinki and was shocked that he didn't know where he actually was.
How strange a fish's life must be!...Glittery, walleyed...I've never been able to understand how such a life is possible. The aguesistence of life in that form reduces me to tears quicker than anything else in the world. An aquarium stirs up in me whole potfuls of red-hot pincers. This afternoon, I went to see the one they're so proud of here in the Foreign Town's Zoological Garden. I wandered in that upside-down world until officials finally turned me out.
These are all from the opening sections of stories that I have either recently finished reading or are in the process of reading. To make it easier for some, here are the names (not in the order of quote appearance):
Raymond Queneau, Saint Glinglin
Michael Crummey, Galore
David Albahari, Leeches
Reza Negarestani, Cyclonopedia
Ferenc Karinthy, Metropole
Adam Levin, The Instructions
Jerzy Kosinski, Passion Play
Think you can match these titles with the appropriate quotes?