sexta-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2021


The alarm clock rang at five-fifteen in the morning. Roland, a criminalist by profession and a sort of a writer’s stunt, switches on the reading lamp and looks at his wife, who had already woken up but with closed eyes lies motionless. Lately suffering from insomnia, she usually sleeps until late.

She did not intend to get up while still dark but vaguely remembering something her husband had said about waking up early, she asks: — Why are you are leaving so early?

— Witness an autopsy. It has to be today, it is already agreed. As I am a writer from the realism school, I want to see it in person. To imagine is not enough. I need it for my next chapter.

— Do you already know whom they are going to autopsy?

— No. I intend to see two dissections. One male and one female. I am still not sure whether in my story I'm going to dismember a male or female. — Roland sometimes, playfully uses dark humour, precisely because the wife does not approve his literary style and she makes it clear. She thinks he does not have to be so conspicuous to attract readers.

— Are you sure the public enjoys these barbarities?

— In general, the male audience likes it, but it is necessary to be stylish, injecting a bit of philosophy into the butcher shop.

— Wouldn't it be an emotional imbalance for these readers?

— Everyone is more or less imbalanced, dear. Some psychiatrists for example are much more ‘’nuts’’ than the regular person.  The danger lies in the fact that anyone who dares speak up can be framed in an academic abnormality. If, on the other hand, he is too reserved, there is something fishy... A “very straightforward” mate would reveal, for this reason alone, a problem to be investigated.


An hour later Roland steps into the morgue. He asks an employee the whereabouts of Dr. Moraes' office, his friend and former client. Without his permission, he could not attend the examination. The authorization had already been granted. Minutes later the doctor shows up.

— Hey there, come in, come in… Our Brazilian Zola… — cries out Dr. Moraes, good-humoured, round face, stocky body, white metal glasses. — Watching the Academy, huh? Have you bought the uniform?

— The gown would get into my way;  strip me of my freedom. I, to impress academics, would have to touch up everything I write — replied Roland shaking his hand. — How’s it? I am ready for the massacre.

— What kind of autopsy do you want to watch?

— What do you mean? Are there differences?

— Of course, it depends on the purpose. Well, if there is no specification, I choose. Well ... You will watch the necropsies of two people who died without medical assistance. These are usually people without resources. For burial purposes it is necessary to check the "causa mortis", when the cause of death is unknown. Whether it was violent, a suicide, a necropsy is also required.

— Any death will do for me. The whole body, of course. I need the details.

— Necropsies are made in another sector, not far from here.

— You do not say autopsy. You say necropsy. Is "autopsy" wrong?

— I think it is more appropriate to say necropsy. “Autopsy,” from the Greek, would strictly be a self-examination. Necropsy would be the examination of a body, but this issue of appropriate names is irrelevant.

Walking briskly trying to keep up with the doctor’s pace Roland smelled formalin and other odours he could not identify. He heard some yelps.

— Looks like dogs yelping. Am I right?

— Yeah. Medical students doing experiments.

— Painful? Asked Roland, penalized.

—Sometimes. They try to anesthetize first.

 They stopped in front of a glass door.

— "You mean you’ve never seen an autopsy?" Won't you feel bad, pass out?

— I don’t think so. I am a cold person. If I feel sick or noxious, I’ll step outside.

— Just a warning: once inside do not lean against anything. The corpses may have a contagious disease and you would take the pathogens with you. I strongly advise you to stick your hands into your pockets.

Roland accepted the suggestion and they both entered the large room.

Next to the entrance, on the left side, there was a table with three small bodies. Very young children. Two dark and one white. They had a huge cut from the neck down to the pubis, but the cut was already sewn. Even if they were dressed and lying in a bed, they would not look like children sleeping. Death had left its mark on the eyes, albeit closed. The small bow legs were a sign of rickets. They awaken a feeling of loss and abandonment.

To the right of the door is a row of tables with small wheels. On top of each table, a corpse. Some, with their faces covered. The closest to Roland, his face uncovered, is a dark-haired boy, twenty-five years old, bearded, with a narrow face, a thin body, thus presumed despite being covered with a sheet up to his neck. His face resembles the usual depiction of a light-skinned European Christ. Tall, his thin yellow feet protrude far beyond the sheet that covers him, made for people of average height.

The neighbouring table is occupied by the corpse of a burly man in his 40s. He has a puffy face and an angry man's expression.

           — Excuse me, asks a male nurse, standing between Roland and the corpse of the hard-faced man. He pushes the wheeled table until it is parallel to the autopsy table, which is about three meters long, more or less. On the side where the corpse feet are, there is a stainless steel sink built into the table itself. In this sink, the organs are washed, cut and sliced ​​for examination.

The corpse is transferred with some brutality - practical, routine - from the sliding table to the fixed table, without the slightest "deference" to the human being though dead, as if dealing with a large bag of potatoes. Since the man is very heavy, the two nurses had to work hard, coordinated - “Let's go together: one, two, three, now!” - to transfer it from the table, one holding the feet and the other, stronger, taking charge of the trunk. Because of the removal effort, the heavy corpse was practically rolled onto the autopsy table, almost falling on the other side.

The dead man's arms were stiff and bent, as if in a defensive position, in a boxing match. In such position, it would be impossible for the nurse to work on the chest and head. It was therefore necessary to stretch the arms of the deceased combative mature man. Roland, always imaginative, involuntarily thought: - "Our white Mike Tyson would not agree ..."

Sure enough. Indeed, it was hard to ward the deceased off, due to the cadaverous rigidity. One of the nurses, the skinniest, tried to stretch his right arm, giving it a tug. With no success, he tries harder, his right hand holding the dead man's right hand. They seemed, for Roland, to be engaged in an "arm wrestling contest". The first result was an honourable draw for the deceased, who certainly had been a very strong man.

Not wanting to embarrass the visitor, the skinny nurse, as if guessing Roland's imagination, took a quick look at the writer and used both hands to stretch the stiff arm. Roland, an addict of fiction, immediately imagined the protest of the dead man: "That’s not fair! I'm going to bite this bastard's ear!" Whether or not fair, the living human throwing all his weight, almost suspended in mid-air, won the struggle stretching the dead man’s arm while the other nurse held on the other side of the corpse, preventing it from moving away from the right position.

Thus duly with the arms stretched out, the nurse who was in charge of the head tucked a block of wood, like a wedge, under the back of the corpse, who was standing now with the chest high and the head dropped back. Then he took a large kitchen knife and sharpened the blade in a long knife sharpener. He set the sharpener aside and began to cut into the scalp, starting the operation behind one ear. 

He made a very straight cut, cutting deep, with small movements of the knife back and forth, so that the blade edge reached the skull bone. He kept on working, until he reached behind the other ear. He dropped the knife and dug his nails into the cut. He gripped one of the sides tightly and started pulling the scalp towards his forehead.

The scalp was very tight; it did not come off easily. It popped up "tack, tack" in a row. When the resistance was stronger, the nurse helped cut the holding tissue with the knife, cutting the remaining links underneath. So he did, until the scalp, inside out, reached the mouth of the deceased.

Thus, the sight became unbearable. Since the hair was not short, it looked as if the deceased was bearded — which was not the case — and had part of the face covered by a mask of raw flesh obviously covering the eyes.

Until that moment, Roland had managed to hold on. He was swallowing hard. His Adam's apple rose and fell. It was necessary to employ all his resistance when the nurse picked up a bow saw and started sawing horizontally the forehead producing a lid. The partially bare and bloody forehead, sawed without the least hesitation, was a view, which only did not make Roland vomit because he always had an enormous difficulty in vomiting.

The nurse sawed the skull completely, marking a large cap. Moreover the brains, which were close to the skull, were cut.

After using the fine saw, the nurse tried to separate the cap with the unique movement of his hand. He dug his nails into the crevice of the bones, as he had done before with his scalp, but he did not succeed. Maybe because there was not room enough to insert his nails.

Everything was routine for the nurse. He picked up a chisel and hammer. He placed the chisel blade in the slit on the forehead and tapped the other end with the hammer, easily forcing the edges to separate. He put the chisel aside and, with his nails well positioned on the edge of the bone, separated the cap, which came out with a good portion of the brain.

Using both hands, the nurse carefully removed the viscous brain, which made "cloft, cloft", when detaching itself from the skull.

By then the other nurse had already opened the belly, from the breastbone to the pubis. Roland had not even seen him make the large longitudinal cut in the abdomen, so impressed he was with what was happening in the head of the corpse. When he looked away from the capless head, the chest was already open. The second nurse, equipped with special scissors, with short and curved blades, was busy cutting the protection bones of the chest in order to extract and examine the heart and other organs.

The same nurse — or was it another one? Roland was already a little groggy from the carnage — turned over the green intestines and pulled out the liver, which was placed near the sink, after which it was washed and sliced. The nurse cut and examined the colour of the slices, exchanging a few words with the doctor, who took notes.

Then he took the brain his colleague had given him and proceeded to cut it, also into slices.

While this nurse examined the slices of the organs, the other took a handful of sawdust, which was in an open bag, next to the table, and filled the void of the skull. He replaced the bone cap on his head and pulled the scalp back. The cranial bone was covered again, presentable.

— Now he has become "brainless" — joked the doctor who had lost all sensitivity to spectacles of this nature.

Roland, seeing the dead man's half-open mouth, asked:

— His tongue is very dark, don't you think? Does death darken the tongue?

— Eh? Muttered the nurse, curious. He forced the jaw down, opening the deceased's mouth wide. Not satisfied, wanting a better examination, he gripped the tongue tightly and pulled it out as far as he could.

— Ain’t nothing wrong - he concluded, examining it. - That's about it" he said, looking at the tongue, which almost resembled a cow's tongue, only less bulky. Satisfied with the inspection, he pushed the tongue back, shutting the mouth of the deceased. Then, he started sewing the scalp, using a kind of shoemaker's needle. In this job, he brusquely moved the head of the deceased, paying little attention to the indignant face of the bully who either in heaven or in purgatory — Roland wondered would be boiling with such disrespect. At certain times according to the needs of his job he pushed the cheeks from one side to another. According to the position, the dead man's expression seemed even angrier at such insults, as if his face was being slapped.

The nurses, very experienced, were well synchronized in their tasks. While the one on the head was grotesquely sewing the scalp, the other was quickly removing blood by the ladle from the abdominal cavity and throwing the organs back — liver, intestines, pancreas, etc. The brain was also thrown into the belly. Roland could not help but imagine the amount of work that this citizen was inducing in Doomsday with the dead coming out of their tombs. To judge souls it would be necessary to examine their bellies. Like many people he knew.

The belly was also sewn quickly, with a little sawdust inside to absorb the remaining blood.

Roland, after the scene of macabre violence, found it necessary to rest a little. He asked to leave. In the corridor, he took a deep breath and then felt a deep need to smoke. He puffed and concluded that he knew little about life, in its deepest sense, despite his forty years.

— How’s it? — asked the doctor. — I thought you were going to faint. It would not be an unusual fact, for those who watch for the first time.

— How many autopsies do you do every day?

— Forty on average.

— I was surprised that the corpse did not stink. At least not as much as I had expected.

— It's just that it came out of from the freezer. But you need to see when the power goes out for a day or two. It has already happened. Fifty corpses decomposing, no Christian can stand it.

— In such cases, how do you do it?

— With bad smell and everything!

— Watching an autopsy, we realize man is nothing. A precarious piece of meat, always about to decompose. A lesson in humility, the horrendous spectacle I have just witnessed... Are you a religious man, Dr. Moraes?

— I'm Catholic... Shall we continue? —   Shrugged the doctor. — At half past nine I have to attend a meeting.

 The author: Francisco Cesar Pinheiro Rodrigues is a Bazilian writer, retired judge who resides in São Paulo, Brasil. 

Contact by e.mail 

Know my books

END (19/01/2021)        

terça-feira, 19 de janeiro de 2021


Foto divulgação 

O despertador de Roland, criminalista dublê de escritor, tocou às cinco e quinze da manhã. Ele acendeu a luz do abajur de leitura e olhou para sua mulher, que já acordou mas continua imóvel, olhos fechados. Ela tem sofrido de insônia e geralmente dorme tarde. Não pretendia se levantar ainda escuro mas lembrando-se vagamente do motivo do marido ter acordado tão cedo pergunta: — Por que, mesmo, você vai sair? 

— Assistir a uma autópsia.  Tem que ser hoje, já está combinado. Como sou um escritor da escola realista quero ver a coisa pessoalmente. Não basta imaginar. Preciso para meu próximo capítulo.

 — Você já sabe quem vão autopsiar? 

— Não. Pretendo ver duas dissecações. Uma de homem e outra de mulher. Ainda não sei bem se na minha estória vou esquartejar macho ou fêmea. — Roland às vezes, brincando, usa humor negro, conversando com a mulher, justamente porque ela não aprecia seu estilo literário e é bastante franca. Ela acha que ele não precisa “apelar”, para encontrar leitores.  

— Você tem certeza de que o público aprecia essas barbaridades? 

O público masculino em geral gosta, mas é preciso, para compensar, caprichar no estilo, injetando no açougue um pouco de filosofia. 

Não seria um desequilíbrio emocional desses leitores? 

— Todo mundo é mais ou menos desequilibrado, querida. Não existe gente mais adoidada que certos psiquiatras, por exemplo. O perigo, neles, é que qualquer pessoa, bastando ser capaz de falar, pode ser enquadrada numa anormalidade acadêmica. Se, por outro lado, é reservado demais, “aí tem coisa...”. Um camarada “certinho em extremo” revelaria, só por isso, algum problema, a ser investigado. 

Uma hora depois Roland está entrando no necrotério. Pergunta a um funcionário onde fica sala do Dr. Moraes, seu amigo e ex-cliente.  Sem sua autorização, não poderia assistir aos exames. Essa autorização já fora concedida. Minutos depois aparece o médico.

— Ora viva! O nosso Zola brasileiro. . . — disse o Dr. Moraes, bem humorado, rosto redondo, corpo atarracado, óculos de metal branco. — De olho na Academia, hein? Já comprou o fardão?

— O fardão me prejudicaria, tiraria minha liberdade. Eu, para impressionar os acadêmicos, teria que retocar demais tudo o que escrevo — respondeu Roland apertando-lhe a mão. — Como é? Estou pronto para o massacre.

— Que tipo de necropsia quer assistir?

— Que tipo como? Há diferenças?

— Claro, depende da finalidade. Bom, se não há especificação, eu escolho. Bem...Você vai ver necrópsias de duas pessoas que morreram sem assistência médica. Geral­mente são pessoas sem recursos. Para enterrar é preciso verificar a "causa mortis", quando não se sabe porque morreu. Se a morte foi violenta, ou suicídio, também é preciso uma necrópsia.

— Pra mim qualquer morte serve. Uma pessoa inteira, claro. Preciso dos detalhes.

— As necrópsias são feitas em outro setor, aqui perto.

— Você não diz autópsia. Diz necropsia. Dizer “autópsia” está errado?

— Acho mais apropriado dizer necropsia. “Autópsia”, do grego, rigorosamente seria um autoexame. Necrópsia seria o exame de algo alheio, mas isso de nomes não tem impor­tância. Vamos indo. 

Caminhando depressa, para acompanhar o médico, Roland sentiu cheiro do formol e outros odores que não podia identificar. Ouviu alguns ganidos.

— Parece que estou ouvindo ganidos de cães. É isso?

— É. São os estudantes de medicina fazendo expe­riências.

— Dolorosas? — indagou Roland, penalizado.

— Às vezes. Procuram anestesiar antes. 

 Pararam em frente a uma porta de vidro.

— Quer dizer que nunca assistiu a uma necropsia, ou operação? Não vai sentir-se mal, desmaiar?

— Penso que não. Para isso sou algo frio. Se sentir qualquer coisa esquisita, saio um pouco.

— Um aviso: não se encoste em nada, lá dentro. Os cadáveres podem estar com alguma doença conta­giosa e você levaria os agentes patogênicos consigo. Convém enfiar as mãos nos bolsos.

Roland acatou a sugestão e ambos entraram na grande sala.

Junto à entrada, no lado esquerdo, havia uma mesa com três pequenos cadáveres. Crianças bem novas. Duas escura e a outra branquinha. Apresentavam imenso rasgo do pescoço ao púbis, mas o rasgo já fora costu­rado. Mesmo que estivessem vestidas e deitadas numa cama, não pareceriam crianças dormindo. A morte deixara a marca nos olhos, ainda que fechados. As perninhas são bem arqueadas, sinal de raquitismo. Despertam um sentimento de perda e abandono.

Ao lado direito da porta vê-se uma fileira de mesas com pequenas rodas nos pés. Em cima de cada mesa, um cadáver. Alguns, com o rosto coberto. O mais pró­ximo de Roland, de face descoberta, é um rapaz moreno, de seus vinte e cinco anos, barbudo, rosto estreito, corpo magro, assim percebido apesar de coberto com um lençol até o pescoço. Seu rosto lembra a representação usual de um Cristo europeu de pele clara. Alto, seus pés magros e amarelos saem muito além do lençol que o cobre, cortado para pessoas de estatura mediana. Roland fica observando o moço e, conforme a posição do olhar, o cadáver lembra também uma conhecida imagem de Tiradentes, esquartejado depois de enforcado.

A mesa vizinha está ocupada pelo cadáver de um homem corpulento, de seus 40 anos. Tem o rosto inchado e expressão de homem bravo.

— Com licença — pediu um enfermeiro, interpondo-se entre Roland e o cadáver do homem de feições duras. Em­purrou a mesa com rodas até que ela ficasse bem paralela à mesa das autópsias, que tem o comprimento de três metros, mais ou menos. Do lado onde ficam os pés dos autopsia­dos existe uma pia de aço inoxidável embutida na pró­pria mesa. Nessa pia os órgãos são lavados e cortados e fatiados para exame.

Este cadáver foi transferido com alguma brutalidade — prática, rotineira —, da mesa móvel para a mesa fixa, sem a menor “deferência” a um ser humano, mesmo morto, como se lidassem com um grande saco de batatas. Como o homem era bem pesado, os dois enfermeiros tive­ram que fazer muita força, coordenada — “vamos juntos: um, dois, três, já!” —, para transferi-lo de mesa, um segurando nos pés e outro, o mais forte, encarregando-se do tronco. Por causa do esforço da remoção, o pesado cadáver foi praticamente rolado em cima da mesa de autópsias, quase caindo do outro lado.

Os braços do morto estavam rígidos e dobrados, como em posição de defesa, numa luta de boxe. Nessa posição impossibilitaria o trabalho do enfermeiro que se ocuparia do tórax e da cabeça. Era, portanto, necessário esticar os braços do combativo defunto maduro. Rolando, sempre imaginativo, involuntariamente pensou: — “Nosso Mike Tyson branco não vai concordar...”

Dito e feito. Foi duro, de fato, conseguir baixar a guarda do falecido, devido à rigidez cadavé­rica. Um dos enfermeiros, o mais franzino, tentou es­ticar o braço direito, dando uma puxada. Nada conse­guindo tentou de novo, fazendo mais força, sua mão direita segurando a mão direita do morto. Pareciam, para Roland, estarem disputando uma "queda de braço". O primeiro resultado foi um empate honroso para o defunto que, certamente, fora um homem fortíssimo.

Não desejando passar vexame frente ao visitante, o enfermeiro fran­zino, como que adivinhando a imaginação de Roland, deu uma rápida olhada para o escritor e usou as duas mãos para esticar o braço enrijecido. Roland, viciado ficcionista, logo imaginou o protesto do morto: "Assim não vale!". Valendo ou não, o vivo, usando o peso do seu corpo, quase pendurado, ven­ceu a parada, esticando completamente o braço do fa­lecido, enquanto o outro enfermeiro segurava do outro lado, impedindo que saísse da posição certa.

Esticados os braços, o enfermeiro que cuidava da cabeça enfiou um bloco de madeira, à guisa de calço, por baixo das costas do cadáver, que ficou com o peito bem erguido e a cabeça caída para trás. A seguir, pegou uma faca de cozinha, das grandes, e afiou a lâmina em um amolador comprido. Colo­cou o amolador de lado e começou a cortar o couro cabeludo, iniciando a operação por trás de uma das orelhas.

Fez um talho bem retilíneo, cortando fundo, com pequenos movimentos de vai e vem da faca, para que o fio da lâmina chegasse até o osso do crâneo. E assim foi trabalhando, até chegar atrás da outra orelha. Largou a faca e fincou as unhas no corte. Agarrou com força uma das bordas e começou a puxar o couro cabeludo na direção da testa.

O couro cabeludo estava bem aderente aos ossos, Não desgrudava facilmente. Estalava com seguidos “tac”. Quando a resistência era maior, o enfermeiro ajudava a separação com a faca, cortando os liames ainda existentes por baixo. Assim fez, até que o couro cabeludo, já pelo avesso, veio parar perto da boca do defunto.

Com isso o cadáver ficou horrendo, com uma cobertura sanguinolenta cobrindo o rosto, desde a testa até o lábio superior. E como o cabelo não era curto, parecia que o cadáver era barbudo e tinha parte do rosto coberto por uma máscara de carne viva cobrindo os olhos.

Até esse momento Roland conseguira aguentar. Vinha engolindo em seco. Seu pomo de adão subia e descia. Mas foi preciso mobilizar totalmente sua resistência quando o enfermeiro pegou um serrote de arco e começou a serrar a testa, para tirar a tampa. Aquela testa nua e ensanguentada, serrada com a maior sem-cerimônia, foi um espetáculo que só não provocou vômito porque Roland sempre teve imensa dificuldade para vomitar.

O enfermeiro serrou completamente o crânio, demarcando uma larga calota. Com isso cortou também os miolos que estavam próximos ao crânio.

Terminada a utilização da serra fina, o enfermeiro tentou separar a calota com o mero emprego da mão. Fincou as unhas na fenda dos ossos, como fizera antes com o couro cabeludo, Mas não conseguiu seu intento. Talvez por não conseguir um espaço suficiente para in­trodução das unhas.

Tudo era rotina para o enfermeiro. Pegou uma talhadeira e um martelo. Colocou a lâmina da talhadeira na fenda da testa e com o martelo deu algumas pancadinhas a na outra extremidade, forçando facil­mente a separação das bordas. Guardou a talhadeira e, com as unhas bem apoiadas na borda do osso separou a calota, que veio com boa porção do cérebro.

Usando as duas mãos, o enfermeiro retirou com cuidado o encéfalo viscoso, que fazia "cloft, cloft", ao se desgrudar do crânio.

Nessa altura, o outro enfermeiro já havia aberto a barriga, do púbis ao externo. Roland nem o vira fazer o grande corte longitudinal do abdómen, de tal modo se impressio­nara com o que ocorria na cabeça do cadáver. Quando afastou os olhos da cabeça sem tampa, o tórax já estava aberto. O segundo enfermeiro, munido de uma tesoura especial, de lâminas curtas e recurvadas, dedicava-se a cortar ossos protetores do tórax para poder extrair e exa­minar o coração e outros órgãos.

O mesmo enfermeiro — ou seria o outro? Roland já estava meio grogue na carnificina — revolveu os intestinos esverdeados e arrancou o fígado, que foi colocado perto da pia, após o que foi lavado e fatiado. O enfermeiro cortava e examinava a cor das fatias, trocando algumas palavras com o médico.

Em seguida, pegou o cérebro que seu colega lhe dera e passou a cortá-lo, também em fatias.

Enquanto esse enfermeiro examinava as fatias dos órgãos, o outro pegou um bocado de serragem, que estava num saco aberto, ao lado da mesa, e preencheu o vazio do crânio com esse pó de madeira. Recolocou a tampa de osso na cabeça e puxou de volta o couro cabeludo. A calota óssea ficou nova­mente coberta.

— Agora ele ficou “desmiolado” — brincou o médico que perdera toda a sensi­bilidade ante espetáculos dessa natureza.

Roland, vendo a boca meio aberta do morto, es­tranhou:

— A língua dele está muito escura, não acha? A morte escurece a língua?

— Onde? — perguntou o enfermeiro, curioso. Forçou o maxilar para baixo, abrindo bem a boca do defunto. Não satisfeito, querendo melhor examinar, agarrou com força a língua e puxou-a o máximo que pôde.

— Não há nada — concluiu, dando uma examina­da. — É assim mesmo — disse, olhando a língua enor­me, que quase se assemelhava a uma língua de vaca, só que menos volumosa. Satisfeito com a inspeção, empurrou a língua de volta, fechando a boca do falecido. Em seguida, pôs-se a cos­turar o couro cabeludo, utilizando uma espécie de agulha de sapateiro. Nesse trabalho, manipulava com brusquidão a cabeça do defunto, pouco ligando para a cara indignada do homem moreno que, no céu, ou no purgatório — Roland pensou — deveria estar fervendo de raiva com o desrespeito. Em certos momen­tos, por necessidade do serviço, empurrava as boche­chas de um lado para outro. Conforme a posição, a expressão do morto parecia mais zangada ainda com tais insultos, quase tabefes com a mão espalmada.

Os enfermeiros, com a longa prática, estavam bem sincronizados nas tarefas. Enquanto o da cabeça costu­rava grotescamente o couro cabeludo, o outro rapidamente tirava umas conchas de sangue da cavidade abdominal e jogava os órgãos — fígado, tripas, pâncreas — de volta. O cérebro também foi jogado dentro do ventre. Roland não pôde deixar de imaginar o trabalho que daria aquele cidadão, havendo um juízo final, com os mortos saindo dos tú­mulos. Para ler a sua alma seria preciso examinar a pança. Como muita gente que conhecia.

A barriga também foi costurada depressa, com um pouco de serragem dentro para absorver o sangue que ainda restara.

Roland, depois daquela cena de violência macabra, achou necessário descansar um pouco. Pediu para sair. No corredor, respirou fundo e depois sentiu profunda necessidade de fumar. Deu uma tragada e concluiu que pouco sabia da vida, em seu sentido mais profundo, apesar de seus quarenta anos de vida.

— Como é? — indagou o médico. — Pensei que o senhor fosse desmaiar. Não seria fato incomum, para quem assiste pela primeira vez.

— Quantas autópsias vocês   fazem por dia?

— Umas quarentas, em média.

— Estranhei que o cadáver não fedia. Pelo menos não tanto quanto eu esperava.

— É que saiu do congelador. Mas o senhor precisa ver quando falta energia elétrica durante um dia ou dois. Já aconteceu. Cinquenta cadáveres se decompon­do, não há cristão que aguente.

— Nesses casos, como os senhores fazem?

— Com mau cheiro e tudo!

— Você tem religião, Dr. Moraes? Vendo uma autópsia, constatamos que o homem não é nada. Um pe­daço de carne organizada, sempre prestes a se decom­por. Uma lição de humildade, o espetáculo horrendo que acabei de presenciar...

Sou católico... Vamos continuar? — sintetizou o médico. — Às nove e meia preciso comparecer a uma reunião. 

FIM (19/01/2021)


quinta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2021

The cockroaches will inherit the Earth (a fable)


Written, in Portuguese, by Francisco C. P. Rodrigues, Brazilian author.

Two cockroaches a male and a female, a respected couple, talk in their language in the sewage, while they nibble rotten remains of food. His name is Glutof and hers is Kiti.

“Why such enthusiasm?” asks the husband, suspiciously. He is skeptical, solemn, hard-shelled, cult, repulsive, with the eyes of a serious-minded owl. A very well fed glutton, he resembles a dark and obese date, gifted with slim but sturdy and hairy legs – or whatever is the right name for its bristles. Fortunately, Glutof does not put on any weight on his small thighs, which allows him to spring at an incredible speed in moments of danger, particularly when hunted by the damned triad of men, rats and cats. The latter are revellers who kill just for fun, since they actually don’t chew their victims. They just feel too disgusted.

Glutof is proud of his brown, rather black brightness of his wings which he can frill with tremendous success, causing screaming and fainting amongst the opposite sex. Although fat he is a womanizer, or “cockroachizer”, a word he intends to include in the first dictionary of the language for cockroaches, still in its early stage and with him as a coordinator. He likes very much to philosophize and enjoys himself with the nonsense of his peers, almost all of them dumb, when compared to him. A genetic mutation had occurred, characterized by greater longevity and a larger size of the brain. But not all cockroaches have benefited with the increase of intelligence. By the way, this is also a human problem, though way older.

“You, critical and conceited as usual!” Kiti protests. “What a terrible obsession you have of diminishing me and spoiling all my fun! It isn’t enthusiasm, goddamn! I was simply dismayed or rather, horrified – is that good for you? – to watch the loathsome cleanliness of the new restaurant around the corner, that huge one. I managed to get in there only once, under the door, on the inauguration eve, and I peeped. Last night, after the inauguration, I tried to go back, to pinch a few things, sneaking through the corners, but I really got scared. Too busy. The only crack that could help me get in had already been closed. The measures taken by the scoundrels to keep us away were perfect. Entrance, only through the front door but with the risk of being squashed by the doorman’s shoe sole.”

“I still think you look rather euphoric, almost satisfied, unconsciously approving the abominable cleanliness”, insisted the husband, a theoretical much respected for his zeal in the protection of the everlasting values of filth. He interrupted the sequence of little sucks on the moldy bread and snapped his lips to sip from a little cup of mucus, dripped from a nursing home for elderly paupers.

“It’s just that I, although disapproving of course, any kind of cleanliness – what do you think I am, huh? – I like to see things well done. You know that I’ve always been a perfectionist…”

“Relatively”, interrupted the husband “at home, you take it easy. There are still many things to clean here and there… the cleanliness is becoming unbearable. You are not such a good housewife; pardon me for my frankness…”

“But you do not cooperate, either!”, she raised her squeaky voice indignantly, flapping her antennae. “You just stand there, in that old lawyer’s office, the landlord, nibbling old greasy books, bought in second-hand shops. You, my dear, you are addicted to salt and old human grease”.

“It’s you who can’t see an inch beyond your nose. It is not just gluttony, my dear. I study. My idleness is misleading. Well, indeed, it’s true that I also enjoy eating. However, I study as much as I eat. Oh! This is worth a pun”, he smiled, pleased with the finding: “And how I do read! (Exclamation). Above all, I relish slowly, tasting not only the grease from the fingers of Adam’s decadent offspring, but also the abstract side, the printed ideas themselves. This in order not to walk around speaking rubbish, as many of our hard-shelled and slender legged brothers. One day we will inherit the Earth…remember the prophecy? I have read that if a nuclear conflict takes place, only we will remain alive. We will be well protected down here, whereas the biped scoundrels toast up there, deservedly. Can you imagine the binge afterwards? Everything will be ours….from litter to computers…”

“Well, if there is time to run down here. If you are at the library when the ‘Big Boom’ happens – as you will probably be, since you are addicted to greasy books – then you won’t inherit anything at all! You will be just one more toasted date. Besides, to which atomic war do you refer? The only two giants that could do us a favour have patched it up! It is all demoralized now! The Russian chief, that blond heart-sufferer bear (she meant Boris Yeltsin) with Mongolian slanted eyes – his mother must have had a Japanese neighbour way more handsome than her own husband – has turned into a capitalist! Instead of using his plump fingers to push the missiles’ launching button, he has fun in pinching his secretary! It is disheartening…”

“Don’t lose your hope, Kiti”. She is gracious, with long eyelashes and with a brain full of crazy and right intuitions, all mixed up. A hottie, she is basically just pheromones and reproductive organs. She has the fame of being frivolous, but up to now no one has ever had the courage to bear witness against her, because she is influential and vengeful. The owl face intellectual, already on his fifth marriage proceeds, academically: “Parodying what an American businessman has already said, no one up to now, has ever lost money when betting on the stupidity of bragging state leaders. Or rather, in the stupidity of human species altogether without any exception, who claim to be so rational, spiritual. We, who know them well, and eat everything they throw away, we know what they really are deep inside. Especially deep inside…

He made a pause to nibble a piece of a rotten banana and continued erudite, pleased to hear the voice he knew so well how to modulate with so much authority:

“Fortunately, the so called emerging powers are just concerned with mastering the atom, scaring their neighbours. Therefore do not get disheartened. One day, they will be making atomic bombs in their backyard. Our turn will come, Kiti. I have always believed that our ideals of justice and supremacy will end up prevailing. The power of empires goes up and down, just like a seesaw. It is written in the history books that I lick – I mean – I read. Power shifts hands. I feel it in the air, especially in the polluted air – this pleasant and perfumed aerial garbage – the signs that our turn is coming! The current system of domination is utterly unfair! Any human being, smart or dumb, as soon as he sees us eat a meager crumb on the kitchen floor – even when we are on the verge of inanition – instantly opens his eyes wide like a mad exterminator and runs towards us, with his paws up. Why such prejudice? After all, we are cleaning their kitchens, without even charging! They would save up a lot without house maids! We could all get along so well, in harmony! At night, the humans would spread their dirty clothes on the floor, go to sleep naked, and we would invade the house, eating all the digestible dirtiness left on cups, bodies, dishes and cutlery. Clothes would be instantly “dry cleaned”. We would lick everyone in the house, sparing them the morning shower. Great savings! They would wake up thoroughly clean! But instead all the beasts do is crush us!”

“What if we set up an underwear “rodízio” (rodízio is a kind of Brazilian restaurant service, where the guest is served a new dish, as soon as he is done with the previous one)? We could make some money out of it…” Kiti proposes her eyes gleaming, always mindful to get some profit out of any idea. She considers herself a great entrepreneur.

“Well, you would be in charge of it. I do not enjoy involving myself with money issues…I feel as if I would lose my dignity.”

“It is all fine with these theories of yours. You know I don’t make a fuss about these readings. I personally only enjoy fast readings, but I would like to know how we are going to eat, in case a nuclear war breaks up. Wouldn’t the supplies be contaminated by radiation?”

“Oh, well…” he sounded surprised. He had never thought about that. He labeled his wife’s bouts of good sense as ‘sparks from the horseshoe’, as once a famous Brazilian critic had said. But he did not admit he was wrong. “Indeed, of course, hum, in fact, I had already thought about that… for a time, which our experts would determine, we would not eat what is on the surface. We have, in the sewage a gigantic and delicious natural supermarket stock, all of it ready and seasoned for our consumption. Therefore, we would only have to wait – it would be just a matter of waiting for a while in the sewage, until the level of radioactivity decreases”. He made a pause again to lick, snapping his lips, a kind of chocolate mousse extracted from a white piece of paper, square and of soft texture, and concluded:

“That would be the glory! As if we were now in Cambodia …”

“Why Cambodia?”

“Because there has been a succulent civil war in Cambodia, which lasted 25 years. During this period, between 6 and 10 million land mines were planted. The result is that now, every month, between two and three hundred people ‘go into the air’ in Cambodia; and not with airliners. It is the country that – though tiny – has the highest rate of amputations in the world. We must agree, it is an earthly paradise! If there were tourism amongst our species… wow, could you imagine that? Yummy….just the thought of it makes my mouth water! … And the flame-thrower? We could even choose between rare, medium and well done meat”

“There you go with your polyglot exhibitionism…”

“And the experts say it will be necessary about three hundred years to find and disarm all the mines.”

“Why did they plant so many bombs? Wouldn’t a more traditional kind of agriculture be possible?”

“Kiti…You need to read more carefully. No one plants bombs, my darling. They place explosives in the ground! Each rival group, while withdrawing, would spread the mines to … I mean, to wound (he did not approve of dirty language in the mouth of great leaders) his rival group. And since there were many comings and goings in the continuing skirmishes, losing and regaining territories, the result is that the country turned into a vast butcher’s shop, supplying legs, heads and arms in retail. To us, a paradise, because we are very light and we can walk over mines without detonating them. Our Cambodian cousins, those lucky ones, have blood and fresh meat at hand, at all times. It is even causing damage to their liver now, they say, due to excess of iron in their nutrition. It’s just like drunkenness; it gives you that big headache the next day. The ‘very intelligent’ humans, ha! ha!” He laughed, raising his eyebrows, frilling his wings in disdain. “Never thought that one day, the firing would end? Have they forgotten that old definition that they are ‘featherless bipeds’? Since they can’t fly, they tread…and as they tread, they fly.”

“I’ve heard that a horrible little English princess – I think her name was Lady Di– had been campaigning for the ban of land mines. Do you think this misfortune will come upon us as well?”

“Unfortunately she is dead now.”

“Unfortunately?” Kiti opened her wings, surprised. “What is wrong with you? It is a good thing that she died, because this disgusting campaign stopped.”

“You have no vision, Kiti…I say unfortunately because with her death the press started to venerate her, therefore strengthening what she had campaigned for. I’d rather have her alive, only pestering… Alive, she would be less threatening to our cause. They harassed the infamous princess for years and years, keeping an eye on her, taking pictures of her from a distance, criticizing and gossiping all the time. On account of her they had even wanted the fall of the monarchy. Now the wicked reformer died and there you go! They made her a goddess! And here lies the danger for us! Henceforth, in a crisis of consciousness – such a sickening thing among humans – and above all to sell more magazines, the media wants to put into practice her ideas. This is how it works with human beings. It is only after the person is dead – no longer arousing envy on others and also because she is rotting – she is given the right value. All I hope for is that the little English princess, uglier than hygiene – and I’ve heard humans saying seriously, the opposite – does not have posthumous success in her absurd campaign to ban land mines. But even if there isn’t a nuclear war, they will die anyway, only slower, cooked in the slow fire of the greenhouse effect or poisoned by carbonic gas. They are too dumb and ambitious to stop in time.”

“Will we be like that one day too, I mean, with these character flaws like the human beings?”

“Probably…” Glutof sighed. “I’m sorry to inform…But this is the price of civilization”. He felt proud of his statesman’s coldness. “Unless we create a new Ethic, on which I have been working for years, with the deepness everyone can see. To begin with, we need to invent a reinforcement of coercion, a cockroach-god in our image and similarity: hard-shelled, with large antennae, powerful and vengeful. To a chief, president or director, not everyone is bound to obey. But a cockroach-god, with real power over life and death, the planetary cockroaches will fear…and obey. I will talk in private to him – my own self, of course – once a week on the rooftop of a tall building”, he smiled, ironically, closing his owl’s eyes “and then I will transmit to our people the message that only I heard. What do you think about the idea?”

“And do you think our people will believe it, in this divine private colloquium? Our people are more suspicious than the humans, because they have suffered much…”

“They will believe, because it’s good for the soul to believe. One always believes in what one wants to.”

“But do you believe it yourself?”

“Of course not. However, no one will ever be able to prove that I don’t believe it. Unless you open your pretty little mouth, of course; but in that case you know what awaits you. I only sell a truly necessary product. Hope, as long as there is fear in the heart of the cockroaches. It’s mere business. And speaking of fear, the human race is sinking exactly by lack of fear. Their trend right now, the ‘must’, is the deep understanding of the motivation of human actions. The idiots want to ‘understand’, mind you…. Result: they have concluded for example, that it is of no use filling up jails, because jails recover no one. Of course it doesn’t! But does impunity recover him, by any chance? They walk around, like dizzy cockroaches – oops! I meant dizzy humans – not knowing what to do. And rascally they find a way of reconciling an old wish of drawing back from circulation the detestable thief, while at the same time they can praise themselves, saying that they are doing him a great favour, by ‘reeducating him’. Me, once I’m in command of this junk, I already know how I will solve the problem: immediate death penalty to all cockroaches who commit a serious crime. This will indeed be an example. We won’t spend money and time on processes, paper, prisons and specially food. For small infractions we torture the guy, by keeping him in a sickly clean place for a few days. To him it will be like death! He will never want to make any wrongdoing ever again. Otherwise he returns to the cleanliness.”

“My goodness! How much finesse! When you want it, you can be really mean… maybe it would be better to just kill all at once….But how would we kill the most perverted criminals, since we have neither weapons, nor teeth or even hands?”

“We would train rats. They are clever, but dumb. There is a great difference between cleverness and intelligence. All they think about is gnawing and fornication. Unless they also suffer a mutation like ours. Then we will be damned because they have a bigger brain…and teeth…. By the way, I have already instructed our staff to inform me about any radioactive material found in the sewage. We will immediately isolate the area because with radiation, anything could happen. If rats become like us, well, goodbye to our future millennium of glories! They would be the ones who will substitute men in the dominance of Earth.”

“But back to the new restaurant around the corner, you should see the cleanliness of the kitchen! All sparkling! Not even a little dirt capable of…”

“Stop it! Stop it!” He interrupted her, shouting, tapping, shaking, rude, crumbling and throwing away the chocolate-stained toilet paper. “I can’t stand this dirty talk of yours any longer, right at meal time! Do you want to make me throw up?”

“Geez…Did you need to yell like this? Are you disgusted by the cleanliness? What a delicate sensibility…you sound just like a little girl…”

“Hey, you watch your tongue”, his antennae were vibrating with indignation. He had never beaten his wife, but he was about to do it.

Kiti did not get intimidated: “By reading too many human books you’re throwing a poet’s tantrum, all too delicate, sensitive as an ivory tower. Watch out, huh…I know one that became a sissy…”

“What kind of books would you like me to read, you silly? Do cockroaches have publishing houses and printing industry? Now we are smart, of course – so much that the humans don’t even suspect, because we mask it up – but we have to, for the time being, draw the available culture, the one from the humans, until we can elaborate our own, which will be, of course much superior.”

“I said that to upset you….Because you were rude to me.” With her two big antennae, especially gracious on her, she stroke Glutof’s antennae, smoothing them, while at the same time she emitted pheromones that turned him on. But he controlled himself because he found it dangerous to have sex right after sumptuous meals.

“Sweetie…” she asked, tenderly, “why do you read so much? Don’t you think your exaggerate? It can damage your eyesight… And we don’t have yet ophthalmologists among us. Speaking of it, I think you would look neat wearing turtle glasses. A more intellectual look is just impossible. You’re my mouldy bread, my over a year expired ‘doce de coco’ (a kind of Brazilian coconut sweet). There are many hard-shelled scamps out there envying me, you think I don’t know it?”

“I read because in case of a global cataclysm I want to be prepared to organize our species toward the new millennium. We, cockroaches, will not repeat the same human mistakes.”

“What mistakes, my darling? Excuse me, but with or without mistakes, they are on top…They are millenniums ahead of us. Our genetic mutation - thanks to the blessed radioactive dirt that they throw anywhere – is too recent. Humans smash us left and right. Or poison us with those deadly spouts. The other day I almost died, I told you, didn’t I? You would be almost talking to a ghost now. I think I even have remaining sequels. I haven’t been the same; a weird sensation in my lower womb…The housewife, a promiscuous despicable – probably coming back from revelry since she had huge rings round her eyes – as soon as she turned on the kitchen’s light and saw me there, right in the middle, dizzy because of the brightness; she ran to fetch a tube of insecticide. The cruel woman didn’t want to mess her rich shoe sole. At this moment I shot in circles, like a busca-pé [busca = seek + = foot (a sort of firework in Brazil, which creeps between the feet, when ignited in a party)] until I remembered that the best would be to escape underneath the door that leads to the backyard. Meanwhile, the killer beast while panting, whirling, and afraid that I would climb on her, tapped a warrior dance, trying to spout the insecticide towards me. Fortunately, it barely hit me, but nevertheless, just with the fog, right away I felt terrible colic. I think I had an abortion…It came out all mixed up. They don’t make mistakes, my dear. The world is theirs; no matter what we do…Up to this day I still regret not having climbed up her legs, up to the end. I would give carefully give a little bite right there. I assure you that the vagabond would faint out of fear!”

“When I talk about making mistakes, Kiti, I’m referring to the human behaviour towards their own fellow humans. They will eliminate themselves, be it by bombing, pollution, or criminality in the streets. We do not need to interfere. One should only wait. In Algeria, some fanatics – who won but did not partake in an election – are beheading hundreds of people in the most remote villages. Victims, including children, who by no means have contributed to the political illegality. They also rape young women. And they kill with axes. Our Algerian cousins are the ones who delight themselves on these evil humans, our forerunners.

“Regarding us”, Glutof proceeded, as he felt specially inspired, “and also the rats, for example – these resistant scoundrels, very clever but short sighted, who also attack us when starving – they, the humans, are very efficient….Well, partly efficient, because I have heard that in the Pentagon building there once was a plague of thousands of American cockroaches, right there, face to face, excellent computer warriors, as they are. Yes humans know how to kill but, fortunately for us, they hate themselves mutually. They love each other during small intervals in life; but, once thwarted, they hate each other. One needs only to disagree and is right away damned. Father hates son and vice-versa. It is amazing.

“Excuse me, but I don’t find it quite so…”, Kiti felt a subtle pleasure every time she found a flaw in Glutof’s arguments. “Some human beings are not aggressive, not even with us. Last week, I and about fifty friends were down on the sewage system’s roof, gossiping, when a worker, from the public system, descended there through a small ladder. Seeing us, just a few centimeters away from his head, he shouted over to his colleagues, who were just above, at road level: ‘Everything is fine, guys! There’s no danger!’And he started working on the sewage pipe, without causing us any damage whatsoever. A saint, an exception. I was touched… I almost flew to his lips to give him a kiss…. Really, humans are astonishing… they are not always evil.”

Glutof smiled, amused with his partner’s candor. “So the pretty girl thought that the man spared you because he liked you? None of that, my darling. He let you alive because the fact that there are cockroaches in the sewage pipe means that there are no toxic gases around. Exactly when there are no cockroaches there lies the danger. If there are, they can work without fear. They only spare us when we’re useful, got it?”

“My God! They do nothing without a selfish motive.” Disconcerted, Kiti scratched her right armpit, as she always did, when she felt ridiculed. “How you know it all, sweetie… Why don’t you, with all this knowledge, organize a mass attack against humans? They are frightful. They eat a lot and have a calm life. I have seen a big man jump like a monkey, panicky, just because there were two cockroaches in his shirt, which he dressed in the dark. Or just because an innocent colleague of ours flew and casually got into an old man’s mouth. He was practicing respiratory exercises, making a deep inhalation movement. It was indeed the death kiss. The poor little thing was spat as if she was a disgusting thing and…crumbled! The scariest of all is that the old man afterwards went off to pray! Can you imagine that?”

“I know that humans are chickens, but they have the technology of death. In a war, we would be defeated. We would only win a few initial skirmishes, by giving them only a few frights. Flying, for example, into their eyes, or into their mouths, or hiding ourselves in the underwear of a few big shots, vibrating our wings near their …. you know where …but that would be all…frights, little things. At most a few infarcts, because these big shots, full of power, pizza, lasagna and ‘filet mignon’ (prime beef) have their tubes – what is the name of it, again? Oh yes, arteries! – Altogether full of fat. Nature was a stepmother for us. We do not even have stingers. If only a mutation towards this was possible….But they occur without any control. Now we do have intelligence, but you have noticed that not everyone has it. We are really far from being able to manipulate genetic engineering. Without hands, little beings that we are, what could we do meanwhile? Just think and organize ourselves. And hope they kill each other, which is almost certain.

 “But, my darling, some of them are terrorists, blow themselves up with bombs. They seem idealists.”

“Right, right…but only the silly ones…

“Darling, you talk so much that I get dizzy. I am worried with time…Don’t you think we should be going home right now? Soon the rats will wake up…

“Well, I am starting to feel tired. O. K. Let’s  go home.  

Entwined, they slowly walked towards the hole down the house’s sink in which they lived. They did not notice that two big famished rats, with evil eyes, were coming right behind them, on their tiptoes, their mouths already watering for the ‘dates’ which they considered as good as eaten.

Kiti, lighter and less greedy, miraculously escaped the attack, but lost two of her legs, an antenna and a wing. She cried, mourning the next day at her husband’s funeral. Or rather, at the two little hairy thighs and one wing’s funeral – all that was left from “Glutof, the Rescuer”, the great leader who had already joined history.

But she was pregnant, and soon, very soon, all those projects of heroes, still dormant in their eggs, would be born, replacing their father in the heroic creation of a new civilization.

(This fable was written some years ago. So it refers to Boris Yeltsin and other facts more mentioned at that time)



quarta-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2021

Earth, Mars and Conjectures

 Foto divulgação

(By Francisco C.P. Rodrigues) 

Could it be that aliens think about colonizing us with viruses? 

Could this be possible? Only in theory, yes, however undesirable and “paranoic” this may seem at this sad time of intensification of a unique epidemic that is both persistent and selective, eliminating the “weak” — the sick and elderly — but sparing the young and strong who are able to keep the “planetary machine” working.  Read the arguments, the logical deductions and think, but with your own head. I must stress that I wish to be completely wrong in my theoretical doubt, as I am among its preferred victims, the elderly.

As there can be some seed of good in evil, the imaginary “Martian danger” would have a bright side: the political union of humanity, something that has never happened before. 

Aware of the risk of ridicule, I must mention that here I am not dealing with science fiction — fantasy, literature —, as this is not my style. I solely wish to draw attention to the remote and undesirable possibility, based on reading, reasoning and conclusions — that seem to me to be logically acceptable — if at least some of thousands of statements, photographs and footage of “unidentified flying objects” were authentic, as they seem to be to me. I say this, little by little, in a cautious manner, as the expression “flying saucers” will immediately scare away half the readers of this article. 

If I am not totally assertive regarding the reality of the danger mentioned in the title, why waste time — both my own and that of the reader —, solely addressing possibilities that are, furthermore, discouraging? My justification follows below. 

The fields of cosmology, astronomy and astrobiology are full of sensible conclusions mixed with tremendous scientific “guesses” that — to us, ordinary laymen — are a thousand times more unbelievable than my modest suspicion mentioned in the title. We shall see. 

The Big Bang (the universe arising from a “magic ball”); the Age of the Universe (nonsense, it was not ‘born” like a baby, coming from nothing, it always existed, as cosmic dust and celestial bodies); Wormholes; Parallel Universes (various, like ghosts); new Dimensions (besides the traditional 3 or 4?); Time Travel; Black Holes (with a rear exit to “another dimension”, impossible if the Hole is only a star that has become extinguished); String Theory, etc., are discussed seriously, without laughing. This, according to scientists, is because these ideas are based on “mathematical calculations”, inaccessible to verification by 99.9 % of human beings. With regard to the remaining 0.1% who have “checked” the calculations, disagreement among them is not a rare occurrence. 

At this point, an immediate change is necessary — solely in the manner in which I have expressed myself, not my opinion — to that which I have just written on impulse using the word “guess”, referring to those astronomers who believe in the Big Bang — just because galaxies are moving away from one another at any given “moment” in cosmic time and they do not know how to explain this observation. It would be sufficient to say that they do not know, for the time being.  However, affirming that all cosmic matter, with billions of galaxies arising, in a second, from nothing, suggests that the excessive abstraction of Astronomy tires the brain excessively, two annual holidays being recommended for neurons to rest. 

According to this theory, prior to the Big Bang there was absolutely “nothing”. A “space” not only empty of “things” but also the very “idea” of empty. With no matter, no energy and no, already immaterial, “time”. If this theory were only a request made to scientists by religious leaders, in order to reinforce the idea of God — a miracle uniting science and religion with a view to diminishing disbelief, wickedness and animal materialism,  it is necessary to remember that any ridiculous explicative theory nurtures a distrust of scientists in the most enlightened public opinion, considering them to be “a bunch of lunatics”. Even when they are right regarding such important issues as preservation of the environment. 

Benevolence, in the wrong place, becomes involuntary wickedness.    

When an astronomer, at sea on a cruise ship, contemplates the night sky and is casually surrounded by laymen who look up to him with respect, asking questions, he feels almost obliged to say something. After all, he is an astronomer, interested in diminishing general ignorance, at least in his area. 

On perceiving that the curiosity of the group is sincere, not merely teasing, the astronomer would probably attempt to be affable to those surrounding him who, as far as the stars are concerned, only know what they have read in poetry books. At most, they remember the verses of the great sentimental poets, associating the moon, stars and immortal love, such as Olavo Bilac and others so inspired. They forget, or do not know, that those twinkling lights are gigantic pitiless and indifferent furnaces that prevent, by “roasting”, or stimulate, by adequate heating”, the emergence and growth of life on thousands of planets whose inhabitants perhaps, at this very moment, are also peering at us through their binoculars or telescopes, conjecturing as to whether or not there is intelligent life in our solar system. 

It is natural, human, professional — and even charitable —, that the most imaginative astronomers — imagination was very highly valued by Einstein — explain what they know or presume, as it is all very distant and complex. With regard to what they do not know — because it is impossible to know, for the time being... —, and only thinking of not deceiving the laymen with silence, the astronomer that I am imagining here prefers to offer a brief explanation, which seems reasonable. This is better than remaining silent, which can be interpreted as arrogance or an incapacity for communication. 

This attitude is similar to that adopted by police chiefs when called to attend a crime scene of great repercussion — for example, a famous film “star” (no allusion intended) is found dead after disappearing for several days. When questioned by insistent reporters, filming the scene, the police chief give his provisory explanation of what could have happened. This mere “hunch” is both natural and useful, as it demonstrates the interest and intelligence of the government agency in fighting crime with rationality and planning. The same thing occurs with the use of intuition in astronomy, showing an intention to combat ignorance rather than crime. This is better than the astronomer remaining silent, like someone bewildered, lacking ideas.   

We cannot forget that the universe, as an object of study, is more ungrateful that any other science, because the astronomer cannot see, close up, what it is that he is investigating, in order to provide a subsequent explanation. Everything is shrouded in mystery, at a distance of light years or Parsecs, or other units of measurement of gigantic inter-stellar distances, however advanced telescopes are. Without such equipment, what would we know of celestial bodies? Practically nothing. Galileo Galilei discovered more than previous astronomers (Kepler, for example) because he used telescopes invented a short time previously by a Dutch manufacturer. Seeing more, he was able to better explain the reality of heliocentrism. 

I imagine the constant frustration of every professional astronomer: — “How is it possible to work like this, almost in the “dark”, so to speak? And in the light of day, it is impossible to see anything at all, because we cannot discern the stars. A biologist can at least see that which he intends to understand. We cannot do this; we have to guess, even take a “shot in the dark”, initially, because with this “shot”, the actual “shot” may be investigated and result in a “goal”, an important scientific discovery”. I even believe that the intuition of the most imaginative scientists was more profitable in terms of discoveries than the severe and cautious skepticism of those colleagues who wait for the truth to appear, already perfect and in its entirety, based on verifiable calculations and in observable form. 

Albert Einstein — for whom I have deep respect, due to his character and the ideas put forward in his books, when written with words rather than formulas — stated in 1915, when his Theory of Relativity was published, that a body of enormous mass could bend a ray of light that passes close to it. 

Until then, it was thought that light could only travel in a straight line. However, when a total eclipse of the sun occurred, five years later in 1919, sunlight was really “bent”, attracted by the gravity of our satellite, as found by telescopic observations. This was visual confirmation of what Einstein had stated only using calculations, as many physicists were unable to understand the Theory of Relativity solely in mathematical terms. 

Begging your forgiveness for my audacity — a characteristic of ignorant people —, I do not think that the bending of the ray of light is so surprising, as light, after all, is also “matter”. It is not a spiritual, immaterial “thing” like a thought. An immaterial idea can be the product of something material

and chemical in nature — synapses between neurons —, but one thing is the synapse, the “cause”, whereas the other, the “effect”, the actual idea. In a beam of light there are photons, or electrons, and other subatomic particles in movement. “Things”, after all, associated with the world of matter, subject to the attraction of gravity. 

There is something “material” in the electricity supplied to our homes, so much so that it is measured on a monthly basis and we have to pay our light bills. If it is measurable, palpable — a shock hurts ... —, there is some kind of “mass” in it that is subject to attraction by the Moon’s gravity, in the case of the aforementioned eclipse. 

According to what I read in a book about Einstein, he also considered this “brouhaha” associated with the scientific repercussion of the eclipse to be exaggerated, with people travelling to other countries just to observe the phenomenon. Unnecessary, because he had already predicted the bending of light, with his mathematics that probably contained some kind of intuitive or imaginative component. If the facts went against mathematics, bad luck of the facts. 

Going back to the title, if my suspicion regarding Martians, flying saucers and vaccines — perhaps disappointing —, is only fanciful speculation, I hereby authorize any science fiction writer or screenwriter to use the considerations shown herein in order to prepare a book or film of this type which, — barring brilliant exceptions — gives me little satisfaction due to exaggerations and illogicality. 

If a writer of unusual imagination wishes for his fantasies to be respected,  he should concern himself with arguments, showing, by means of a + b, that what he says, despite being unusual, is logically possible, even if highly unlikely. Without offending intelligence, O.K., because even appealing common sense may be and already has been, for thousands of years, totally wrong. 

Summarizing the content of my suspicion, referred to in the title, I believe that it is logically possible, although undesirable — that’s all we need in the middle of a pandemic! — that extremely intelligent extraterrestrials, with a technology much more advanced that our own, inhabiting our solar system — the stars and their planets are too far away — may aspire to, or really need a new “home”, i.e., Earth. 

To this end, they keep furtively “spying” on us, using unidentified flying objects, the generic “flying saucers”, which are not always in the form of saucers or disks. They not only observe us from above, but also — many swear —, kidnap and abduct us in order to study our bodies and then return us to the ground with our recent memory affected or blocked. A form of psychological camouflage, encouraging the idea that all this about “flying saucers” is nonsense. 

I do not believe that all reported cases of abduction — there are dozens or hundreds —, followed by partial memory loss, are lies. With the progress of research regarding substances that affect neurons, perhaps this temporary memory block will be within our routine reach in the near future. The “ignorant” Alzheimer’s disease already does this “for free”, without any scientific ostentation, selectively affecting remembrance of recent facts. 

Can the reader guarantee, with precision, what our knowledge of the brain will be like five hundred or a thousand years in the future? A Thousand years is nothing when compared with cosmological, astronomical, biological, physical and evolutionary time. An enormous number of discoveries await us.

In planetary matters, we cannot solely use our current knowledge as a basis. Our “current knowledge” may become an embarrassing “we used to think that ...”. For example, when scientists guarantee that the coronavirus is of natural origin — not created in a laboratory —, they make this affirmation based on their current state of knowledge, as scientists. They are not lying; they only do not know today what they will know tomorrow. Perhaps they do not know that secret laboratories of governments of the first world — or private billionaire groups, with megalomaniacal projects of global dominance, of the Illuminati kind — will maybe manage, in total secrecy, to manufacture viruses that only “appear” to be natural. 

Countries with advanced technology that are political adversaries, fearing that the enemy may fabricate viral attacks, also conduct research into biological weapons, for defense and/or offense. Such “arms” are state secrets. Everyone knows this. If they already compete, in secret, in the field of atomic weapons and missiles, why — I ask —, would they not do the same with biological “weapons” that would allow them to control the minds of their enemies without need to kill them or destroy their assets which, still intact, would come into the possession of the invaders? 

That which can be said regarding conflicts between countries, would be even more applicable in any interplanetary conflicts that come to occur. We are never aware of such conflicts, for reasons of physical or visual impossibility, because the distance between stars, with their planets, is so immense that they would not be within range of our telescopes. 

Calm down, dear reader ... I know that the mere idea of “interplanetary conflict” makes you laugh. For good reason, because it reminds you of “Star Wars” and all the bullshit that appears in films made for adolescents. As you, the reader, have never heard of a real war between planets, it seems “unthinkable” for you to imagine that the Earth may be the object of desire and conquest by the inhabitants of another planet, who intend to live here for reasons of ambition, convenience or necessity. Nevertheless, inconsistently, it seems “normal”, even desirable and “scientific” to earthlings that manned spaceships be sent to Mars in order to remain there indefinitely, initiating colonization of the planet. Earth colonizing Mars is nt absurd, but to the contrary, Mars colonizing us is considered to be “aberrant”. 

This idea of occupying the Red Planet does not shock us, perhaps because we presume that there is no life there. Or, if there is life, it will be very rudimentary. Bacteria or something similar. However, I would go so far to say that if we knew that animals similar to our chimpanzees — the high point of Martian evolution — lived on Mars, this would not prevent us, in moral terms, from conquering the planet, because we would think that we are “doing them a favor” taking our progress, our civilization to the primitive “Martians”, as in the case of Christopher Columbus and Pedro Álvares Cabral when they landed in the two Americas, seizing their lands and riches and enslaving the natives. 

I am totally convinced that microscopic, rudimentary life that is constantly evolving has arisen on all planets that, by chance, unite conditions favorable to life, namely: size, temperature — “reasonable” average distance from their star —, water in a liquid state and even benefitted by the luck of not suffering some kind of catastrophic impact, such as the one that wiped out our dinosaurs, millions of years ago.

On all planets, all living beings, irrespective of size, are born with the same instincts: perpetuation of their lives and their offspring. To this end, they need food, shelter, sex and total freedom —, although strict vigilance regarding the liberty of others that may affect us. No living beings are born hating themselves, unless this is caused by some kind of illness, or total desperation, where death would bring relief. In the event of a need to conquer another country, or planet — in order to not face extinction —, living beings will do this, although in a manner compatible with their degree of scientific, technical and moral culture.

Hence my conviction that Mars, or any other celestial body, if inhabited by intelligent beings, who consider Earth to be their only salvation, the celestial body in question will resolve “its problem” for better or worse. As we would, in a similar situation. If immensely civilized, the invading planet would attempt to do this with a minimum of pain and destruction, to itself and others. Subsequently, at least in theory, the invaded planet, having available space and finding that it does not have technology capable of confronting the invaders, should give a lot of thought to how it is going to react. Fantasizing now, my curiosity is imagining what the appearance would be of the result of interbreeding between humans and extraterrestrials.

I will stop writing here, as this article already has 16,331 characters, including spaces. And there is still a lot to say. This text is not a book. It is an unadvisable exaggeration on the internet. I do not know how you, the reader, have had the patience to put up with me. I thank you two, or three, for your kindness. I will leave the rest that I have typed for another possible article, based on the reaction to that which is written here, which will be published in English to see what kind of response it receives in the northern hemisphere.

I repeat that it is my wish that all vaccines against Covid-19 are effective in providing immunity for the usual period of time. If not, it will be necessary to think: something is up! And it would be better if this “something” has a terrestrial origin — easier to deal with as we are familiar with the nature of the enemy.


The author: Francisco Cesar Pinheiro Rodrigues is a Brazilian writer, retired judge who resides in São Paulo, Brazil, owner of the website . His blog: Contact by e-mail