Volume 26, Number 2

There’s a stampede at the exit; please keep calm

You may enter the story here. The doors will remain open for exactly nine seconds. Your first assignment will be to develop static electricity as a form of sexual deviance. Pay attention to your camouflage. Visit the sacred tomb of St Jude. Pray. Do you have what it takes? Black bottles of amontillado, a sheaf of blood-soaked banknotes. Don't lick your lips too soon. We're not going to issue assault rifles or monster trucks for this kind of job.

This is where the scene shifts. The lights dim. You can reach a lower level of the scrimmage if you know where to look for it. Meet the shagreen nightcrawlers, home-distilled vodka, hanged man's vintage. There will be nitrous mushrooms mumbling among themselves, and roughage at close quarters. Doff your cap. Drop your knickers. We know your secrets. At this point you're in no position to indulge in your martyr tendencies.

Meet the bloody-minded, unwashed children of your flea-bitten ancestors. Yah, we're a crummy lot. Never argue about which way the map is to be held. There: the chortling lackeys of powergrinders worldwide, all their presidents, popes, pistoleros, piranhas. Ah. Here is Fifi Fatale, the final outpost of literacy since the decline of the epistolary novel. For now, you are safe. When the mucking-out machine comes, run like hell.

—Jane Røken