Column Jan van de Vooren
Saturday October 30th 2010
Last week, I went downtown with my sweetheart. After buying the Fables of Jean de La Fontaine as a birthday gift for one of my friends' kids, we set course to the cinema theatre. Spectacle! Spectacle!
Heroes, rabble, one-eyes and other riff-raff in tights flew from planet to planet on, above and through the silver screen. A discontented man behind me repeatedly pointed out that the images on the screen were, in his view, far from realistic. 'Weeelll, that ain't right now, is it man!?' His wife drew it to his attention that he needed to shut his 'trap'. A view shared by the entire audience. With spectacles like these, you can only go 'oooh' and 'aaah'.

Recovering from all the visual fury, we trudged for a while through the streets of Rotterdam. Suddenly, a remarkable apparition caught our eye. Standing on an orange box was a man dressed like a cricket. After some commotion, he started ranting:

"Listen to my words, thou slaves of time. My slaves! I am Maya the Bee; time incarnate. Thou art cursed and blessed. Thou vassal. Imaginary trotter of time and space. Procure food supplies, but I will hold out longest. Mock my stamina and thou wilst suffer. Sing thine Song of Songs, but my revenge will sound sweeter. Overtake me and thou wilst know the mysteries of God, Allah and Darwin. Only for a moment however. I am the Monster of Loch Ness. I am the ghost Vincent Willems, the unseen miller of Streefkerk.

Tell what you are presently seeing and hearing. Tell it to others around the campfire, the hotbed of the world. Rest and work, but know that you will not go in peace. Or live, cheer and jump in peace, but know that that delicious free fall must come to an end. Understand, vassal of?'

A woman next to us got ready to spit at the man on the orange box. A green gob flew in the direction of the box. The man in the cricket suit was unfazed. 'What a strange lot here, eh?' said my girlfriend, while she pulled my arm, indicating we should go home. I just saw how the spit, which was slowly dripping off the man's cricket suit, started to glow in all the colours of the rainbow. Jean de La Fontaine's Fables was burning in my bag. Later that evening, we were sitting round the dining-room table chatting about the day's events with a glass of wine and some cashew nuts (Oh, how I love cashew nuts. The epitome of voluptuousness!). 'What's the deal again with the cricket and the ant?' I asked her pensively. 'Did the moral of the story reflect on the present or the future?'

'I don't know,' she said indifferently and half yawning. 'Let's go to bed. We have to work in the morning.'