These Stories Do Happen

Attila Marcell Kiss

Back in the days when I was working as an advertising clerk, the weirdest thing happened to me. It’s still hard for me to believe what happened on March 25th. It started like any normal day for me. I was at the newspaper office, counting out coins, while some kind people were waiting outside my room. Everything was so peaceful and quiet until that man appeared. He rushed into my room like he was running from a disaster. He was asking for someone who sells advertisements; he wanted to publish one. I really didn’t know who this fraud was and what he wanted to publish so badly, but I tried to approach him peacefully, as he seemed pretty disturbed. Well, I tried. He wanted to talk to me without anyone listening to us. He said that he had lost someone or something and he really missed it. I thought that he was searching for one of his mates, but then he replied with a single sentence that shocked me: “It’s my nose that’s disappeared.” First I thought, or at least believed, that it was just a person’s nickname, but as soon as he removed his handkerchief I could clearly see that his entire nose was missing from his face. He didn’t even know how he had lost his own nose! I was trying to stay helpful and serious, but the deeper we got into the conversation, the sillier it got. It ended as a total waste of time, as he got angry and dashed away without saying goodbye or anything like that. To this day I cannot believe it, but I have to admit that these things happen, no matter how hideous they are. These stories do happen—rarely, but they happen.

This is an interior monologue based on Nikolai Gogol’s story “The Nose” and told from the advertising clerk’s point of view. The final sentence evokes the last sentence of Gogol’s story: “No matter what anyone may say, such things do happen in the world—rarely, but they happen.”