Folyosó Spring 2020

Lucky Fellow

Áron Antal

The summer in the Hungarian Plain was as usual: very hot, around 38C. I had just arrived at the field with my MTZ type 81.1 tractor with its trailer. It was an old Soviet one, it had no air conditioning, nor radio or anything amusing. The only way to cool myself down was to open both doors and let the air flow into the cabin, with all the dust from the road, in my nose, in my eyes, on my sweaty, half-naked body, sticking my shoeless foot on the metal gas pedal, which had no covering, so it was pretty hot as well, like the entirely black interior. While I was thinking of next year’s summer, when I would get a better tractor, a John Deere 7230R, I arrived at the field, where two harvesting machines (out of the four) were working, harvesting durum wheat. Four tractors with bigger trailers then mine (whose capacity was only ten tons), were waiting ahead of me, on the other side of the long, narrow field. It felt like being at the doctor’s; there were three hours of waiting before I would finally have a chance to get to the huge, dark green harvesting machines. I stopped the tractor’s engine, switched off the ignition, and put my legs on the dashboard. It was around midday, the sunrays were super strong, no clouds on the sky. I was sitting in the cabin, no trees, not a single one as far as the eyesight reaches, so I had no choice but to stay in the cabin alone. My back was hurting, as this type of tractor has no rear suspension.

As I had no other way to amuse myself, I started thinking about what I should spend my salary on. The harvesting machine was approaching me. Its loud noise, the sound of the huge 12L turbocharged engine, and the sound of the grating metal bars on its table, that terrifying noise, scared some deers out of the wheat, and they started running in my direction. They were so scared they didn’t even care about my tractor; they ran in front of me, closer than I have ever seen a deer before. They were kind of fatty, and I stared at them with hunger in my eyes. The deer and the hunger started up thoughts about a good, tasty, spicy deer stew with noodles and pickle, with a bit of sour cream on top. I imagined that I was sitting in an elegant restaurant, with my girlfriend, about ten years from now. We had a very good red wine, nice music in the background, it was very romantic. She ordered crab cooked in butter, and I ordered deer stew. We spoke a lot and had a great time. When we finished the meal, I stood up, took a small box out of my pocket, and asked for her hand. She cried out loud, “Yes, of course,” hugged and kissed me, and was so happy about the whole thing, so joyful, so beautiful. Then we left the place and walked to my cherry-red 1985 BMW. We sat in the car and started driving home. Its suspension was so soft, the seats so comfortable and the air-conditioning… She started to plan our wedding, while I drove with a great smile on my face. What a successful life I had. I had a beautiful girlfriend, who in a few months would be my wife, a nice car, and overall, a very….

A strong horn blasted through my ears, and I saw that the harvesting machine was standing next to me, ready to fill my trailer. It hurt me. It wasn’t my back, or my ears, but my soul that was hurting the most.

What a nice and pleasureful experience I was having in my mind, when this stupid horn pulled me back to the plain reality, where I had no car, only a few mopeds, and no girlfriend. Our mind is an astonishing place, where we can be anyone we want, I thought, as I put the tractor’s hard transmission into sixth and a half gear and approached the harvesting machine, on that hot summer day when for three hours I had been a lucky guy….

A High-Stakes Test

Questions and Answers by Members of Class 11.C1
Corrections, Comments, and Scoring by Diana Senechal

This test is extremely serious. For each question, there are right and wrong answers, as well as partially correct answers and negatively correct answers. You will be graded not only on your accuracy, but on the thoroughness and adventurousness of your explanations (unless the question is multiple-choice, in which case you need only be right). Do your best, check your work, and have fun, bearing in mind that the results will determine your future!


  1. Did you read this question?
    a. Yes    b. Definitely    c. No, but I’m lying

(b) is correct for reasons that should be self-evident.

  • What is this?
    a. No, what is not this.    b. Yes, what is this.    c. Is this what?

(c) is correct because it clarifies the original question.

  • What is fake pasta? Explain.

“An impasta” is not a correct response, because this is an old joke. Acceptable answers include: “Fake pasta is pasta that has been declared fake by the International Linguini Society”; “Fake pasta is a tasty and vile thing”; and “Fake pasta is the kind your competitors make, if you are a pasta company; and the kind that your benighted friends eat, if you are a pasta connoisseur.”

OFFICIAL TEST (COMPLETED): Questions in green, student answers in blue, and grader comments in red.

1. What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could use to settle their differences?

  • laser tag
  • Uno card game
  • epic rap battles

First of all, your use of bullet points shows your mastery of 21st century skills. Second, your answers are fun, fun, fun! We really think they would work. People could even choose their activities. The testing committee would just add “beatboxing” as a subcategory of the epic rap battles. Because you did not think of this yourself, you only get 7 out of 10 points for your answer. Next time, remember to read the collective mind of the test-makers.

2. If your room’s walls could really talk, what would they say? Provide a sample of their speech in 2-3 sentences.

Please, for the love of God, open the windows now and then, trust me, it is really smelly in here. And what about all this stuff on the floor? Calling this room a pigsty is an understatement.

Incorrect, though clever. We often project our own feelings and conscience into our walls (and into everything imaginable, for that matter), but walls have reasons of which reason does not know. That last sentence is an altered quote of Blaise Pascal, who is well worth reading. Because you put some thought into your answer, and gave the testing committee an opportunity to recommend something for your betterment, you receive 2 out of 10 points.

3. Chooose the correct synonym of improvement.

            a. upturn b. progress c. betterment d. chocolate

Of course! The idea that anyone could think differently is bizarre. 5 out of 5 points.

4. Do you believe in the existence of birds? Why or why not?

I surely do believe in the existence of birds, as I can see them and, most annoyingly, hear them, especially in the morning sometimes when I am trying to have a little rest after sleep. But of course I cannot prove this, as all I can experience is the conversation or singing of birds or whatever you would like to call it.

You have distinguished between belief and proof; this will serve you well in life. 14 out of 15 points. (One point was deducted for using the word “you” in your answer. Sometimes this is acceptable, sometimes not. The difference is too complicated to explain.)

5. Please explain the meaning of life in no more than two sentences.

Life is a period of time in which childhood is the free trial and later the taxes are the monthly subscriptions to your country.

True, painfully true, but this is a negatively correct answer, of which you were previously warned in the instructions. For this response you receive NEGATIVE 10 out of 10 points.

6. There is a class of 30 people. One-fifth of them are boys and at least one-eighth of them are girls. Fifteen of them like maths, eighteen love history, and 30% of them love physics. If the teacher is 34 years old, what would you name your pet giraffe? Please give a full explanation of your response.

I would name him Bob because it is made up of 3 letters, which is the first digit of 30. Bob is an oftenly used name in physics and math tasks. As far as I know, there are a lot of thirty-something-aged people whose name is Bob.

You have arrived at the only logical answer to this question. 10 out of 10 points. In addition, you receive a free listen to a special song: “Bob” by Ed’s Redeeming Qualities.

7. What is your honest opinion about Tik Tok, if you even know what it is? Extra points awarded for speaking from ignorance. Show persuasively that you have no idea what you are talking about.

I actually know what I am talking about, and I can clearly state that tiktok is a nuisance and, as any nuisance, it should be burned in holy fire. It is a cancer that must be mercilessly and ultimately destroyed, and every record of it should be hidden from the world so it may be forgotten forever, as it should be.

Your speech is impassioned, yet you failed to demonstrate ignorance. 5 out of 10 points.

8. What is the biggest lie in the world? Please explain your reasoning.

The biggest lie in the world is the word “lie” itself. Because if you say you lie, it means you aren’t lying,  but if you aren’t lying and you said you lied, then you lied, which means you are a liar who isn’t lying but still is.

You not only receive 8 out of 10 points (2 points taken off because 2 members of the examining committee had to take a coffee break in the middle of your second sentence) but also receive a summer internship working on the New Revised Edition of the International Philosophical Dictionary (which does not yet exist, but will soon).

9. If you try to fail, and you succeed, what have you done? Please explain your reasoning.

You might have sat in the wrong class, or, the more obvious one, your future self might have come back and talked to your subconscious, and explained that if you fail you will end up as a successful lawyer, then your subconscious panicked and studied all the material, to save you from the huge responsibility of being famous.

Unfortunately, you are already famous, since your answer will be used as a model response in next year’s test. 12 out of 10 points.

10. Write something impressive in no more than three sentences.

I was the defensive player of the year and the most valuable player in the same year. Then, due to an injury, I had to give up basketball.

According to our precise calculation, you accomplished this impressive statement in fewer than three sentences; for your economy of language, as well as the impressive feats conveyed therein, you receive 10 out of 10 points.

Extra credit:

1. If two mind-readers read each other’s minds, whose minds are they reading? Explain.

It is impossible to think of nothing, so the firstly mind-read one’s thoughts will be thought by the other one, and when the firstly mind-read one starts to read the mind of the first mind-reader, he will start to think of the same thing as he did before that.

Does mind-reading occur in time (as opposed to being instantaneous)? If so, you are right, but you need to establish this. 5 out of 10 points.

2. Is the world unknowingly starting to understand why pets try to run outside when we open the door?

Man, you have now been in quarantine for one month, and you are sick of being inside, and your pets are in quarantine since they know themselves. So answering your question, yes, it is.

You receive full credit for “keeping it real” and for using “Man” in two senses of the word: the colloquial “man” (as in “man, I’m tired”) and “man” as humanity (as in Hamlet’s “What a piece of work is man!”). 10 out of 10 points.

Results: Had it not been for the extra credit, you would have received 58 out of 100 points, which by emelt érettségi standards would be a pitiable 4. However, with the 15 additional points, you receive 73 points, which is a 5. Your future is assured; although this test does not count for anything official and is not recognized by any university anywhere in the world, it may have given you valuable experience and exercise. If so, congratulations, and have a good day!


Adél Mihályi

When I woke up, everything was white. Like an empty canvas. First I thought that something had happened to me and I had ended up in a hospital during the night, but after looking around and noticing my furniture in my room, my heart calmed down, so I sent away all the questions like “What could have happened to me while I was sleeping?”.

I got up quickly and checked my calendar; it was Saturday. I brushed my teeth, then met my mom in the kitchen. Her hair was calm-pink, with a few reddish parts in it, just like the clothes she wore, but her shoes looked a little bit dark, hanging between the color of blood and soil. When she heard my steps, turned around, and wished me a good morning – just like a boomerang, the sentence ended up with her, then disappeared from the conversation, like it had never existed.

“I have to leave now,” she said, after spending a few minutes talking about the usual things. Her t-shirt suddenly became blurry-blue. “I need to work today, too. Tomorrow, we can spend the whole day together.” As she left the house, I saw her whole outfit getting darker and darker, almost as dark as the night sky; only her skin and hair stayed in their previous color.

As time flew by, I was getting bored. I could see everything around me as grey, but the road in front of our house was just like a liquid mix of the brightest colors. Standing in my window, on the border of the two extremes, I decided to explore a part of the colorful environment ­– so I went to the book shop, the centre of the rainbow for me.

On my way, most of the people were white; they melted into one milk-like blot. There were some I knew – small black, grey, bloodred, and pink dots in the clear smudge.

My eyes couldn’t take in the scene of my destination – too much, but never enough shades! I felt overwhelmed by them, but it was pleasing; I guess there weren’t any depressed-dark or irritatingly shining tones, just as every time I came here. I had been scrolling through the books for a while when I found a very special one. I grabbed it and read the title.

What are colors for?

I didn’t even go on to check the description, I knew that I had to buy it: it looked empty-white, but its weight was filled with emotions.

Just like me lying in my bed that night, covered with the light of my lamp. I seized my fresh acquisition, and finally took a look at its back.

What are colors for?

Except that they are pretty, we can use them to paint, to draw, or just to be amazed while watching them. Forget these things.

What are colors for?

Well, they can depict our lives.

It sounded… looked weird, but after putting the book down and looking at the ceiling, I noticed my emotions painting it as the opposite of the morning. It wasn’t empty anymore.

I could see my day becoming an abstract but realistic picture: my reality represented as the meaningful, beautiful chaos of colors.

Twist of Fate

Hunor Gangel

So John our main character was a regular college student studying in the morning and working in a grocery store in the afternoon. He was living happily: his grades were good and his salary satisfied him. He was working as a re-stocker in that store and doing his job really well. But one day when he was working with his best friend Dan, he wasn’t really paying attention and accidentally dropped a box as he was putting it on the shelf. He quickly picked it up and took a peek inside to see if anything had gotten damaged. When he looked inside,  he couldn’t believe his eyes: there were a lot of zeros and ones. He told Dan to come and check it out, but Dan replied that there was nothing wrong with that box. Later he went to see his boss and told him what he had seen. But the boss didn’t believe him and told John that he must have been really tired. But John knew what he had seen and kept on telling his boss that there was something wrong with the boxes. His boss had enough and told John to take a week off and also see a psychologist. And so John went on a short vacation. He took his boss’s advice and went to a psychologist. The psychologist told him that all of this had been caused by sleep deprivation. But for John something felt fishy. To get told the same thing by two different people without any evidence was weird. So John went on with his vacation. The next day he thought that he would go to the cinema and watch something, but two agents showed up at his door in the morning. They told him that the government had sent them to take him to a special facility. John refused to go with them, but then he suddenly fell asleep. The next thing he remembered was that he was in a dark room, tied to a chair, and the two agents were sitting in front of him. He asked them what this was all about, but they didn’t reply. Then a third person came and asked John what he had seen. So he told him that he had accidentally dropped a box, and when he looked inside there were a lot of numbers inside it. The person who asked him looked like he was panicking. He told the two agents, “Get him out of here and don’t let him come out of his house.” John realized that he had seen something he shouldn’t have. When they got to his home, John only saw a bunch of numbers, but the agents told him that everything was okay and he should just go in. So he did; from the inside his house looked as it should except for some patches with numbers. John didn’t know what was going on, but he knew that there was something really wrong. At night he tried to sneak out to investigate further, but one of the agents caught him and shocked him. He passed out instantly. When he woke up he was in full darkness and couldn’t move. A few minutes passed by, and he suddenly saw a blinding white light. A woman was standing in front of him who told him that he was in a simulation to preserve Earth. And he had been woken up because he had a VIP membership, so he gets woken up every 50 years to be asked if he wants to live in the real world or continue the simulation. Well, John obviously chose to start a new life in the real world. And he was happy that he got out of that mess.

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.”

Tamás Kertész: Two Pieces

Tamás Kertész, Corridor to the Ever-Unending Life Route

Tamás Kertész, Cobble Lane Back to the Gray

The Land of No Land

Dávid Csáki

Having gone far into the future, Sarah stepped out of the time machine. As she’d expected, she found herself in a huge, modern city. The streets were full of people but very organized at the same time. She immediately walked up to a pedestrian and asked: “What’s today’s date?”

“August 14th, ma’am.”

“Okay, but what year?”

The man looked very confused, but answered. He also added as a joke: “Why, you a time traveler or what?”

Sarah didn’t even hide the grin on her face, which made the guy even more confused, almost scared. Then she went on with the basic time traveler questions: where am I, who’s the president, what are the current countries, and stuff like that. The man—realizing the situation he was in—went, “And what about you? What year did you come from?” After that sentence, she left with the same grin on her face. Later that day she asked the receptionist at the hotel (which the guy had recommended) if she knew of any sights nearby. She listed a few, but Sarah looked unsatisfied with them.

“What’s wrong?”

“Why are all these artificial? Is this city so enormous that nature is far away?”

“You could go look at the Ocean, I guess.”

“Oh, why didn’t you tell me about the beach earlier?”

The receptionist looked just as confused as the guy she had asked all those dumb questions.

“The what?”

“The beach.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but we have free tours to the Glass Wall, which marks the edge of the city, since you seem interested in water for some reason.”

“And on the other side of that glass wall is water, right?”

“Of course.”

“I want to see it.”

Ten minutes later, she was on a vehicle that flew just a few inches over the ground. Although she was literally in a flying bus-like vehicle, she wasn’t surprised at all. She’d expected flying cars; what she really cared about was the fact that she’d been traveling for such a long time without seeing any form of nature. No trees, no bushes, no grass, no parks, no dirt. She thought that this was just a “modern thing.” Five more minutes passed, and they finally arrived at the Glass Wall. She’d been told that this was, indeed, a glass wall and across the wall was water, but she didn’t know it was this high. She’d imagined it as a decorative wall, with the ocean at her level on the other side. She asked the tour guide, “How tall is it?”

“It’s not tall, it’s closed so the water doesn’t flood us.”

Only then did she realize that she was under sea level. She was in shock. She went closer to the wall of glass, just to stare at the water. She couldn’t see much, as they were very deep and the water was dark.

“So we’re trapped here, aren’t we?”

“Not at all; you can go up to the surface anytime you want to. I’m sure you’ve seen that big tower over there. That’s the Elevator. It’s so fast you’ll be up there in a minute. Now go, see it for yourself, but be careful not to touch or get too close to the water. It is so acidic it will burn you alive the moment you get in contact with it.”

It was the longest minute of her entire life. She was very excited to finally see the sky. Before this moment, she could only see artificial clouds that were made to cover the ceiling, so it felt more natural. When she finally got up with the Elevator, she was surprised to find nobody there. There weren’t that many things to look at either. Not a single island or the smallest piece of land. No matter where she looked, she found nothing except water. That is when she finally realized that the Ocean was everywhere. It was not just an ocean, it was the entirety of the planet.

Zoltán Fekete: Two Pieces

Zoltán Fekete, “FREEDOM”

Zoltán Fekete, intangible entanglement

Farmer Diary

Lili Forgács

Paul Williams used to be a mean farmer near Canterbury. He spent his days on the fields and with his animals. He earned his money through agricultural work, but one day he became the most celebrated writer in England, to his own surprise, and left the farming life behind.

On a beautiful afternoon in April, he had a reading at the local library of Canterbury. He stood up on the small stage and cleared his throat. He was really nervous, as he hadn’t done anything like this before. More than twenty pairs of eyes stared at him while he was sweating, frowning and thinking about whether he should introduce himself first or not. Finally he decided to read his story aloud without any introduction.

“Everybody is here because they know me, don’t they?” he thought, and started reading the story that brought him fame: the Farmer Diary.

“I arrived at the market too late. The stands were almost empty, only a few people knocked about there. I wanted to buy some flowers for my new neighbour, I wanted to make a good impression on her, but I couldn’t find any, just a white dying violet. There was no other choice, so I bought it. That day wasn’t mine, anyway. I couldn’t sleep well at night, in the morning I couldn’t find my keys, then the dying violet. On my way home, it started raining, and it came to my mind that my clean clothes were hanging outside. When I arrived home, I parked the car. It was still raining, but I decided to give her the flowers now. As I walked towards my neighbour’s door, I stepped into a puddle accidentally, so my shoes became totally wet. It didn’t bother me, so I continued, when suddenly I fell off, into the mud. Fortunately, the flower didn’t get muddy. I stood in front of her door, totally wet and filthy with a flower in my hands, and knocked. The door opened in a few minutes. As the woman spotted me, a smile came to her beautiful face.

‘Oh, c’est mon préféré,’ she said, took away the white violet, then closed the door in front of my nose.”

After the reading, his fans went to him, congratulated him, and asked for autographs. One of his enthusiastic fans was talking constantly while Paul gave her a signature. She was a young lady in her middle twenties. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles. She wore a Picasso-styled hat and glasses, so she looked like a real literateur.

“Mr. Williams, I really love you and your story. The whole thing which is symbolized by it is fantastic. I understand the hidden meaning too. The white colour of the flower represents hope in hard days, but the fact the violet is dying suggests that something bad will happen. Your – I’m sorry, your character’s endurance to achieve his intention is absolutely amazing, and because of the obstacles, we – the readers – could guess that there will be a happy ending as would be deserved, but life does not work this way. You taught us that if there are many negative signs, then we don’t need to make another effort, because it’s not worth it, as the end will be negative for sure. In our hearts we have always known this, fairy tales helped us to change our minds about this issue, but now your story tells the truth. Thank you!”

Paul was left speechless and blinking big.

“I didn’t want to mean this with my story,” he thought. “What’s more, it doesn’t have a hidden meaning at all. I just wrote down what happened to me that day. A diary needs to contain that, doesn’t it?”

After that event, Paul published more excerpts from his diary. All of them were overthought by the readers, but it didn’t bother him, and he learned to handle these situations. Furthermore, he realised that he could share his feelings this way without the readers noticing. This meant safety for him to tell his true thoughts.

The End for Each

Áron Antal

“Good morning, Mr. Ludwig,” said the receptionist.

“Morning,” said Mr. Ludwig.

He was in a hurry, rushing to his office. He was the head of America’s great stock company, the Investment co. The date was 1972, the time when the petrol prices started to rise; thus the stocks had lost some of their value.

Mr. Ludwig arrived at the elevator, which he entered. His office was at the top of the 26-floor building. The lift went up two floors and stopped. A man all in black from top to bottom, in a black cap and dark sunglasses, entered the lift; he did not say a word but just stood there. This was very disturbing for the principal.

Have I seen this man before? he asked himself. Maybe he is the new security guard, but I did not ask anyone to bring one. Interesting.

The man in the black suit pulled a small box out of his black coat and opened it up. No doubt about it, it was a beautiful, well-detailed, elegant cigar box . He opened it and put it in front of our principal, without a word. Mr. Ludwig was a heavy smoker, so he took out one and said:

“Thank you.” He got no answer, not a word. Then the lift stopped at the 21st floor where the mysterious man left the lift and went on. Mr. Ludwig looked at his hands and started to analyse the cigar, which was from Habana.

How could this guy get a hand on such a high-quality cigar, from the salary of a security guard? An illegal brand, no less? he thought himself. Only then did he realise that he had arrived at his office on the 26th floor. He stared at his handwatch, realising that he would have a meeting in two minutes. He quickly ran into his office, where the meeting took place.

It was 12:32 when it came to an end. After everyone had left the office, he closed the door and asked his assistant for a cup of coffee and a copy of the daily newspaper. While he was waiting, he looked out the window, down onto the busy midday streets of downtown. While he was gazing at the people down there wandering a bit at the marketplace, while he was watching all the people walking in a tight alley, he saw a man in black clothes, in sunglasses, standing and staring at his window. He almost felt that they were making eye contact, even though he couldn’t see his eyes. Mr. Ludwig quickly went to the shutter and closed it. He was filled with a very weird feeling. By the time his assistant, Mrs. Susan, arrived, Mr. Ludwig was browsing through papers about the rise of the petrol prices.

“Why did you close the shutter?” she asked.

“No reason,” he answered.

“Let me open it for you, it is a really nice, sunny day,” she said, while he put down the coffee on the mahagony table.

“There’s no need for tha…” said Mr. Ludwig, but the shutter was already open. He looked down at the street with great curiosity, but he couldn’t find that man in the crowd of people anymore. He sat up, stretched his back, and sat back to have his coffee, but then his telephone rang. He put down the cup and answered the call.

“Yes. Good afternoon.”

“Good afternoon Mr. Ludwig,” said Ludwig’s manager. “I have bad news for you, sir.”

“What is it?”

“Tomorrow you will have a meeting with the Californian stock expert.”

“And what’s the bad news, then?”

“That it will be at 6:30 a.m.”

“Okay, thank you, but that’s quite early.”

“Yes, but no need to thank me.”

He hung up the phone. Mr. Ludwig wasn’t happy to hear this, but for his luck, today he could go home earlier, at 3 p.m instead of 6.

From now on, nothing interesting happened, a short announcement, that was all.

At 2:56 he called for his private driver, Antony. Antony was a typical southern Italian at first glance. He was quite hairy, had black hair and a well-shaved face, and had that sunkissed brown skin all year round. He was very polite but not talkative. Antony wasn’t the best driver; sometimes, like this morning, he arrived late at the house of the principal. But Mr. Ludwig liked him very much, for no reason, and that’s why he did not search for another driver.

Mr. Ludwig then went to the lift and pushed the button with the number 1 on it. The lift stopped at the 13th floor, where six workers rushed into the lift, which became so jam-packed that a fly could barely fit in. Through the crowd the principal could only see another man in black and in sunglasses, who was staring at the lift, but his hair was just like Antony’s. When the door started closing, Mr. Ludwig could see that the man said something into a handphone and walked away.

Weird, he thought. Who are these people. They are so suspicious. Is someone trying to find out information about me? No. Why would anyone do that? But I’m quite important.

By and by, the lift arrived at the bottom. Mr. Ludwig stepped out and approached the door.

“Have a nice day, sir,” said the receptionist.

“Good bye.”

He entered the street. In front of his building, his car was waiting for him. A beautiful cherry-red 1971 Cadillac, with the latest V8 6L engine under the hood.

What a nice car, he thought.

Antony stepped out and opened the door for him.

“Good afternoon, sir,” Antony said.

“Good afternoon to you,” said Mr. Ludwig.

Then Antony closed the door and sat back behind the steering wheel. He started the engine and drove away. On there way home, they had to stop at a red light. There was no one on the road, only a few pedestrians, as it was a very quiet part of the city. Then out of nowhere, a black Cadillac, just like his, stopped next to them. It windows were as black as the sky on a moonless night. Then another car, just like this one, stopped behind them. Mr. Ludwig looked in the rearview mirror, which reflected the windshield of the car, and behind it, two men in black, wearing sunglasses. He could also hear bits of Italian music from the cars, from the same radio station. It was a bit loud.


“Yes, sir?”

“Isn’t this suspicious to you?”

“What, sir?”

“These black Cadillacs.”

“No, sir. Quite a few people own such cars in this neighbourhood. It is not a rare sight around here.”

“How is it, then, that I haven’t seen any Cadillacs around here other than mine?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

The conversation ended, and the light turned green, so they went on. The car next to them turned right, but the one behind them kept following them, until they arrived at Mr. Ludwig’s house. There the car overtook them and went on.

“See, sir, there is nothing to worry about. This car just happened to go in the same direction as we did. It was just a weird coincidence. Anyway, tomorrow I will come as always, at 9 a.m., right?”

“Not quite, Antony. Tomorrow I have a very early meeting, at 6:30 a.m. . So please, come at 6 a.m., not 8:45 a.m. as you always do. And be sharp. This meeting is very important.”

“Alright, sir. Good bye,” Antony said and opened the door for the principal. Mr. Ludwig stepped out and approached his door, while looking at Antony driving away in the car. When he turned around, he saw that the black Cadillac from the light was parking next to his house, lights on, engine running. He quickly entered the house. He only heard the engine rev and the car slowly disappear in the neighbourhood.

“Hi, honey,” his wife said to him.

“Hi, my dear.”

“What’s the matter? You look distracted.”

“It’s nothing. I’m just tired.” He lied to his wife about the events, concealing the fact that people in black, wearing sunglasses, were following him, because she was very paranoid and would get so afraid, that she wouldn’t be able to sleep for days.

“Tomorrow I have a meeting at 6:30 a.m., that’s the only thing that bothers me.”

“Okay, then,” she answered.

The day went on eventless from that point. They lived on the outskirts of the city, in a quiet, peaceful neighbourhood. No crimes had happened there for years, so we can consider it very safe as well.

The next morning, Mr. Ludwig woke up at 5 a.m. and did what everyone does after they wake up: brushed his teeth, put on his most elegant clothes, had breakfast. By the time he finished, it was 5:47. He turned on the radio, at a low volume, so as not to wake up his wife.

Morning economic news in one minute. The petrol prices keep rising as the Cold War situation won’t quiet down, meaning that the dollar probably will start investing also due to the conflict be…” The radio lost the frequency, only static noise could be heard.

He stood up from the table and started thinking. What should he do to prevent his company from getting bankrupt? All sorts of things were coming to his mind when the heard his ride arrive. He went out and greeted Antony, and they drove away.

The meeting ended at 8:40. He had no work for that day, meaning that he could leave now and arrive home at 9 a.m. On the ride home between the city and the outskirts, there was a blank area of about one 1 mile, surrounded with forest. Antony asked him:

“How was your meeting, sir?”

“Thanks for asking,” said Mr. Ludwig while he lit his cigar. “Everything went fine…”

His car exploded with a huge magnitude, blowing into hundreds of pieces, only leaving the chassis burning in the middle of the road. There was no one out there who could witness this misfortune-filled event. Except for two black Cadillacs and a cherry-red 1971 6L, just like poor Mr. Ludwig’s, waiting in the forest. There were 9 people, all in black suit, in sunglasses, one of them holding a portable rocket launcher, whose end was aimed to hit Mr. Ludwig’s car.

“Target is eliminated, we can continue the work. Go to Mr. Ludwig’s house, take him up, and drive him to the Boss, where we can overhear him, as the plan says,” said one of them with an Italian accent.

“Okay,” said the man in the cherry-red car.

The Cadillac drove out of the woods and started to continue on the path to Mr. Ludwig’s house. The car arrived at the house at 9 a.m. sharp. The driver sat there for ten minutes or so, waiting for Mr. Ludwig to come out, but he did not. The driver then went to the door of the house and rang the bell. Ludwig’s wife opened the door.

“Good morning, Antony? Where is my husband?” said Mr. Ludwig’s wife, with doubt in her tone. “You are… as if you were different today…”

“I came for your husband,” said the mafia member.

“This must be a joke, right? You took him to work earlier today; he should have come home with you.”’ At that point, the mafia member grasped the truth: that they had eliminated not only the driver, but their target to be kidnapped and offered up with a ransom on his head.

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