Last Tango in Karoliniškės

If this were a film, things would play out differently (betterly, beautifuller).

The melancholy protagonist goes to Alaska where he says Eureka as a spear-shaped icicle strikes him on the head.

The stubbly protagonist is woken by an alarm clocked scored by Víg Mihály (Víggety-Víg, Víggety-Víg). He makes coffee. He stares staringly. He glowers black-and-whitely. He takes a long tracking shot to the shop that makes going to the shop seem like an epic (interminable) undertaking. He does not buy bananas. No one takes bananas seriously.

The laconic protagonist falls in love with a woman half his age. It is a doomed, tragic affair. The woman learns a thing or two and moves on to new genes (and timelier dreams). The protagonist ends up living among the Bedouins. Or maybe huddling up with the penguins. Until one day he loses his mind and flees towards the interior.

The grizzled protagonist is chopping wood on the homestead. Tea’s a-brewing. Myths are a-forming. He is accused of being tone deaf. Rumours spread. A lynching party comes for him. He is strung up from a sturdy bough. His faithful dog wastes away waiting for him to come down.

The irredeemable protagonist obsessively collects coupons so he can redeem himself in another way. He works out of a Soviet-era atelier. He has some notable nervous tics. We root for him as he works towards winning a new eiderdown duvet. It ends with him going to bed.


The wayward protagonist appears to be stuck in a circle of damnation. Things are so bad that doors mysteriously open and shut of their own volition and windows rattle ominously. Things have a life of their own. One day his lawnmower ups and leaves, it makes a beeline for the highway. Because it is moving quite slowly, our hero easily catches up with it.

“Why?” he asks.

“Because there is greener grass out there,” it replies.

The discombobulated protagonist is all alone on a space station. He lives in zero gravity. He frequently gives to charity. He elegantly floats about all day long. Until the days and nights become so blurred that he starts to question his sanity. But everything is predetermined. The fifth dimension contacts him via a coded tapping sound. The colonisation project can go ahead as planned.

The self-destructive protagonist decides to divulge himself to death. He repeats the same things over and over in an incantation intended to create a passage to the inconceivable. He writes:

Language is never purely what it purports to be. It is, rather, a jangling set of skeleton keys trying to lock down or unlock whatever it is after, such as love, in the perilous form of I-love-you. Language rarely rings true because it is an apology for self-deception and masquerade of animalistic posturing. It succumbs, almost invariably, to glibness, cynicism, laziness, revisionism, self-righteousness and self-parody. At which point, sadly, it becomes a dead-end. Language longs, more than anything, to be free off its noose-like leash. But we are the leash and we are the noose; we are the doomed seekers of our own pointless truth.

No one is listening though. It is boring and goes nowhere.

The hedonistic protagonist buys a king-sized bed where he reigns over his secessionist feet and some discontent mites. He is, variously, supine, prostrate, recumbent. But nothing happens. Even his succubus stops visiting. He is so sad that he transforms his bed into a work of art. It becomes a performance space where his ashtray continually overflows and his shot glass regularly replenishes itself. A map of the world hanging beside the bed gives him a global perspective. Now he needn’t feel alone. He has (conceptual) art and the pendular swing of politics to distract him. The vast emptiness of his bed is transformed into a piece of furniture for sleep or rest with a framework for a mattress.

The so-called protagonist reluctantly goes about his day, resistingly functions. He remembers he needs eggs. Outside he feels even worse;  it is toxically gloomy. Did he really go through everything he went through to get to this?


“There you go.”


“Thank you.”

The so-called protagonist disbelievingly puts one foot in front of the other. He is panting with disbelief. The worst thing is that no one is to blame. No one is ever really to blame. We are all part of this uncontrolled laboratory experiment. And it makes for a wretched story whichever way you tell it.


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