Showing posts with label Stefano Benni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stefano Benni. Show all posts

02 December 2022

Translation: The Martian in Love by Stefano Benni (Part 2)

—The universe was inhabited by many trond and large quazz structures. The television (we have it too, it’s required) had told us that these worlds were absolutely the same as ours. On Jupiter, there are larger trond, on Venus there are particularly beautiful quazz, but nothing else.

—Well, I thought, it must be so because the TV hardly ever lies, but I want to check for myself. Because, if in some faraway part of the universe, there is a real gift, something that is neither trond nor quazz, to bring to my lover, well then, I will find it. Having made that decision, that very evening I prepared a provision of trond filets, put it in my lunchbox and launched my astroquazzmobile into the stellar corridors of Serpentone number 8, which leads to the Zatopek crossing, and from there, to your solar system. I don’t know why I aimed immediately for Earth. Maybe it was because of its color, which seemed pretty, or maybe because of the way it tronded in space. The fact remains that I engaged my macrotelescope and aimed it at you.

—Alas, the first thing I saw discouraged me. There was a large space with green fur and all around it people were screaming. In the middle, some beings dressed in two different colors were fighting with their feet over a small trond. Here they are even worse off than we are, I thought: we have only quazz and trond, they barely even have any trond. Indeed, huge brawls broke out over this trond, everyone wanted it for himself, and people yelled like crazy. I aimed my macrotelescope somewhere else, and I saw a city made of quazz, stacked on top of other quazz. No sign of life. Maybe, I thought, the aboriginals of the place do not eat the quazz, but it’s the quazz that eats the aboriginals.


Indeed, I saw them disappear by the thousands inside of illuminated quazz.

—Discouraged and disillusioned I had decided to leave when oh, how amazing! I finally saw something that was neither quazz nor trond, nor rock nor lapillus, a wonderful new thing. I landed and got closer to it. It was a large metal box, similar to an obese Becodinian, full of mysterious objects made of materials that I later found out were called paper, plastic and metal sheet. They came in different colors, and even if among them there were examples of quazzism and trondism, the variety was astounding. And what strange smells they emitted! Strong, penetrating, so different than the Becodian smell of ash and boiled quazz. I rummaged a bit with my arm and pulled an amazing object out of the large box: a shiny red cylinder. It was signed in trondsome writing that, with the help of my universobulary, I was able to decipher as saying coco-colo or colo-coco. I thought it was the work of two artists. Then I saw a splendid animal, made up of a hairy body terminating in a long wooden tail, and precious, snow-white fabrics with the writing “Publix supermarkets” and “Filene’s” and more oblong and transparent objects, wonderful aromatic sauces, spiraling skins, and crinkly pieces of paper with hieroglyphs on them. I stood there with the door wide open, gazing at all these riches, when I saw the first earthly creature. It was blessedly rummaging through the wonderful objects of the large box. Immediately, I grabbed the interstellar tourist dictionary and recited the following words clearly:

— Exc-use me, you man of earth, can I bu-y one of these wonderful objects of yours?—The creature open wide its beautiful yellow eyes, wiggled its tail and responded:

—No buy, everyone can take, but now scram, since trash men coming—


— And the creature I had taken for a man scurried off frightened by the arrival of a growling being, large as twenty Becodians, from which the men descended; one of them looked at me and said:

—Since when have they put these new trashcans here?

—Don’t know—said the other one,—it looks empty anyways—And he grabbed me by the nose (which is not the nose!) and moved me out of the way.

—Back to work—said the other one—let’s dump this junk—They took the large box of wonders and tipped it over into the mouth of the large being. Then they jumped back on and left. At that moment, I felt bad, then I thought: if they throw out this splendid stuff and do not value it, think about the other wonderful things they have, much more precious than these. Reassured and thinking of my Lukzenerper, I followed them at full speed on my trondskates, until I got to the city and almost melted from surprise. What a variety of shapes and colors! What exquisite gifts everywhere, both still and moving, large and small! This is paradise, I told myself, but I need to remain calm and choose well, and not let myself be dumbfounded by all this abundance. Above all, I do not want just any gift. I want a gift that even earth women see as precious and important. I already knew how to recognize the men, now I had to find an earth female. How would she have been made? I carefully entered a bar with the writing “bar and tobacco”. I immediately saw something that could have been a female, something with a lot of noses and a man that was pulling on it up and down, which for us means gibolain or mating. But then I heard the man call it a “coffee machine”. It was not her. Over there, I saw her, the female. She was beautiful, all adorned with multicolor lights, she screamed and cried while a man held her by the sides and shook her.


Read Part 1 here.

13 November 2022

Translation: The Martian in Love by Stefano Benni (Part 1)

This is the true story of Kraputnyk Armadillynk as it was told to me in his own voice.

One early morning I was fishing in the Sompazzo river when I heard an amazing raucous behind me. I saw the trees trembling and the birds flying away. Then a burst and then nothing else. I crossed the dam and a weird creature appeared before me, a squat metal barrel, with a long mole’s snout, and two tiny removable reflective arms. He was kicking a flying disc and yelling at it irately, more or less like this:

— Zukunnuk dastrunavi baghazzaz minkemullu mekkanikuz!

Catching sight of me he bowed and said:

— Sir, I’m very sorry to have disturbed you, but if you would be so kind as to hear me out, I think you will understand and be able to help me.

— My name is Kraputnyk Armadillynk, and I come from the planet Becoda. My planet is located 700 light years from yours, and the average temperature there is 50 degrees Celsius in the shade. It’s a scorching and desolate planet. Only two things can grow there: trond and quazz. Trond is a tasteless round tuber. Quazz is a square tuber that tastes the same as trond. One could easily say they were the same thing, but for the sake of the morale of the Becodians, it is best to set them apart. In such a way, we can ask: “What’s for dinner tonight, trond or quazz?” and create a little bit of suspense.


— There are three ways of eating Trond: that is, while seated, while standing, or while laying down. Similarly, there are three ways of cooking quazz: in trond sauce, in quazz sauce, or with trond filling.

— So you must have understood by now that life on our planet is very hard. We have nothing but scorched land and fields of trond and quazz, black rocks, mountains of lava, and a few Nerperos (volcanoes) that spit out boiling lapilli into the air. There are no animals, with the exception of a worm we call Krokuplas, which is not edible, but makes for great fish bait. Unfortunately on Becoda there are neither water nor fish. However, we drink wonderful freshly squeezed trondquazz blends.

— The only fun pastime on our planet is dating. Becoda’s inhabitants are in fact really beautiful. At least, that’s what’s written in the first article of our Constitution. We males, as you can see, are composed of two trond feet, a quazz body, and a somewhat trondoid head, from which protrudes a tube (which is not the nose!) The females have small quazz feet, a deliciously small tronding body and a rather bitrondic head. My girlfriend is called Lukzenerper Graetzenerper Bikzunkenerper. Which means Luckz, born near the volcano, daughter of Graetz, who lives on the volcano, and of Bikz, who fell into the volcano. Lukzetcetera is very young; she is eighteen in Becodian years, which are nearly as long as two earthly sitcoms. I love her, and taking walks with her grunka in grunka on the pathways of the planet is my only joy.


— But it just so happened that one night, while we were alone in my quazzmobile and were looking at the thousand stars of the Universe, she got up close to me and started dripping. Which is the worst thing that can happen on Becoda. Dripping is like your crying, but we cry oil, precious, lubricating oil. For if one drips too much, then one ends up rusting, freezing up and dying. So, I consoled her and tried to put back into her tank all the oil that I could, but she continued her dripping, and I did not know what to do.

“Lukzettina—I said—please speak. Don’t drip anymore, it’s painful. What can I do for you?

— Oh Kraputnyk—she responded— you are good like a trond (it was not such a big compliment. We also say: scumbag like a trond too, because we have so few things to compare ourselves to)… but I want something impossible … I would like … I would like…

Seeing her in such despair made a large drop appear on my lashes.

—Speak dear, don’t hesitate—I said—I will do anything for you—

—Oh Kraputnyk—she said—I have never received a gift during my whole life. And I will die without anyone ever having given me a gift!

— But how is that possible, I thought, had I not just given her a trond necklace? Yeah, but what kind of gift was a trond on that accursed planet where there was nothing but trond and quazz and stones shaped like trond and pieces of quazz always at our feet. A gift is something you do not expect. What was there on Becoda that could surprise a young woman? It was at that moment that I gazed at the starry sky and I lit up. (I mean it: when we have a great idea, a red light comes on.)