Jacques – I read a book last week –
André – Well done!
Jacques – Funny. Yes. And it posited that London never existed, that the photos, videos, recollections, songs, paintings, and so on were not forgeries, exactly, but clever subterfuges from other cities stitched together to create an entirely fictional place.
André – Seems beyond fishy to me.
Jacques – I know.
André – And you read the whole thing?
Jacques – Sure. It was small, maybe 100 pages. I was bored at a café, and I found it wedged between a Jodi Picoult novel and an old copy of Shantaram. His primary idea was that humanity, though capable of murder, rape and exploitation, was nevertheless unable to completely annihilate an entire city. Said it couldn’t be done “without the tears of God falling like lava upon us for our sins”.
André – So, the book was religious? A fundamentalist thing?
Jacques – Not exactly. Every time it was clear that he had argued himself into a hole, he would bring up God and explain away the problem. But otherwise, no. Pretty weak reasoning, obviously, but I liked the idea of God having tears of lava.
André – It’s a nice image.
Jacques. Yes. He thought that clever French dramatists were primarily responsible for the faked images, and that the Germans and the Poles had collaborated to create the videos. All of the other stuff was a by-product of “persuasive creativity” and, he said, spoke positively of humanity’s ability to create fanciful and wonderful things.
André – I’ve been to London. A long time ago now. I was eleven. I don’t remember much, but I do remember holding my father’s hand while I ate an ice cream.
Jacques – All fake, according to this fellow. Subtly implanted by the French.
André – I have a memory of eating the ice cream and watching those red uniform wearing guards, the ones with the black plume hats. But I’m sure that part, at least, isn’t true, because I mentioned that to my father once and he said we didn’t see anything like that.
Jacques – Blame the French!
André – And the Germans, and the Poles. I suppose it could be true. Memory is pretty fickle, and I’ve forgotten so much. But I doubt it.
Jacques – Yes.
Part of the Railroad Perfection series