Chapter 1:



“Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity… And I’m not sure about the universe.”

"Albert Einstein"


31.12.2022… Year End

The Islamic desert,“Fata Morgana”…

The “White Mouse” facility

Strange, grotesque, alien creature in front of him. His red face and short and chubby body trembled frenetically. He glanced to his left and right and continued laughing hysterically. His friends laughed when they heard a strange voice say

“What’s the difference? Are we in heaven or are we in hell? The most important thing is that we feel happy.”

This decisive and authoritative statement was projected somewhere in the distance near him, by a shrieking, rough feminine voice. Barney Chaplin suddenly realized that the grotesque alien he was staring at was himself. He looked around with a glazed look and stared at the tent. His friends were still laughing uncontrollably while his own tone changed to a mumble with melancholic sorrow.

“Barney, Barney, you are 49 years old. Once upon a time, you were the most famous and desired comedian in the Democratic Selected Organization. Now you are the stupidest and most drugged one. Now you have become the man that every mother warns her children about”.

All this took place in a large, fancy tent lit by melancholic oil lamps and flickering candles which cast rainbow colors that vanished into the tent. A stylized sign in its entrance, written in distorted shapes, with bold and warm letters in Arabic and English read, “Welcome to the “White Mouse” for the year end celebration of 2922.”

The party had already begun. Some of the people sat, staring at the abundant food and drinks, drooling with lust and desire. The rest of them licked their lips, savoring erotic dreams about the Arab belly dancers whose sweaty dancing bodies moved sensually in front of them, reminding them of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden! Modern English and Arabic music were played in different rhythms, blended and added a new flavor of joy and pleasure to the heavy clouds of smoke and smell of incense flickering in the air, followed by wild laughing, mixed with the mysterious and invisible hand of the creator of the divine comedy. Barney pulled away from the tricky mirror and joined his six friends, who like himself, were dressed in white Moroccan Galabias, with colorful Arab jewelry on their necks and chests and with their heads covered by Moroccan headgear. They were also wearing Moroccan slippers adorned with sparkling stones and decorated in rainbow colors while they sat in a circle, holding their trembling hands with fervor over seven authentic, large, breathtaking, Arabic hookahs. Their lips were pressed to the hookahs, and they were inhaling, into their dancing brains, the bubbly content of the brown pieces of hash, which were artistically laid near the whispering coals on red flames. Their honorable bottoms - rested heavily, one near the other, on the magnificent, kitschy Arabic pillows in the joyous, colorful tent. Every now and then, the hookah smokers stopped to continue their hysterical laughter. Barney tried to calm them down while he was still laughing and wondering to himself--

“Am I mad or am I the only crazy and yet sane one around here?” He kept screaming at them “This is just Barney, Barney. I just lost my mind, but I'll find it again”.

He was relieved when they burst out laughing and continued inhaling the hookah smoke with contagious excitement. Barney glanced from the corner of his eye at the seven strong men standing near him and his friends, dressed in black suits and wearing C.I.A type sunglasses, looking them over with apprehension while he remained unconcerned and made himself happy by smoking the hookah. All of a sudden, he screamed at them and made them jump out of fear.

“Listen, listen to a crazy joke! God talks to his angels and tells them that he is going to give the Jews a state which is going to be called Israel… which will have mountains and hills, rivers with fresh water, nice flowers and breathtaking trees, soil that provides crops, constant warm weather as promised: a land of milk and honey! Suddenly one of the angels (who is also the devil) stands up and says: Don’t you think you are too good to them? So, the Holy One blessed be He, God, answered him: Wait until they see who their neighbors are”.

Once again, the voice of the woman, who was staring at them with revulsion, whispered with contempt to the man standing beside her.

“Remind me again, what are these people doing here? Who are they?”

“They are smoking a hookah as usual. They came here. After…”

She interrupted him and continued while screaming in his ear and pointing at a group of people near her.

“Are you on drugs? Not the ones with the hookah. I mean those standing beside me.”

“Ah, those?” He suddenly felt miserable “It is a TV crew from NBC and whispered to himself “It’s a pity that there are people who are still alive due to the mere fact that it is illegal to kill them.”

The embarrassed man shook like a blowing leaf and would have liked to evaporate from this place on which this disgusting and hateful woman was standing, but his legs refused to move and were nailed to the ground. The TV reporter kindly turned to the woman like a hyena examines a corpse.

“Madam, we would like to shoot outside too. Is that okay?”

“Of course. You are from TV! You shoot whatever you want anyway. Broadcast whatever you feel like. You also have the face of a hyena.”

The reporter sighed and subsequently his entire crew sighed as well, and they accompanied her to the main gate and stood beside it. The photographer stopped and took pictures of a spectacular gigantic sign at the top of the gate “A Psychiatric Hospital for Mental Illnesses and Ego, Ruled by the Selected Democratic Organization “The White Mouse”. The reporter shouted to the photographer-

“Shoot the honorable lady. Shoot her already” while whispering to his mates “I once saw creatures like her but then I needed to pay at the entrance”. Prof. Cheers turned to them with a revoltingly sweet smile.

“It is clear that you are enjoying yourselves, but don’t forget: a man always falls where he bends over”. The TV crew shuddered.

The producer quickly whispered to his men:

“We'd better get out of here as quickly as we can. This psychopath can keep us here by force”.

He stared at her with revulsion while the camera was shooting her, “Prof Cheers, the Manager of the Psychiatric Hospital “The White Mouse” with the ID attached to her smock pocket, while the ID of the man beside her reads “Dr. Stone Annabel – Deputy Manager”. The director asked her:

“What about this strange septet with the hookahs? They are the government representatives of the Selected Democratic Organization, right? They are the representatives of a government that sold us the idea of that last fucking war,” he chuckled, “promising that it was a righteous war, the last war”.

Prof. Cheers became excited; her facial muscles jumped and from the edges of her lips a stinking, disgusting saliva drooled.

“That’s right. They are here, those seven who were found guilty by the committee for the last war’s shortcomings against the Free Islamic Forces, a war that that came upon us for no good reason at the beginning of this year. Under the president of the Democratic Organization and the Minister of War, Monro. The seven representatives are: Monro - the President, vice President- the famous comedian Barney Chaplin, Finance Minister, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of the Interior and last but not least-Internal Security Minister”. She glanced at her watch and said, “Enough, this interview annoys me. Do you have any more questions? You’d better not”. She giggled, “If you continue talking, eventually, by mistake, you might say something intelligent”.

One of the reporters asked-

“Yes. I have one more question. What are they doing here?”

She looked at him suspiciously and impatiently and answered while the reporter looked at her shining face.

“The Committee that I personally appointed decided that they were guilty by omission during the last war against the Free Islamic Forces, and therefore, they will stay here until their trial or until the new election. It doesn’t matter- whichever comes first”.

Suddenly, without warning, a loud, deafening sound of sirens and enormous shrieking of brakes made the TV crew, and the gate guards jump from their places, except for Prof. Cheers who continued to stand stoically like the sphinx at the gate of logic! All of them were certain that something terrible and horrendous happened and they hid wherever they could along the convoy of police cars, limousine, a long fancy Mercedes, black field cars and police motorcycles whose sirens the police turned off, leaving an annoying and worrisome silence... The TV people looked at one other and rubbed their eyes in disbelief. The people in suits who got out of the Mercedes were exact duplicates of the seven government representatives who were smoking the hookahs in the tent. The TV producer whispered in the photographer’s ear:

“Shoot them quickly. We have a political illusion in the land of illusions here”.

Seven government doubles and seven security doubles entered while the reporter stood with his mouth open opposite the smiling Prof. Cheers and asked with surprised curiosity:

“But who are those seven people in suits who just entered? They look like the twin brothers of the government representative we saw earlier today…and who are the seven-security people who look like the twins of the security man in the tent? What’s going on here?”

Prof. Cheers explained with pride and ecstasy and with strange, hand movements as if she were manic:

“When the government headed by Monro was elected in the beginning of 2922, he legislated different laws. One of them, the most important of all, was my idea. From a security point of view, it was required that every one of the government’s representatives have a double in case of emergency, let's say in times of war or in times of invasion by aliens or alternatively, when the Messiah arrives. Then, thanks to my great idea, the seven men who entered here are doubles of the government’s representatives and they came to visit their bosses and to participate in the Christmas joy. Therefore, in order for real government representative not to avoid responsibility as has happened in the past, it was preferable and required for the public to know and understand that upon termination of the war between Democratic and Islamic forces, government members pretend to continue to hold their positions until the commencement of their trial or until the new elections for government and therefore, their doubles keep holding their jobs. But, if it is determined that the government representatives should be released from their jobs due to their mistakes and embarrassing shortcomings during the war, they are already in the right place, in “The White Mouse”, an upgraded hotbed for mental patients and for those who are crazy about politics, and therefore, their doubles and their security doubles will remain here. You didn’t get it, right? Therefore, Barney will explain it to you slowly as one would explain it to a retarded child. In order to maintain peace of mind, industrial calm and political peace in the Democratic organization, the doubles we saw are government members and the government members are doubles”.

The TV crew members were stunned and tried to digest the things said. One looked at the other and then at Prof. Cheers with his mouth open in confusion. The producer again interrupted:

“So why the double…” getting mixed up and stuttering “wait a minute, not the double, I meant why are the government members here? Who made the decision to hospitalize them? How do we know who the government members are and who the doubles are and what if the doubles decide that they are the government members?”

“I decided, all thanks to me. Thanks to Prof. Cheers, thanks to my being the greatest governmental psychiatrist in the past, present, and for sure, also in the future and due to my position as the president’s past, present and the most important image consultant and confidant of Monro and of the Democratic organization. Do you get it, jerks?” She sighed, “I think that you suffer from insanity, and you enjoy it.”

Prof. Cheers spoke, happily, passionately and excitedly, like a child. She pulled a cigar, with an impressive movement, from her suit pocket. Her deputy quickly lit the scented cigar, and its smoke almost suffocated the embarrassed TV people who began to cough.

She continued:

“Head of our committee for war investigations who is also our President, who is also Monro, was rightfully afraid that those responsible for the war and other troubles will keep whistling, beeping, singing, and rolling their eyes to the sky. Therefore, in the beginning of his term, he came and asked me what to do to prevent such a situation from happening where the guilty go home free. His great luck is that I am also a great friend and a confidant of prime ministers, presidents, leaders and aliens. I had a real, larger-than-life solution, a real psychotic solution”. She started getting excited again, like in a manic attack. “The solution is like a son-of-a-bitch scrambled egg. Because I never belittle a large group of fools! Therefore, I thought it over and I consulted with and advised myself thanks to my being the government's, the parliaments and the Selected Democratic organization’s psychiatrist, a position that is even above the district psychiatrist that is obviously also me. So, all my subordinate psychiatrists have always done what I told them to do, or else they could go home and fuck themselves quietly. They could decide along with me whether to sign on a forced hospitalization of the magnificent seven until new elections take place within two months and this is for the best interest of democracy and government. Thanks to me, Prof. Cheers, the elected officials will be visiting here on account of democracy.” She winked at the reporter, “And you thought that they didn’t continue holding government meetings here? They do not get their McDonalds', Starbucks, donuts and pretzels.” She exhaled the smoke in their faces and laughed hysterically with a horrifying madness. “When a small man’s shadow is big, it’s a sign that the sun is setting”.

The stunned and confused TV crew followed the seven doubles and the new security people who were the exact copy of the government representatives and security people. The group of doubles and the new security people arrived at the Christmas tent for their first tour of the mental hospital. Barney, similar to his celebrating friends, stopped everything and froze in place upon seeing the doubles and the new security people. Barney peeked at the doubles and the new security people with surprise and embarrassment while he was confused and stoned, glanced again at the hookah in his right hand and at the fourth or fifth glass of whiskey in his left, touched his body with astonishment and fear, and grinned with pure madness while he took a terrified and shocked glance at his double and at himself and asked:

“How can it be that I am here and also there at the same time? Maybe I am not myself. Am I Barney? Or is Barney my double?” He started screaming at his hookah, “What happened to you, fucking hookah? Are you stoned?" While hitting himself he screamed with fear “Go away evil, get out devil”. Without even noticing it, he stopped and recoiled in horror when his double shook his hand and smiled at him. Barney could not believe the double's explanation.

“It’s nice to meet you; my name is Barney, Barney the Vice President, President Munro's vice president. How are you my dear double?”

The rest of the doubles did the same when each greeted his original, who was shocked and terrified by the large amount of hookah smoking and booze and also by the sight of the doubles who hugged them with enthusiasm, greeted the rest of those present and pounced on the refreshments like vultures picking at their innocent prey. Having no choice and in fear, Barney shook the hand of his double, but quickly withdrew his hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, Barney, Barney...I…” Barney was stunned and captivated by the hypnotizing mirror standing smiling at him, hurling his brain back and forth in the highway lanes of fantasy. “My name, my...hmmm.” He was confused and scared. “I don’t know my name, I don’t know who Barney is,” he screamed at the hookah. “Go away spirit, get out devil, get out of here”.

Prof. Cheers told the new doubles “Come here and give each one of your twin brothers his medicine, pay attention that every plastic cup has the name of the recipient”.

The doubles approached the table where all the medicines were and smiled, checked the names written on the cups and gave each one to the appropriate politician who pressed the hand of his double with appreciation, swallowed the medicine with happiness and joy. The government doubles instinctively also took the medicine by mistake and swallowed it as the originals had in front of the astonished and embarrassed faces of the TV crew and of Prof. Cheers. She flinched apprehensively.

Monro screamed with arrogance:

“This was my war, the military leader, Alexander Monro, the greatest of all! I succeeded and saved the world and the Democratic organization and therefore, the people worship me, the great and supreme President, the messenger of God.”

All the ministers screamed while high on drugs and booze:

Runnel is an approaching train. You are going mad because you like only the insane and politicians”.

Prof. Cheers quickly got away from him as if she were escaping from a fire; she rushed to turn her back on him while his friends finished swallowing the pills and no one noticed that Barney threw his pills in the trash. Barney and his friends passed their hookahs to their doubles and pleaded with them in a single voice of a stoned choir.

“Take, our brothers, gain the most wonderful experience of your lives and the joy of joys of your fates until you lose your senses. We are the new people, the Selected Democratic people, and the supreme democratic man”

Everyone continued laughing uncontrollably and getting stoned while some competed with each other in checking whose madness was sweeter. Suddenly everyone stood and started to sing and dance, hugging each other in ecstasy.

“For Cheers is a jolly good fellow, for Cheers is a jolly good fellow, which no one can deny, because this is the end of everyone”.

Thereafter everyone gathered for a temperamental American cowboy dance, a stunning Kozachok dance, and a stirring Arabic dance by Barney, Monro, Yeats and the rest of former ministers along with Prof. Cheers, her deputy, the TV crew as well the security people and the doubles who arrived, moving their bodies to the beat, clapping their hands enthusiastically and joining in the singing. In addition to them, all the hospital inmates joined the combined singing and dancing to the disco, hip hop, rock and tango music, which was understood and known only to them. Barney was filled with an infinite happiness. A Supreme satisfaction ran through his soul. In addition to the elated mystical and religious spirit, he called to the heavens like an apocalyptic prophet:

“Is war bad? You don't get it! Barney fights, therefore, Barney exists. Long live the war, long live Escalation”.