The Strange Prison of Kundabuffer City.

June 28, 2009


knowthyself

It was a sunny day when one of the 101 occupants of the prison was pronounced dead by lethal injection, sodium pentothal in combination with a paralytic agent.

There were 101 persons in the prison, but only one was a convict.

Strangely, all 100 of the guards looked exactly like the prisoner.  Envision 101 mirror images.

A strange ordinance in the bizarre city of Kundabuffer mandated that the prison always maintain 101 occupants and, from time to time, one was to die.

In so doing, was the perpetrator of a crime singled out or was one of the guards eliminated?

Nobody had ever known.

People in the town were not concerned with injustice or the guilt or innocence of the person being condemned so long as the prison maintained its 101 indwellers.

That is why after one man was executed, another was incarcerated forthwith.

No one knew the criteria for the replacement either- or if he had committed a crime at all.

This was an unusual precept, but a fundamental part of the tradition and culture of Kundabuffer City.

The restraining principle was based on another unorthodox criteria of the facility.  There would be no prison bars or cells, nothing to separate prisoner from guards.

The penitentiary, thus, effected 101 solitary cells within one large open space.

The prison guards were fully armed, but not with the traditional weapons one might expect.  Instead, numbing associative thoughts kept the prisoner from adequately planning an escape.  His churning, mechanical thoughts tended to override any trace of activity in his deadened mind.

This characterized more than prison guards and a detainee; they were slaves of their own imaginations, trapped by their own internal mechanisms, essentially prisoners unto themselves.

That was the originality of this prison.  There were no masters and no regulations or guidelines.  All attempts at cohesive thought were annulated by a barrage of fears and contradictory emotions.

There was  symbol on a ceiling in the courtyard which marked the phrase, “Know thyself”.

It was rumored in town that it was etched by the only convict who ever succeeded in escaping.

The key to escape lay within this message, but the veracity of the story behind this has never been confirmed.

Within the jail, the fact that remained unconfirmed was not the meaningfulness of the message, but the mere existence of the script.  Because their vacant eyes were trained toward the floor, the denizens of the prison failed to notice the words that were said to hold their very freedom.

Guards and prisoner alike were obsessively preoccupied with how the others perceived them: whether or not they were trusted, respected, considered smart, unique…  They even worried about their physical appearance.

Scuffles between them were common.  The paranoid sting of having been underestimated at one’s proper value lead to defensive crowing and provocative threats.

“Do you know who I am?”

The response ricocheted deep within their inner prison, never finding voice.  They were not physically isolated, but were distanced from each other mentally and emotionally.

The prison of Kundabuffer City.  A hell of a place to be.


READ ALSO:He had promised himself he would never have another drink.

ART DIRECTOR: MARCELO MACHADO


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.

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12 Responses to “The Strange Prison of Kundabuffer City.”

  1. Marcelo said

    Gênio, pra variar.

    • acostaneto said

      Gênio é a tua ilustração, Marcelo. Tô quase tirando porque tá fazendo mais sucesso que o texto.
      Obrigado e abraço.

  2. Marcos said

    Das duas uma: ou meu inglês é realmente muito ruim ou você escreve bem mesmo. Prefiro acreditar na segunda opção.

  3. yolanda said

    This is brilliant!!!Antonio
    Makes me VERY proud..

    find out how to scape ..and let me know. 😉
    yoli

  4. acostaneto said

    Thank Yolanda.
    Love,
    antônio

  5. Muito legal. Adorei.

  6. Artur Kautzmann Filho said

    Há um risco assumido por cada leitor de um texto genial: o de não entender o que está na essência das palavras e o que está na ausência delas. O que está imponentemente escondido é o que mantém o elo entre o escritor e o leitor diferencial. No texto, o ato de se conhecer está simbolicamente no alto. De fato, ele está dentro de nós, quer estejamos em nossos lares quer, na Estranha Prisão de Kundabuffer City.

  7. cibele said

    Nossa! Isso, agora, assim forte, intenso e demasiado derramado de espaço entre o lido, o vivido e o espaço de cada um. lindo!

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