The Word Gulag

            A new gulag has opened. It's the word gulag.
            I go there every week with a satchel full of provisions, inside which I place some seasonal fruits, a bar of soap and two tins of condensed milk. I call up a prisoner randomly and go wait in the visiting room along with the gesticulating crowd of visitors. The words come out single file out of a little door and come stand in front of us on the other side of the wire grill. Pale. Trembling. Distraught. Shattered.

            – Speak now, the guard orders us, pacing up and down the corridor that separates us, tapping on the grill with his large keys.

            But nobody obeyed. The words didn't because their jaws had been visibly broken. The visitors because as they immediately discovered – they should have figured it out sooner – had had their best words taken away from them by the gulag.

            – The visit is over, the guard shouted, pulling a curtain that nobody had seen before.

            Some barely audible words came out at that moment, no one could tell from which side of the grill. They were probably words of goodbye/parting formulas.

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