Life in minor with an orange hippo



This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
just remember that the last laugh is on you
T.S. Eliot+Monty Python


There are some days that you don’t want to get out of bed.

The only thing you can say as the alarm goes off, open your eyes and look at the ceiling is:
“Oh fuck, it’s dawn.”

You wake up your partner, the children and everyone has the same expression:
“Oh fuck, it’s dawn.”

Only the dog comes wagging its tail, hopping like a kid in springtime, saying:
“Hurray! It’s dawn! You’re up! Stroke me! Hurray! I’m so glad to see you! Hurray! Stroke me!”

And then after you put your clothes on, there is only one thing on your mind: How you will manage to do all those things that need to be done, till it’s time to hit the sack.

The kids to school, the traffic, the job and the boss, the traffic, the kids from school, shopping, cooking, cleaning, walk the dog (hurray! Walk!), kids and homework, some minor repairs at home,  extra work for a bit of extra money, the kids to the doctor-the tutor -soccer training, walk the dog (hurray! Walk!) , conversations as to how the bills will be paid and the taxes, and what will be left over, if any? …Briefly glance at the news, taxes, people drowning, neo-fascist EU, you drink a glass of wine and look at the bills again, it just doesn’t add up, you go to bed ,thinking how much you owe , how much you make, overcome with dizziness and cramps, you take two painkillers and a muscle relaxant, perhaps an anxiolytic as well, you close your eyes and wish you could sleep for a year

But before you get a chance to rest, the alarm goes off, you open your eyes, look at the ceiling and mutter:
“Oh fuck, it’s dawn”

Everything starts all over again. This is what you call life.


The only days you are as happy as a dog are a few Sundays and public holidays.

The alarm is silent. You wake up from the sounds around the house, the dog barking, the children playing, the music your partner listens to, the smell of toast.

You close your eyes and snooze, dreaming of classmates from school and an orange hippo splashing in ice cream.

You get up, drink one coffee, two coffees, reading a novel. Then you play board games with your children and you all walk the dog (hurray! Walk!) to the beach.

The day drags on, idly, and in the evening you meet some friends, have a drink and a chat, then you make love with your partner, and as you are lying there with a stupid smile on your face, says to you:”What a nice time we had today! Why can’t we live like that more often?”

You promise that you will do that, close your eyes and dream again of the orange hippo.

-Hello hippo.
-Hello to you too human.
-It’s nice to splash in ice cream.
-I know.
-What’s your name?
-I’ve got many names. Routine, responsibilities, how-fucked-up-my-life got.
-But my friends call me
(sound of the alarm clock)
-I said, my friends call me
(sound of the alarm clock)

And the only thing you can say as you open your eyes and look at the ceiling is:
“Oh fuck, it’s dawn”


A week goes by without dreams, heavy, as if a hippo has sat on your chest, anticipating the night when you’re not working to dream of the orange one.

He is there, in a Nile made of ice cream, singing “Aida” with Mary Callas’ voice.

And you ask him:
– Why do we live like this?
-Because capitalists benefit from the surplus value of your work.
-Are you a communist hippo?
-No, you’re just an idiot.
-What can I do?
-What are you willing to sacrifice?
-I have nothing to lose.
-That’s what you think. You’re sleeping on a bed in your house. You live in the country you were born. Your children eat cereal with yoghurt and banana. You have running water.
-But I don’t feel free.
-And you never will be, as long as you think and speak in first person: I don’t, not I, I am. I am not.
-I don’t understand what you’re talking about. What a shit of a hippo are you?
-I’m just swimming in the river of your mind. It’s you who fucked up and you are you asking me?

The only thing you can say as the alarm goes off, you open your eyes and you look at the ceiling is:
“Oh fuck, it’s dawn”

But you keep going, same tempo, same minor scale.

Oh fuck, it’s dawn.
Oh fuck, it’s dawn.
Oh fuck, it’s dawn.
The world doesn’t come to the end with a bang; it ends with a whimper as your hand goes numb, your back hurts, and in slow motion you hit the floor, with the final, irregular, heartbeats.

Your eyes glance at the world for the last time and you are thinking that you won’t make the tax payment deadline.
Oh fuck, I’m dying.

It’s what you say and the deadline expires. You’re dying with the orange hippo by your bedside.

-Why are you here? you ask.
-To take you, he replies.
-I thought this is the angel’s job.
-One of your many misconceptions.
-Is there life after death?
-Why do you care? Did you live before you died?
-Come on, give me one more chance! Let’s play chess and if I beat you…
-I don’t play chess.
-Just dice.
-Dice. OK then, let’s play dice. Here’s the deal: the winner is not the one with the higher number but the one who rolls a seven will…
-Why do you care that much? While you were there, you didn’t seem to care.

The orange hippo waits, but you are lost for words.

-It’s ok human, never mind, you do have a slight problem with your self-awareness. Anyway, you’ll get your second chance.

And you open your eyes.

You lie in bed, no pain on your back, no orange hippo.

The sun is rising. The alarm goes off. The dog enters really excited.

And you say:
Oh fuck, it’s dawn!


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Translated by Alexandros Mantas

Edited by Alexandra Kipourgos The art of Alexandra Kipourgos