My life changed after I discovered The City of Literature. It was a perfect game; it was like a miracle.
I quit my job to enjoy the game and sentenced myself to voluntary exile in my home in Taksim. My intention was to give my name to a region in The City of Literature; to create an original neighborhood with its roads, trees, buildings, and people. I knew I needed a long time for this. First of all, I wanted to travel around all areas of the city; I wanted to get my share of adventures in the streets.
I sat in the virtual reality chair I bought using my full credit card and attached the hood. Although I have visited many times before, I have again entered the region inspired by Kafka's works. It was foggy in this area, adorned with high towers, Gothic cathedrals, and labyrinthine streets. Tall men in black redingot, women with weird facial expressions roamed the streets, where the flickering night lights could not illuminate enough. Smoke sprayed from the chimneys of makeshift houses mingled with raindrops, darkening the gloom of narrow streets.
I approached the door of the blackened stone building, which I thought was a government office. A stocky, jacketed man stopped me at the door and said, “We don't accept visitors at this hour.”
If I were one of Kafka's heroes, I'd have a long conversation with the building's doorman, wasting my precious time convincing him. Instead, I pushed the doorman hard and went inside, passing through the open wing of the high door. If he came after me, I'd be ready to punch him in the mouth. I suppose he sensed it. He just corrected himself with an arrogant attitude.
I proceeded through the entrance hall and began to climb the spiral-shaped stairs to the left. The stairs led me to the floor where the officers were, but it didn't help because there was no door to pass. Desperately, I went back down to the ground floor and, this time, headed for the stairs on the right. When I climbed the first group of eroded marble steps, I saw an open door that looked like it was made for dwarves. I approached the door and leaned in, and looked inside. Just behind the door, a woman was shaking her baby wrapped in rags in the wooden crib, and at the bottom of the room, two men, who I assumed were twins, were chatting, imitating each other's body movements.
Before I lingered there, I climbed the second group of stairs and reached the top floor. Now there were a lot of tables in front of me, most of which were empty. At two of the tables, two officers were asleep with their heads on their typewriters. I made my way to the table where the only officer awake was. The officer's hands were on the typewriter as if he were thinking about what to write. He had a historical look with pieces of leather wrapped around the elbows of his jacket and blackened shirts. He didn't raise his head and look at me. I sat in the only chair in front of the table and asked, “What do you think the Castle represents?"
”The castle represents the out of reach," he replied.
"Don't confuse me with Gregor Samsa or Joseph K. I don't satisfy with such round answers.”
"Where do you think Kafka couldn't reach?" he asked.
Instead of saying, “I ask the questions here,” I replied, "Publishing houses, of course."
”You wait for publishers as you wait for Godot," the officer said. And then he stood up and turned around like I wasn't there. He wore a striped pajama top underneath an old jacket on his back. I followed him as he made his way to the closets in the back. It was snowing mixed with ash in the first cabinet he opened. He closed the hatch and opened the other one. The second cover was opened into a space that did not even reach half a meter in height. He put his hands on the floor at waist level and jumped in. He crawled through the room and lay on a mattress on the ground, hiding his head. I'm tired of him pulling the patched cover up to his head, not wanting to deal with me anymore. So it was time to break up.
I was trying to determine which writer's neighborhood my next stop would be. After eliminating a large number of attractive writers, I remained decidedly between Orhan Pamuk and Oguz Atay. Although I loved both to the same extent, Orhan Pamuk, who used more depictions of space in his works, outweighed.
As soon as I touched the virtual keyboard in front of me to enter Orhan Pamuk's territory, the door was knocked. I took off the virtual reality headpiece, got up in distress, and looked down the window. Downstairs, two men in suits were waiting for the door to open. Obviously, they had come to the wrong address, and I didn't intend to waste my precious time explaining to them; I muted the doorbell and sat back in my virtual reality chair.
Orhan Pamuk region was entered from the Nişantaşı of Istanbul in the nineteen seventies. The shops were closed on the street; everything was calm; it must have been past midnight. Not a single car passed through the street, and a few blocks away, there was the sound of a fight between dog gangs. I also heard the buzzing of dogs being hit between growls and barks. From far away came the “Boozaa” cry of a boza seller, and even though I never liked boza, I craved boza. I took heavy steps down the wet and dark street. In the empty shop window to my left, an older man laid a naked window model on his lap and drawing a mustache and beard with a brush on her face. When he felt me looking at him, he looked up and looked at me. His gaze was so passionate that I was afraid that if I didn't get away from there right away, he would put me on his knees and cut my hair. I left Aladdin's shop behind and grabbed a taxi. The taxi driver had an oddity in his elongated beard and tired eyes. After I sat in the back seat of the taxi, I realized what was strange. The cabbie was the person I'd turn into in twenty years. If my hair got white, my face got wrinkled, and I gained some weight, I'd be just like him.
"Have you noticed how much we look alike?”
“Where are we going?”
"Historic peninsula. Isn't our resemblance strange?”
"Man looks like a man. We are all descended from Adam,” the cabbie said. It seemed that our resemblance did not create the same excitement in him.
I had to get off the taxi in the middle of the Unkapani bridge because on the other side of the Golden Horn, there was an Ottoman era. Since there was no such Bridge in the Ottoman period, I crossed the sea in a small boat where a young man rowed with sleepy eyes.
As I walked towards Eminönü, watching the dark waters of the Golden Horn, I saw two men chatting by candlelight through the window of a wooden mansion. Although their clothes were different, their faces were very similar; it was very likely that they were identical twins.
A strange feeling arose when I thought 17th century Istanbul was not fun at all. I stopped the game, took out the virtual reality hood, and looked around. The two men in ties I saw at the door were sitting on the couch opposite me, staring at the thin screens in front of them. The gentlemen didn't bother to take off their shoes when they came in.
I couldn't imagine them being so relaxed. “How did you get in? What you're doing is breaking the law.”
The one in the triangle tie said, “We're here for debt collection. You were so immersed in the game that we didn't want to disturb it,” he replied. He looked older and experienced than the other.
"I have not been notified of any debts. There's no legal basis for you to come in here like this. I'm gonna call the police and tell them there are two burglars in my house. Do you have a decommissioning warrant? Can I see your badges? You haven't even explained who you are or how you got in.”
“I think the friend has watched a lot of movies,” the young one said to the person next to him with an obscene expression on his face.
I'm not too fond of such arrogant types, all of a sudden, blood-spattered into my brain. "Get out now, or I know how to take you out,” I roared.
A young man in a suit showed me his ID card, which he pulled out of his pocket, raised in the air like a football referee. I saw the emblem of a bank on the card and read the words inspector Alper Güngör.
“What do you want? Why did you come to my house?" I asked.
"They always behave like they don't understand. But it's no use,” inspector Alper said.
”I'm here; if you're going to say something, you have to look at me, " I answered.
Alper got up and started examining my virtual reality chair. He even tugged the seatbelts and checked their rigidity as if I wasn't sitting on them. “If we sell it by execution, we will collect all the amount bank deserves,” he said.
I got up from my seat without making a sound, went into the back room, took the taser under my pillow, hid the device behind me, returned to the living room, and gave a solid electric shock to the inspector's waist. He fell to the ground and began to flutter and scream with exaggerated movements. Because his current state looked like a striker trying to show the referee the blow he received in the penalty area, I turned to the man in the triangle tie and said, “Penalty.”
At this time, I noticed that a drone in the form of a baseball was spying on my house, slightly descending and rising in front of my window. It had the same emblem on Inspector Alper's business card on the front. I leaned over and picked up the baseball bat under the couch, opened the window, and got into position for a stylish hit. Seeing the bat, the drone retreated about a meter.
"Dear brother, we intend to collect what we will receive. Pay up, and let's go. There are other customers we need to stop by,” said the older man.
”Now I'm your dear brother," I said, walking over the man with the stick in my hand. In a hurry, he went through his pockets and pulled out his bank-emblazoned ID and said, “We're just doing our duty of warning. Let's come with the police to process the foreclosure,” he said.
"I have no overdue debt. Get out of my house,” I said.
Alper must have crept up quietly behind me while I was busy with the drone and the guy in the triangular tie. I felt a hand grabbing my leg. He just grabbed my leg and lifted it as if it wasn't him who was screaming in pain, and he dropped me on the floor. At this time, the baseball bat fell out of my hand and rolled away on the floor. Alper jumped on me before I could get ready and started squeezing my throat and exclaimed, “You will pay your debt, or I will kill you.” When he said that, his neck veins were swollen, and his face was red like a beet.
I managed to break his balance using my legs. Even though I was on top, he kept squeezing my throat with his claw-like hands. When I made a move to put the middle and index fingers in his eye, he left my throat with a protective instinct and turned to the side and started crying hysterically, as if it wasn't him who tried to kill me a few seconds ago. “Pay our money. We want our money,” he shouted decidedly.
I ran into the kitchen, bought a bread knife, waited there for a while to calm down, and returned to the living room. Alper was sitting on the couch like a cat that spilled its milk.
"Now that I've examined the documents, I understand the matter better. You have a likeness, my beautiful brother. He copied your ID and took out a loan in your name. And I say, Why can't we get along? We, as a bank, are very sensitive about this. We filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor's office. I need you to transfer money to the account number we'll give us so we can follow the case on your behalf," he said the man in a triangular tie.
"Get out of here before I kill you. I called the police. They'll be here soon,” I said.
”We don't leave a house without collecting in principle, " Alper said.
When I walked over them with a knife, they got up and twitched towards the door. “You're crazy. You're mentally ill,” Alper shouted as he walked out the door.
“You'd better give soup money at least. We'd have worn a tie in this heat,” the older guy said as they got into the elevator.
After I returned to the living room, I looked out the window to make sure they were gone. They were walking through Kabatas with the drone following them from above.
Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/dUgFth_6inQ