The Hospital by Franz Kafka

Nurse: How long have you been in this corridor?

K: There don’t seem to be any clocks … I think I arrived yesterday.

Nurse: How do you feel?

K: I feel perfectly all right. A little undernourished, maybe, but I’m not complaining.

Nurse: We are understaffed. Our best are at the frontier.

K: At the frontier?

Nurse: Would you like a gurney to lie down on?

K: No, I feel fine.

Nurse: It is regulation for someone in your case.

K: My case? What would that be?

Nurse (frowning as she reads her chart): It just says, “in this case”.

K remains silent as if deep in thought.

Nurse: How did you get here?

K: I was summoned. In fact I was dragged.

Nurse: Dragged? (She recoils in horror.)

K: It was humiliating.

Nurse: One moment. (She goes away and, after five minutes, returns in a protective suit.)

K peers at her anxiously.

Nurse: We have a place for you.

K: A place?

Nurse: You will have to stay there.

K: For how long?

Nurse: Until the governor says it’s all right for you to come out.

K: Oh, the governor. Of course, now I understand. Don’t worry. I can stay as long as you like. I have experience in these matters. Which way is it?


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