—God is that being than which none greater can be conceived, says Professor Kronecker.
—Stop there, please, replies Professor Cantor, sighing at the thoughts of his colleague or enemy. Are we now placing a limit on human conception?
Kronecker sighs in return. He has designed a few words on the ontological argument for the existence of God—
But now they are stuck.
Shocking. He, his pale body, has made its appearance in a Compendium of Degenerates.
A quarter-smile on his lips,
Rather defensive against the cold of the studio,
Backed against the mid-grey curtain, but there on the page in black and white.
And Otmar, knowing that this, this association of him with degenerates,
One of which he must also now be, presumably,
Would be there for a century or more, to be marvelled at, to be put into fear by, long after he had shuffled off,
The only of him,
Experiences serious discomfiture at this turn of events.
—If you could try not to smile, please… Not what we’re here for, the photographer had requested of him at the time.
For him, Otmar Sillen, apprentice of all trades, and on this day 32 years old, which is old for an apprentice, it had all gone wrong. When he has always thought of himself as reasonably quick-witted, if not book-learned, but wise on the street and ready to entertain.
Perhaps he is too friendly a lad, too prepared to give people the benefit.