“What if something were to happen?  What if something suddenly started throbbing?  Then they would notice it was there and they’d think their hearts were going to burst.  Then what good would their dykes, bulwarks, power houses, furnaces and pile drivers be to them?  It can happen any time, perhaps right now: the omens are present.  For example, the father of a family might go out for a walk, and across the street, he’ll see something like a red rag, blown towards him by the wind.  And when the rag has gotten close to him he’ll see that it is a side of rotten meat, grimy with dust, dragging itself along by crawling, skipping, a piece of writhing flesh rolling in the gutter, spasmodically shooting out spurts of blood.  Or a mother might look at her child’s cheek and ask him: ‘What’s that – a pimple?’ and see the flesh puff out a little, split open, and at the bottom of the split an eye, a laughing eye might appear.  Or they might feel things gently brushing against their bodies, like the caresses of reeds to swimmers in a river.  And they will realize that their clothing has become living things.  And someone else might feel something scratching in his mouth.  He goes to the mirror, opens his mouth: and his tongue is an enormous, live centipede, rubbing its legs together and scraping his palate.  He’d like to spit it out, but the centipede is a part of him and he will have to tear it out with his own hands.  And a crowd of things will appear for which people will have to find new names – stone-eye, great three-cornered arm, toe-crutch, spider-jaw.  And someone might be sleeping in his comfortable bed, in his quiet, warm room, and wake up naked on a bluish earth, in a forest of rustling birch trees, rising red and white towards the sky like the smokestacks of Jouxtebouville, with big bumps half-way out of the ground, hairy and bulbous like onions.  And birds will fly around these birch trees and pick at them with their beaks and make them bleed.  Sperm will flow slowly, gently, from these wounds, sperm mixed with blood, warm and glassy with little bubbles.  Or else nothing like that will happen, there will be no appreciable change, but one morning people will open their blinds and be surprised by a sort of frightful sixth sense, brooding heavily over things and seeming to pause.  Nothing more than that: but for the little time it lasts, there will be hundreds of suicides.  Yes! Let it change just a little, just to see, I don’t ask for anything better.  Then you will see other people, suddenly plunged into solitude.  Men all alone, completely alone with horrible monstrosities, will run through the streets, pass heavily in front of me, their eyes staring, fleeing their ills yet carrying them with them, open-mouthed, with their insect-tongue flapping its wings.  Then I’ll burst out laughing even though my body may be covered with filthy, infected scabs which blossom into flowers of flesh, violets, buttercups.  I’ll lean against a wall and when they go by I’ll shout:  ‘What’s the matter with your science?  What have you done with your humanism?  Where is your dignity?’  I will not be afraid – or at least no more than now.  Will it not still be existence, variations on existence?  All these eyes which will slowly devour a face – they will undoubtedly be too much, but no more than the first two, Existence is what I am afraid of.”

– from Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre