Roadside Picnic

 

 

 

 

 

< Imagine a picnic. Picture a forest, a country road, a meadow.

A car drives off the country road into the meadow, a group of young people get out of the car carrying bottles, baskets of food, transistor radios, and cameras. They light fires, pitch tents, turn on the music. In the morning they leave. The animals, birds and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places. And what do they see? Gas and oil spilled on the grass. Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around. Rags, burn out bulbs, and a monkey wrench left behind. Oil slicks on the pond. And of course, the usual mess- apple cores, candy wrappers, charred remains of the campfire cans, bottles, somebody's handkerchief, somebody's penknife, torn newspapers, comic, faded flowers picked in another meadow.

 

> I see. A roadside picnic.

 

< Precisely. A roadside picnic, on some road in the cosmos.

 

— Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, from the novel Roadside Picnic