What the eternal bells were saying was the same as what the books and newspapers wrote about, what the music sang about in the night-time cafes: "Waste away, waste away, waste away!"
A stranger to all thought, indifferent, as if he did not exist, Lichtenberg walked up to the radiator of the truck. The metal gave off a trembling heat; thousands of men, converted to metal, were resting heavily in the motor, no longer demanding either socialism or truth, sustained by cheap petrol alone. Lichtenberg leaned against the vehicle, pressing his face to it as if to some fallen brotherhood; through the chinks of the radiator he saw the mechanism's tomb-like darkness, in its clefts humanity had lost its way and fallen down dead. Only now and again amid the empty factories could you find mute workers; for every worker there were ten members of the State Guard, and in the course of a day every worker produced a hundred horsepower in order to feed, comfort and arm the guards who ruled over them. One miserable labourer maintained ten triumphant masters, and yet these ten masters were filled not with joy but with anxiety, clutching weapons in their hands against those who were poor and isolated.
Over the radiator of the vehicle hung a golden strip of material bearing an inscription in black letters: "Honour the leader of the Germans - the wise, courageous and great Adolf! Eternal glory to Hitler!" On either side of the inscription lay signs of the swastika, like the tracks of insect feet.
"O splendid nineteenth century, you were wrong!" Lichtenberg said into the dust of the air - and suddenly his thought stopped, transformed into a physical force. He lifted his heavy stick and hit the vehicle in the chest - in the radiator - smashing its honeycombs.
[from Platonov's "Rubbish Wind", 1934. Gorky wrote of this story: "You write strongly and vividly, but this, in the given instance, only underlines the unreality of the story's content, a content which borders on black delirium. I think it is improbable that your story can be printed anywhere." What happens later in the story, shortly after this attempted sabotage, bears this black delirium out to the point that it stops being fantastic. Full-body infections and fur-sprouting devolution after mutilation at the hands of Fascists, through open sores and the hot sleepy decay and nutrition of the rubbish heap, to Nazi work camps and eating the rat that has drank your blood, to a woman rocking her necrotic babies for a week past their death, to cooking your own thigh flesh to be consumed by an unknown policeman, to the flatline point of the "empty settlement, where the life of human beings had been lived to the end, with nothing left over."]