Authors: Erich von Daniken
Tomy and the Planet of Lies
Erich von DÃ¤niken
Translated by Nicholas Quaintmere
TOMY AND THE PLANET OF LIES
Copyright Â© 2012 Erich von DÃ¤niken
Translation Copyright Â© 2007, 2012 Nicholas Quintmere
This electronic format is published by Tantor eBooks,
a division of Tantor Media, Inc, and was produced in the year 2012, All rights reserved.
His very existence was an impossibility. An anachronism. Looking at it from a scientific point of view, Tomy shouldn't have existed at all, and yet he had been thereâutterly real, and with a human body. Regardless of what science had to say about it. At any rate, Tomy was here and lived among us for several weeks and that was enough time for him to get to know plenty of people, both good and bad. God knows I wasn't the only one that knew Tomy. Though I have to say that only a handful of people knew what I knew, and those who didn't belong to this inner circle really had no idea who Tomy actually was.
Sometimes, in secluded moments, holding a glass of red wine up in front of my eyes, I was overcome by a great fear that I had dreamt the whole episode with Tomy. But Tomy wasn't a ghost. At home absolutely everything reminded me of him: his room, the furniture, even the knives and forks. When signals like that are flying at you from every direction, you can't really escape your past. So I tried to find an excuse and painfully realized that Tomy would have reprimanded me for my lying. As a result, as I said to Mario, the barman in the Suvretta House Hotel, I had suddenly felt that a change of air would do me good. And the air in St. Moritz seemed the best air of all.
“A wise decision,” said Mario and started telling me about various incidents that he had experienced during his 30 years at the Suvretta House Hotel. As I listened to Mario's accounts I honestly felt my breath catch in my throat.
Seeing as most of the guests at this time of the evening were still chatting away in the dining room, I invited Mario to join me in a bottle of champagne. He declined, as he had only just started his shift.
Three hours later, still propped on my stool and staring bleary-eyed through the array of bottles lining the mirrored wall behind the bar, I thought I saw the examining magistrate from Solothurn coming towards me. “Send that man away,” I commanded Mario. But he couldn't see anyone, and his assistant too assured me that no one was there.
It's now around 11 o'clock in the morning and the young ice princesses are turning pirouettes on the ice rink down below. I'm totally embarrassed that I threw my glass at the mirrored wall last night. I apologized profusely to Mario and generously recompensed him for the damage. At least that grinning face had disappeared after my clattering throw. Later on, I will go and apologize to the hotel director and say to him that I cannot explain my wild outburst and that it must be due to being overworked. And in the very moment that I am concocting up my excuse for my poor behavior, I feel the touch of breath behind me that I had felt so often during those weeks when Tomy had starred over my shoulder while I was working at my desk. I can hear him gently mocking me: “Erich, that lie is totally unnecessary.”
Great! But what are you supposed to do when you can't tell the truth because it's too unbelievable?
The hotel director didn't hold my excessive behavior against me, although he let me know, in his extremely distinguished manner, that repeating the event would be severely frowned upon. I took his hand and promised him he had nothing to worry about. And I didn't feel that I was lying.
In the meantime, a few rays of sunshine have begun to poke through the clouds. I'm sitting with a strong cup of black tea in front of me, trying to come to grips with myself and my situation.
It's exactly two days since the examining magistrate from Solothurn revealed thatâfor the time beingâhe would not need any more statements from me. For the time being. With these people you never know what's coming later. They had questioned me for days: the experts, the forensic specialists, the detectives and, of course, the dogged examining magistrate. Kelle-hans, he was called. Killer Hans, more like. They had wanted to know every single tiny detail about what had happened, andâwith hindsightâI should be happy that they didn't take me into custody. I told the truth. In every single interview. Nobody believed a word. Not even after Marc, who had been there from the very beginning, had corroborated every single word in separate interrogation, and not even after my wife, Elisabeth, had also confirmed every one of my statements. Even the gentlemen who were grilling me could understand my frustration. And I could understand the questioners, too, because what I had experienced was utterly impossible. A man materializes out of thin air and then, just as suddenly, disappears after spending several weeks living at my side. And everyone had seen him, talked to him, and asked him questions. Who was going to buy that? Even though it was the truth, pure and simple.
The experts had been the worst. They had torn me apart on a daily basis and I had experienced some really bizarre moments. Everyone believed everyone and no one believed anyone. What good were articles of clothing, shoes, a watch, and underwear? What good were fingerprints, when their owner hadn't even been good enough to leave a body behind? A body, by the way, thatâeven if it had existedâwas not of this earth and yet nevertheless was a human being. A body that had no birth certificate, no baptism certificate, no scholastic records, and no earthly past whatsoever, aside from the weeks that he had spent among us.
At any rate, they had confiscated a letter from Tomyâscribbled down in blue ballpoint in his handwriting that looked so infuriatingly similar to my own, which made the whole thing even more complicated. This letter, written to my housekeeper Edith, had provided the police with Tomy's fingerprints. But, impossibly, Tomy had exactly the same fingerprints as me. Something that had never been seen anywhere in the world. Everyone has his own, unique fingerprints. Except for Tomy and me! The examining magistrate had held the fingerprints up under my nose. Tomy's and mine. They were identical.
are the corpse!” he screamed at me.
I shouted back, just as loud.
“But you can see that I'm standing in front of you!” I said. “Alive, for God's sake! I've explained to you a thousand times how Tomy came into being. And his fingerprints are the proof: he was a copy of me! Have you never heard of clones?”
The examining magistrate just laughed at that and said spitefully that I didn't need to come up with such nonsense. Human cloning was impossible, not to mention the fact that there had not been nearly enough time. Then he held up Tomy's passport. It was a replacement passport, issued by the Swiss embassy in Teheran.
“And this?” his asked, impatiently, “Is this some kind of ghost? A Swiss passport, made out for an Anton von DÃ¤niken, born April 24, 1957, 169 centimeters tall, brown eyes, brown hair, and distinguishing features: a mole on the back of the left hand, although no Anton von DÃ¤niken was ever born in Zofingen on April 24, 1957. Do you take us for idiots?”
They would eventually figure what was rotten in the state of Denmark. Moreover, he slyly pointed out, waving his finger threateningly towards me, that if Tomy and I were so identical and now one of us was missing, then I could just as easily be the copy and it was the real Erich von DÃ¤niken who had been murdered. “Prove to me,” he demanded, slamming his fist into the table, “that you are the original!”
“But you already know from my wife, from Marc and all the other witnesses that Tomy was thirty years younger than me,” I moaned back at him. “I'm 52 years old! Or do I look to you like a 22-year-old?”
In the light of all these improbable events, I had spontaneously decided to leave Solothurn and come here. I knew the Suvretta House Hotel in St. Moritz from earlier visits. I had called the examining magistrate beforehand and put him in the picture regarding my new whereaboutsâpublic prosecutors and Swiss examining magistrates are no different; you never knew when they might change their minds and lead them to issue a warrant for your arrest. I was only allowed to go on condition that I called Solothurn once a day. If I didn't call, for whatever reason, the authorities would assume that I was attempting to flee justice.
It was now, while drinking my third cup of Darjeeling tea, that I came up with my plan to write down the events of the previous few weeks. No, not for the benefit of others, but rather so that I could get straight in my own head what had really happened.
True, I hadânow and againâtaken a close look at myself to see if I had been suffering from hallucinations. To see if I had duped Marc, my wife, and all the others who knew Tomy. Whenever I needed reassurance, I called Marcâor one of the others involvedâand asked them to recount certain situations to me, just using key words. But my memory of the events always proved to be perfect. Everyone else's experiences with Tomy were exactly the same as mine.
I wrote down these key words until late in the night. At around two in the morning, I called Marcâdragging him out of sleepâand asked him what Tomy's first words had been. I had written down the words as I remembered them before I had dialed. Marc pleaded for a moment to get his head together. Then he slowly quoted Tomy's first words. They had obviously left a pretty strong impression in his memory, too, because what he now said matched what I had written exactlyâword for word. “You don't really want to shoot yourself, do you?” had been the first thing that we had heard from Tomy's lips. I thanked Marc profusely, but warned him that he could look forward to further calls. But for the rest of that night I let him have his peace.
* * *
I have a wonderful view of the Corvatsch, the famous mountain just south of St. Moritz. The sky is now the kind of blue that you can only see in Engadin. My thoughts are suddenly captivated by the rocky cliffs and glaciers; they lose themselves somewhere where only thoughts can go. If only the piece of paper covered in my scribbled notes wasn't lying there on the table. Suddenly my idea to write everything down seems futile. Who would ever believe any of it anyway? I'm not related to Marc in any way; he was my secretary back then and is my friend now. And during that dangerous trip through the highlands of Pakistan, he had also proved to be an extremely reliable partner. He is much younger than me, and of course I felt responsible for him because I had persuaded him to take this trip. For him, if no one else, I would write down that bizarre sequence of events so that he, too, could finally be rid of his nightmares.
Marc hasn't slept properly since the day he met Tomy. His mother recently told me that Marc had cried out during the night. What he had said, she hadn't been able to understand, but she had found him sitting up in bed, drenched in sweat.
When I hear stories like that I ask myself if we had ever really had a chance to free ourselves of Tomy. It's true that he was a man like us, of flesh and blood, even if he did appear under highly mysterious circumstances. And then he disappeared under even more mysterious circumstances. Of course, we could never have just left him there defenseless and alone in the cold, early dawn. Especially with the knowledge that the rising sun would bring with it temperatures that would mean an agonizing death for anyone left alone in the desert.
And because we didn't leave him there, we ended up living through an adventure that, in the end, left us looking like murderers. Marc and I know that we're not murderers, and my wife knows it too, but we suspect that none of the officers investigating the case are quite so convinced of our innocence. If they were, we might have been able to carry out the perfect murder.
What I now writeâfrom my memory, the notes of the previous night, and several phone conversations with Marcâis basically the story that the examining magistrate Kellerhans already knows. Marc and I had to make countless statements to the effect. But the difference between all those civil servants and us is that, although they didn't believe a word of what we said, we know with absolute certainty that is exactly how it was.