Heir to varied and easy fortunes, a lover of sport and of life in the open-air, Serten is nevertheless afflicted by annoying inhibitions, the sad legacy of the urbane type as well as the logical consequence of a flawed upbringing. To free himself from this (and lacking neither the means nor the willpower) the young man has trustingly placed himself in the hands of the best neurosurgeons. The neurosurgeons at first advised him to go for the simplest operation, a series of electric shocks. However, Serten objected that one could only expect commonplace results from such a commonplace operation. Moreover, a colleague at university after his third electric shock treatment had been seen walking around with his tongue sticking out of his mouth and arms grazing the pavement. Even if his tongue has begun to return to its proper position recently, his family has long since despaired of ever returning him to the right track. Therefore Serten has opted for a lobotomy, a very fine operation invented in Portugal: a small hole has been made in his right temple and another in his left, a thread was then introduced through the hole and the able surgeon cut the connection between his thalamus and his frontal lobes with two swift tears. This operation took place a few years ago: since then neurosurgical techniques have changed a lot and been perfected and Serten, too, has changed and been made more perfect.
He is often in very high spirits and has become rather waggish. On the occasion of the recent solemn funeral of a palatine cardinal he tailed the procession in his car with his umbrella open inside the car while wearing no trousers. Fortunately the crowd, in its deep mourning weren’t aware of this. The only embarassing moment came when Serten started to hurl some artichokes, a few dozen of them, in front of the monumental gates of the cemetery of the Beati Rapiti. He remembers perfectly well where he lives and recognizes fully the members of his family who are all rather perturbed by his perpetual displays of good humour and have all gradually, one by one, begun to move elsewhere. A brother of his tried to banish him using a salmon full of gunpowder which exploded at lunch. This attempt met with no success, however, because Serten has remained miraculously lucid, he knows how to count to 14, distinguishes the letters S & M and painting a certain sexual organ with Indian ink on a female cousins coat is certainly not enough to justify banishing a healthy and rich young man.
Given the success of the first operation, Serten has got other regions of his brain pricked, dissected and isolated. A few times in order to reach a particularly intricate part of his cortex they had to open his skullcap using the typical horseshoe cut with a hand drill and saw, upsetting the parietal lobe. In this way he has managed to fully eliminate his sense of duty, shame, submission, remorse, fear, modesty, piety, insomnia and other such similar anomalies, all of them as rare as they are undesirable. Soft platinum protruberances stick out from his hair as trophies of a long battle for liberation. Most recently ultrasonic techniques have opened the door to interesting new operations in the most secluded parts of the brain where the hypothalamus, hypophysis and putamen of the striated muscle is hidden. After the second application of the ultra-wave therapy, Serten has almost entirely lost his sense of direction as well as the few remaining social and sexual inhibitions that he still had. He sometimes finds himself in the fog in some meadow somewhere in the distant suburbs where he suddenly, forgetful and happy, begins to make love to a sheep or even (it’s all the same to him) a ram, stoic and thoughtful beasts. Finally exhausted, ragged unkempt and dirty he runs into a local policeman on night duty and kissing him passionately on the mouth or on his stomach he asks him to take him home or, at least, to call him a taxi.