Then they all three left the flat in company, something they had not done for months, and took a tram into the open country on the outskirts of the city. Their tramcar, in which they were the only passengers, was quite filled with warm sunshine. Leaning comfortably back in their seats they discussed their prospects for the time ahead, and it appeared on closer inspection that these were by no means bad, for all three of them had jobs which – though they had never really asked one another about this in any detail – were entirely satisfactory and especially promising for the future. The greatest immediate improvement in their situation would of course come about easily through a change of residence; they would now take a smaller and cheaper, but also a better placed and altogether more manageable flat than their present one, which Gregor had picked for them. While they were thus conversing it struck the two Samsa parents almost at the same moment, as they observed their daughter’s increasing liveliness, that despite all the labours which had turned her cheeks pale she had recently blossomed into a pretty and shapely girl. Growing quieter now, and coming almost unconsciously to agreement by an exchange of glances, they reflected that the time was also ripe to find her a good husband. And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions when at the end of the journey their daughter was the first to rise to her feet and stretch her young body.
Gregor woke to a face full of rubbish. He rolled to his side and spit out a mouthful of rotten cheese. He stood up and immediately found himself thrown from the trash coach that he was on. He landed hard on his back, causing a sharp pain to shoot up and down his spine. He rolled to his side and felt the spot with his fingers. As far as he could tell, there was some sort of lump on his back, roughly the size of an apple, now burning intensely. He rubbed at it vigorously, trying to soothe the pain, but instead it just oozed and burned even more.
“What has happened to me?” he wondered aloud, as he struggled to sit up. He felt extraordinarily weak, and his ribs were protruding noticeably. He looked at his surroundings, trying to get his bearings. “Well, at least I’m not far from home,” he thought, “I’ll just walk there and see if I can’t figure out just what’s going on”. He struggled to his feet, and then trudged his way home.
Gregor arrived to find the whole house quiet. He felt under the mat for the hidden spare key, and let himself in. “I wonder where they’re all off to,” he muttered to himself, “well, in any case, I ought to clean myself. I must be quite a sight, in this state I’m in. Yes, I’ll bathe, eat something, and then await their return.”
He headed to the bathroom, enjoyed a quick bath, carefully cleansing the sore on his back, and then headed to the larder. He found himself some fresh bread, which he enjoyed with a glass of milk. He was unable to eat very much, however, by the shrunken state of his stomach. “How long has it been since I’ve eaten? How long have I been gone? Why can’t I remember anything?” he wondered, exasperated by the gaps in his memory.
“Alright, the last thing I remember is going to bed at home, right after a long business trip,” he thought, pacing through the living room, “Oh, no! With as long as I’ve been gone, I must’ve lost my position in the company! How will we pay back the debt my parents owe now?” Thoughts rushed through his head, and he worried and paced until he was dizzy. He lost his balance and reached for the armchair, but missed. He crumpled to the floor as his vision went black.
The slamming of the front door startled Gregor awake. He lifted his head groggily at the source of the noise. “Who are you?!” the charwoman demanded, “I swear, this Samsa family brings me more trouble than they are worth, first with that enormous dung-beetle they kept in their son’s room, and now with some vagabond sleeping in the living room! I’m tired of this!” Gregor moved to get up, and the charwoman picked up a chair, holding it menacingly. This tickled the edges of Gregor’s memory, but only for a moment. He sat back down, and she put the chair in its place. “Is that it, then? Alright, I’ll be going. I’ll let THEM handle you. Give them my notice, will you?”