Pins, stabbing, needles, washing one’s hands, wringing of hands, the devil knows, headaches, losing one’s head both figuratively and literally.
The book is a fever.
Is Bulgakov implying the state is the devil? The state can judge your story as true or not true or either when is convenient.
And the narrator keeps addressing us, the reader, as if we all know this story to be well true enough, we’re ‘in’ on it