“Did I invite you in? I don’t believe I did.”

“Well, no, but I — “

“So you assumed I want you here.”

“I don’t mean to intrude. I’ll leave if you like.”

“Why would you after you’ve gone to the trouble to let yourself in?”

“That seems to have bothered you.”

“Your assumption.”

“Perhaps this isn’t the best time.”

“For what?”

“My visit.”

“So this is a ‘visit.’ ”

“If you like.”

“I don’t know if I do.”

“Why don’t I leave?”

“When you’ve only just come?”

“I feel as if I’ve already overstayed.”


“Well, if you don’t mind — ”

“I might.”

“I’m going to leave.”

“For God’s sake, make up your mind. Sit down, will you?”

“There are no chairs.”

“Of course.”

“Would you like me to stay or not?”

“Stay or go. I cannot compel you.”

“I thought, given your situation, that talking might be helpful.”

“My situation?”


“And what is my ‘situation?’ ”

“I thought that would be obvious.”

“If it is so to you, then you will have no trouble explaining it to me.”

“This is the hospital’s hospice wing.”

“So they’ve decided my case is hopeless.”

“There is no cure.”

“I could have told them that seventy-five years ago.”

“I’m sure they wished to prolong — ”

“Yes, of course, prolong.”

“It’s not what you wanted?”

“I had no say in the matter.”

“You weren’t given a choice?”

“ ‘Choice’ . . . the grand illusion perpetrated on us from birth.”

“God gives each of us the ability to choose.”

“Ahh, so now it’s clear!”

“What do you mean?”

“Your intrusion.”

“I had not thought of it as such.”

“Of course not. You hold it to be your prerogative.”

“I can still leave.”

“As you wish.”

“Staying may have some value.”

“To me?”


“That is your conceit.”

Then I will leave.”

“Is there no end to your dithering?”

“I . . . “

“You prate on about ‘choice,’ so choose.”

“I will stay.”

“Or go.”

“I’ve decided.”

“As you wish. Now, sit down, will you?”

“There are no chairs.”

“Exactly. Then open the window. Fresh air will do us good.”

“But there are no windows.”

“Why would there be?”

“May I ask — ”

“The choice is yours.”

“Are you always this . . . argumentative?”

“Only at this time of the day.”

“And how would you know?”

“Know what?”

“The time.”

“I look at the clock.”

“There is no clock.”

“Of course.”

“Are you not afraid?”

“Aren’t you?”

“I’m asking you.”

“Of what should I be afraid? That you will never leave?”

“Of what lies ahead.”

“And what might that be?”

“Surely, you’re aware?”

“Of what?”

“Do you not fear what follows . . . this?”

“If we must engage in this tedium . . .”

“Is that all this is to you?”

“Do you see the light switch?”

“There is no light switch.”

“Why would there be?”

“Well . . .”

“When the switch is thrown, the light goes out. What is there to fear in that?”

“What follows.”

“And what would that be?”

“If you believe in God — ”

“Ahh, here we go again, the insidious purpose behind your ‘visit.’ ”

“Why did you suppose I’d come?”

“Perhaps to offer something useful.”

“I’d hoped that I could.”

“Well, if you intend to go on about God . . .”

“It goes with the territory.”

“Too late in the game.”

“It’s never too late.”

“A comforting illusion.”

“The peace that passes all understanding.”

“And another!”

“Is that all it is, a delusion?”

“Could it be anything else?”

“Then I should leave.”

“Are we going to go through that again?”

“What would you have me do?”

“You could start by waking up.”

“But I’m not asleep.”

“Yet another delusion.”

“God can quiet your cynicism.”

“It’s all I have left.”

“And quell your anger.”

“Typical of His cruelty.”

“What would you have Him do, then?”

“End the farce.”

“Life is no farce.”

“It may not have begun that way, or so you who peddle the myth would have us believe.”

“It is no myth.”

“If that helps you sleep better at night.”

“God had His plan.”

“To create perfection?


“Then why plant the tree of its undoing?”

“His plan — ”

“Yes, His ‘plan.’ A mistake?

“He cannot err.”

“Then intentional.”

“He would not. He is just. And merciful.”

“Surely of great comfort in the barracks of Treblinka.”

“We cannot know His mind.”

“The most soothing delusion of them all!”

“It is not a delusion.”

Quod erat demonstrandum.”

“So I have nothing of value to offer you?”

“You could offer me a drink of water.”

“There is a pitcher but no glass.”

“Thus does ‘God’ provide! Yesterday there was a glass but no pitcher.”

“It’s time for me to go.”

“Or stay.”

“I think not.”

“Your choice, but if you stay, sit down.”

“There are no chairs.”


“I’ll leave.”

“As you do, turn out the light.”

“But there is no switch.”

“I already told you that.”

“No, I told you.”

“Are you now going to argue with me?”

“No. I’m leaving.”

“Or, you’re free to stay, just please sit down.”

“But there are no chairs.”

“Of course.”

Photo by stokkete from Adobe Stock


Follow us