What’s that? said Alex. It’s something I wrote for my Literature class. Your literature class? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, the assignment was to imitate a twentieth century American author. Who did you choose? I chose Hemingway, would you like to hear what I wrote? I’d love to, said Alex.
“I suppose that’s that, said Nick.
“I suppose so,” said Jim.
“I would have thought it would be longer,” said Nick.
“Or shorter,” said Jim.
The wind was in the trees and the wind was on the roof and Nick slumped in his chair and Jim slumped in his chair. The darkness grew until the voices were only two dark chairs talking. The voice of Nick’s chair said, “I suppose this is what the room sounds like when no one’s here.”
“Yes,” said the voice from Jim’s chair, “the sound of the wind on the walls of an empty room.”
“Do you suppose this is what death is like?” said the voice from Nick’s chair.
“Two voices in an empty room?” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices,” said Nick’s chair, “with no objects to distract them.”
“And no words,” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Nick’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
“Or just the wind?” said Nick’s chair.
“Or just the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
The dark chairs sat in the sound of the wind and were dark.
Hmmm, thought Blurtso, the season is really changing. Soon the leaves will turn yellow and fall. And once again I’ll be astonished… by the newness of predictable things.
I’m not looking forward to it.
I like to spend time with quiet people…
Whew! said Blurtso, this sun is hot! I wonder if it is dangerous? I wonder if it will make me collapse? I wonder if it will make me collapse on my side or collapse in a heap? I wonder if I will know I have collapsed? I wonder if my nose will make puffs of dust in the sand? I wonder if the dust will make me choke? I wonder if I will know I have collapsed and am choking and making puffs of dust in the sand? Whew! said Blurtso, this sun is hot!
Hmm, thought Blurtso, number 67. There are 53 numbers in front of me. I wish those numbers didn’t exist, except that they refer to people… which is easy to forget.
Eulogy? said Bonny. Yes, I could say something… “Here lies a tree. It was a good tree. A tree that made use of what was offered, and offered what made use. It grew without haste, and it grew without malice. And when it fell, it made a sound.”
I’m worried about Ditto, said Bonny. Why? said Pablo. Because, said Bonny, he’s spending too much time with that tree.
Go fish, said Ditto.
Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Are you awake? Yes, said Harlan. What are you thinking about? Mortality, said Harlan. Mortality? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, do you believe in reincarnation? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, what’s reincarnation? That’s when your soul comes back as a different animal. After you die? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, if you live a good life you come back as a higher one, and if you live a bad life you come back as a lower one. A lower animal? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Like a human? said Blurtso.