A Fourth And A Fig

A gaunt old man wearing a tuxedo stands at a podium and raises a trophy he has just won in front of an adoring crowd giving him a standing ovation: “They do not live in the world. They live inside themselves. And because of this they do not have any stories to tell, or maybe they only have one, and that one story has been told so many times it no longer holds any interest for anyone, the writer or the reader. They have lost the ability to interpret objects, such as this trophy. To them it means nothing, but to me it means something very specific. Because I live in the world. I live inside a system that has been catalogued down to the very last item. And for this I have secured a spot in heaven. The rest of them will go straight to hell.” Jackie Stewart lies in a hospital bed and gives his doctor and nurse a thumb’s up: “No one can see the curves better than Jackie Stewart.” A morbidly obese man sits on a couch and dunks a series of Nilla Wafers into a chocolate milkshake: “Three months ago you should have seen him he looked fantastic. Then he got sick and stopped exercising. Now look at him. He keeps telling me he wants to get back on the treadmill but I don’t think it’s safe. I think this is it.” Two Rabbits sitting in the grass: “There’s no reason why one of us gets made real and one of us doesn’t. It’s all luck. And who you know. Actually, it’s more who you know than luck. So if you’re good at making friends then you should be okay. I’m not a people person. So I fall on the luck side of it.” A young woman stands in the middle of her kitchen trying to read the label on a bottle of pills: “It’s been such a long time since I forgot to take them that I don’t remember what I’m supposed to do when I forget to take them.” Red Holzman stands behind Earl Monroe and massages Earl’s shoulders: “Why would you do that to yourself? What point are you trying to make? At the end of the day the only person who ends up getting hurt is you. At the end of the day. At the end of the day? What does that mean? At the end of the day. I have no idea what that really means and I’ve been saying it for years.” The landlord of a vacant apartment unit stands in the bedroom and inspects the new curtain treatment he has had installed: “Even though no one could tell what had happened in the apartment he wondered if reason no one would rent it is because they could still smell the carnage, as if it had soaked into the molecular structure of the walls.” An old Russian man walking through a field of wheat with his emaciated hound dog: “The Deluxe Chrysler 500XL seats four and comes with Power Steering, a Sunroof, and real leather interior. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. We’re sorry, but we made a mistake. Please allow us to apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused. Please accept this check as a token of our appreciation for your patience and understanding.”  Two mean wearing bathrobes violently embrace in the middle of a hospital reception area: “Despite their mutual hatred and disgust for each other, Carl and Robert could not deny the fact that they had been yoked together by historical vicissitudes beyond their control, and in the future, when people spoke of one they would always speak of the other.” A nurse sits in the hospital commissary and picks at her chicken parmesan: “Now that the streetlights are working again she feels safer walking to her car, but there are still some men who refuse to accept that she is not looking for a date, and it is when she has to rebuff these men that she wishes the streets would go dark again.” Prince Charles smokes a cigar and holds a snifter of brandy while Princess Diana cleans her ears with a Q-Tip: “Personally, I don’t think I look like a New Yorker at all. I think I’m the most Polish looking British man I’ve ever seen. I have no idea why people would ever think that, unless it’s some kind of Jew thing. But then I’ve met Jewish people, old Jewish people, who have asked me if I have any blood ties with Germany, if you catch my drift. But to me that kind of association is fine. It works in my favor. They’ll see. When I’m king I’ll start the war to end all wars. No one will ever forget who I was.”

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