In with all that noise, we'd both already been knee deep in discussions about the nature of the universe because we're both like that, he and I. We'd come to this point, then, with death and questions. Two pints, a couple of burgers, and an hour of free time.
The place was crowded, like it gets. The jukebox there is excellent, prescient and scary good at making the most of the people around it. The Pogues "Streets of Sorrow" kicks on, and you know how the light is in that joint, and the way the beer hits, and we're talking about the end. You know, The End.
The end, as reality. Sam says, you know, I couldn't think of an answer to your question about Buddhists and suicide. If all life is suffering, why not end it? I could google the answer, yeah, but I couldn't find it in me.
Is life different with ownership of the timeline? I turn my mind over at night sometimes, looking for the answer. The world spins and burns.
Sam says, you hear these bits of advice, things like "live everyday like it's your last" and "you only live once" and that's fine and all. So think about it, as a mental exercise: what if you were going to die tomorrow. What would you do different? You'd probably not go to work or sit in traffic. OK, what if you knew you were going to die in a week? How does your behavior change? How about if you had a year? Five years?
Sam says, after a few more swallows of beer and some heavy conversation, says you know what would be a cool story? You ever see that television show, The Millionaire? Black and white, you probably didn't. Anyhow, this shadowy rich guy...we never see him...picks a person out of the world and sends his assistant to give the person a check for a million bucks. The show was, what they did with that cash, and what the cash did with them. Great show. Anyhow, I have this idea, it's a good one. This shadowy guy, he somehow gets in touch with you, and you and he sit down to talk. And he's obviously wealthy as shit and powerful, like the building he's in has his name on it. And so you go to meet him, ya know? Summoned, expensive car meets you, expensive building awaits. And this guy, he sits you down and he says:
In ten years I am going to kill you. There's nothing you can do about it, I'm extremely good at this, and the people I employ have already started this process, and it is unstoppable. You won't feel a thing, and no one will know that you were murdered. Unknown Causes, we could call this story. Anyhow, the rich guy says, ten years, buddy. Guaranteed. Dead. Now, you may die of other causes between now and then, ain't nothing to do with me. But you will not live past ten years from noon today. Then he just lets you go. Nothing ambivalent, no anger, just business. Like, no reason and none offered. Unemotional. Sends you home.
And then, what do you do?
I tell Sam, it's an excellent story. We can sell that fucker to Hollywood, make a coupla', and move to Oregon to trap ermine and farm beets.
Sam says, yeah. Also, he says, I'm going to kill you in five years.
I tell him, how about next Monday instead?
We laugh. The beer goes down. We drive back to work, laughing about the possibilities.
We keep going and going, until we become what we always were.
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