The Final Question
What will my final question be? Why not suicide? Who has asked the same
before? Beckett? Bernhard? Who invented depression? When will the
shiny-shoed man in my dreams stop tapping his umbrella?
Why are cigarettes so expensive? Why is medicine? Why did my wife
leave? If I had known a year earlier, could I have prevented it? Why
did the cashier look ready to call security when I tried to make small
talk? Why can't I tell what anyone is thinking? Why can't I control my
thoughts? Why did that song on the supermarket loudspeaker make me
sweat so? Why did a windblown newspaper in the street appear blank
except for a single, troubling instruction? Who said, "Kill God, kill
your parents, kill yourself?" Isn't that a Buddhist teaching? Isn't it
legal to kill your wife as punishment for adultery in certain
countries? Why are all of those countries very hot?
Why do people stare and look away when I notice? Why did the young man
walking his dog nod in my direction like he knew what I knew, and then
pretend not to understand? Why did he make me force it out of him? Why
wouldn't his little dog stop yelling, at first? Why did it never
occur to me that the word "cuckold," with minor alterations, yields not
only "cluck" and "cock," but also "cuckoo?"
Could I have persuaded the jury with a different argument? How can they
hold me accountable after I explained the Lacanian
position—that the authentic self is an illusion? Can I
survive in here? Out there? For how long? Is this really the final
Brooks Sterritt is an editor at Redivider. He's had stories in Barrelhouse, Word Riot, Dogzplot and
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201004q.htm
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
of D. Sharon Pruitt.
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