Hmmm, to begin a fable ‘Hmmm’ is a little more involving than ‘Once upon a time' or ‘The night was dark’, perhaps indicating that the writer is annoyed or mystified – not by the story he is about to tell – but annoyed or mystified by the reader ... you.
How was the writer to gear the story to an unknown reader, a reader who irritatingly gave away no identification? But the ‘Hmmm’ was perhaps a sign of struggling with the thought of your writing the whole thing retrocausally.
Eventually, no longer concerned with such rarefications of the reader, he teased himself with the prescribed title: The Death and the - - -. The Death and the dash dash dash. Not the Death and the Maiden, of Schubert fame. Not the Death and the Reader. Three dashes implied three words – or one word with three letters.
He turned over his pencil as if poised to erase the three dashes and replace them with words. He decided finally to retain the three dashes in the title and he erased “Death and the” – leaving some tiny bits of used rubber residue sprinkling the paper around the three dashes.
Aflliction often preceded Death but Death in itself was not an affliction because Death had no effect. Death was the end of effects. The end of causes, too. Death and the whatever, Death and the Salesman, Death and the Heart, Death and the Blind Venetian, all good titles, but they could not mean anything even if they had fitted the three dashes. Death could accompany nothing. Death absorbed everything into itself as soon as it was known to be what it was or had been. Death possessed none of the five senses, yours or its own. It had no sense of sensing or of being sensed. It could not be coupled, therefore. Or, if coupled, coupled only with itself. Death and the Death. Never more than two Deaths because as soon as there were more than one there was simultaneously only one. Death and the One.
Dead people write in pencil. Posthmmmously.