Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Death and the...

Nobody can barter with Death.

Johnny tried his hardest: giving his own Death all sorts of options as to how to kill him but with the only proviso that if the option that Death chose turned out to be wrong then Death would leave him alone forever. Death thought it was on to a winner. It had never tried to barter with a human subject before and found it an amusing game. Why not give this Johnny-me-lad a bit of fun, too, just a chance of avoiding Death and befriending an Impossibility called Immortality? Give him this fun, and then snatch it away, with Death ever having the trump card: because only Death could choose how a human died and therefore it would choose an option that would later be fulfilled by the destiny of certainty. Johnny believed in free will, however, even in Death’s free will and consequent fallibility.

Johnny’s wife – Dymphna – was not kept in the loop. Johnny’s big mistake and Death’s good fortune. Johhny had not shared secrets with Dymphna for many years – and a habit extended forever is a habit that by-passes Death – or so went the religious tracts in the only water-tight religion that existed among the gullible race of humans. Not telling Dymphna about his pact with Death was all part of the scheme he hatched. Because he knew Death was a blabber-mouth and would itself tell Dymphna – thus breaking the vicious circle that kept that Impossibility called Immortality at bay. All manner of cause-and-effect and virtuous or vicious circles were at play here. Johnny was no fool. But Death, reading this, had got more and more confused. Until one night – a lucky break for Death – Johnny had a dream that he told Dymphna everything, i.e. that he had bartered with Death and that Death had chosen Mental Breakdown as the cause of Johnny’s own death: a strange choice to make, but Death liked to give itself challenges.

“You can’t die from Mental Breakdown,” said Dymphna in the dream.

“What if I top myself?” said Johnny – in the same dream.

The logic of it was that Suicide was the real cause of death, while the Mental Breakdown itself was merely the Proximate Cause, a term used in Insurance Law.

This put at least nine cats among the proverbial pigeons.

Death did not approve of Euthanasia, of course. And that, coincidentally, was Dymphna’s second name.

Johhny’s still dreaming. A different dream now, with an easy entry doorway from the previous dream that had contained Dymphna, but now a dream with no exit doorway. Perhaps, a prolonged dream of being dead – stretching towards forever forever: a sort of dream that only a rare form of Mental Breakdown in alliance with Sleep could cause. A concept beyond the scope of any religion ... or political correctness regarding insanity ... or the necessity of Pascal’s wager.

This left Death in the doldrums and Dymphna both married to and widowed by the same man. And me left with no real ending, the worst fate of all.

Death and the Lost Gambit. Titles are always best last.

No comments: