Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ask at the Box Office

"There must have been a moment," says Rosencrans (unless it's Guildenstern), with the rope around his neck. "There must have been a moment, early on, when we could have said no."

But of course there wasn't. By the time you understand enough to say yes or no you are already implicated, compromised, and obligated: accessory to murder, affections pledged, mortgaged to the hilt.

Any meaningful yes or no will necessarily look like ingratitude, if not betrayal. It's too late. It's already too late. We start too late. Every human life starts in medias res. We appear on the stage with a script in our hands, already reading. We're a bad sport if we lift our eyes from the script; we show terribly bad taste if we depart from our lines and object that we never consented to play this part. But that's what we have to do. Stop the play. Disappoint everyone.

The show's over. Go home. You can ask for your money back at the box office. (Good bloody luck.)

I understand that now. But I'm still reading out my lines, even if the paper's shaking and I'm slurring whole passages. Everyone on the boards is exasperated with me. They'll be more exasperated, soon. I can't do much more of this.

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