Wednesday, November 30, 2016

that simple

ralph and pete were roommates.

they had some things in common, others not so much.

but they both paid their share of the rent on time , so they stayed together as the months and years went by.

ralph worked in a drugstore, pete in the bakery section of a supermarket.

at the end of the day, neither of them ever wanted to talk about their jobs.

neither of them had much interest in women, or fine cuisine, or even going to the movies.

ralph had no formal education, but he liked to go to the library and read books to try to educate himself.

he read books about astrology, and archaeology, and the history of the automobile, and arctic and antarctic exploration, and buddhism, and all sorts of things.

he read the bible and the quran, and books by plato and st augustine and schopenhauer and heidigger and sartre and derrida and ayn rand.

and biographies of cleopatra and mary queen of scots and stalin and hitler and winston churchill and j robert oppenheimer and so forth.

he developed his own theories about life and history and the universe, and he would sometimes try to share these with pete.

pete’s only interests were playing the lottery (on which all his dreams were centered) and betting on the races and on football.

when ralph started expounding his ideas about life and history, and especially when he tried to relate them to current events, pete would listen with one ear, and if he responded at all, it was usually by saying,

“it’s not that simple.”

pete would then return his attention to the racing form, or to considering whether he should bet on the green bay packers or the arizona cardinals in the monday night football game.

ralph was a little disappointed that pete did not take more interest in his theories, but on the other hand he did not lose any sleep about it.

the days went by.

one morning ralph got up and he noticed that pete must not have gotten up, because his coffee cup was not beside the sink.

pete always had a cup or two of coffee in the morning and then washed the cup and left it beside the sink to dry before he went to work at the supermarket.

after knocking, ralph went into pete’s room.

pete was lying on his back with his mouth open. he was dead. had died in the night, without ever winning the lottery.

ralph looked down at pete”s body.

“you’re dead. pete,” he said. “it’s that simple.”