A Healthy Man

A healthy man is held at gunpoint after exiting a jewelry store. He had just bought a beautiful diamond necklace for his wife. Barrel pressed against his forehead, he yelps, “You can have it!” and tosses the necklace to his assailant. The assailant lets the necklace fall to the ground, and it shatters. He keeps the gun pressed against the man’s forehead, silent. The man’s panic intensifies. “Would you rather have my watch?” He unstraps his watch and tosses it to his assailant. Again, the assailant lets the watch fall to the ground. It doesn’t shatter; it’s too cheap. “What do you want?” the man shrieks. His assailant says nothing. “This is all I have,” pleads the man, offering his wallet for his life. He plucks a few bills from the wallet’s leather mouth and flings them at his assailant. They bounce off his assailant’s chest and land alongside the man’s watch and the glistening fragments of the necklace. The assailant remains steadfast in his silence and unflinching in his stance. The man, exasperated, cries, “At last, I know why you are here! You want to hurt me. So be it.” And he grabbed the sole object left in his wallet -- a photo of him and his wife -- and handed it to his assailant. Then he ran, as fast as his shaky legs would carry him, until he reached home. And as he entered his tidy, oppressive apartment, he understood there was no robber. And he mourned the loss of the photo, the only one he shared with his wife, which he had given to no one, for no purpose. And then he wondered why he had only one photo with his wife and concluded that he must not be married at all. Had he invented the robber and his wife at the same moment? What else might be an illusion? But then the man remembered he was a healthy man, and healthy men don’t suffer illusions. No, the events of that day had simply occurred, and now they had passed. To ask why would be useless: no one would ever answer. And with this knowledge, the man went to sleep.

For more articles by Bartholomew Bax, click here. To get in touch with this writer, email bartholomew.bax@surrealtimes.net.


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