Stone and Brick

Conversation room.

I walk in through the arch from the hallway, still carrying the kill stone.

There is a large desk in the center of the room, with a high leather desk chair behind it.  The person sitting in the chair is played by William H. Macy, but now he is dressed in a black suit with a white shirt and black tie.  He is clean, well-groomed, and is wearing a pair of glasses with a thin metal frame.  On the desk in front of him is a brick.  One single red brick.

I walk to the desk and gently set the kill stone on its surface, next to the brick.  “I believe this is what you wanted?”

His eyes have been on the brick.  They move briefly to the stone I have just placed before him.  “Yes, that’s it.”  His eyes return to the brick.

“So… Why exactly did I have to go and fetch this for you?  Why didn’t you go and get it yourself?”

He looks up at me for a few seconds before responding.  He points at the stone.  “You already know that this stone is some kind of death.  I don’t know much more than that, except that it is the death of one of us who especially loved to walk that road in the woods.  In a sense, he died on the beach.  In another sense, he is here today in order to die.”

I think about that for a moment.  I can’t suppress a grin.  “But this is going to be like that show, Six Feet Under, isn’t it?  Dead people can still show up anytime.”

“Dead people do still show up…”  His eyes return to the brick.  “…all the time.”  He grins too.  “We all see dead people.  We all are dead people.”

I feel no sense of urgency with regard to figuring out what he means.  Not now, at least.  “And the brick?”

Longish silence.

“The brick is from a church service.  I was isolated at the time of the service, but it seems to me now as if I was there, vaguely.  I think you should remember being there.”

I try to pretend to myself that I don’t remember, but this seems so silly that I give it up almost immediately.  “Yes, I remember.”

He looks up at me again.  “Tell me what happened.  It’s very unclear to me.”

I sigh.  “It was a communion service.  I don’t remember exactly how the minister set it up, but the idea was that we had these bricks, and they were burdens or something.  When we went up to receive communion, we were supposed to leave our bricks there, in front of the sanctuary.  I went up, set down my brick, and took the bread and the cup in frustration and haste.  I ate and drank, though the idea was that we were supposed to return to our seats and then eat and drink together.  I returned to my seat.”

“Why the frustration and haste?”

“I don’t remember now.”

“But you did leave the brick at the front.”

“Yes, I did.”

He looks intently into my eyes, apparently reading something there.  “But… ?”

Long silence.

He tries again.  “There is a ‘but,’ correct?”

I nod.  “I still had the brick too.  I hadn’t left it.”

He sits back in the chair and nods as if he now understands.

I wait, but he says nothing.  “So… ?”

He points to the brick.  “That’s some sort of death too.  This is one of the things that we have to figure out now.”  Pause.  “But not just you and me, and not today.”

I guess relief and dread are totally compatible.

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