…and I’m gettin’ old

“What’s the matter?”

Bruce whirls around and looks at me with those William H. Macy haunted eyes.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.  You were just shivering and staring into space when I opened my eyes.  You looked as though you might pass out.”

He relaxes in his chair a bit.  ”I’m alright, aside from a strange craving for a cigarette that I think is a cheap sex joke by the blogger.”

“Sex joke?”

“Never mind.  How much catching up do you need?”

I glance around at the empty chairs.  ”One fewer.  Is someone gone?”

“Not gone.  Sarah is now…  uh…”

“Some kind of melding again?”

“I guess so.”  He stares at me for a few seconds.  ”Stewart, not Gellar.  What does that mean?”

I look down at myself.  ”That’s one we haven’t figured out yet, isn’t it?”  I concentrate for a moment, but it doesn’t help.  ”I don’t know.”  I meet Bruce’s gaze again.  ”I do know that you’re supposed to talk to me about what just happened.”

Bruce laughs and coughs at the same time, then wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.  ”I must now carry the tension that was represented by Sarah’s separation from me.  It is a tension that must be embodied as a single facet, not two.”

There is a legal pad on the table in front of me, with a ballpoint pen next to it.  I pick up the ballpoint pen, click the button, and write at the top of the blank page: “TENSION BUT 1 FACET.”  I underline the word ‘TENSION,’ and then set the pen down again.  ”Associate please.”

Bruce nods and closes his eyes.  ”Individual vs. corporate; autonomy vs. heteronomy; anarchy vs. authority; Protestant vs. Catholic; low-church vs. high-church.”  He stops as if he were reciting a line and forgot what comes next.

I wait for a few seconds before prompting.  ”Self?”

“Self vs. Other; self vs. God;  I vs. Me; I vs. It, or…”  He grins a bit.  ”Ego vs. Id, maybe?”  He looks directly at me, almost accusingly.  ”I…  Ego…  That’s you, isn’t it?”

“That has certainly been suggested numerous times, but it’s not something that can be said.  If I said it, it wouldn’t be true.”

His expression now suggests detached, academic interest.  ”Would the same apply to Id, to It?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I would guess so.”

“So…  No, wait!  So…”  He shakes his head as if to clear it.  ”I think I see.  What’s important right now is that I—Bruce/Sarah—am neither.”  He bows his head and seems to be praying for several seconds, then looks up at me again.  ”Is that right?”

“If it seems right to you, then it probably is right.”


“Does it seem right to you?”


I pick up the pen again, and make a few notes.  No one, including me, will remember consciously what they say, but they might surface later.  ”Are we finished here?”

“Yes.  No, wait!  I—or we—have a request.”

Dwight, who has been sitting at the piano the whole time, suddenly makes a fist and bangs twice against the wood paneling beside him.

Jeeves, or someone who looks exactly like him, enters the room, stops a few feet from the table and stands at attention, looking at Bruce.  ”Sir?”

Bruce falls sideways out of his chair onto the floor.  He trembles a twitches a bit, then lies still.

I turn to the butler, who is now looking at me as if nothing has happened.  I speak:  ”Something about our format here feels very stale today.   I believe that we all want something different.”

“Something…  Completely different, sir?”

“No John Cleese references, please.  Just something different.”

“As you wish, sir.”

Officious exit.

Fade to black.

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