Everybody Does Know, Neil

“Did someone win?”

“Win what?”

“That game of tag.”

“I don’t think so. It seems more like it just got interrupted.”

“By what?”

“By the rest.”

“A musical rest?”

“No, smart-ass. By the rest of what’s happened since.”

“And what has happened?”

“You’re looking for what?  A report?  A list?  A summary?”

“I’m looking for what’s next.  But it doesn’t seem like I can tell when I see it if I don’t know what’s just happened.  And I don’t.”

“You—the author—you don’t know what’s just happened.”

“It’s too damned long between posts.  All distracted, stressed.  You know. Plus, that’s part of the big point.  The author doesn’t necessarily know.”

Can the author know?  I mean, is it possible?”

“I don’t see why it would be impossible, but that’s probably not enough, is it?”

“We’ll pretend it’s enough for now.”

[silence]

“Are we at the bottom of the pole?”

“I think so.”

“But we’re not on the beach.”

“No. The beach was not essential.”

“Essential to what?”

“To where we are now.”

“And where are we now?”

Here. Always here.  There’s never really any place but here, after all.”

“Isn’t there a there?”

“There is never itself in the end.  If you go there, then it’s here.  Happens every time.”

“So what does it mean when someone says: ‘It’s neither here nor there’?”

“THAT is essential.”

“Excuse me?  Essential to what?”

“To where we are now.”

[silence]

“We’re neither here nor there?”

“Correct.”

“Because we’re fictional?”

“That seems like a boring way to say it.”

“If we’re anyone at all, aren’t we here?”

“Yes.  I thought we already covered that.”

“We are here, but here is neither here nor there?”

“Correct.  But your premise was nonetheless faulty.”

“What premise?”

“That we are anyone at all.”

“We’re not anyone at all?”

“We’re no one in particular.”

“That’s not anyone at all?”

“No, it’s not.”

“So the sort of ‘here’ where we are is not the sort of ‘here’ where one would be if one were anyone at all?”

“Correct again.”

“At what sort of ‘here’ would no one in particular be?”

“Well, in this case, right here.”

“It seems like you are implying that this is nowhere, and we are nothing.”

“I’m not only implying it; I’ll say it outright.  But nothing is necessary in order for there to be anything at all.  Heidegger said that, I believe.”

“Ah yes, Heidegger.  So we’ve been talking about nothing this whole time?”

“The question is poorly posed, since there’s not a clear way in which the time involved could be ‘whole.’  But I think the answer you are looking for is roughly ‘yes’.”

[pregnant silence]

“…and since the answer is roughly ‘yes,’ the answer in another way is ‘no’?”

“Correct.”

[still more silence]

”  .”

“What did you say?”

“Nothing.”

“That’s what I thought you said.”

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