[ A stage. Two figures. One holds a gun, which fires at the other. ]
``You shot me!''
``Oh, you're overreacting. The most superficial examination would show how actually nobody shot you.''
``What are you talking about?''
``I am trying, in the spirit of fair, open-minded discussion, to explain all the ways you do not understand the obvious. For the first of your many fallacies I shall note I've done nothing: if anything has shot you, it's a bullet.''
``Which you fired!''
``Another of your fallacies. I can't fire things, being not fire at all except of course in the extraordinarily attenuated form called `respiration'. If you call that fire I must conclude you're being pedantic and obfuscatory, in a mean-spirited contrast my generous sharing of superior knowledge with the likes of you.''
``The bullet came from your gun!''
``From a perfectly natural chemical reaction between gunpowder and air. I agree that's burning, but that was hardly me, and anyone not in your irrational emotional state would notice.''
``You pulled the trigger!''
``Even allowing that, anyone knowing the most basic principles of physics --- ones going back over three and a third centuries, so even you ought to have noticed --- would realize the trigger pulled me just as hard. Really, anything supposedly happening to you could be said just as well to have happened to me and I'm not cringing and whining like you .''
[ Another gunshot. ]
``You're gonna kill me!''
`` Time is going to kill you. It's the inevitable march of entropy. You're being foolish in your fantastic, idealistic notion you should live forever.''
``I want to live to tomorrow!''
``I imagine tomorrow you'll say the same thing. What's this phobia you have about the perfectly healthy changes time brings about?''
``It's not healthy! You shot me twice!''
`` This again? What's with you assigning blame to people for the inevitable flow of natural chemical reactions. I had thought you liked nature Don't you trust that inherent wisdom you'd supposed it to have?''
``I need a doctor!''
``For the two slugs of hot lead ---''
[ Another shot. ]
``For the three slugs of hot lead ripping through my organs!''
``You're suddenly an expert on the chemical composition of bullets the intellectually honest me points out you have neither seen nor examined? Even if we allow they are 'lead', do you know how much lead your body needs?''
``Hear that irrational, emotional cry? You don't know what you need or what you've got. You can't quantify it. That's not knowledge, just the whining plea of someone wanting special attention.''
``I want a doctor's attention!''
``Every grad-school graduate thinks he's a doctor just because he wrote four hundred impenetrable pages about some topic nobody but his advisor even cares about. You're thinking of a medical doctor, surely.'''
`` Yes a medical doctor, what did you think , you lunatic?''
``Lunatic! I patiently correct your elementary misconceptions on most everything and --- have you got any credentials or experience in mental health? You're setting yourself up as an expert and I bet the police would be very interested in your fraudulent activities.''
``For that you need a doctor? You know, a quarter-century ago any doctor would have said your so-called bleeding is actually a good thing because it reduces your relative deficiency of bilious humours.''
``They would not!''
``Now you're an authority on what people in the unimaginable past thought? Do you believe yourself in mental contact with these long-dead souls? How are responsible people like me supposed to carry on in a morass of recklessness like yours?''
``You could stop shooting me!''
``I could stop doing all sorts of things, but what good would it do? Think of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Whatever happened would be enormously worse.''
``Shut up and get someone not-crazy here!''
``This is your so-called vaulted respect for individual rights? Shoot you three times and you want to oppress me out of existence. There's no sense talking with you extremist fanatics!''
``I won't be talking long!''
``That is an unimaginable relief.''
[ Responsible authorities arrive, and recovery is swift and without complications, so all is well, because I never write tragic stuff. ]
Trivia: The average daily intake of about one milligram of lead results in about 0.1 milligram being absorbed by the body. Source: Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide To The Elements, John Emsley.
Currently Reading: The Great War And Modern Memory, Paul Fussell.