Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday January 23, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The Case

An entry suggested by today's New York Times story by Tom Zeller Jr., A Million Little Skeptics:

From The Hustler, by Walter Tevis:

The only light in the room was from the lamp over the couch where she was reading.
    He looked at her face.  She was very drunk.  Her eyes were swollen, pink at the corners.  "What's the book?" he said, trying to make his voice conversational. But it sounded loud in the room, and hard.
    She blinked up at him, smiled sleepily, and said nothing.
    "What's the book?"  His voice had an edge now.
    "Oh," she said.  "It's Kierkegaard.  Soren Kierkegaard."  She pushed her legs out straight on the couch, stretching her feet.  Her skirt fell back a few inches from her knees.  He looked away.
    "What's that?" he said.
    "Well, I don't exactly know, myself."  Her voice was soft and thick.
    He turned his face away from her again, not knowing what he was angry with.  "What does that mean, you don't know, yourself?"
    She blinked at him.  "It means, Eddie, that I don't exactly know what the book is about.  Somebody told me to read it, once, and that's what I'm doing.  Reading it."
    He looked at her, tried to grin at her– the old, meaningless, automatic grin, the grin that made everybody like him– but he could not.  "That's great," he said, and it came out with more irritation than he had intended.
    She closed the book, tucked it beside her on the couch.  "I guess this isn't your night, Eddie.  Why don't we have a drink?"
    "No."  He did not like that, did not want her being nice to him, forgiving.  Nor did he want a drink.
    Her smile, her drunk, amused smile, did not change.  "Then let's talk about something else," she said.  "What about that case you have?  What's in it?"  Her voice was not prying, only friendly.  "Pencils?"
    "That's it," he said.  "Pencils."
    She raised her eyebrows slightly.  Her voice seemed thick.  "What's in it, Eddie?"
    "Figure it out yourself."  He tossed the case on the couch.


Related material:

Soren Kierkegaard on necessity and possibility
in The Sickness Unto Death, Chapter 3,

The Diamond of Possibility,

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the Baseball Almanac,

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and this morning's entry, "Natural Hustler."

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