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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Microstory 1054: Dolly

I liked Viola, and that’s saying a lot, because I don’t like anybody. My apathy for everything in the world started several years ago, and as much as I want to, I’ve never been able to get past it. I keep encountering these people who are so passionate. They’re passionate about their family, or their friends, or school, or work. They have ambition, and hopes for a good future. Unfortunately for me—and for everyone that has to deal with me, for that matter—I just can’t get there. I don’t go around trying to bum everybody out, but I also can’t bring myself to get excited about anything, and people can sense that when I’m near. I can’t help but think about the many tens of billions of people who have come before us, and died. Pick up any history book, and you’ll find only a handful of people who are named. It’ll discuss all the wars, and famines that affected tons of people’s lives, but it doesn’t mention those specific lives. You might think that would be absurd, and I would totally agree with you, because that’s the point. Those handful of people are the only ones who truly matter, while everyone else is just blurry faces in a busy painting. But even those lucky few don’t matter much either. Think about how much humanity has improved, and what we have accomplished. Now think about how everyone’s story ends, or even simply the fact that it always ends. Everyone’s life is fleeting, so your only hope is to have some impact on younger people, who will go on once you’re dead. But so what? They’ll die too, having spent their whole lives trying to do the same thing you did. It all just keeps going, and the more time that passes, the less you’ll be remembered. There is no objective, and no reward. It doesn’t matter if you cure cancer, or save an old lady from a fire, because she’ll die, and so will the cancer patient. I hear you’ve been interviewing people according to how well they knew Viola, but I don’t know why you spoke with half the class before me, because I never met her. She never took pity on me, and tried to sit at my table at lunch one day. She didn’t play pool with me, or cure me of some affliction, or teach me to sing. In fact, the times I was paying attention, I got the distinct impression that she was actively avoiding me. I once saw her duck into this janitor’s closet when she saw me coming down the hall. That’s why we’re in here, to show you that she would rather come into this disgusting place than risk passing by someone she didn’t like, but whom she wouldn’t have had to worry was going to try to talk to her. Whoa, did you see that! Sorry, I just saw her face in that mirror. She was standing right behind me. It’s suddenly gotten quite warm in h—Alma. This is Viola. As great of a host that Dolly is, I don’t have long with her body, so listen carefully. Talk to Ida before Carrie. And Earl before E—what was that? You were sitting down. How did you stand up so fast? What the hell is going on?

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