Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: “…the hell of solipsism.” –Donald Barthelme, A Shower of Gold

Blasvius the Disbeliever walked through the various infernos without swear or interest. Not that he really walked – that would require there be a space through which he was traveling, which was absurd. This Hell was but the latest fantasy, no more real than the supermarket had been until that imaginary soup can display supposedly crushed him to death.

Still, he entertained himself with the illusions of suffering masses. Those who believed there was fire screamed and roasted; those who believed in water were up to their necks in lakes but couldn’t bend far enough to sip. Those who believed in love were tormented in such thoughtful and malevolent fashion that he almost believed in their tormenter.

“But no,” he declared to the illusions of agony. “I must be making it all up. Otherwise I’d be suffering. Solipsism is the only non-Hell.”

His stomach growled, and for an instant he wanted a snack from the vending machine outside the supermarket in which he’d died. For an instant, he was ready to believe in that vending machine.

Somewhere, a tormentor cackled. Blasvius tried not to believe it, but the number pad was already taking shape in front of him.

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