A rich Hollywood agent’s Ferrari breaks down in the desert outside Los Angeles. This is terrible; he’s got the biggest meeting of his life scheduled for later that day. His phone is dead, and there’s nobody in sight. But wait: off in the distance, a vehicle approaches. As it gets closer, he sees that it’s a pickup truck. An old, beat-up pickup truck. Of the kind driven by farmers. Oh, God. Conservative farmers, who see a guy like him (Ferrari, beautiful suit, tons of hair product) and assume he must be rolling in money and does no real work, like, you know, farm work, out in the broiling sun, wrestling cows or whatnot. A punk rich kid, making all that money for what? Talking people into things! What a faker! Jeez, just his luck, the agent thinks, of all the people in the world who might have come along to help, he gets this guy? What does that stupid hick know about his life, about how hard he’s worked all these years? Zeke or Clem or whoever’s probably got a nice stable marriage, to some old farmer lady, whereas Jeannine left him last month because of all the long hours he spends agenting and now he hardly ever sees little Rex and –
The truck pulls up. “Need a lift?” asks the kindly farmer.
“Fuck you!” shouts the agent.
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
In front of the law there is a doorkeeper. A man from the countryside comes up to the door and asks for entry. But the doorkeeper says he can’t let him in to the law right now. The man thinks about this, and then he asks if he’ll be able to go in later on. ‘That’s possible,’ says the doorkeeper, ‘but not now’. The gateway to the law is open as it always is, and the doorkeeper has stepped to one side, so the man bends over to try and see in. When the doorkeeper notices this he laughs and says, ‘If you’re tempted give it a try, try and go in even though I say you can’t. Careful though: I’m powerful. And I’m only the lowliest of all the doormen. But there’s a doorkeeper for each of the rooms and each of them is more powerful than the last. It’s more than I can stand just to look at the third one.’ The man from the country had not expected difficulties like this, the law was supposed to be accessible for anyone at any time, he thinks, but now he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his fur coat, sees his big hooked nose, his long thin tartar-beard, and he decides it’s better to wait until he has permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down to one side of the gate. He sits there for days and years. He tries to be allowed in time and again and tires the doorkeeper with his requests. The doorkeeper often questions him, asking about where he’s from and many other things, but these are disinterested questions such as great men ask, and he always ends up by telling him he still can’t let him in. The man had come well equipped for his journey, and uses everything, however valuable, to bribe the doorkeeper. He accepts everything, but as he does so he says, ‘I’ll only accept this so that you don’t think there’s anything you’ve failed to do’. Over many years, the man watches the doorkeeper almost without a break. He forgets about the other doormen, and begins to think this one is the only thing stopping him from gaining access to the law. Over the first few years he curses his unhappy condition out loud, but later, as he becomes old, he just grumbles to himself. He becomes senile, and as he has come to know even the fleas in the doorkeeper’s fur collar over the years that he has been studying him he even asks them to help him and change the doorkeeper’s mind. Finally his eyes grow dim, and he no longer knows whether it’s really getting darker or just his eyes that are deceiving him. But he seems now to see an inextinguishable light begin to shine from the darkness behind the door. He doesn’t have long to live now. Just before he dies, he brings together all his experience from all this time into one question which he has still never put to the doorkeeper. He beckons to him, as he’s no longer able to raise his stiff body. The doorkeeper has to bend over deeply as the difference in their sizes has changed very much to the disadvantage of the man. ‘What is it you want to know now?’ asks the doorkeeper, ‘You’re insatiable.’ ‘Everyone wants access to the law,’ says the man, ‘how come, over all these years, no- one but me has asked to be let in?’ The doorkeeper can see the man’s come to his end, his hearing has faded, and so, so that he can be heard, he shouts to him: ‘Nobody else could have got in this way, as this entrance was meant only for you. Now I’ll go and close it’.”
The Trial, Franz Kafka
via Project Gutenberg
Two monks, one old and one young, were on a journey. They come to a river. By the river stands a woman. She asks if they can help her across.
The older monk picks up the woman and carries her to the other side.
The younger monk says nothing but is disturbed. It is forbidden the monks to touch women. They continue with their journey.
Hours pass. The younger monk says, “Carrying that woman was a transgression. How could you do thus?”
The older monk looks at him and says, “I set her down hours ago, why are you still carrying her?”
A man gets on the bus. A hobo gets on the bus a stop or so later. The hobo smells unpleasant and is babbling loudly.
The man says to himself, “Please God, don’t let him sit next to me.”
The hobo walks by a couple available seats.
Again, the man says to himself, “Please God, don’t let him sit next to me… Please God, don’t let him sit next to me.”
The hobo stops and settles down in the seat next to him.
“Do you know why I sat next to you?” The hobo asks the man.
The man shakes his head.
“God told me to sit next to you.”