Thursday, July 10, 2008

A voice could be detected over the receiver but just barely. Klst..plou. guchkt….iik..unntee…fppttudd. That was more or less all that they could hear. When asked what she sounded like a number of generous adjectives were provided: wise, excited, serious, nice, divine, happy. And what did she say? they all asked. Oh all kinds of things, the informers reported, though were hesitant at first to give any specifics. It wasn’t exactly what she said, one man averred, that moved one so, but the feelings that her words betrayed. And what were those feelings? one inquisitive little girl asked. Oh, well, profundity, for one, and smartness, and also that she was hoping. Really, all those things? the little girl continued. Oh yes, those things and others too, the man declared confidently.

The conference went on for some time like this, gaining and gaining. People were curious to know everything the informers could tell them about the woman they’d heard through the receiver, and the informers were more than happy to tell them whatever it seemed they wanted to hear. Finally, though, as the conference drew to a close, the inquisitive little girl stood up and shouted, I don’t even believe you heard ANY of those things. I don’t believe you even heard her speak AT ALL.

For a moment the entire crowd was silent. Nobody stirred. Then a chair scraped sharply against the ground, and then another, and soon all the chairs were scraping against the floor and all the people’s feet were pounding against it. They run towards the child and grab her and hold her high up in the air. Why do you think that? they all scream. Why do you say such things? The girl, face wet with tears, begs to be let down. They demand an answer. Why? they scream. Why? She cannot answer them, and soon the hands that are holding her up begin ripping at her clothes and arms and legs. Why? Why? Why? And then, just as suddenly as the chairs began to scrape and the feet to pound a relative calm descends and the crowd begins to slowly withdraw from the conference hall.

Now the hall is, for the most part, empty, and the few people that remain behind reflect serenely on the divine words that the informers heard the woman say through the receiver.

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