A: I know you did it. B: I did not. You don’t even know what it is you are accusing me of. A: Yes I do. B: No you don’t. I defy you to rationalise your logic. A: I love to rationalise all things. B: I think you have a warped perspective of your own worth. A: My favourite thing to rationalise is pie charts. B: You’ve never come into contact with a pie chart. A: Yes I have. I use pie charts all the time. In fact, I’m thinking of one right now. Guess which one. B: (the sound of thinking) The correlation between sportsperson’s earnings in relation to how likely they are to get away with rape or attempted rape? A: No. But you were so close. B: Oh was I? A: Yes, you were. B: I always am, but I never get first place. I’m not really a person who wins. I’ve never got a prize on a tombola and I’ve certainly never called full house at bingo. A: I’m a really lucky person. I got five numbers on the lottery once. B: What did you spend the money on? A: I got myself a tombstone. B: How lovely. What model? It’s so hard to choose the right one, isn’t it? A: It’s one of those shiny marble slabs and it’s got a barn owl in the centre. I think everyone is really jealous of it. B: I hate owls. They can kill a person, you know. A: You’ve been listening to too many podcasts. B: I haven’t listened to any podcasts in fifteen years. A: (cross) Bullshit. I hear you listening to them all the time. B: That’s your tinnitus. A: Is that the one where you can’t stop eating? B: No. It’s the one with the ringing in your ears. A: I don’t have any ears. B: Do you not? I’ve still got mine. A: I lost mine last year after that really bad frost. B: Oh yes that was awful, wasn’t it? Ester at the bottom gate lost all the skin from her arms. A: (shocked and sad) But Ester was so pretty. B: Well, she’s not anymore. Her suitors have dwindled somewhat. She’s very upset about the prospect of being unattractive. A: You can’t be beautiful forever; that’s not how it works around here. And you know what it’s like. There’s always a flock of interest when a new one moves in. Ester’s not fresh meat on campus anymore. B: Well of course not; she’s got no arms. A pause occurs for an indeterminate period. It could be a minute, hour or lifetime. A: Are you sure you didn’t do it? B: For heaven’s sake, how many times do I have to tell you? I didn’t do it! A: (pause) I know you probably didn’t. I just like being reassured. It’s a very comforting feeling. B: (sighing) Do you want me to tell you? A: Yes, please. B: But you never remember. A: This time I promise I will. B: It was a motorbike accident. A: (incredulous) A motorbike accident? I don’t even like motorbikes. B: (patiently) You did. You liked them very much. We used to talk about them a lot when you first got here. A: But motorbikes are so dangerous. B: Apparently when you were alive you didn’t seem to think so. A: (fascinated) How curious. Another pause A: The worms are eating my brain aren’t they? B: Most likely. I don’t think your coffin was closed properly. A: That will be Sarah, she always liked cutting corners. My pillow is horrible in here. B: She came to see you a couple of weeks ago. She brought her current husband by the sound of it. A: Oh yes. I think he’s a quantity surveyor. Nice guy. B: I didn’t like the way he was dismissive of your owl. A: People are entitled to their opinions. Not everyone can like owls. B: I got the impression he would have criticised whatever was on there. Be it owls or any other member of the animal kingdom. Pause A: What do you think happens after here? B: I don’t follow. A: Do you think we’ve got anywhere left to go? Or is this it? B: I don’t think we are supposed to ask these kind of questions. Questions never solve anything. They only lead to more questions. A: I wish I had asked to be cremated. B: Why? A: Because I would have asked to be thrown into the ocean and gone on adventures. B: You might have got eaten by a fish. A: It’s better than being stuck here waiting for a second death. B: You are very negative today. A: (gloomily) Yes, I think I might be depressed. B: You should see a doctor. A: I might. Do you think they will give me drugs? B: Probably, I know Bert next to the fountain gets pills for his Parkinson’s. A: I don’t like Bert. B: Now you are just being cruel. A: I don’t like him because he laughs at people that haven’t been buried in a suit. That’s cruel. B: He’s just of a different era. Things were more formal back then. A: I heard he had intimate liaisons with the KGB. B: From who? A: His next door neighbour. She said he always has some really shifty-looking visitors on his anniversary and one of them carries a gun. B: Who’s his neighbour? A: Delia. You know, the one with the eye. B: Delia hasn’t uttered a grain of truth in twenty years. She’d be the one with the spy ring, not Bert. A: My world’s been turned upside down. I don’t know what to believe anymore. My head hurts. B: (softly) Why don’t you go to bed? It’s getting late. A: How do you know? B: I’ve just got a feeling it’s late in the day. That’s all.

Rebecca Sandeman