“Do you believe in God?” he asked. “Or has it dissolved like Florida? I remember when that condo collapsed, shearing off like meat falling from a bone. Then, of course, we thought it was a one-off, lousy construction or something. And that was part of it, but mainly if you build on bits and pieces of dead animals, shells, and stones well…”
At this, he seemed to run out of steam. It was an interesting opening, and I’ll give him that. I surreptitiously checked the time when he said, “I don’t know, but I lost hope when I found Jesus. Life was always a parable, not a blues song by Lightnin’ Hopkins or a poem by Auden.”
“Oh, I love that stop the clocks poem,” I said for something to say. Actually, I don’t like it much, but I am attached to Four Weddings And A Funeral and John Hannah’s recitation at Simon Callow’s funeral.
He continued as if I hadn’t said anything. “But, God, I’m just fed up with the relentless drip of watching people raising from the dead in movies as if it’s no big deal? And why are so many resurrected men called Jack? Jack Frost, Meet Joe Black, and Jack Starks in The Jacket?”
“No,” I said; it came out forcefully, like a burp you can’t hold in even in company. I know men are in short supply when you get to my age, but I’ll get a dog.
“No?” he asked, looking perplexed, so I expounded and told him I didn’t believe in God or speed-dating at sixty and that both are exercises in hope over common sense. But, I added for good measure, “As Liza said, life is actually a cabaret.”
“Liza? He asked cocking a cocky grey eyebrow, and that’s when I kneed him in the crotch, Officer. Can you blame me? I don’t suppose you’re single?”