Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
All Rights Reserved
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Correspondence may be directed to:
Mario V. Farina
Email: [email protected]
James Bentley was dead. He knew this for sure. The last he remembered, he’d been on a table naked except for a white gown. He had expected to wake up with a quadruple by-pass behind him. Instead, he found himself seated in a large, brightly lit living room. He was completely free of pain as he sat in a large upholstered armchair. Wearing no clothing, he was violently shivering. There were other chairs in the room with people ensconced in them. One was a lovely young woman who was quietly crying; another, a man in a tux with a revolver in his lap. The room had multiple sides and a highly polished mahogany door at a far corner.
A white-gowned woman entered and escorted the pretty woman out of the room. Her soft crying turned to loud sobs as she got closer to her door. The man with the gun took on a bearing of dread. James became infected from the others and also began to worry about what the future might bring. He knew he had led a life of absolute debauchery and dreaded what was on the other side of the door.
A sudden blast of cold air alerted James of an approaching man dressed in coveralls. “Come with me, Mr. Bentley,” the man said. James rose from his chair and followed the man’s lead. As they went through the mahogany door James felt a frigid draft emanating from a hole at the side of a mountain. The draft was especially uncomfortable since he was still as bare as the day he was born. There was a sign over the door on age-darkened wood scrawled with white paint. The sign read, San Geltbrine Mine. There was a gigantic heavy haul truck standing near the opening.
The two stopped and looked toward the truck. “What’s all this?” James asked. “It’s yours, answered the man. “You need to fill the truck with gold coins that will be coming out of the mine. When you have done this, the truck will be driven to your eternal abode.”
James smiled. “The truck will be filled with coins?” “Of a surety,” replied the man. “That’s the good news; the bad is that you will have to load it yourself.” “I suppose that will be acceptable,” said James. “From the look of things, I’ll probably have plenty of time to do that. That truck is enormous.”
“There’s enough capacity to load four railroad cars,” returned the man. As he spoke, a coal shuttle car emerged on a track from the mine with a single gold coin in it. The car tilted to the left and dropped the coin to the ground. Then it rolled away. “Fling the coin into the bed of the truck,” ordered the man. “That’s forty or fifty feet,” James complained. “Too high for me.” “You need to try,” said the man. “James picked up the coin, braced himself and hurled it upward with all his strength. He missed the opening at the top of the truck by inches. “Try again,” demanded the man. While James was attempting his second throw, another car emerged from the mine and dumped two coins where the first one had landed. The car rolled away. James’ second throw was no better than his first. “Again!” shouted the man. James failed again. Another car arrived with four coins. “You’re falling behind,” the man in the coveralls yelled. “Try again!”
A pattern began to unfold. With every throw, another car arrived from the mine with double the number of coins as before. James was failing to land even one coin into the huge cavern of the truck. He stopped trying and turned angrily toward the man. “What kind of reward is this for the life I’ve led? I can’t land even one coin inside the truck!”
“This is the reward you deserve,” shouted the man. “All your life you’ve been trying to accumulate money though you had more than you could ever use. You’ve killed and maimed to achieve this goal.”
“Mr. Bentley,” he added sternly, you’re are not allowed to stop throwing.”
“How long must I continue to try?” queried James.
“Until you fill the truck! Then there will be another truck!”
“How many others?” shouted James.
“There is no limit,” retorted the man. “Until you have filled all the trucks that come.
Keep throwing, keep throwing!”
“Until when?” bellowed James.
“To the end of time,” the man hollered back.
“The end of time? That’s infinity,” James objected with all the strength of his voice.
“But there is no infinity,” screeched James. “It’s a fiction of mathematics.”
“Oh yes, there is!” shouted the man, his words on fire as they exited his lips. “There is an infinity! It was invented for people like you!”