Running up that you-know-what

I was racing a nun up a hill this morning, the final and steepest hill on my morning walk from the train station to the office – it goes past a nunnery, convent, something along those lines, the ground floor windows are barred and when you look in you generally see nuns, stamping out license plates, sharpening spoons into shivs in metal shop – and she was tough, despite the early heat – maybe she wanted to get a to a bus before the dogs picked up her scent – the scent of a nun – Al Pacino’s lowest-grossing film (at the box office at least) but I was doing pretty good, I was ahead, I was leading but then I had to stop to feed a crow because rule is, if the crow recognizes you and you have anything edible on your person you must share and this crow definitely recognized me – I even recognized it, black with a white spot, unmistakable – plus it said, Racing nuns now are we, Mig? And I was like, More like trying to get in my fitness points this morning – my wife gave me one of those watches that tracks your every move – And this is my best hill, the longest, steepest hill on my morning walk, here have a Frolic. Have five Frolics. And it went to work on the Frolics and left me alone. And that’s why I got fitness points this morning, just not as many as I had hoped for.

One final question

Man: (refreshes his glass of Midleton) So, before you kill me, how did you find me?
Two strangers: (look at each other with puzzled expressions)
Man: I changed my identity ages ago. I went off the grid. Were you clicking through old bookmarks from blogspot.com days? Do you even remember that “last updated” feed they had? I’m still friends with people I found that way. That was the best.
Man: Or was it a random social media link?
Man: Or something more sinister?
First stranger: I did a search for facts about the grunion, actually.
Second stranger: Names for electric cars, here.
Man: (takes sip, says nothing).
Man: Ah.

They sit that way for a very long time. The strangers glance at the bottle of Midleton now and then, but the man ignores them. They will be drinking this soon enough, he thinks, when I am dead.

First stranger: Actually, we’re not actually here to kill you.
Second stranger: No.
Man: Ah.
Man: (Pours himself a fresh glass, and puts the bottle away)
Man: (takes sip) Then you will be going soon, I imagine.
Two strangers: (Shrug, look at each other)
Man: Before you go, I want you to know one thing.
Man: All I want is for you to be happy.
Man: That’s all I want. But I realize that just saying it is useless.
Man: I mean, there used to be people who wanted only for me to be happy, and it had no effect. I disappointed them and myself. Happiness is an elusive target, anyway. I suppose what they wanted was for me to achieve a situation, a mental state and social/economic situation conducive to self-actualization and a condition of agency in life, and here I am, the same lost bobbing cork as always.
Man: But I am content.
Two strangers: (Give each other puzzled looks. One glances at the glass in the man’s hand)
Man: I am sitting in a garden, petting a cat and waiting for death. I have not achieved all I dreamed, but it no longer matters.
Man: All that matters is that you are happy. That you attain a state of agency and personal power. That you can speak of yourself with honesty. (Drinks the last of the whiskey, sets glass on table.)
First stranger: (Licks lips involuntarily)
Man: (Looks at the sky outside) Now I wonder if, when someone told me “all I want is for you to be happy,” they really meant “all I want is for you to have a life of your own and get out of my hair”.
Man: If, when they said, “Do anything you want,” they meant, “do something.”
Man: Hrm.
Man: (Notices the strangers have left)
Man: (Pets cat) (Drinks the last drops of liquid in the glass)
Man: (To cat) I wonder if that is what I meant.
Man: (Sighs, begins typing fresh story)