Found in the Gutter

lake_of_fire

The tenor of their conversation had quickly escalated from cordial to hostile and was now rounding the corner to downright fighting.

“But it’s mine and I want it back!”

“Hey, I didn’t steal it from you.  I found it in the gutter- thoroughly rotted and covered in filth.  You obviously had no use for it.  I simply picked it up and added it to my collection.  And now, and forevermore, I own it.”

“Fine, fine- I’ll pay you for it.”

Pay me for it?  Do you have any idea how valuable this thing is?  No, you obviously don’t.  That’s why you neglected it.  Abused it.  Destroyed it.  You knew you lost it years ago yet you did nothing to get it back.  You spent your whole life not giving a damn about it until now- when it matters.  You’re pathetic.”

“But don’t you have enough?  I mean, I figured you had millions of them.”

Millions?  I’ve collected billions of them over the years, and every one of them is just as precious as the other.”

The man begins to panic.  His breath quickens and his eyes fill with tears.

“Please, please.  There must be something, anything, I can do to get it back.”

He rolls his eyes, unmoved by the man’s emotion.

“You know, you people are all the same.  You spend your whole life defiling something that was once so very pure and precious, then, at the very end, long after you’ve jettisoned it from your being and long after I’ve found it in the gutter, you come here crying, begging to get it back.  Really, it’s quite disgusting.”

The man drops to his knees, crying uncontrollably.

“What are you crying about?  What, you think he wants it?  Please, he’d never take one in this condition.  You’ve soiled this one pretty bad.  Plus, it smells awful.  Trust me, he doesn’t want this one up there.”

The man’s crying grows to sobbing wails.

(BEEP… BEEP… BEEP…)

An elderly man lies in a hospital bed, dying.  The room is silent save for the incessant beeping of the heart monitor.  The room’s only other occupant is the elderly man’s son.  A son who’s been staring at his father for days now, watching him die.  Tears well up in the son’s eyes.  Tears not of sorrow, rather, tears of anger.  Tears of rage.

The pace of the heart monitor begins to quicken.  A nurse promptly rushes into the room to check the dying man’s vital signs.  The nurse slowly turns to the dying man’s son and shoots him a look of sincere condolence before exiting the room.  Moments later, a priest enters.  He has a solemn face with truly sympathetic eyes.  He clears his throat before speaking.

“I am here to administer his last rights.”

The dying man’s son, with his head down and tears falling from his face, slowly shakes his head- “no.”  The priest’s mouth falls open.  He’s taken aback by the rejection.

“But son,” the priest says in protest.  “It’s for the good of his soul.”

The dying man’s son lifts his head and looks directly at the priest.

“That won’t be necessary father.  He lost his soul years ago.  I’m sure it’s been in the devil’s collection for a long time now.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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