#4 The Answer

by Irena Pasvinter

The fog was everywhere, and he kept drowning in it. It was his worst nightmare ever. But when he drowned for the very last time, the fog cleared, and between the dissolving clouds he saw an image. And he knew it was the Answer to all the questions.

He couldn’t put it into words, so he painted it. It was perfect, just like in his dream. He felt an urge to share it with others.

“Death is the Answer,” his doctor said. “Everything dies. And gives way to new life.”

“E=mc²? Uncertainty?” his friend scientist said. “There’s no one answer. There are infinite questions.”

“Love,” said an old woman on a street corner. “Love is the Answer.”

“I remember,” his girlfriend said, “42!”

“Hitler, Stalin, Mao . . .” said an old man with a cane. “Beware of those who know all the answers.”

“Everybody knows the Answer,” his banker said, “they’re just embarrassed to say it aloud, hypocrites: money!”

“Carpe diem, memento mori, in vino veritas,” a barman said. “Whatever . . . Have a drink.”

“What a pretty picture,” said a little man with a tiny dog on a leash. “How much?”

“It’s not for sale. It’s the Answer. To all the questions.”

“Precisely,” the man with the tiny dog said. “I’ve got this ugly spot on the wall in my living room. Need to cover it. This would be a perfect solution. Sure it’s not for sale?”

“Well, in that case . . .” the man with the Answer said. “You may have it.”

10 comments:

JRVogt said...

Heh. Love the Douglas Adams reference!

Sam Knight said...

I like that the answer is different for everyone. It makes it ring true.

conboyhillfiction said...

Ha! So many truths and the winner was a casual exchange, very nice!

Flutterby said...

I love that Douglas Adams reference, too. Enjoyed the twisty bit at the end that shows "the Answer" is relative. Nice take on the concept.

QQAudreyQQ said...

SO good!

pegjet said...

I don't know... I think the answer is the artist had the answer, appreciated all the interpretations, but the winning answer was the one willing to pay for it.

I loved this story.

Daren Despot said...

What a perfect analogy for life itself.

stacy said...

Ah, the spot on the wall wins. This was sweet.

Rachael Dunlop said...

Very nicely done. The use of the prompt is very direct, but sophisticated at the same time. There is humour and gentleness in this story, and a satisfying ending too.

Laura Howe said...

Love the Answer and all the interpretations. Just like the artist and his work, he creates while following his vision, hopes others will see it, but they bring their own experiences and views to it and see something different. Nice piece.