Monday, November 08, 2010


The reason Fife was not present at Bugger Stein's briefing was because he had gone for a walk in the jungle. It had nothing to do with embarrassment. Not only was Fife not embarrassed by his outburst of the afternoon, he was rather proud of it. He had not thought he was that brave. And the reason he had gone for a walk in the jungle alone had to do with the fact that, having pleased and surprised himself with his own courage like that, he had then discovered that it was all meaningless anyway.

When compared to the fact that he might very well be dead by this time tomorrow, whether he was courageous or not today was pointless, empty. When compared to the fact that he might be dead tomorrow, everything was pointless. Life was pointless. Whether he looked at a tree or not was pointless. It just didn't make any difference. It was pointless to the tree, it was pointless to every man in his outfit, pointless to everybody in the whole world. Who cared? It was not pointless only to him; and when he was dead, when he ceased to exist, it would be pointless to him too. More important: Not only would it be pointless, it would have been pointless, all along.

This was an obscure and rather difficult point to grasp. Understanding of it kept slipping in and out on the edges of his mind. It flickered, changing its time sense and tenses. At those moments when he understood it, it left him with a very hollow feeling.