The old man opened his eyes but didn’t show any other symptom of being sentient or capable of thought. I told him that there are four pillars that sustain our place in the universe: truth, compassion, friendliness and purpose. Although I remembered the pastrami sandwich that still tickled the back of my palate and felt that I had to make a correction.
“Let’s improve on that,” I told him, “there are five pillars that sustain our place in the universe: truth, compassion, friendliness, purpose, and selfishness.”
I immediately thought that he was going to make some sardonic remark about friendliness and selfishness being two pillars too opposed to each other to sustain anything of real value. However, he didn’t say that. In fact, he said nothing, the idiotic skunk.
And that was the main problem, you see, this old man turned out to be as taciturn as a stalk of celery. Something I normally appreciate on people, it was most inopportune on this occasion. He didn’t seem to attend to my explanations, either. That is, he didn’t produce nor receive any type of information. He was just there stranded in the interior cavities of his brain, although that’s assuming that he had a mind somewhere and that was quite an assumption given the faces voided of intelligence that he portrayed. From time to time he looked at me and I anticipated the start of a conversation, even if a mediocre one, but his eyes lapped me like a lobotomized fish would, no meditations, no hamster running in his wheel behind those eyes. A tough bone, that old man; I soon understood that it was going to be laborious, perhaps impossible, to open that door that for whatever reason had melted and become one with the unjumpable wall that was his skull. I should soon accept that the dope wasn’t going to assimilate even my more basic teachings. I wouldn’t also know whether he learned anything or not, because he wasn’t going to tell me. This whole issue about lack of communication was what made me desist from my didactic endeavors after half an hour.
Even though I opted to abandon the education of my pupil, it didn’t seem ethical to ignore him at the physical level. Who believed out there that CrazyEye is a selfish soul, a heartless bastard? Common, common, little buggers. As I have done on more than one occasion with a sparrow that I find with a broken wing, or with homeless cats and dogs, taking care of them during their last days, on that same way I wanted to be magnificent and come to his rescue, knowing too well that if I left him to his own devices he would last in my park or any other well in which he fell an amount of time that could be considered to be too short, so detached was he from the world and all its nuances. It was really astonishing that the wolves hadn’t gobbled him up yet. It was clear that rambling like a moronic and solitary dog wasn’t going to provide him with any prosperity. He was in no condition to vagabond by himself in the streets, especially given that he was so inclined towards his death. Ninety per cent of his entrails were likely rotten. His brain, for example, which was barely more than a gelatinous mass of sewage, lacked the slightest trace of insight, such lack of wits being the first symptom that the streets perceived during their hunt for their next prey. He was, in summary, dependent. And it seemed to me that what he needed and what I and my people were willing to offer were small puzzle pieces that fit well with one another, so I gripped the old man’s crumbling hand and led the way towards Turd’s sewer. There I would parley with my comrade, and he and I would resolve what it had to be done with that miserable creature.