Porter’s premonition

“The assumption underlying all of this is that it’s worth the trouble,” Porter said, twitching out of cognizance. “Like at the end there’s some stupendous treasure, a resolution of these philosophies and doctrines. A sentence and an exclamation point. A lovely epitaph with favorable things to say about this silly game.” Then Porter left his argument to linger in the evening, to wait for better light.

When Porter rose, the night was thick as ever, moonlight lavish over branches of an autumn rusted oak above. He felt a thought somewhere uncompleted, and the thought of thinkings left unthought perterbed him just a bit. But his concern was fleeting, as they often are, and Porter’s eye was caught by something rising from the ground. Haloed in a paler light, a funerary stone of purple granite stood within a patch of grass groomed shorter than the rest. Puzzled, Porter pulled himself upright to parse the phrase it spoke.

“Porter was a pleasant man,” it read. “A dreamer quintessential and a waxer of poetics. A lofty man with friends in places no one’s ever been.”

Porter thought it odd, and wiped his hand across his eyes, his cool skin brushing off the cloudiness that cloaked them. Perplexed, Porter read again.

“Here lies a man of many faces, a man of value to philosophers and travelers alike. A thinking man but still a man of action and intensity. Here lies Porter, a man of purpose, sorely missed.”

As Porter read the words they were replaced with others etched anew. The more he thought, the faster the inscriptions changed before him. Eulogies and panegyrics scrolled across the tomb, a ticker-tape taking stock of Porter’s life, and he panicked when he thought he might’ve passed. Porter struggled with his thoughts, tried to stifle the deductions and conclusions–thinking of not thinking, and in doing so increasing his cogitation until epitaphs were blurring by in streams, and the granite shuddered. Then Porter thought hard enough to shatter it, and all at once his consciousness surrendered.

Porter woke and birds were singing underneath a dewy light. He heard within their song a familiar word, perhaps a thought left unfinished. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, I think.”

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