The NARRATOR(ˈnerādər), a dry soft-spoken type, is watching TODD(täd) walk down the sidewalk.


(To the audience)

Watch closely the man who always assumes he’s being observed. He imagines his life playing out like the plot of a film. There is never a time when he doesn’t feel evaluated(əˈvalyəˌwāt), catalogued(ˈkadlˌôɡ). He gets embarrassed(emˈbarəst) when he plays the guitar(ɡəˈtär) badly, alone. He hums(həm) theme(THēm) music when driving fast cars around curves(kərv) in the road. He imagines all of the days of his life at work combining(ˈkämˌbīn) into a montage(mänˈtäZH,mōN-,mōn-), a meaningless blur(blər). He doesn’t believe in God, but deep down he imagines there’s an omniscient(ämˈniSHənt) being somewhere watching him, keeping track and deeply fascinated(ˈfasəˌnāt).

I was part of a Greek(grēk) chorus once, you know. We told tales(tālz,ˈtālēz) of highest tragedy(ˈtrajədē) and darkest drama(ˈdrämə). I myself told of battles(ˈbadl) that drained(drān) the seas and shook(SHo͝ok) the land, of men whose helmets(ˈhelmit) gleamed(glēm) like suns, men who stood like mountains. I said things like, “Oh fate(fāt), the venom(ˈvenəm) of thy(T͟Hī) barbéd(bärbed) tongue(təNG) numbs(nəm) all men to the bite(bīt).”

Now I say things like, “Todd was a man who spent his days brooding(ˈbro͞odiNG) before a screen, then wondered where the day had gone.” There’s very little heroism(ˈherōˌizəm) left in the world, and where there is, it is marred(mär) by moral(ˈmär-,ˈmôrəl) ambiguity(ˌambəˈɡyo͞owədē). There’s no telling which city deserves to triumph(ˈtrīəmf) over another in the tales from today. Were Todd wiped(wīp) out in a missile(ˈmisəl) attack, he would be the first to argue that his country had engaged(enˈgājd) in unprovoked(ˌənprəˈvōkt), aggressive(əˈgresiv) military(ˈmiləˌterē) tactics(ˈtaktik) against third-world countries to exploit(ikˈsploit) them for natural resources.

Perhaps that is the great tragedy(ˈtrajədē). Here I am, with the voice of a poet(ˈpōit,ˈpōət) and words that make men gods, but there are no more gods. Not in the heavens(ˈhevən), not in our minds, not in our stories or even our words.