The Moment

Some thirty seconds later, the old man with the umbrella accidentally forgot his great epiphany. And feeling vaguely nostalgic for something, he sat down on a wooden bench stained like wet charcoal to watch the bittersweet raindrops exploding on the asphalt.

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The Salon

One evening, we were discussing the merits of the abbe’s letters on spiritual direction. An engineer was about to finish an exemplary explanation of the last letter when he started to cough, choke, and spit up blood all over the marquise and her sofa. Within thirty seconds, he lay on her floor, as lifeless as possible. Death is rude, a philosophe remarked with disgust. And vulgar, the marquise added.