A Man in Bogota (please read)

The police and the emergence service people fail to make a dent. The voice of the pleading spouse does not have the hoped-for effect. The woman remains on the ledge- though not, she threatens, for long.

I imagine that I am the one who must talk the woman down. I see it, and it happens like this.

I tell the woman about a man in Bogota. He was a wealthy man, ain industrialist who was kidnapped and held for ransom. It was not a TV drama; his wife could not call the bank and, in tewenty-four hours, have one million dollars. It took months. The man had a heart condition, and the kidnapper had to keep the man alive.

Listen to this, I tell the woman on the ledge. His captors made him quit smoking. They changed his diet and made him exercise every day. They held him that way for three months. When the ransom was paid and the man was released, his doctor looked him over. He had found the man to be in excellent health. I tell the woman what the doctor said then- that the kidnap was the best thing to happen to that man.

Maybe this is not a come-down-from-the-ledge story. But I tell it with the thought that the woman on the ledge will ask herself a question that occurred to that man in Bogota. He wondered how we know what happens to us isn’t good.

- By Amy Hempel

nuded:

i want a late night adventure. i want someone to call me up and say, “i’m outside. let’s go do something!” i want to go out late at night in my pj’s and my hair all tied up. maybe drive around. go to a park and just swing on the swings. maybe sit in the grass and watch the stars or maybe go to a 24 hour food place and pig out. i just want a late night adventure with people i like to be around. no drama. nothing but good vibes and good company.

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (via lifeschaoticrandomness)