Nick Nelson

in the museum

the museum opened in the morning at its usual time.

the clown, the magician. the philosopher, the soldier, the detective, and the assassin took up their posts in the gallery and waited for visitors, of which there had not been many lately.

at around ten o’clock the guide appeared, accompanied by a woman of indeterminate age, and a chlld who looked to be about four years old.

these, the guide began without preamble, giving his standard speech, are all specimens of a vanishing civilization.

this is a clown - but as there is no longer anything to laugh at or about, his services are no longer required. it might be added that he survived a long time after his obsolescence, more than any of these others.

this is a magician - but the age of miracles is past.

this is a philosopher - but as everything is now known, his speculations are quite pointless.

this is a soldier - there are of course, no longer wars, or anything to fight them over.

this is a detective. crime is not only obsolete but unimaginable, so she has no reason for existing.

and finally, this is an assassin. anger, resentment, jealousy and competition are no longer, so who would wish to hire her?

the woman nodded at the conclusion of the guide’s speech, and the child stared at the six fossils with its thumb in its mouth, and without any appearance of interest.

the clown thought he recognized the woman and the child from a painting that had hung in another part of the museum since he could remember, but he did not say anything.

the guide departed with the woman and the child.

the next day the guide returned with the woman.

there is no longer any need for procreation, he told the six fossils, so this woman, formerly the madonna of - of - of some godforsaken place - will now join your ranks.

the six fossils, who all shared the trait of good breeding, welcomed the madonna to their ranks.

the next day the guide returned with the child.

there will no longer be stages of human development, the guide said, so this child will now be one of you. please make him comfortable.

the next day the guide returned alone.

there is no longer any need for the retention of obsolete knowledge, or for its display, he explained, so now i join you myself.

the guide crossed into the display area and took a seat.

will we continue to be fed? the clown asked the guide.

i do not know, the guide said.

i guess we will find out, the philosopher said.

Nick Nelson is another member of the Pessoan ensemble that is the horace p. sternwall stable of writers. They have a number of books available on lulu as by the 'total dissatisfaction press' and now also on Amazon.

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