The Curiously Stunted, Incomprehensibly Disjointed, Perfectly Inadequate Adventures of Nicholas Cornelius Holloway – Episode 44

He stepped off the freshly swept street onto the morning bus. He sat down across from her on seats scrubbed clean in the middle of the night. He unwrapped a breakfast sandwich prepared by a young man working his way through night school. As they jostled down streets paved by the previous generation and maintained by the present he chewed and watched her.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said. “Your optimism. It’s irrational.”

She raised her eyebrows. “How’s that?”

“It’s called pronoia. It’s the delusion that the universe is conspiring to help you. But you’re on your own in this world. The sooner you come to terms with that, the better.”

She smiled. The bus stopped.

“Anyway, have a nice day. See you tomorrow.” He tossed his sandwich wrapper in a receptacle that would be emptied by a uniformed transit employee later and exited, whistling a tune he couldn’t quite place.

The Curiously Stunted, Incomprehensibly Disjointed, Perfectly Inadequate Adventures of Nicholas Cornelius Holloway – Episode 43

“They want you to pick that one,” he said.

“Which one?” she asked.

“The yellow one.”

She counted. Six white doors, one yellow.

She watched him scrutinize the doors, then set his shoulders, open the third white door from the right, and stride through.

The door shut itself with a heavy click. She never saw him again.

She sat down on the floor and pondered the yellow door. She considered the others.

After quite a long time had passed she picked herself up, turned the knob, opened the yellow door, and stepped through.

The door closed slowly behind her with the softest of creaks.

If there had been anyone else lingering in the room of doors and listening very carefully, that person might have heard in that moment a delighted little laugh behind the yellow door.