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Death of a philosopher
Short story

By B. Dean
January 3, 2003
The Iranian

Part 1
See Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

A dark room

Bahram: Look at that strong grip. Give me a kiss, daddy loves you Peyman. Daddy loves you, but my son, mummy has to take care of you.

Maryam: It's time Bahram. Whatever choice you make remember we will always love you and be a part of you.

Bahram: You already know what I intend to do, don't you?

Maryam: I see. So you are going to walk out of that door. You don't have to tell me. You simply cannot let go, can you? Ok, It's your funeral, if you want to torture yourself then just go ahead.

Bahram: Your love is all that I have left; this is the only choice I can make. You know, you look as beautiful as you did the first day I met you. It seems like yesterday, doesn't it? Look what became of us! I never thought loving you could be so painful. It is ironic. I have to leave you to hold on to what I have left from you and my son.

Maryam: It had to end some day Bahram, you know that. Nothing good lasts forever. It is still not too late to just switch off the lights and all would be forgotten.

Bahram: No I can't. The feelings are just too strong. Good-bye Maryam. You take care of my son. I have walked out of this door before; I can take it like a man.

Climbing the stairs

Bahram: Hello Mrs. Banigee. It's you isn't it. I do wish they would fix these lights. How is your son?

Mrs. Banigee: Thank you Mr. Gooran. He visited me a few days ago. He has finished his university course and still sends his thanks to you for helping him out with his work. Would you believe it was his graduation day last week? He is now a full fledged philosophy graduate but I don't know what kind of job he can get with such a qualification. I still think he should have listened to me and done something in accounting or law. They make good money these lawyers.

Bahram: Congratulations. Well tell him it has been my pleasure to help him. Now if I only find my key in this dark corridor. My eyesight is not very good in the dark.

Mrs. Banigee: Let me help you. Oh, if you don't hear anything from us it's because we are flying to Barbados tonight. My niece is getting married.

Bahram: Ok I'll keep an eye on your flat. If you see the caretaker on your way down please complain to him about the lift. It's hard for an old man to climb seventeen floors.

Mrs. Banigee: Ok. I will. I probably won't see you before I fly so take care. Bye.

Bahram: Bye, and have a good holiday and enjoy the wedding.

The living room of an apartment

The news at ten on TV: The two men are still being questioned about the sniper shootings. This is Kate Morrison reporting for News at ten.

Two angels sitting next to Bahram

Ankar: It's official. I just had the word from the head office. The old man is going to die tonight.

Monkar: So, no last minute rescue by the neighbours as we expected. He is just going to dose off on that dirty sofa watching TV and have a heart attack?

Ankar: Yep. Just like that. We just have to wait for the Angel of Death to play her part.

Monkar: Well, that is a miserable end to a life isn't it? Here we have a guy who poured out his soul to teach young minds, and then he had to leave his homeland with a fake passport, risk machinegun fire near the border, leave his friends behind, lose his wife for a lonely life in a council flat in a tower block that smells of piss and decorated with fascist graffiti. What kind of ending is that for such a man? Should he not get a last intuitive vision to call his son for the last time?

Ankar: Now, don't go sentimental, will you. We've got a job to do. Bigger men and women died in more miserable circumstances. He is not the first and he won't be the last. Besides the son probably doesn't want to talk to the old man. You know what these Iranians are like -- nobody wants to talk to anybody else. Come on. Let's do the cashing up. We have a holiday to look forward to after he's dead.

Monkar: I can't believe you just said that. It's just that we've lived with the old man for sixty-five years. We know him better than any one else. I just feel like doing something especial for him, and for you it is like putting a dead gold fish in the bin!

Ankar: Look. I know this is your first job. The first hundred men are the hardest. Then you'll get used to seeing them die. No one said this job would be a picnic. We couldn't judge man without having his sense of right and wrong. So to do this job we were given the bite of the forbidden fruit. It's a great burden on an angel; we were born just to do the boss's handy work without any questions. It's tough on us immortals to have the conscience of man and remember every grizzly detail. It is heart breaking, they have a gem set inside their dusty flesh and a path to discover the truth. But instead man after man clings to burdens that wastes him away. So. What did you do before?

Monkar: I took care of deceased kids. I loved it. How about you?

Ankar: I've done this shit for thousands of years. Call it blasphemy but sometimes I wished I had joined Lucifer's gang and not watch these mortals who are suppose to be the crown of Boss's creation make fools of themselves and turn their second Garden of Eden into a toilet.

Monkar: Steady on. The Boss can hear you.

Ankar: Don't worry. The Boss doesn't judge us angels not as long as we do as he says. We are not worthy and have no free will unless we join the wrong crowd, you see. So don't worry. You can say what you like. No one cares. Free thought is the perk of the job reserved for us blessed -- or should I say cursed -- with man's conscience. I just wished I wasn't also cursed with a perfect memory. It would make the job less painful if you could forget everything.

Monkar: So what's it like. Did you do any famous people?

Ankar: I've done both Ankar and Monkar job positions. I did Caligula once. Those were the days. If there was a new sin he invented it. Those Romans knew how to live it up. They would get together and have so much wine and food that they had to throw up in the gutters on the side of the living room. Then they would have an orgy and end up killing each other with poison or knives.

The sons would kill their fathers because they were having an affair with their mothers. Brother would kill a brother over who gets to have the sister. Then eventually they would get to kill people outside their family. But the funniest thing was that I was just sitting there doing nothing while the other angel was working his ass off writing all the sins till the Emperor finally snuffed it. I tell you, if Caligula hadn't died my friend would have done him in personally.

Today I can confidently say that we are seeing the last of man. He will destroy himself.

Monkar: Perhaps your friend Lucifer you keep going on about, had something to do with that.

Ankar: Lucifer could see this entire thing coming, and he was framed.

Monkar: Framed my foot. That's not what I've heard.

Ankar: Have you asked yourself why it was that Boss bothered finishing the Universe in six days and made the Earth ahead of man committing a sin? If Adam and Eve were going to live in Eden happily ever after, why bother doing all that extra work when there was ample space for just two people in that huge garden? It was a conspiracy I tell you.

Monkar: If God were planning it that way why would he send all these prophets and give man the text?

Ankar: Have you ever read that text? Guidance? You must be joking!

Monkar: Ok. Ok. Stop this nonsense. I've heard enough! You cannot blame God for man's wrong interpretation of the scripture.

Ankar: Yes you can when the holy texts that God sent have holes the size of the Grand Canyon.
What could be more absurd? You have a message from a prophet on his right to choose which favourite wife he sleeps with for that night and the verses are lovingly memorised in an alien language read loudly and in an emotionally stirring song, which by the way is not a song because music is forbidden, going by that very text, on mass media day after day and declared sacred by sometimes the most uncompassionate and unmerciful people on the face of this Earth!

The older text is even worst. We have everything from a prophet who wrestled God and hurt his back to those who took opium to reach spiritual ecstasy or those who climbed a ladder to see heaven. Then we have prophets who could not save a single God-fearing soul to save the Earth, not even innocent children, and save man from the destruction that swallowed entire nations or drowned all mankind with their culture.

We finally end up with a prophet who raids Caravans and invite thieves and looters to fight Holy Wars and conquer civilized lands then having got a lot of the men killed -- some like his own God son who had a pretty wife -- he takes a fifth of the wealth as taxes to fund more wars and Empire expansion and the lucky survivors take the left-over women as booty. The decent thing would have been to open an orphanage or a sanctuary or an independent fund for destitute widows. So the followers ask, can we take married women for ourselves? And the answer is, Sure! No problem as long as they are not from your religion.

So, we have a very peaceful tolerant religion turning into a seriously nasty one in which seven hundred men are beheaded in a single day and their families sold as slaves by the very order of the prophet. Then again what could be expected of a forty-year-old man who legitimises sex and marriage with a nine-year-old child and has a holy message coming from God as if God is his personal secretary just sitting there waiting to fulfil this mortals' egocentric decisions. I guess this was one way of making a religion popular with thugs and bandits.

While having killed poets and writers and having put to death anyone who speaks against him, the prophet leaves a legacy of death and destruction for future men who follow his path. We still have people who can't believe that the scum that have turned men into salves are simply following their leader.

Monkar: Stop this blasphemy. You are so vulgar. How dare you! These men set the foundation for millions and pulled them out of darkness of their ignorance. Where would man be without such a faith? What you are saying are simply lies. The prophet was following the divine path set for him by God and those men he had to kill, were sinners who stood in his way. Besides God has the right to do what he jolly well likes to all that he created, and you should not judge him as you judge men for you do not know his ways or plans... >>> See Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

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