Catch. Me. If. You. Can.

by Matt Triewly

Catch me if you can. Catch. Me. If. You. Can. That’s what he’d told me. The Professor. Life. The meaning of life.

Catch me if you can.

It has always troubled me. Right from a young age. Since I’d stopped believing in God. Since I’d started believing in time. Believing that it was time that ultimately destroyed everything it created.

Especially me. Especially my hopes. My vanities. My goodness. My sins. My loves.

Everything. Destroyed. Eventually.

“You need to see the Professor, “she said. My counsellor. “He’ll sort you out. Put your mind at rest. Very clever. Wise.”

I go round to the Professor.

Kindly old man. Tall. Grey. Twinkly blue eyes. Long black cape (weird). Shabby grey suit underneath.

“It’s a game of Catch Me If You Can,” he says. “Life calls out to Death: ‘Catch me if you can’. Life runs. Death chases. Pursues that which retreats. But you are neither. You are the wire that carries the current but isn’t the current. You are the word that carries the meaning but isn’t the meaning. You are the ball but not the game. So, Life runs and Death chases. Death closes in. Casts his net. ‘Gotcha, finally,’ Death exclaims. Nothing. The net is empty. Death sighs. Children. Rebirth. Reincarnation. Transmigration of the soul. But it’s not you. You are the ball but not the game. And the game is between Life and Death. You are the spectator to a spectator. Nothing more.”

“Oh,” I say, and look up.

The Professor is pointing a gun at me.

“Gotcha,” he says.

He pulls the trigger.

I see the shiny bullet emerge from the barrel. A puff of smoke issuing behind it.

Time has slowed. But so have I – I may not be able to dodge it.

I will myself to wake up. And I do.

I open my eyes.

The sun is shining though the blinds.

I swing my legs over the bed and get up.

“Catch me if you can,” I mumble.

Mantra for the day.

Mantra for the rest of my life.


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