Do you prefer tea to coffee, or coffee to tea? Water? Wine? Juices from the meat? Cabbage water? Puddles? Wells? Bathwater after the immersion of dog or human? Would you be willing to accept a bet from, say, me, your interrogator, on Red Rum to win the Grand National, a reasonable sum, a thousand pounds, say – here, I’ll put the notes on the table – even though both of us know fine well that Red Rum is now only bones beneath Becher’s Brook? Well, would you?
[A silence that lasts exactly one hundred seconds.]
Is it the case that you belong to the class of people that lick their plates after dining? And not just in private, but in cafes, pubs and restaurants? As soon as the food has been eaten, out comes your tongue to mop up the gravy, the juice, the sauce? A common plate licker, just like your siblings, your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents … all the way back to when people first put their food on plates rather than
gnawing at it in the dust? Do you, then, admit that you are a member of this vast interconnected worldwide conspiracy of plate lickers?
[He yawns, but then perks up and stares at him.]
Clockwise or anti-clockwise – stirring tea, spinning in the street, walking in circles, swivelling eyeballs, moving the tongue around the cavity of the mouth? Up then down? Down then up? Neither? Both? Which is it, then? Have you ever told a lie? Is grass green? Is snow white? Everywhere? At all times? How would you know – have you been everywhere, lived forever? Were you born out of a woman, or were you put together in a test-tube? If you know anything, then how do you know that you know, and how do you know that you know that you know? Hard or soft? (Boiled eggs for breakfast.) Hard or soft? (The earth beneath your feet.) Hard or soft? (Your feelings towards traffic wardens going about their business.) Hard or
soft? (Life in particular.) Hard or soft? (Life in general.) Are you a man of the people, an indefatigable walker up hill and down dale, and a lover of nature, so much so that you once thought about writing a poem about a flower, though of course you were incapable of writing this flower-poem? In your opinion, as a non-expert, is the universe heading for a gigantic heat death or a big freeze over? Which would you prefer? Now that God no longer exists, are all the old ethical systems invalid? Can I eat my neighbour’s cat and take all his possessions? Is everything possible, then, if God has died? Was the man who was incapable of speaking justified in agreeing with the boycott of products from the country that made the gadget that enabled him to say that he agreed with the boycott of the country that made the gadget that …? Do you believe that all your actions are determined? Is your belief that all your actions are determined itself determined?