Philosopher: I miss your giggle; when you came here—the first couple of nights that you were here—you giggled all the time!

Johnny: I can’t giggle anymore; I lost the little spark of je ne sais quoi which gave me my effeminate charm. I think it was when my ex-wife pooped on my bed. She said it was a practical joke, but it smelled too bad to be practical or a joke.

Philosopher: Can we change the subject? As a philosopher, I’m not prepared mentally or emotionally to talk about the bestial characteristics of humankind.

Johnny: I wish I had some wine.

Philosopher: Will this do?

The philosopher reaches a hand under his pillow and reveals a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a bottle opener.

Johnny: How long have you had this under your pillow?

Philosopher: The bitcoin miner brought it to me last week.

Johnny: A week!

Philosopher: Yes, I guess, a week.

Johnny: I haven’t had a sip of wine since I was arrested in the park a month ago; I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Okay, okay, all I did was talk to some kids, but these mothers just freaked out and called the police.

Philosopher: Didn’t you ask one of the kids to drink wine with you?

Johnny: So what if I did?

Philosopher: Maybe that was the mistake; some kids don’t drink wine until they grow up into adults.

Johnny: I know this fact to be true, but, in the moment, I forget things like that—just following the mood, I guess.

Philosopher: Ah, yes, I guess, some of the mothers followed the mood, too.

Johnny: I stand by what I said to the police officer when I hit him in the face: humans drink wine together. Together. The wine is supposed to transform us, transform society into something lovely. The grape’s transformation began some years before, and, slowly, this sublime nectar descends from heaven into this bottle, and this sublime nectar transforms one’s body into a more sociable person, into… into… that god.

Philosopher: The god Bacchus.

Johnny: Bacchus for an evening, we transform and we participate together. I’m not making wine, but I’m participating in the terroir of the land and the ancient habits that have produced the wine everytime I sip from the box.

Philosopher: I’m not sure a box of wine connects you with the terroir.

Johnny: Well it does something.

Philosopher: Yes, we drink because the land is beautiful and our time here is short.

Johnny: And forgiveness. We drink because of forgiveness: to forgive and be forgiven. That’s the real transformation: We drink to be forgiven for the impertinence of existence. Forget about poverty, divorce, bad acting, or all my career troubles—none of that matters. What matters is that I exist and I didn’t ask to exist and I have to go on existing for some time and there are all these other people who I don’t like or I do like and we have a society and, well, we have to talk to one another, but how? How will we talk to one another when we hate one another, and hate the smell of one another—

Philosopher: Or refuse to participate in gene therapy for the rest of our lives.

Johnny: What is that?

Philosopher: The so called vaccination against the novel corona virus of two thousand and nineteen.

Johnny: Yes, we drink wine because how else are we going to survive together? Wine lets us transform it all and forgive one another—for a moment, an evening.

Philosopher: You use a lot of other substances in addition to wine, though. Aren’t you overdoing it? Aren’t you abusing substances?

Johnny: No, no, no, no. I use each substance for a different existential need. Wine is for forgiveness.

Philosopher: What do you use marijuana for?

Johnny: For banking.

The philosopher laughs.

Johnny: What? I really do! I get stressed about the money, so I just smoke—what?

Philosopher: No wonder you are nearly bankrupt—haha! Oh, I needed to laugh like that. I’m so sorry to laugh AT you like this, but that was great; man, that was great. “Banking.” Haha.

Johnny: Cheers!

Philosopher: Cheers!

Johnny: No, but you are right: the Gonzo Journalism lifestyle has led me nowhere good. I’ve got to start controlling some of these substances.

Philosopher: Your passions will rule you, or you will rule your passions; there is no other path.

Johnny: Yeah, I’ve been a real spaz my whole life; all that will change tomorrow, though—after we drink this wine to the last drop!

Philosopher: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow!

Johnny: Hear, hear!

They raise their glasses and drink. Talking in this way, the philosopher and Johnny share a bottle of wine in jail and nothing changes.

The end.