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E13. Lou Reed’s Nephew on the End of an Era
“Has it ever occurred to you that the end might not be so near?”
“That’s a shame,” Lou Reed’s Nephew sighed the next time I saw him back in his cube. I assumed he was joking. He seemed to have little experience with shame.
“A famous rock club is shutting down,” he sighed again. “It’s a shame.”
I realized he was serious.
“You’re serious,” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “All businesses must remain open forever or our culture will die.”
“You can’t mean it,” I said. I thought he might have lured me into a trap.
“But I do mean it,” he insisted.
“You can’t,” I said. “What about the drugstore across the street that just closed?”
“An act of violence,” he said. “The end of an era.”
“Nothing can close?”
“Ever.” He was getting irritated. “I don’t make the rules.”
I changed my line of questioning.
“But if nothing closed, we wouldn’t be sitting here in these rented cubes. We’d be in some speakeasy waiting to be poisoned with lye, Shanghaied, and smuggled off to …”
“We’d be better off,” he said, pleased with himself.
“But what about generations to come? What about our children and their children’s children? Would you sentence them to live their lives in a museum of our eternal present?”
“They’ll get over it,” he said. “And they won’t have to endure it for long.”
“What do you mean?”
“The end is near. Everyone thinks so. Why go rearranging things now?”
“Has it ever occurred to you that the end might not be so near?” I asked.
“It has,” he said. “Just last night, I was counting discouraging signs when a doubt shot past my mind like a star past the moon: What if we aren’t even halfway through?”
Lou Reed’s Nephew shivered.
“Terrifying,” he whispered as if only to himself.