The other day I went through a traumatic experience. There was a knock on the door, I went to answer, and the barrel of a SWAT assault rifle smashed my nose. Shortly after, I was being questioned at the police station. They wanted to know what on earth I had been doing on the night of May 12. The two cops laughed outright at my answer “Sleeping.” “Wrong answer” they said. “I was dreaming about Sylvia Stretton!” I claimed, “Ask her if you don’t believe me!” It was useless: my alibi was weak by police standards. Apparently a crime had been committed: a guy had hung himself from a nail in the wall, and I was the prime suspect. The suicide victim’s fingerprints matched mine. Also, in my criminal record appeared several suicide attempts. “It was just desperate attempts to get Sylvia Stretton’s attention!” I claimed “Ask her if you don’t believe me!” I took a lie-detector test and failed. According to the machine, I was telling the truth only as regards Sylvia Stretton. It was true that on the night in question I had been dreaming about her. But not all night: there was a period of half an hour in which my dream had drifted towards surrealist stuff. (A giant crab playing castanets began to chase me. Since he walked sideways, I thought it would be easy to shake him off, but I realized with a start that I walked crabwise too.) “And what about the motive?” I snapped at the cops, “I’ve got nothing against the suicide victim!” Then they informed me that the suicide victim had been dating Sylvia Stretton. “But she dumped him for a crustacean!” I counterattacked. “All the more reason to commit suicide.” At that point I felt cornered, broke down and confessed everything: “Okay, okay, it was me. Sylvia Stretton had just turned me down for the crustacean. I sneaked into my apartment, took Sylvia Stretton’s portrait off the nail in the wall and hung myself instead.” A jury found me guilty of suicide under aggravating circumstances (namely, all that stuff about Sylvia Stretton, as well as the fact of being alive when it all happened) and the judge lectured me on the value and inviolability of human life, and then sentenced me to death.

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