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To The Side

The Room

Bob: Hey Andy.

Andy: Hey Bob.

Bob: So, can I come in the room?

Andy: Oh, well, were you born in the room?

Bob: Born in it?

Andy: Yeah.

Bob: Um, no, I was born in L.A.

Andy: Oh, I'm sorry, you can't come in the room then.

Bob: Oh, but my girlfriend's in the room.

Andy: Well, you can come in and visit her for three hours.

Bob: And then what?

Andy: And then you have to leave.

Bob: Okay...can I come back after those three hours?

Andy: Maybe.

Bob: Maybe? Maybe depending on what?

Andy: Well, depending on how we feel about it.

Bob: "We?" Who's "we"?

Andy: Well, you know, us, the door guards.

Bob: I only see you.

Andy: Well, there's a lot of us, believe me.

Bob: Okay. So there's no way I can come in the room at all?

Andy: Well, there's a raffle. You could sign up for the raffle and maybe you'll win.

Bob: Um...okay...what are my chances of winning?

Andy: Well, there's only one winner.

Bob: Okay. But how many total people enter?

Andy: About 10 thousand.

(Bob looks somewhat flabbergasted.)

(A man in a doctor's coat comes up.)

Andy: Hello.

Doctor: Oh, hello. Can I come in the room?

Andy: Well, were you born in the room?

Doctor: Well, no, but I'm a doctor.

Andy: Oh, okay, you can come in.

(Doctor goes into the room.)

Bob: Wait, why could he go in there?

Andy: Well, he was a doctor.

Bob: But I can't go in there, because I'm not a doctor?

Andy: That's right. And you weren't born there. But you could win the raffle.

Bob: I have a 1 in 10,000 chance of winning.

Andy: Well, yes. But if you win, you get to come in the room. I mean, after some paperwork.

Bob: Paperwork?

Andy: Well, there's about a month's worth of paperwork to do to get in the room if you win the raffle. But the good news is that you only have to pay $5000 to get in, then.

Bob: $5000?? What for?

Andy: Well, for us to read the paperwork, of course.

(Bob is once again flabbergasted.)

(A very serious man in a business suit comes in.)

Andy: Hello.

Businessman: I need to get into that room right away.

Andy: Well, I'm sorry, but you can't go into this room unless you were born here.

Businessman: I'll give you $100,000 to let me into that room right now.

Andy: Okay, go ahead.

(Businessman pulls a pre-written check out of his pants and gives it to Andy.)

Andy: Thanks! Have a nice time in the room!

(Businessman enters the room.)

Bob: What the fuck. Did that guy just bribe you to let him in?

Andy: Oh, no, it's part of the rules. If you give me $100,000, I can let you into the room. Do you have $100,000?

Bob: No.

Andy: Ah, well, then I don't think I can let you into the room.

Bob: So, being born in there, winning the raffle, being a doctor, or bribing--

Andy: Gifting.

Bob: --gifting you $100,000 are the only ways that I can come into that room?

Andy: Well, if you want to stay for more than three hours, yes.

Bob: Those are the only ways?

Andy: Well, you could marry somebody who lives in the room.

Bob: Marry somebody?

Andy: Well, yes, that's what I said. Perhaps you should marry your girlfriend. Then you could come into the room.

Bob: But I've just met her!

Andy: Well, why don't you go visit her for a little bit and see if you want to marry her.

Bob: For just three hours?

Andy: Well, no, if you're going to marry her you can visit her for six hours. But you have to propose in the first three hours.

Bob: How could anybody possibly know that they want to marry somebody if they can only visit them for three hours?

Andy: Well, clearly that is not my problem.

Bob: Well, whatever. (pause) Can I send my girlfriend flowers?

Andy: Well, certainly, you just have to buy them inside of the room.

Bob: But I can't go in the room!

Andy: Well, you could send a letter into the room, or write an email. Or you could call a flower seller.

Bob: Okay, fine, whatever. I can't buy flowers outside of the room and then bring them in?

Andy: Well, yes, but there's a door charge.

Bob: A door charge?

Andy: Sure, about 15%. You're going to sell the flowers, right?

Bob: No, I'm just going to give them to my girlfriend!!

Andy: You're bringing flowers into the room, but you're not selling them?

Bob: No!!

Andy: Well, I'll have to inspect the flowers.

Bob: Inspect the flowers?

Andy: Yes, to make sure that you're not bringing in any illegal flowers.

Bob: Illegal flowers?

Andy: Well, the room has certain rules about what you can bring in if you're not selling it.

Bob: (frustrated noise). So what if I was selling flowers?

Andy: Well, then there would be different rules. And you'd have to pay the door charge.

Bob: The door charge?

Andy: Yes, about 15%.

Bob: 15% of what?

Andy: The value of the flowers.

Bob: How do you know the value of flowers?

Andy: Well, there's rules. We have a lot of rules in the room.

Bob: But my girlfriend is in there!

Andy: Well, you could propose by text message.

Bob: (blank stare) (pause) And then what, I have to do a month's worth of paperwork and pay you $5000 to come into the room?

Andy: Exactly! You're a smart person. See how it all makes sense?

Bob: Fuck you. I'm going home.

Andy: Bye! We hope to see you again some time. It's always nice here, in the room.

-Max
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