If you asked how they came to be hanging from vines over an enormous gorge, Lemuel would shrug and say it Didn't Matter. Lawrence, on the other hand, would say the How and the Why made all the difference in the world, even greater than the fact that they were hanging over Death. But that isn't what concerns the two of them now. It's the strawberries.
"We should eat them," Lawrence says. He adjusts his hands to get a more comfortable grip on the vines cutting his fingers and palms.
"Why?" Lemuel says. Blood runs down his arms, hot and sticky. The sun burns his skin and its too damn humid.
"Well, we can either fall to our deaths having eaten strawberries or just fall to our deaths."
Lemuel looks at him. "And yet the outcome is the same."
Lawrence reaches out, plucks a strawberry, and eats it. "They're good," he says, encouragingly.
"You. Are. About. To. Die," Lemuel explains. "Good is out. You can't talk about Good anymore. Look down. That's going to hurt a lot and we're about to fall in it. The sun is hot, these vines are burning my hands, and you want to eat strawberries?"
"Look, isn't it better to just, you know, enjoy it while it lasts?" Lawrence asks.
"How can you be enjoying this?"
Lawrence looks at Lemuel, then at the strawberries, then back at Lemuel. "Is that a trick question? I've got strawberries."
Lemuel says, "That's called delusion."
"No, that's called trying to be happy. You should try it sometime."
Lemuel feels himself sliding and tightens his grip. He is beginning to feel his hand for what it really is: a contorted, knot of meat. He says, "Our current situation makes happiness a bit difficult."
"Oh no it doesn't," Lawrence says blithely, waving his hand and sliding down the vine a few feet. He grimaces slightly, but continues. "You just have to decide to be happy and you can be. It's behavioral psychology."
"You can't reach the strawberries anymore," Lemuel observes.
"But I'm still happy," Lawrence throws back.
Lemuel raises an eyebrow with great and deliberate effort. "What's it like? Living in that precious little world of yours?"
"Pretty swell. You should be envious."
"Look, ass hole," Lawrence growls through gritted teeth, "we're in a motherfucking allegory. Just eat the goddamn strawberries."
"You're in an allegory," Lemuel calls down and observes that their vines are beginning to pull loose. "I'm firmly planted in reality. Snap."
The vines give out and they simultaneously begin their long descent.
"You see," Lemuel shouts over rushing wind, "that's what's wrong with the world! People tell insipid little allegories and plaster motivational posters on cubicles and say 'it could be worse.' Why not just admit that the world sucks and figure out how to change it?"
"Are you offering any solutions?" Lawrence asks, waving his arms wildly, either gesturing at their rising surroundings or trying to fly.
"Got anything else to be happy about?" Lemuel shoots back.
"We're flying...?" Lawrence tries. Then, with sudden inspiration, grinning, he shouts, "We're alive!"