From Cormac McCarthy’s spare tour de faith, in dramatic form, between Black and White. Black has “saved” White from an attempted suicide–a head-on leap into an oncoming train, the Black-nomered “Sunset Limited“–a “saving” White didn’t want, a “saving” he still doesn’t want. Black, though, is a man of hope, an ex-con and ex-addict, and sees his life in light of the providence of God. White, on the other hand, sees randomness and discord–Sound and Fury, if you will. Black and White are confronting the love of God and the depths to which it descends–does God love those who do not want his love?

White: So what is it (the drunkard) really wants.

Black: You know what he really wants.

W: No I dont.

B: Yeah you do.

W: No I dont.

B: Hm.

W: Hm what.

B: You a hard case, Professor.

W: You’re not exactly a day at the beach yourself.

B: You dont know what he wants.

W: No. I do not.

B: He wants what everbody wants.

W: And that is?

B: He wants to be loved by God.

W: I dont want to be loved by God.

B: I love that. See how you cut right to it? He dont either. Accordin to him. He just wants a drink of whiskey. You a smart man, Professor. You tell me which one makes sense and which one dont.

W: I dont want a drink of whiskey, either.

B: I thought you just got done askin for one?

W: I mean as a general proposition.

B: We aint talkin no general propositions. We talkin about a drink.

W: I dont have a drinking problem.

B: Well you got some kind of a problem.

W: Well whatever kind of a problem I have it’s not something I imagine can be addressed with a drink of liquor.

B: Mm. I love the way you put that. So what can it be addressed with?


W: I think you know what it can be addressed with.

B: The Sunset Limited.

W: Yes.

B: And that’s what you want.

W: That’s what I want. Yes.

B: That’s a might big drink of whiskey, Professor.

W: That I dont really want.

B: That you dont really want. Yes.

W: Well. I think I do want it.

B: Of course you do, honey. If you didnt we wouldnt be settin here.

W: Well. I disagree with you.

B: That’s all right. That’s the hand I’m playin.

W: I dont think you understand that people such as myself see a yearning for God as something lacking in those people.

B: I do understand that. Couldnt agree more.

W: You agree with that?

B: Sure I do. What’s lackin is God.

W: Well, as I say, we’ll just have to disagree.

B: You aint closin down the forum for discussion are you?

W: Not at this juncture.

B: Cause I had a little more to say.

W: How did I know that?

B: I did go to one or two AA meetins. Lots of folks didnt like the God part of it all that much but I hadnt set there too long fore I figured out that the God part was really all the part they was. The problem wasnt that they was too much God in AA it was that they wasnt enough. And I got a pretty thick head about some things but I finally figured out that what was true about AA was probably true about a lot of other things too.

W: Well, I’m sorry, but to me the whole idea of God is just a load of crap.

The black puts his hand to his chest and leans back.

B: Oh Lord have mercy oh save us Jesus. The professor’s done blasphemed all over us. We aint never gone be saved now.

He closes his eyes and shakes his head, laughing silently.

W: You dont find that an evil thing to say.

B: Oh Mercy. No, Professor. I dont. But you does.

W: No I dont. It’s simply a fact.

B: No it aint no simply a fact. It’s the biggest fact about you. It’s just about the only fact.

W: But you dont seem to think that it’s so bad.

B: Well, I know it to be curable. So it aint that bad. If you talkin about what that man up there thinks about it I figure he’s probably seen enough of it that it dont bother him as bad as you might think. I mean, what if somebody told you that you didnt exist. And you setting there listenin to him say it. That wouldnt really piss you off, would it?

W: No. You’d just feel sorry for them.

B: I think that’s right. You might even try to get some help for em. No in my case he had to holler at me out loud and me layin on a slab in two pieces that they’d sewed back together where some nigger done tried to core me like a apple but still I got to say that if God is God then he can speak to your heart at any time and furthermore I got to say that if he spoke to me–which he did–then he can speak to anybody.