A Spare Moment by Holden Zuras

“Do you have a moment?” The old man asked me.

“Well, a few,” I responded. “I have to return this book by 5 o’clock today. They charge an exorbitant late fee.” 

“One spare moment is enough. I just want you to help me mull over something that’s been consuming my thoughts.”

“Of course, but I don’t believe there is an afterlife.”

“Ha! Silly boy! I was only going to ask you if you were happy.”

“I’m very happy!” I responded. “I know you always felt Susie wasn’t enough for me, but I couldn’t ask for a better marriage.”

“And yet you ask so much from God every day—but wait, I’d forgotten, you don’t believe in heaven. So answer me this, boy: why is it that I, an old man, have so much spare time when I have so little time left.”

“I have responsibilities. You’re retired.”

“If you died today would you be happy?”

“I would have to be insane to be happy. Have you forgotten that I don’t believe in the afterlife?”

“Patience, boy. I am old and slow. Would your wife be happy?”

“For me to die? She’d be devastated! You truly are insane!”

“And thus I must be happy. Have you spoken to her today?”

“Yes, we woke up together and then we went to work.”

 “That’s it?”

“Well, she doesn’t finish work until 6 o’clock on Fridays.”

“When was the last time you had sex?”

“I’m not answering your questions anymore! You are insane, absolutely insane.”


“Sunday—we’ve been tired from work this week. Are you satisfied now?”

“I am insane, and thus, I am satisfied. So I ask, if you died today you say your wife would be devastated?”


“Then why does she go to sleep thinking about her worries instead of you?”

“She always thinks of me. She loves me.”

“And yet she can’t spare a moment for you?”


“That’s enough, boy. Thanks for sparing a moment for an old man. I’ll return your book. I wouldn’t want you to pay the exorbitant fee.”

“Thank you, I—I think I’ll go to the office and walk home with Susie today.”

“There’s a flower shop along the way, you know. Lovely pansies there.”

“Sure, if I have time I’ll grab some.”

“What’re your weekend plans, boy?”

“I think I’ll go to the park with Susie. And—and we’ll make sure to stop by here and say hello.”

“Thank you. If you have a spare moment you can even get ahead on work.”

If I have a spare moment.”

“Good boy. If you live the life you’re given then you can be like me.”

“Which is?”

“Insane, whether you believe in heaven or not.”

Holden Zuras is a young writer and musician from Maine. He has been published by Six Sentences and will be published by The Raconteur Review and Ghost Orchid Press in the near future. You can get in contact with him at hezuras@gmail.com