Abbreviate

Two men were sitting outside a hospital. The first man was an old man, a grandfather many times over. The second man was unknown to him and so he asked his name.

“I do not have a name,” said the second man.

The first man did not believe this. He had never met anyone without a name before.

“What is your name?” asked the second man.

“I don’t see that you have any right to know,” said the first man, “since you refuse to tell me yours.”

The second man sighed. “This always happens. I’m not lying.”

“Then how did you check into the hospital?” asked the first man.

“I didn’t. I was brought here.”

“By who?” asked the first man.

“I don’t know her name.”

The first man had had enough. He tried to raise himself out of his wheelchair. Huffing and puffing and red as a tomato, he eventually collapsed back against his seat and drifted slightly backward.

After an awkward few minutes the second man spoke up. “Are you all right?”

The first man resolved to remain silent until he was rid of this second, aggravating man. But he did not. “If you don’t have a name, why don’t you just call yourself something?”

“I suppose I could,” said the second man diplomatically.

“Did your parents have names?”

“Pamela and Smiley.”

The first man breathed a sigh of strained relief. “And the woman who brought you here?”

“She hit me with her car.”

“But you don’t know her name?”

“She hit me with her car while I was in my apartment.”

The first man simply let his mouth droop into a lazy o of indignation.

“That’s the abbreviated story.”

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