He started by telling them how they would die. Sometimes, he thought that selling deaths was all his job really was.
It was always good to start with the death. That's what the customer was invariably looking for. That's what really sold them.
Having described how his client would die, Quince would then go onin a rather matter-of-fact way to explain other notable features of thelife he was hawking: childhood joys and traumas (as well as anyexceptional neurosis that would result from them), love affairs, majoraccidents, famous things they would achieve, and so on. He would thenfinish off by displaying a rather nice rendering depicting atrans-temporal image of the body to be inhabited, tilting inholographic increments through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and soon until, after ninety degrees, to old age and death.
He would then look at them levelly and ask them: so?
Quince had never lost a client yet.
He had never lost a client. They always said yes. Not a singletime in the whole of his existence - although he existed in a placewhere there was, technically, no time - not one single time had he evenhad to offer up a second life for perusal. The Poor Souls alwayssnapped up what he had to give them.
Quince used to wonder if these Poor Souls were the only type.Certainly they were the only ones he ever came across. They were soempty and pitiful, these Poor Souls, these clients of his, so light. Ofcourse, there was no sight here, just like there was no smell, taste,sound, warmth, cold, or anything else at all, at all, not even anytime. And yet, were he asked to describe the Poor Souls, Quince wouldnot have been at a loss for so much as a moment. They were symmetricalwithout having a shape. They were luminescent without having form orlight. They were humble without having a self to humble. But, aboveall, they floated. Above all, they were light.
It came to him one day, as a revelation, that they were PoorSouls not because they were to be pitied, but rather because they werenot rich. The Rich Souls - if they actually existed - never came tohim. His job was to provide the Poor Souls with a means of gainingweight - he assigned them a life in which they might be forged intosomething with shape and purpose. Existence here was not alife-affirming experience. Only life was one of those.