I sat down at my usual table and ordered my usual a drink. Orange juice, not beer, as it was still early in the morning. I saw him walking up the street towards me wearing a smile, and immediately I knew something was amiss. The devil grins, now and again, but to be happy with me? I had done nothing in his service, so far as I could recall, so he should have no reason for bliss.
“My boy,” he said, as he sat down beside me, “I just had the most wonderful dream, but I can’t remember what it was.”
“Well devil,” said I, asking the obvious question, “if you can’t remember, how do you know that you dreamed at all?”
“I suppose I don’t,” he said, but nothing more. He ordered a drink and I watched him closely for I could sense he was leading me to a place I didn’t want to go.
“You bring up a good point,” the devil said as his drink arrived, “What is the difference between a dream forgotten and one never begotten?”
“One happened, the other did not,” I replied simply. I wouldn’t allow him to lead me astray.
“But a dream is something that exists solely as a memory, that being yours,” he argued, “For you to forget it would almost seem to invalidate its existence entirely.”
“Almost seem,” I agreed, “but it wouldn’t.”
“In practice, though,” he continued, “would there be any difference between a dream that was unremembered and one that never happened?”
“In practice, no,” I admitted.
“Then did I dream last night, or didn’t I?” the devil asked with a grin.
“God only knows,” I said simply.
I had hoped to make him frown, but he only grinned wider. He finished his drink and left some money on the table, then began to go on his way again.
“God only knows, indeed.”