Chapter 6

“Let’s start with the end,” Mr. Whittier would say.

He’d say, “Let’s start with a plot spoiler.”

The meaning of life. A unified field theory. The big reason why.

He’d say, “Lets get this big, big surprise over and done with.”

The earth, he’d say, is just a big machine. A big processing plant. A factory. That’s your answer. The big truth.

Think of a rock polisher, one of those drums, goes round and round, rolls twenty-four/seven, full of water and rocks and gravel. Grinding it all up. Round and round. Polishing those ugly rocks into gemstones. That’s the earth. Why it goes around. We’re the rocks. And what happens to us — the drama and pain and joy and war and sickness and victory and abuse — why, that’s just the water and sand to erode us. Grind us down. To polish us up, nice and bright.

That’s what Mr. Whittier would tell you.

Smooth as glass, that’s our Mr. Whittier. Buffed by pain. Polished and shining.

That’s why we love conflict, he says. We love to hate. To stop a war, we declare war on it. We must wipe out poverty. We must fight hunger. We campaign and challenge and defeat and destroy.

As human beings, our first commandment is:

Something needs to happen.

Mr. Whittier had no idea he was so right.

[Taken from pages 99-100 of Chuck Palahniuk’s *Haunted.]*