The scene below is what I imagined could have gone into page 174 of The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
The boy looked back at the old man. Slouched down on the ground. Like theyd found him. He was not looking at the boy.
Why did he call himself Eli if thats not his name?
His real name is all he has left. Its why no one else weve met has told us their
I like the way it sounds.
The way what sounds.
Does it mean anything?
Yes. Eli. Or is it just a nice sound?
A long time ago there was someone named Eli. He was pure and good in every
way, but in the end he got in trouble.
He was a good guy?
Yes. He was a good guy.
Then why did he get in trouble?
He didnt discipline his sons enough.
What does that mean?
He didnt punish them enough when they did the wrong thing.
Do you think youre like Eli?
Because when I get into trouble or do the wrong thing you dont punish me.
No. I dont think Im like Eli. Im not as pure and good as he was.
But what about me?
What about you.
You dont. . .discipline. . .me.
The boy tested the word, worried to use it incorrectly.
No. I guess not. But the guy who got mad at Eli isnt around anymore.
Who was it?
It doesn’t matter.
The boy couldnt see the old man anymore. The man remembered a time when he might have been stricter with the boy. In his past life. Maybe he should be a stronger parent. The boys curiosity and compassion would kill him when the man was gone. But he couldnt bear it. The boy was the only good in the world and disciplining him would taint that. The boy was the last remainder of the one who got mad at Eli.