The man was running. He was trying to put as much distance between his feet and the terrible Feet Eaters as he could.
But they’d have been pretty poor Feet Eaters if they couldn’t catch a running man.
The Feet Eaters had many names, but the one most well known in that small part of France was “Vampire Pirate Werewolves from the Crab Nebula.” They were marauding blood-suckers who transformed into large canines whenever a full moon invaded the sky.
They had a funny relationship with the moon. On the one hand, it was a constant threat to interrupt their plans for marauding and blood-sucking, since while in werewolf form they cared for neither and wanted only to chase their own tails. But on the other hand, the moon, when full, showed the way back to the Crab Nebula, that wash of stars ruled entirely by Vampire Pirate Werewolves from the Crab Nebula. They wanted to go home.
The man, Rene, kept up a running patter: “I think. I am. I think. I am.” But in the end he lacked the endurance; he was finite, though his will was infinite. The Vampire Pirate Werewolves from the Crab Nebula caught him.
“Feet!!!” they cried. “Feet to Eat!!!!”
“I console myself now,” Rene muttered, struggling a little, “I am not my body. This is just stuff.”
It was a sad sort of consolation, and he closed his eyes tight against the violence of the material world as objects with sufficient formal reality caused in him ideas of themselves with objective reality to match, and ate his feet.
They left him, body and soul, in the ditch by the side of the road and they ran off, cackling: “We are the best!”
Tom, the time-traveling vagrant, wiped into view on his horse Bucephalus. “Rene!” he shouted. “You’ve been had!”
“Indeed, and where the hell were you while this was going on. They ate my feet.”
“Never fear. The soul is immortal. You will know true bliss one day when you are joined with God and all the workings of the material world are revealed to you.”
“No, Rene, come. Let me help you. Here, I will pull a wheelbarrow from my robe and you may ride in style. Bucephalus shall follow.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier for us to just both ride the horse?” Rene asked, a bit incredulously.
“Nay. I insist. I insist that you go ahead of Bucephalus.”
“Fine. But why?”
“It’s for a joke I’m working on.”