Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce: The Party Over There
The Party Over There
A MAN in a Hurry, whose watch was at his lawyer's, asked a Grave Person the time of day.
"I heard you ask that Party Over There the same question," said the Grave Person. "What answer did he give you?"
"He said it was about three o'clock," replied the Man in a Hurry; "but he did not look at his watch, and as the sun is nearly down, I think it is later."
"The fact that the sun is nearly down," the Grave Person said, "is immaterial, but the fact that he did not consult his timepiece and make answer after due deliberation and consideration is fatal. The answer given," continued the Grave Person, consulting his own timepiece, "is of no effect, invalid, and absurd."
"What, then," said the Man in a Hurry, eagerly, "is the time of day?"
"The question is remanded to the Party Over There for a new answer," replied the Grave Person, returning his watch to his pocket and moving away with great dignity.
He was a Judge of an Appellate Court.