I read Oscar Berg the judgment ordering his execution as

handed down by the Central Administration for his act of

using official hours to research and write a history of

the last Tsar of Russia.  As Berg was led down

the corridor he began to sob and to beg.  When

he caught sight of the gallows, he relieved himself in

his pants and began to thrash about. Suddenly he clutched

his left shoulder, whimpered, “I don’t feel well,” and collapsed

and died of cardiac arrest. This is not the way

I would have had it. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Yours truly,

Phil Foglio
New York Public Library


Paraphrases from the story “Manners of Dying” by Yann Martel.