He bumps into a man in Des Moines and the man turns a face dark with fury to him and stabs him. It’s all very sudden. He doesn’t die, obviously, but it takes him a while to pull himself back together and by that time the angry man is gone. He follows after him, his footprints bloody and uncertain.

When the angry man sees him standing across the street he panics, flashes Ahasuerus the whites of his eyes and takes off running. Running. Ahasuerus laughs to himself. Running. Running is easy, running is moving, and he’s had lots of practice at that. So he follows along behind him, hands stuck any-which-way into his pockets, no hurry at all.

He doesn’t come very close to the angry man, but makes sure that he’s always there, looking through the window, watching the flashing lights of the pinball machines, smoking a cigarette under a streetlamp on a rainy night. They keep it up for years, Ahasuerus always there to keep the angry man running.

When he stumbles at last and lies dying, Ahasuerus strolls up to him and looks down at the ancient face of the angry man. “You’ve got me now,” says the man. “Take me, then, you devil!”

Ahasuerus laughs. “What do I want with you? I just wanted to see who you were.” He presses the angry man’s shoulder sympathetically. “No hard feelings, man,” he says, and leaves.