Daniel, recovered from the disease, now stands sickly in the parlor near the fireplace. Mortel is reading a novel. Perhaps by Jane Austen. We join them mid-scene. Daniel has clearly interrupted Mortel's reading session.
Daniel: I once owned a watch that in addition to telling time would tell me how happy I was.
Mortel: That is a strange feature. How did it work?
Daniel: I don't know. I didn't make it. It didn't work properly though.
Mortel: You were swindled? Someone told you a normal, everyday watch possessed this near supernatural feature?
Daniel: No, it had the feature. It was three hours off. I didn't know this at first, but one afternoon my dog was hit by a car and I was terrified by the fact that it still told me I was happy.
Mortel: Did it cause you to question yourself?
Mortel: I mean, did you maybe trust the machine over your own feelings? Think that you truly were happy but somehow unaware of it at a deeper level.
Daniel: Yes, I suppose that did occur to me at the time.
Daniel: Thank you. It was.
Mortel: What happened to the watch?
Daniel: I gave it away as a gift years ago. I forget to who. A cousin of a friend of a friend. That kind of thing. I didn't explain that feature. They likely think it is a broken second hand or something of the sort.
Mortel: What must the watchmaker think - to have such a unique work, lost, forgotten?
Daniel: I don't follow.
Mortel: How can you not?
Daniel: Your train of thought.
Mortel: I've never liked that metaphor: thought railroaded. Set in place.
Daniel: May I ask you a question?
Mortel: I'm terrified of revealing my own ignorance.
Daniel: That's not what this concerns.
Mortel: All questions are ultimately about ignorance.
Daniel: Or knowledge, if you'd like.
Mortel: They are never what I like. The question mark symbol frightens me like a child is frightened of the threat of a monster under his bed or in his closet.
Daniel: You ask questions well enough.
Mortel: To relieve me of my own ignorance.
Daniel: That is not what this is about.
Mortel: All questions directed at me are attempts to find my ignorance. To find a chink in my armor.
Daniel: What armor?
Mortel: That is a question!
Daniel: Human interactions occasionally necessitate questions being asked.
Mortel: If I wrote Genesis it would not be a snake in the garden of Eden that betrays Adam and Eve but the question mark.
Daniel: The snake could be shaped like a question mark. And they eat from the tree of knowledge. One could argue that the snake represents inquiry.
Mortel: Had I been St. Augustine, this would be the interpretation of Christianity spread across the world.
Daniel: Perhaps it is.
Mortel: Perhaps. I have not read the bible. Not since childhood, at least.
Daniel: That is the chink in your armor?
Mortel begins to shiver. The light in the fireplace dims. The curtain closes. End of Act 2.