Sampson had been in prison for twenty years. When the chair had first arrived, he had thought that it must be some sort of reward for his good behavior. So, naturally, he tried it out, and that was when he discovered how uncomfortable it was. It didn’t feel like knives, exactly, but there were definitely some sharp edges poking into him.
He soon realized that the chair wasn’t a reward at all, just another form of torture. It promised comfort, but delivered pain. He immediately went back to sit in the corner. But even then, he knew that it was going to be awful sitting on the cold floor with what looked like a comfortable chair in front of him.
And he was completely right. The chair remained in his cell for months, and it taunted him constantly. Even knowing how painful it was, he’d succumbed to the temptation, and tried it again occasionally. It never got any better, and, in fact, the last couple of times, it had seemed like it was actually a little worse than it had been before. Somehow it was even colder than the cell. He didn’t know how they had managed it, but somehow the thing always felt like you were sitting on a lumpy ice pack.
He decided that he needed to find out what made the chair so unpleasant to sit in. And the only way that he could see to do that was to open it up so he could check inside.
So, he started tearing it apart. The upholstery was tougher than he had thought it would be, and he wished that he had a knife or something to cut it. But eventually he managed without, and he was able to pull the cover off the seat so that he could take a look at what was inside.
The seat was made of rough stones, covered with a thin veneer of blue fabric and foam to make it look comfortable. However, while the stones had been mortared together, they weren’t attached to the wooden platform that held them. So, he was easily able to pull the layer of stones out and put it on the floor. Then he replaced the thin layer of foam and the blue fabric over the flat, wooden tray.
When that was done, he sat down on the wooden tray, and while it wasn’t perfect, it felt no worse than any other plywood bench would have felt. In other words, it was heavenly. In the context of the prison cell, and compared to the stones, it was fantastic and Sampson revelled in the luxury.
He spent the entire afternoon sitting. Then he went out for his usual period of exercise, walking around outside. He knew that the chair would be gone by the time he got back. One of the guards had seen him sitting in it, and if the chair wasn’t going to be a source of torture anymore, they wouldn’t just let it stay in his cell.
It didn’t affect Sampson’s feeling of accomplishment and happiness. The chair had defeated him every day for months. Sampson had gotten his victory, and the only sign of his accomplishment was going to be the removal of the chair. It would be gone, and he would be able to smile daily because of its absence.