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Act One: Actions Speak Louder

Sarah Vowell tells the story of Page Smith and Eloise Pickard Smith. They were married for over five decades, and died a day apart.

Act Two: The Unknown Soldier

Forty-five people read Luc Sante's story The Unknown Soldier, in which we hear about people's final moments, final thoughts.

Act Five: Black Box

We go through transcripts from those black box flight recorders recovered from airplane crashes to see what people say. One pilot declares "I love you" to someone, another is doing his job like always and suddenly says, "uh-oh." It's an interview with Malcolm McPherson, author of The Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts of In-Flight Accidents.

Act Six: What Goes Through Your Head

Writer Tobias Wolff reads his story "Bullet in the Brain" from his collection of stories The Night in Question, about a bank robbery and a man who's shot, and what he thinks about before he dies.


Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him and shed light on what just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us.