“I made him an offer. And though it was difficult to refuse, he wanted to mull it over. You know, discuss it with his wife and whatnot. He said he’d get back to me next Tuesday.”

“Welcome to Alcatraz, former federal prison, military fortification, lighthouse, and site of a 1969 to 1972 Native American occupation. Anyway … welcome.”

“You may or may not be able to handle the truth, and thus my hesitation in answering your question. See what I’m saying? Like, I don’t really know you that well. I certainly don’t want to be too presumptive here. Maybe you’ll handle it fine. What was the question again?”

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a flaming rat’s ass.”

“I’m not crazy about the smell in the afternoon. The evening? I could take it or leave it. Sort of too acrid then. But the morning is really great. Just the right mix of toxicity and sweetness—like gasoline in the sun. I love it in the morning; late morning. Almost brunchtime. Napalm, that is.”

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a, uh … oh, what was it? It was red, certainly vintage. Maybe a Merlot? Geez, I was living in Northern California at the time. A Zinfandel? Dammit, this is embarrassing.”

“Are you looking at me? If so, why?”