There is a knock at my door, weak and short. It is ignored until followed by another. I answer through the door, since I am just out of bed and unclothed. I draw on a pair of sweatpants while speaking. “Who is it?”

“David Gergen. from next door. did you lose a ferret? I found a ferret.”

Pants on. Door open. David Gergen stands before me, holding an Adidas shoebox. He has dyed his hair a flaming orange, and sports a smart goatee. The ferret scratches inside the box.

“A ferret?. no. What. where did you find it?” I shift feet uncomfortably, not wishing to make shirtless conversation with an unknown neighbour.

“In the hall.just around the corner. So it’s not yours then?” Why must he ask twice? I keep my hand on the door, make sure he knows the maximum possible length of this exchange. Worm, let me go back to sleep.

“Not mine. good luck, though.” I make to close the door.

“I was the special assistant to Gerry Ford’s Chief of Staff back in the 70s. Cool, huh?”


“Wrote speeches for Nixon, too, and William Simon.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mm huh.”

“Listen, Dave.”


“Right. I was up pretty late last night.”

“Gotcha.” Sort of dejected.

“Thanks.” I bolt the door and fall back into bed. I can hear him padding down the hall, stopping and knocking next door.