I play a little game with my cactus Edward. I pet him gently, and he sticks me with his quills.
My friend and I drive to his parents’ Passover seder. As we pull into the driveway, he prophesies, “My grandmother will think I got married.” And it is so; she points to the olive spread and says to him, “Make a nice one for Sarah.”
I order cocktails, and we drink them. We eat the flowers that float in them. Just as I am ready to jump out of my skin, ashamed of having brought him here, to a hotel bar, of all places, he leans over to whisper in my ear in French.
The letter I send him begins, “Sweet Owl.” He writes back, “I am a tired, tired owl.”
But when I hear our song, I think I should just let myself get run over.
The trick to avoiding depression is figuring out which states of mind require vodka and which require coffee. If you can do that, you are saved.
We name our mouse, who lives in the stove, Duke.
A handy cure for self-obsession: After crying the whole length of West 79th Street, attend a dinner and sit next to your friend’s father, who is rich and terrifies you.
Duke eats poison and dies in the hallway.
After the three strongest men walk for three days across the uncharted interior to get to the port, on the other side, one says to the others that he imagined a fourth man was walking with them.
Another of the three strongest men admits that he saw him, too.