December 30, 2012

The Decline of Paul

Nobody

David’s friend falls off the cliff

wants to end up dead in a ditch, right? People want to die happy, loved, and satisfied with the life they have lived, right? It’s a neurotic tick to feel reflexive regret. It takes practice to become an expert. Or you can be a New Yorker. Or you can be a Jew. But enough about me. Then there’s that line, too, that some cross into DSM-IV disorders. By that I mean you can also be Paul, who, by once promising not to off himself, set in me the fear, which hadn’t before existed, that he would.

Paul went from, at 25, a charmingly neurotic, a maddeningly talented and entertaining mess, who was loved by women, who had stories of outrageous escapades, who could bring the house down when he read one of his short stories, to a shuffling alcoholic, and the object of resentful worry by everyone who knew him.

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December 20, 2012

There She Goes

Lying

David dodges yet another bullet

next to her in a bedroom where on the walls hung fancy underwear from ornate hooks, I could hear her rummaging through a box. I could hear it because there came a clanging with the rummaging. “Wait ’til you see this,” Amelia said. A moment later she held up, like the exultant winner of a trophy, a curved silver ornament, bulbous at both ends. It was metal and heavy and radiated a disturbing history.

“Where’s that going?”

Amelia laughed. “Don’t be scared,” she said. “It’s going up my ass.”

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