“Just relax,” she says to me and we start from there only we don’t: From where I’m standing it just seems so easy for her to say it but then she makes another comment, throws some offhand truth to the wind and it’s clear she’s got her own demons too— we all do.
We all do and some nights those demons, those dybbuks, djinns, the screwups, they feast on hungrier and the fireflies twinkling in our eyes go on brief, tentative dates with razorblades yet the pen remains mightier than the sword.

Swords, spades, ploughshares, pens: All different strokes of the same keyboard, some faint plastic clanking ringing through the late hours, remembering the past, creating tomorrow, weaving shadows and candyglazing what needs a little color: I turn my head to subjects outside.
Fact: I make for a lousy main character and I’d rather write instead of everyone else gravitating by me in their own orbits around their own suns. I’d rather be a comet myself, a falling star shooting in, out and through everyone’s life just a little bit, for a little while— see, listen, learn, fact-check, then off to Pluto or Mars, saturnine.

And boy there are copious notes in the back of my head— written down across the years as life gets in the way and everybody dies just a little death every day of their lives—

There’s Jimmy, age 18, about to throw up in the back of my father’s car as we’re parked at some gas station somewhere in our hometown the Summer before we all leave for good, while on the front seat I’m sliding my hands underneath his friend’s blouse as Eric Clapton plays on the radio—

There’s yourself a few years later, telling me you learned how to eat with chopsticks from your father and it’s the only time you’ll ever mention him to me—

There’s Franny not being there the only time I ever really needed someone because it’d gotten so dark and confusing—

—And I’m taking it all in, memory babe, Johnny Mnemonic— Taking notes as the years get shed off like dead skinflakes peeled away one by one, snakelike, a little contrived but that’s okay—

Cybill’s grandfather on TV at an ad for some supermarket. Monika teaching me how to do push-ups Kung-Fu-style with my knuckles. Johnny getting pissed off at a prank that gets a little out of hand. The endless phone conversations with Paul, a poor substitute for actually being there. College with Luke and the time he befriended a filthy stray dog and named it Dust Mite.The hundreds of times Dennis got to order the drinks without looking at the prices on the menu. The handful of times Kristen shied away while making love. The one time Faye turned her face when I tried to kiss her at a nightclub then went up to Canada and got married.