Friday, May 15, 2009

One Conversation, the Details of Which Are Recorded Here, Amidst a Number of Different Characters

Conrad had met Gershman through Rowley. Rowley is a conductor. He conducts all sorts of things. Gershman, a technician, resents this, while Conrad, a librarian, is indifferent to this fact. Gersham and Conrad are friends, or rather they spend a good deal of time together. Rowley doesn’t care for either Conrad or Gershman, though he does take some pride in having introduced the two. A fourth and unrelated person, Ellman, is an arborist. His wife is named Boyle. They enjoy bathing, sitting, and sleeping. Boyle’s having an affair with a man named Butler. Butler enjoys sipping, chewing, and swallowing. He owns two boats but never boards either. Butler is hydrophobic. When it rains, Butler walks beneath an umbrella. Some people find this strange, but they are surely in the minority. One member of this small class of people, Thornton, sleeps in a room without windows. He finds this a suitable enough arrangement and only rarely complains. The woman who rents Thronton this room, Richard, she has a son named Howe. Howe is bald. He remembers how one time long ago he had let one of his fingernails grow longer than all the others. When someone noticed this, Howe grew so terribly ashamed that he nibbled the whole thing off. The person who noticed was a woman. Her name is Parkman. She is married to Thurber, a ne’er-do-well, and he is a friend of Isaiah’s, a dentist. Dentists are respectable people, though they occasionally make friends with reprobates. One reprobate, Toole, was stalking a woman named Ford. He liked her very much, or rather he liked following her very much. One day she spoke to him. The details of the conversation weren’t recorded. The content of another conversation, however, has been recorded. It was between Charles and George, two very old friends.

C: George, good to see you.

G: I suppose it is, yes.

And that was the conclusion of their conversation. George’s wife, Antonia, slept with Charles once. George does not know this. Charles thinks about it all the time. Antonia has forgotten that it ever happened. She is a drunk, and her memory is not quite what it might otherwise be. She likes to drink gin. So does her friend, Eliot. Eliot is living with Madox at present, though they are no longer sharing a bed. Madox has to wake up early and Eliot hates having to get up before noon. So does Franz, a man from Albuquerque. He likes sleeping, blinking, and watching others move about. His cousin, Greene, owns a boutique cheese store in a small town somewhere. His neighbor’s name is Edmund, but he prefers that people call him ‘dmund. When pressed for the reason why he prefers this nickname, he always responds, “Because I do.” People, accepting creatures that they are, tolerate this response. And this is precisely why people are such boring things, and precisely why we will stop discussing them any further.

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