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55 Walking through a Real Big Garden Sitting on the porch and smoking Newports was all she and Mom had in common. That was the end of the novel. Put her in a hymnal and the paper-thin pages dissolve, leaving song. Still though I knew there was more to the overall story, the mountain-backed bear and muscle of so many others—people like we are—scurrying out of the range of the weapons that the bear had made. All is best in the best world, and losing oneself is a small loss (there are after all several pictures, several films, of what you did before the curtain fell and you emerged minutes later, pretending you had used the time to change) but the question of having the leftover ham with the leftover rice stuck to the edge of the frame as a uvula stuck to a wall, hanging in the fleshy little manner of a slug who has no say in what he is, not very beautiful but not without his own redeeming virtues. How often I have thought of it, etc., and hummed the right song with the wrong words or hummed the wrong song with the wrong words, bringing new meaning to things I would rather not touch— thus begins the bad soliloquy, which everyone struggles to end, in the mouth of the tone-deaf invincible singer, but once again we thought we should listen. Mom hated her boyfriend, Jim, and she herself was angry at Mom for leaving her father, Ted, for a taller richer man, ad nauseam. Even the crickets are laying down gently their black violins as a form of surrender or gesture of peace—let’s get along, they say to the lovers in fits of Morse code. That was the end of the novel. There rose in its place a new city with towers for eyes, from which someone was watching. ...


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