Vendler, you've asked me if I ever had a friend besides Marenna,
besides my wife, brother and sister.
I did once.
I used to sit with him in an abandoned elevator waiting for the ruby hour--I wore a white towel at my waist, a white towel on my head, and he wore a burlap coat, a rope at his waist.
I was John the Baptist, he was St. Francis. The elevator was that which shunted forth between heaven and hell. But the elevator could not tell you if you went up or down. You shut the doors, waited for the deep red button to glow. I used to go visit the junkyard but stopped going after Mika died. The elevator, perhaps, is still there, rotting shut. Mika died in a sanitarium. I wanted to clear this up before it was too late. It is remarkable how individuals get mislaid over periods of time until they bear no resemblance to their own flesh. I thought I could avoid talking about him. But I can't. It seems I can never avoid him.
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