Wednesday, August 12, 2009


He was standing by the window, interior light reflecting his image, scotch tilted in hand, when the assassin’s bullet shattered the glass, pierced his right shoulder. He collapsed, the radio playing light piano, drink coating the burgundy rug, a gift from an old flame. Friends had said, the climate is lethal, be careful what you say. For writers, it’s always dangerous, he responded. Blood drained from his shoulder, spreading to the armpit, soaking his plaid blazer, the staple of his public appearance wardrobe.

His speech and works full of existential themes, fodder for his nationalistic adversaries. He said once, as a writer, I’m consciously working up to death, others are passively waiting for it. Poorly worded threats in his mailbox, the long shadows trailing him in the night alleys—now real, paranoia penetrating flesh, a work he’d never write.

In the moment after the bullet, after realizing the pain, he felt guilt about the moment before the bullet—when he thought nothing, empty space, just enjoying the scotch, its dry smoky flavor. Then the bullet—fired when he was born, a parabolic line tracing time until his death. Dogs barking, furious knocking at the door. All reactions—too late. The vertex reached, his last point. The mirror view revealing symmetry in death.

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