Wrestling with strange phantoms of hatred and baffled pride: rage, and the desire to inflict pain. There's nothing mysterious about the daily horrors of the world. It's just this impulse, with a good excuse and the encouragement of a like-minded group. Nothing more dangerous than a would-be alpha resentful of obscurity. When I was a young man, these fits would come upon me with terrifying speed and power: and I had so little skill or knowledge to help me against them. Good luck, that's what got me through.
So I wait, and breathe, and have my coffee. Suburban lawn mowers trumpet and keen, each to each; crows fume on the wires; cats probe the tall grass and the spaces between fence palings. I grow old with each passing moment: wrinkling, shrinking, decaying. The sun blisters and fades the paint on the walls. I keep hearing, or think I'm hearing, the call of a hungry young osprey. Absurd, of course: nothing would induce an osprey to nest here. It must be some other bird. How have I lived so long, to know so little?
I hold an egg-sized stone in my hand, smooth and reddish, with a notion of jasper about it. Place it on my book. My shoulders hunch, and I seem to myself to be rotting, rotting in place. I give up, and dive for the shadow. Next time. Something more, something less. At least, pray God, something other.