by Amie Barrodale

Sometimes I wished I could shave my head and live in a cave. It was strange to worry that my wife had a man in her life. He was not someone who was with her often. He lived in Oklahoma City. I didn’t know him very well. Once he’d introduced himself to me at a party. Another time we talked on the phone. I didn’t know what to say. I thought the conversation was about a small thing, a business thing, a favor I was asking, but later I suspected that he wanted, through talking to me, to impress himself on my wife’s imagination. I imagined that he imagined that I would tell my wife the things he said to me. Of course I didn’t. Do you believe in past lives? I believed in past lives, and so these illogical things had an explanation. It was all the fruition of whatever went down before. But of course, if that were true, then nothing made any sense at all. 

“David?” my wife called from her study.

I got up out of the tub. I dried my face and left arm, then right, then kind of mashed the towel to my chest. I put my left foot on the ledge of the bathtub and dried my left leg, then stepped out and dried my right in the same way. I dried between my legs, then flipped the towel behind my back and dried it. I wrapped it around myself and went to the mirror. My skin was luminous. I had rosy cheeks. My hair looked nice. I picked up my jeans and underwear and t-shirt and sweatshirt and carried them to the hamper. When I came out of the laundry room I called to my wife. “What are you doing down there?”

“Writing down a sentence.”

“Oh,” I said. 

I went to the bedroom and unwrapped the towel from around my waist. I smelled the crotch of my sweatpants. They had been clean a few hours before, so I put them down on the retro designer chair where we put laundry. I picked up my pajama top. I had to turn one arm rightside out. I heard my wife come up the stairs. She was excited about the paper she was writing. She explained an insight she’d had about an argument between Heidegger and Camus. Maybe it was weakness, or just my accommodating nature, but I could sympathize with the man who wanted to have sex with my wife. 

She came into the bedroom. I was standing in my pajama shirt. When I saw her, I worried that I’d absentmindedly drained the bathtub. I walked past her to the bathroom. She followed me. She didn’t know what I was doing, but she was explaining her idea. It had come to her in class that day, while she was teaching existentialism. When I saw that I hadn’t drained the water, I interrupted her to say, “Do you want this bathwater?” 

“Yeah, I’m just about to get in.” She started to take off her clothes. I went back to the bedroom and put on my pajama bottoms and lay on the bed. My wife followed me and stood in the doorway. She explained that she’d gotten the idea from something I said. My wife often says this when my interest is flagging. She will say that I inspired her insight. Although I believe she is telling the truth, I also believe it is her way of getting my attention. I smiled because it worked. She said that her idea had come to her when I told her that I didn’t see why it was a problem that movies are a distraction. She said, “That is what a real philosopher would say. Not all this…” she encapsulated arguments about new technologies. She was standing at the foot of the bed, naked, telling me that she had realized that all experience is the same—it was the view of one of her two philosophers, but, she said, until that day she hadn’t understood it, that sitting in a jail or making love to her husband are same. Then she went to the door, and she scratched her arm and held it behind her head, so that she was posed like a model, talking to me. I thought, “If an actress in a movie did that with her arm while she was speaking to her husband, it would look so natural, and I would think she was brilliant.” 


I was horribly jealous. Whenever my wife received a text message, my body tensed. I peeked at the screen when she left it alone. When she traveled on business, I insisted on coming along. But then perversely I would leave her alone in the house for months when work took me away. Once I faked an injury and cancelled a trip just to follow her to Chantilly. I knew she was innocent. And yet I also felt sure that she was guilty, that I could never stop her from having sex with another man, that I could only force her to create elaborate lies. I even felt that I understood how he was feeling. His passion burned to a white heat, so that he was actually becoming a spiritual person. I even imagined Mr. Moneybags sitting cross-legged at a big-city ashram, and felt contempt. But nothing was happening. Or it was all happening, unbeknownst to me. At least if I knew, then I wouldn’t be a fool. So I pretended to be certain of, resigned to her guilt.

Maybe I was depressed. It happened every winter. The important thing was to do ordinary things. I made the bed, did the dishes, wiped countertops, and noticed the dusting, especially the living room floor. 

I stood at the counter eating a banana, and decided I would buy a mop.  My wife was at work. I thought I might get one of those old-fashioned industrial mops with the rolling yellow buckets. Home Depot might have that. I could do that myself, just get into the car and drive off. Or do some meditation. It had been a long time since I did any meditation. As I child I did a lot of meditation, or at least I had feelings that were very devout. 

I went upstairs and got on the bed. I was lying on our bed, in designer sweatpants and a T-shirt. I ordered three vegetarian cookbooks on my telephone, and had them shipped overnight. I enrolled us in an organic-produce delivery service. The shopping was too complicated to do online, so I just got a medium veggie box. My wife was at work. On Wednesdays, though she didn’t teach, she went in to school, to make her presence felt in the department. Javier knocked on the door. I went down and let him in. Javier was a day-laborer. We had hired him to paint the bathroom. I wanted to paint it an outrageous hot pink, but the swatch I picked on the computer turned out to be icing pink in real life. My wife liked it, but it was all wrong. It is a downside to living in the middle of America. The paint colors are all drab. I pinched my nose with my right hand, between my thumb and forefinger, and I took a drink of sparkling water. 

I could hear Javier’s voice, coming up through the radiator pipes. He was speaking in Spanish, but it was distorted by the radiator. We lived above a thoroughfare, so all day long I heard cars on the street. They were about as loud as the bubbles in my seltzer. 

I’d had a dream the night before. An old Asian man with a long white beard was talking to my father. He told my father that he needed to figure out his money. He made a joke about it, saying something about the bottomless mystery, the morass of Pat’s finances. (My father’s name was Pat.) Then the old guru looked at me and said I needed to help my father with money. And a second old guru, an Asian man with an even longer white beard, told me that awareness is the protection of awareness, and discipline is the protection of discipline. Do you see what he meant? It’s like how you have no energy to jog, and then you jog, and that gives you the energy. Same thing.

I heard Javier moving things downstairs. The leaves on the tree outside the window were vibrating. I took a sip of water. I thought,  “When I take a sip of water, what do I do with my tongue?” And then, “This is very boring.”

The image of Mr. Moneybags went through my mind. In the photo, which I found Googling his name on my phone while my wife was sleeping, he was pretending to be like me. He had on expensive sunglasses. He was even wearing wristbands. Wristbands and sunglasses are my things. In the past, he modeled himself after the heroes in his novels. I wiped my nose with my hand. Earlier today, my dog went into the bathroom that Javier was now painting and peed on the floor. When I saw that I cleaned it up. I felt proud of myself about that.

“I’m all alone! I’m all alone!” I was yelling while my wife tickled my sides. It was Wednesday evening, after Javier was gone, and my wife had just gotten home. I had been drinking.

“Okay, we’ll have to do the restart,” she said.


She held my nose closed and put a hand over my mouth. She said that she would start the count, to do the restart. She said that would restart me. A part of the joke of the restart is taking a long time, while she has my nose and mouth held shut. Then she started counting down from ninety. At eighty-five, I took her hands off.

“Okay, go make English muffins,” I said. “And tea.”

“Oooh. Ooooh,” she said. “I’ve got all these tasks. I’ve got to make the Buddha’s tea.”

“But I make the bed.”

She said, “That’s my job.”

She had let in our dog. He was a white standard poodle named Bocephalus. We had him groomed weekly. He was grand. The fur on his legs was long, like chaps. We kept his face and his muzzle cut close, but grew his head and his ears. He wasn’t prissy looking. While my wife went away, Bocephalus stayed in the living room with me. He sat at the edge of the couch. He did not like to be looked in the eye. The couch belonged to my grandparents. Just fifteen years ago—a lifetime ago I guess—it was a beautiful couch. It was krewel, on a good foundation. But I think after my grandparents died, my father had it steam cleaned. When you steam clean cotton it sometimes yellows, and that had happened, and then for many years the pieces got dustier. So the couch was very yellow in the sunlight and very dirty. My wife claimed it was my imagination. She said the pieces were beautiful. I was always online googling possible replacements. I was interested in the leather rollback sofas, and some other things I found on ABC.

Bocephalus started to bark and growl. I didn’t realize I had been looking him in the eye. He got up on his legs and lowered himself down. He is a sixty-pound, ten-month-old puppy. He didn’t quite dare to bite me, but he came close to me—not so close that I flinched.

“Do you know why Bocephalus is doing this?” I asked. “Barking like this?”


When my wife came in with the tea, I told her, “Bocephalus is doing this because he doesn’t like to be looked in the eye.”

My wife took a sip of tea. She said, “Let’s both look him in the eye.”

Bocephalus immediately looked away from my wife. Bocephalus was afraid of my wife, because she dispensed punishments from old handbooks on dog training. Somestimes she bit Bocephalus’s muzzle. She would swat Bocephalus in the nose. She would stretch Bocephalus on his back and hold him down by his throat until he whined. My wife loved Bocephalus more than I did. My wife loved animals. 

Bocephalus turned from my wife and barked at me. He lifted his lips to show his fangs. I kept looking in his eyes. He threatened to bite. I was concerned. I worried that Bocephalus was trying to take my place in the pack. I felt I had to do something. So I pinned Bocephalus, as my wife does, on his back. He lay peacefully. I leaned over Bocephalus. I got my face close to his. Bocephalus did not seem concerned. I growled a few times. My wife was sitting drinking tea and watching. I growled at Bocephalus half-heartedly, then let him up. Bocephalus got up on his rear legs and worked his paws like riding a bicycle and flashed his teeth. I said, “This is hopeless.” I meant, this was how it would be—Bocephalus was not afraid of me.

The phone rang. It was the landline. I went to answer it. 

“This is Moneybags,” a voice said.

“Oh, hello.”

“I’m depressed.”

“Hold on,” I said. “Let me take this in the other room.”

I went upstairs to the sunroom off the toilet on the second floor, an early twentieth century addition to our home. This room I was painting myself. I poured paint into the pan and wet a roller while Moneybags spoke.

He said, “I think that I have AIDs.”

“You don’t have AIDs.”

“I probably do. I slept with a street musician. I brought her up to my bedroom. She was playing a guitar.”

“You don’t have AIDs,” I said. “It’s not in the cards for you. Have you read any of the works of Carl Jung?”

I told him about Bocephalus, synchronicity, the story of the gold beetle. We spoke on the phone a long time. He did most of the talking. I wanted to confront him about the affair, but I lost my nerve. He acted like the phone call was the most ordinary thing in the world. He told me he had bought a house. He described the renovations, the lot size, the technology he had installed. “It’s four acres, not a lot actually. But the technology is insane right now.” He was saying something about a Miele cappuccino machine but I didn’t understand it. He suggested we meet for lunch. We set a date. 

When I returned to the living room I was determined to say nothing to my wife about the call. I was determined to behave as if nothing had happened. I sat down on the couch. I was shaking, and my face was flushed. Bocephalus jumped up and kissed me. He knew something was wrong. Even Bocephalus knew, but my wife didn’t notice. She was paging through a Smithsonian catalogue. Half an hour went by and she said, “Should we order in?”

I said, “Let’s have a moment of quiet,” and we were quiet a few minutes, but not long. 

“Postmates?” I suggested. That was a delivery service. In Kansas City, the only restaurant that delivered east of Troost was Domino’s.     We ordered sushi. We were extravagant. When the food came, I went to the door. The delivery girl was nervous. She was nervous because it’s a black neighborhood. I went out on the porch to take the bag. Then we opened the sushi trays and spread them on our coffee table. Bocephalus sat twitching before my wife.

We turned on a movie. We were eating our sushi with our hands, as we were taught by a famous sushi chef in Japan years before. My wife kept commenting on the movie. “That’s a really great line,” she said. She repeated the line two times. Then she said, “I always liked that line, but they should have cut that next line, it’s a weak line.”

She went to the kitchen with the trash from our meal and came back with a container of yogurt. She had cut two miniature chocolate bars and stirred them up
in it. 

“That’s so good,” she said, “That’s such good writing, how they made it convincing that the two of them would fight so quickly. I don’t think they get enough credit for being good writers.”

She was interjecting a lot, and Bocephalus started to bark at me because I had accidentally looked him in the eye. I asked my wife to pause the movie. Then I took Bocephalus outside. When I came back, after a few minutes, I asked her to pause the movie again. I said, “It’s too much talking and I’m going crazy.” She was confused and a little hurt. We sat in the quiet. I said I thought I was getting a migraine. I went up to the bedroom and lay in bed with the lights off. After a few minutes she came in and asked if it would bother me if she lay in bed with a light on and read beside me. I said no, it wouldn’t bother me. My back hurt lying on my side so I turned on my back. It hurt propped by the pillow, so I took the pillow out from under myself and lay without it, looking at the ceiling. The view seemed overwhelming. I could feel something, some current of subtle energy, whipping back and forth almost imperceptibly between my legs. I wondered. If I paid attention to that subtle motion long enough, could I have an orgasm lying still? I wondered if that subtle energy was the source of all the mystical forces in the world. I wondered if unknown to myself and others, I had just grasped hold of universal truths. I was a self-taught spiritual master. Quietly, just moving my lips without making sound, I said, “I am awaking.” I turned on my side and mouthed the words, quickly at first, then more slowly, trying to follow the motions of my mouth and tongue. I caught the obvious ones—the m, the w and the k. The rest happened so quickly it was hard to follow them. I turned back onto my back. The lights in between spaces were illuminated and dancing around. I hadn’t seen those for a while. I was happy to see them again, a sign of spiritual advancement. I saw that they had eluded me recently because I had been looking for their old patterns—I’d been looking for the shapes I’d seen years before. But now the symmetry was gone, the light patterns were radically changed. I thought the ceiling was more interesting, and tried to feel the blood moving through my hands. 

I got out of bed and went downstairs to let Bocephalus back inside. Alone together during the day, we had been doing obedience training. He would listen when we did training because of the treats. I had been training him with voice and hand commands. I let him in the kitchen. I sat down by him on the tile floor. I gestured for him to sit, then lie down. I was opening the bag of freeze-dried liver. I gestured in the stop-sign motion for Bocephalus to stay. Bocephalus was completely still. Then I was still, too. I stayed still and listened to the ringing in my ears. Bocephalus stood. He put his muzzle against the bag of treats. He walked in a circle around me. Then he sat and met my gaze. I stared Bocephalus in the eye. I used all my awareness. A spooky feeling entered the room, an awkwardness and discomfort. It came over Bocephalus. After a moment he looked self-conscious and uneasy. He shifted his paws. He looked uncomfortable in his own skin. He lowered himself down and was careful not to look at me. Uneasy, Bocephalus checked to see if I was still watching, and I could tell he didn’t know what to do when he saw that I was.

I went upstairs and I looked at my wife in the same way. I saw for a moment that she was a child. 

She looked up from her book. She looked me in the eye. We held each other’s gaze. She seemed self-conscious and confused. She said, “What is it? I can see the wheels in your head are turning, but I don’t know why.”


I was early to meet Moneybags. I hoped to use my new powers against him. I was going to spook him, the way I did the dog. Look at him until he felt the discomfort of being alive. I didn’t want to forget my powers, so I brought Bocephalus. Also I had a picture in my mind of swanning around with the dog. But I hadn’t thought it through. It was my first time at a restaurant with Bocephalus. I tied him to a pole outside of the restaurant, but after my first drink, I worried about him being tied up outside. I paid the check and went to find a place with outdoor seating. A Mexican restaurant had sidewalk tables. I asked to sit outside, so I could keep Bocephalus beside me. 

All the outdoor tables were taken, but I could sit at a bar that faced the sidewalk. The only bar seat that was open was directly in front of the door of the restaurant. It was where a bouncer would sit, except that a bouncer would have the wall behind him. There were tables behind me, and waiters moving back and forth, and several children. Bocephalus was bad with children. He jumped up and put his paws on their shoulders and licked their ears. 

“Bocephalus, no!” I shouted. “Bad boy!”

He was mouthing a girl, putting her wrists in his jaws, but the girl’s mother didn’t notice. When the waiter came, I ordered a drink, and a Stop Sign—chips, guacamole, queso and hot sauce. I texted the name of the restaurant to Moneybags.

The sidewalk was full of people. It was a sunny day. Beside me and sitting at all the tables—everywhere, there were people. I wouldn’t have minded if I hadn’t had Bocephalus. I fed him chips and tried to practice staring him down, but he was too distracted to fall under my power. It was windy and I was irritable because I could not leave. I wanted to go and see if Moneybags had gotten my text. Maybe he was at the first restaurant. If Moneybags came late and I wasn’t there, he would presume I had been too afraid. And I wondered why I bothered to get married, and wouldn’t I have been happier living as a strange man somewhere, with no animals, in a studio apartment, maybe in France. I remembered a crush I had on a TA in a seminar on Shakespeare’s tragedies when I was an undergraduate. I could almost remember her name. She worked with one of the famous instructors, had blond curly hair and wore tinted prescription glasses, but was otherwise conservative. I wrote my papers—we had one short one due each week—very carefully because of her. One day after class she walked right up to me, and she handed me my paper with what I felt was weight, as if she were commending me. She had given me an ‘A.’ She invited me to breakfast, but I refused, and then I told her how I felt by email, and she never answered. But I saw her early in Morningside Park when I was walking my dog, and she seemed alarmed. I only remembered it at that moment because I had once written her an email, poking fun at her, I thought, for her formal language. I wanted to encourage her to talk normally. I said, “Are we not beautiful in our bottes vernies.” At the time I had a vague understanding that it was a foolish thing to write. Now it often embarrassed me to remember it. Another time I got in a long affair by email with a beautiful woman. I kept my identity secret, and later, years later, confessed at a party, to her disappointment. An adolescent with a low ponytail and a long-underwear shirt stopped in front of me and said, “Can I pet your dog.”

I said yes. Bocephalus jumped up on the girl and she laughed. 

An old man with liver spotted hands came to a stop behind my stool. I turned and said, “Do you need to get by?”

“No,” he gestured to the waiter, “I’m just waiting for him.”

Bocephalus jumped up on the old man and peed. The old man didn’t notice. He pet Bocephalus and said, “He’s a very nice, very good dog.”

But still I had this creepy feeling at my back, as though I was vulnerable to attack, and the wind was blowing my hair in my eyes, and the napkins all around me—under my chips, under the trio of sauces, and under the Cholula sauce—were flapping, and above my head a sun umbrella was whipping. I wouldn’t be able to use my power here. I wanted to be in my car. I wanted to take a Valium and go to sleep. 

I went to the bathroom and when I came out Moneybags was standing there on the sidewalk, outside of the bar, holding Bocephalus in his arms. He is a tall, strong man. He held Bocephalus very lovingly, like a baby, which made me feel like
a bad dog owner.

“I thought that was you,” he said.

“Right. You know Bocephalus?”

“I saw pictures of him on Facebook. This is our first time to meet in person. Fast friends.”

“Whatever,” I said. “Put him down, please. He doesn’t like that. We have to sit outside. Here, I’ll get the waiter and we can drag you a chair.”

“I already got us a table.” He pointed to a large round table at the far end of the outdoor seating, against a wall. “Does Bocephalus need water?”

“No, no. He’s fine.” I waved the waiter over. “My dog needs water,” I said. 

The waiter frowned at me and said, “I’ll get your server.” She walked away.

When our waiter took our order, he asked if the dog needed water, and I said yes, and then worried and looked at Moneybags, who crinkled his eyes to say he understood. 

It was a difficult meeting and things were bound to be awkward. I looked at the napkins and tried to recall the power of my yogic stare. I tried to feel the subtle things from the night before, but I was terrified and distracted. My thoughts were wild. I hoped Moneybags would take the reins, order a couple of shots for us, and after we had relaxed maybe we could smoke cigarettes together and bond as men. My mind jumped ahead of me, and I found myself envisioning something awful. Moneybags, after shots, was telling me, in my mind, like a filmstrip, “I am having sex with your wife. I intend to continue.” I wiped my eyes. 

“Are you okay?” Moneybags said. “It’s windy out.”

I had hoped we could be men about it, Moneybags said in the filmstrip of my mind. In real life we were starting our entrees and talking about nothing.

“Well,” I said, “this hollandaise is certainly very creamy.” I cleared my throat. I looked up from my eggs Florentine. I gave him the eye. 

He was startled. “I got a steak,” he said. He gestured at his steak with his fork. 

“You’re hiding something,” I said. “What is it. Please, let’s stop playing games.”

He coughed and looked away. He took a bite of his steak. Then he started to tell me a story about a trip he took to New Delhi. That alone told me, as it would tell an interrogator, that he was guilty. I told myself I would watch his motions, rather than listening to his words, but the story got away from me, and I forgot to look out for deceptive cues. 

“Do you mind watching Bocephalus?” I said. I went to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror. I tried a sarcastic smile, using just the corners of my mouth. That was good. I went back to the table and gave him some of the smile.

“You were telling me the part of the story about your hotel in Kerala,” I said. I sliced off a bite of my eggs Florentine and ate it. “You’re often telling stories.”

“I feel like you’re angry with me. Have I said something stupid?” He pressed the side of his mouth.

“Not at all,” I said, giving him another big dose of the smile. “Just the opposite.”

“Sorry. I think you have a little something on your lip. Your lower lip. There, just to the right. Other way. Good, you got it. It’s pretty much gone. No, don’t get up, you got it. Like I was saying. I want us to be friends. Actually, I need your help. I’m in a bit of a tight spot. Well, it’s embarrassing to tell you. It’s totally temporary. But I need—well, I’ll just come out and say it. I was hoping to borrow some money.”

“From me? I’m sorry. Did you ask me to loan you money?”

“Well, no, I didn’t, not yet. But yes, I was hoping I might. It’s all very humiliating. I’m so sorry about this.”

“I’m afraid I have to go now,” I said. I tried to do my yogic stare at him. “I’m late,” I said.

I started to undo Bocephalus. I had to unclip his leash and hold him by the collar, to get his leash off the pole. I had two fingers under Bocephalus’s collar and was undoing his leash. 

Moneybags stood. I followed suit, accidentally lunging at Moneybags as I stood, as much as I could stand while holding Bocephalus by the collar. Moneybags lost his balance on his own chair, and fell back and then forward. He grabbed my shoulders, and I rejoiced that it was finally going to go down. We were having a fistfight! I lunged below Moneybags, to punch him from below, but my punch missed, and I grazed his shoulder. “What the hell? Careful there!” he said. I doubled my fists together, raised them up and brought them down on his head. I heard a few snaps, and then a mighty smash, like the sound of two cars colliding. The pain in my fingers was sudden, and brought tears to my eyes. I brought my hands up. “Whoa, watch it there,” Moneybags said. He punched me in the stomach. No, he was grabbing my belt. He was losing his balance.

“Wait,” I said. He stopped. He staggered back. His face twisted up, and he said, looking past me, “Oh no!”

“It’s just. I think I’ve broken my finger,” I said.


“Yes. This one.”


I held up my forefinger, then I followed his gaze. I turned to look over my shoulder. There had been an accident in the street. A car was between two lanes of oncoming traffic. Its driver was standing outside the door, holding his hands to his face. And Bocephalus was torn open on the pavement. 

“It’s your dog, man,” a waiter said. “He caused a wreck.”

I went into the street for Bocephalus. At first it looked like baby Bocephalus was ripped in half. His forebody was in front of a Dodge Dart, and his two back paws were twisted beside a Chrysler. But when I got closer I saw he was lying between the two cars, in one piece. I knelt beside him and he licked my hand. The waiter tried to follow me into traffic, but Moneybags held him back. “You just stay put.”

“The dog is responsible,” the waiter said. “I saw it.”

“Oh go fuck yourself,” Moneybags said.


After the vet, Bocephalus lay on the couch on his pain pills, a large bandage on his foreleg. I wanted to curl up in bed with my wife. I wanted to take all my pain and put it somewhere else. I tried to get to the bottom of all this feeling. Some people—I was not alone in this—thought that I was inadequate. Relatives of hers, friends from her former life, thought I was inadequate. I felt inadequate. I tried to go lower and lower, to strike the bottom of this feeling, but I only fed it. It was not a hole, but a fire. So I thought, maybe I can live with this fire, this mystical fire of my shame. It can fuel me. 

I said to my wife, “Can we just lie down in bed?”

“Sure,” she said. When we were in bed, my wife said, “What are you thinking?”

“Nothing. I don’t know.”

“Is everything all right?”


“How was your day? Did you do anything in particular?”

“I went to lunch. I brought the dog.”

“You seem to have PTSD.”

“I guess I do.”

“You seem traumatized.”

“Maybe sometimes when I’m like this you should just be quiet. Sometimes all this talking makes everything worse.”

She was startled and hurt, and she felt prickly for a while, until I told her that I was sorry. I apologized for speaking to her as I had, and for holding her in suspicion. 

I said, “You know, Moneybags isn’t such a bad guy. He has money problems. He suffers from depression, and he may have AIDs from a street performer.” 

She said, “Uh. I’m glad you feel that way, but I’d sort of prefer it if we could never talk about Moneybags.”

“I had lunch with him today.”

I told her the story about our fistfight and the accident. She thought it was funny, though it worried her a little, that I wasn’t going to tell her at first. We lay in bed talking. She told me she had found a dog sitter. A few weeks later, we went to Taipei. The trip was very unpleasant, and we missed Bocephalus. When we came home, he was dirty, and he had red eyes. He seemed like a different dog. He had stopped biting. He just wanted to cuddle and be held.