I’d had to use the most curious key to get into this apartment. It was shaped like a series of large, standing ovals and I didn’t see how you could possibly fit it through a keyhole. Except then I realized, you had to do something to the keyhole. You had to make the keyhole change—which somehow, I had managed to do. (Go, dream me!)
I was looking for Rutger among the cats, but I wasn’t seeing him. “Right,” said Ben. “He’s in the apartment upstairs.”
So there were two apartments filled with cats! If I looked up at the ceiling, I could see the apartment upstairs, and I wanted to get there, find Rutger, feed Rutger, maybe even smuggle Rutger out—if that was possible.
Then I remembered, Wait! I have to put down litter boxes for the cats downstairs!
So, I decided to give Ben some money and send him to the store to buy litter boxes.
Even as I was giving him the money, I thought, This is a mistake! He will steal the money and then he will return with some absolutely plausible story about how the money disappeared, how it wasn’t his fault that the money disappeared.
I didn’t know what to do. Because I couldn’t leave the apartments with all the cats so long as there was a chance Rutger was still trapped there.
I decided to experiment!
I got very, very stoned yesterday morning.
I don’t actually like getting stoned all that much. Marijuana is not my head trip of choice by a long shot.
But I’ve sworn off drinking again: It would be just too easy to spend the remainder of my life in a drunken stupor. And even though there’s not much of an edge to my life right now—in fact, you could say that’s the problem with my life: no edge!—I keep thinking, You need to take the edge off!
Anyway, the experiment was not a success.
Didn’t really hamper my productivity very much. I did everything I needed to do.
But I did it all with this weird feeling of self-consciousness: This is me making the decision to do everything I need to do! And now, I am propelling my fat ass out of this comfortable desk chair—
Kind of like some insane inner Edward R. Murrow soliloquy.
And also, it made me vaguely queasy, which naturally I obsessed over since isn’t queasiness a symptom in 0.5% of all covid-19 infections?????
I had covid-19!
And it was only a matter of time before I developed all those other unpleasant symptoms!
The Small Still Voice of Reason counseled, You don’t have covid-19.
And the two voices began arguing inside my head.
Which was quite unpleasant.
I continued reading The Lola Quartet.
It’s not a very good book.
And that made me happy because it helped me realize that even if your third novel is not very good, your fourth novel may be magnificent.