I’ve made it this far – you tell yourself as you are telling yourself the story of your life – out on the highway, on the make, with two toasters and twelve knife sets left to sell. Wandering in dustbowls and canyons with rattlesnakes before your feet and the banditos at your spur’d heels. No, no it isn’t time to give up because there’s still a quart of scotch in the decanter that Rosenberg has lent you for the night and half a pack of Chesterfield’s that you will send up in smoke, in a great mushroom cloud, past the upper floor windows of the office where Oppenheimer is also working on his numbers long into the night. Maybe your heart feels faint, sire, for we all know that your siege on Antioch thus far has rested on mere providence and that it is not your skill or strength, my lord Bohemond, but only faith that has carried you so far in your crusade. But Jesus Christ on a bike, did you see the way she looked at you, I told you the shirt was a good idea dude, oh she noticed you, wouldn’t be surprised if she starts asking around – your friend is telling you on the phone as a cold sweat appears on your forehead. Of course, you would much rather be sipping your coffee looking out on the rain falling down on Rue des Douradores and dreaming of another name to hide your heart behind. However it was too late for questions or even words, they meant nothing to the fox whose instincts have carried him this far and are now carrying you over the ground, ground, ground, and the hare running so fast ahead. You’d like nothing so badly as to sink your fangs into the fair maiden’s neck, suck her dry and then let fly among the gothic spires, letting your wings bathe in the moonlight. Instead, you find yourself on your knees before the Madonna with nothing but holy intentions on your lips. She says yes. A warning: If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, says Obi-Wan and you take the moment to rest your hand on hers, feeling safe in the dark of the cinema and so very very exposed as if a spotlight might appear from above and melt the stupid scared smile off your face like an action figure underneath a magnifying glass. Nonetheless, Zeno of Elea’s arrow hits its mark against all logic and Chrysippus dies laughing. But that’s just it, isn’t it, nothing lasts forever and there’s no paradox or kevlar vest to protect you from that kind of high calibre round, fired from a grassy knoll into your heart. Eventually, after running out of hydrogen, the sun will eject a mass of gas and dust into space which can be as much as half the star’s mass and reveal the molten core before finally dying. At which point, there are two ways of looking at this: You can accept you are gone and light a candle at the shrine of amnesia, or… light your beard like a cheroot and prepare to board. In the spirit of Blackbeard, you will raid the ships and shores of your sweetest memories, plundering all that can be saved and treasured, only to bury them, in a futile gesture against entropy, on a deserted isle where only you walk the sands. You’ve left few clues but you know they’ve sent their best to make you don’t skip town and so you sleep with one eye open, the other swollen shut, half a monochrome cigarette in your mouth and your revolver pointing towards the monochrome door underneath which a shadow appears. You deliver the line with gusto – Pop, I’m nothing! I’m nothing, Pop. Can’t you understand that? There’s no spite in it any more. I’m just what I am, that’s all – your voice launches across the theatre and the energy of the crowd is electric, but from the corner of your eye you spot the NY Times critic in the front row who shakes her head and writes something in her notepad. It’s over. There’s only so much time you can spend in the Tower of London with the rats and severed heads until you put a coin into the hand of your executioner, tell him you forgive him, and rest your head on the block. There’s no time to see if Neo-China arrives from the future or if anything of humanity will be left after the singularity. No, there’s no stopping it now, thought the field mouse who kept running despite his words before the windhover’s pride, plume, here Buckle! The curtains close. The lights go out. And they tuck you into bed, where Sleep finds you, at last, the child It lost in the supermarket for just a moment and what a precious moment it was.