I'm beginning to think we're all mad.
Some drunk stopped me on the street this morning to show me the numbers he intended to play in next week's lottery, infuriated at the world for his not having won already. I had to yank myself free of his grip when he started whispering in my ear for me to not trust women.
I had troubles of my own. Lack of money, student loan applications and a summer job that treated me like a slave. I didn't want to think about other people's misery.
And yet Pauly’s sister stopped me on the street a few blocks later. She had just come from the hospital and she looked a wreck, caven cheeks and hollowed eyes. I almost didn't recognize her at first. She kept mumbling things at me I didn't understand, like Roland Perez' Hobart Manor Ghost, or my mad mother's talking to the wall when I was a kid.
I lied to escape, telling her I had to get to school, when school didn't start for another two weeks.
Then, later, when I was sitting downtown, another man approached me, telling me about his being hunted by the FBI and CIA.
"I was a radical law student," he told me when I failed to escape his attention. "They wanted me to stop defending poor people."
His story started me thinking. What if it is all true? What if people are out to get him, and because he's dirty and mad, no one believes him?
I recalled when I was in the army and the FBI used to bring back soldiers who'd gone AWOL, broken arms and bloody noses, lessons taught in the back of their car on the way back to the stockade.
And then, still later, at Frank & Dawns, I hear from them stories of secret plots and satellites that can snap a picture of your book from space and read the same page you're reading.
"What if they replace those cameras with laser beams?" Frank asked. "I'll tell you what. Then they could do whatever they liked with us."
I wanted to laugh. But how could I when the whole world seemed to be going mad?
Am I next?