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Part 5 Chapter 2

I think, dear, you should lift your foot from the pedal more frequently. Yes, that part is very nice … very nice, don't you think? Yes, the characters go around with microphones in their trousers. The locale is in Asia, because the atmospheric conditions are more conducive. Would you like to try a little Anjou? We bought it especially for you…

All through the meal this patter continues. It feels exactly as if he had taken out that circumcised dick of his and was peeing on us. Tania is bursting with the strain. Ever since he came back with a heart full of love this monologue has been going on. He talks while he's undressing, she tells me – a steady stream of warm piss, as though his bladder had been punctured. When I think of Tania crawling into bed with this busted bladder I get enraged. To think that a poor, withered bastard with those cheap Broadway plays up his sleeve should be pissing on the woman I love. Calling for red wine and revolving drums and croutons in his pea soup. The cheek of him! To think that he can lie beside that furnace I stoked for him and do nothing but make water! My God, man, you ought to get down on your knees and thank me. Don't you see that you have a woman in your house now? Can't you see she's bursting? You telling me with those strangulated adenoids of yours – "well now, I'll tell you … there's two ways of looking at that…" Fuck your two ways of looking at things! Fuck your pluralistic universe and your Asiatic acoustics! Don't hand me your red wine or your Anjou … hand her over … she belongs to me! You go sit by the fountain, and let me smell the lilacs! Pick the dandruff out of your eyes … and take that damned adagio and wrap it in a pair of flannel pants! And the other little movement too … all the little movements that you make with your weak bladder. You smile at me so confidently, so calculatingly. I'm flattering the ass off you, can't you tell? While I listen to your crap she's got her hand on me – but you don't see that. You think I like to suffer – that's my role, you say. O.K. Ask her about it! She'll tell you how I suffer. "You're cancer and delirium," she said over the phone the other day. She's got it now, the cancer and delirium, and soon you'll have to pick the scabs. Her veins are bursting, I tell you, and your talk is all sawdust. No matter how much you piss away you'll never plug up the holes. What did Mr. Wren say? Words are loneliness. I left a couple of words for you on the tablecloth last night – you covered them with your elbows.

He's put a fence around her as if she were a dirty, stinking bone of a saint. If he only had the courage to say "Take her!" perhaps a miracle would occur. Just that. Take her! and I swear everything would come out all right. Besides, maybe I wouldn't take her – did that ever occur to him, I wonder? Or I might take her for a while and hand her back, improved. But putting up a fence around her, that won't work. You can't put a fence around a human being. It ain't done any more… You think, you poor, withered bastard, that I'm no good for her, that I might pollute her, desecrate her. You don't know how palatable is a polluted woman, how a change of semen can make a woman bloom!

……You think a heart full of love is enough, and perhaps it is, for the right woman, but you haven't got a heart any more … you are nothing but a big, empty bladder. You are sharpening your teeth and cultivating your growl. You run at her heels like a watchdog and you piddle everywhere. She didn't take you for a watchdog … she took you for a poet. You were a poet once, she said. And now what are you? Courage, Sylvester, courage! Take the microphone out of your pants. Put your hind leg down and stop making water everywhere. Courage I say, because she's ditched you already. She's contaminated, I tell you, and you might as well take down the fence. No use asking me politely if the coffee doesn't taste like carbolic acid: that won't scare me away. Put rat poison in the coffee, and a little ground glass. Make some boiling hot urine and drop a few nutmegs in it…

It is a communal life I have been living for the last few weeks. I have had to share myself with others, principally with some crazy Russians, a drunken Dutchman, and a big Bulgarian woman named Olga. Of the Russians there are chiefly Eugene and Anatole.

It was just a few days ago that Olga got out of the hospital where she had her tubes burned out and lost a little excess weight. However she doesn't look as if she had gone through much suffering. She weighs almost as much as a camel-backed locomotive; she drips with perspiration, has halitosis, and still wears her Circassian wig that looks like excelsior. She has two big warts on her chin from which there sprouts a clump of little hairs; she is growing a mustache.

The day after Olga was released from the hospital she commenced making shoes again. At six in the morning she is at her bench; she knocks out two pairs of shoes a day. Eugene complains that Olga is a burden, but the truth is that Olga is supporting Eugene and his wife with her ............

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