They saw me. Milton's smile curled off his face like unsticky tape. And I knew immediately, I was a boy band, a boondoggle, born fool. He was going to pull a Danny Zuko in Grease when Sandy says hello to him in front of the T-Birds, a Mrs. Robinson when she tells Elaine she didn't seduce Benjamin, a Daisy when she chooses Tom with the disposition of a sour kiwi over Gatsby, a self-made man, a man engorged with dreams, who didn't mind throwing a pile of shirts around a room if he wanted too. My heart landslided. My legs earthquaked.
She was dry. She was lying on something soft. She was wrapped in quilts. There was a star of light drifting above her, and a smell like a herb garden. Taggle was a long warmth stretched out at one side, his chin in her hand, his tail curled over her neck. She thought they might be in heaven. Taggle farted. Plain Kate coughed and sneezed. And then she really was awake.
I was woken by a shell-burst in the trench of sleep. Heart skipping, with eyes fighting light, my thoughts sprang up like a field of starlings startled by a farmer's gunshot, a thousand separate, autonomous specks that swirled into a single united black shape.