By Nik Cohn

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Still it was one thing, and then it was another thing, throwing up on Monsignor Bayliss, driving the Bentley into the swimming pool, sniffing coke with the hired help, nothing more than rites of passage really, but Chief Wigwam took it personally, he said it was like to kill him, and so it did, right in the middle of lunch, he was eating alphabet soup and suddenly turned purple, rose halfway out of his chair, “You have to be kidding,” he said, and fell dead as he’d lived, face-down in his soup where Anna found him, fresh home from Mrs.

I’m loving you,” Ivana said. Rolling back her lower lip, she studied its reflection in her compact mirror, a constellation of livid purple circles ringed in white. ” The El ran right past the window and, every time a train roared through, the whole room shook. Behind the drawn blinds, the walls were papered with a duck-hunting scene, green and yellow on faded teal—one duck flying high, two more lurking in tall reeds, and the hunter in his rowboat with his gun across his knees, a globular man puffed up like a gorged tick with ear-muffs and a walrus moustache.

It did a back-flip, drifted as if hang-gliding. The fat white woman looked at him head on. “Eight cherry tomatoes, halved. A quarter pound green beans,” said Mrs. Muhle. But Willie D had been there, and gone. All afternoon he drove and drove without direction, set adrift in alien neighbourhoods, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, where no one knew his face or name, till he came to a park with a snot-green lake where you could paddle with bare feet, and there he stayed among children pushing model boats and old women feeding the ducks, waiting for the light to soften and fade, the evening to come and protect him.

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