Last night. Around four in the morning, by laptop clock. Tucked into my little outpost in the hills. Tarp; sleeping bag with pad; the usual, but I was awake. I heard a burst of flute muzak. Coming from the road, it sounded like, but I was never all that good at tracing the origin of sound. Then a helicopter flew over—bulked up by some kind of attachment, looked like. Green lights on the underside. For some reason I thought of the woman, "Shana," and what she'd say. Probably, "Shut up, I'm trying to sleep."

Thirty-three years old, now, and I'm still the slow kid. What else is new? My family ragged me for being bad with fractions, or some stupid thing. Dragged me for scoring only 29 on the ACT. Now I'm here. Three decades of pain and searching, for everything and nothing. It's funny: You circle around the truth, and then find out it was circling you all along. The ol' Nietzschean paradox. What then? Bargain, beg, bow down. Either that, or you haven't a fuck left to give.