The Elaborate


“You wondered whether I could ever get tired of Hart House. I never could.”

“I just said that. You’re here a lot.”

“I never could.”

Sitting in the sun, the bench in front of medieval bay windows, light tracing delicate stone crosses and joints, the elaborate. One leg each is resting on the wall.

The fellow has his plans, though we are talking about the plans of another. Un-enthusiasm grows in him, and something dies, as it always does when he becomes bored.



“Sure, but

“Anyway. It’s not that big a deal.”

“You don’t think it’s good for them?”

“Nothing is a big deal.”


“Who can say what the world will be like in one, or two years? Who knows where any of us will be?”

“The apocalypse? Listen, I think that’s just–”

“I think about it a lot.”

“I know, I used to too, I was certain that it was coming, I understand, but you know what–”

“You can’t understand. You’re married. Now you can’t go anywhere. You’ve got roots.”

“That’s true, but remember when my beard and hair were long, and I lived in the forest?” Somehow this symbol is so easy. It’s fine work when an experience that was painful can be related in three or four short, pithy sentences.

“The deer came to me every morning–” I say.

“The deer came to you?” Incredulous. They are simple stories, but to him they reek of mysticism. This city dweller sitting next to me doesn’t understand the country.

“They were always in pretty much the same place at the same time every day. Animals have routines. There was a chipmunk who was always on a certain side of this one tree at a certain time of the day, and I talked to him–”

“You talked to him?”

I can tell this is killing him, time to put the knife in.

“Sure, I talked to him, and you know, in all honesty, he was my best friend. I talked to him. We talked.”

He’s laughing now.

“I mean, we didn’t have conversations.”

“That’s too perfect. A chipmunk was your best friend.”

“And I thought about the apocalypse, and I was certain that we would never last another two, another three years, and that when the crash came, we all knew it would, that would be the end of everything, and we’d have to fight to live…”

“I predicted the crash. I have it saved in one of my e-mails.”

“Who didn’t?”

“No, Anxrx, the approximate time, the circumstances…”

“Sure, but–”

“Anyway, let’s not talk about it here. I don’t want to poison this place talking about the apocalypse.”

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