Sinking back into a wine-induced, near-constant stupor, he reads the review and wonders whether the joke was on him or he is the joke on all of it.
His wife, well sort of, tells him to quit, move back to Brooklyn, and scratch the itch that’s been itching, that he’s not been scratching, since at least 1995. All of it comes back to that, all of it, she says when she’s in the mood to say such things.
Once, at a conference, drunk, he expounded upon the literature of the no. But now he has a hard time reading it. He is embarrassed about it, years later. It was in Chicago, or was in Long Beach, that he did that?
His wife says We’ll open a bookstore and then you will have some time. In return, he wonders aloud, pessimistically. Still, the food would be better.
He wonders, not aloud, later, about turning the screws tight, stripping them in fact, and then never being able to unscrew them.
His wife, well sort of, tells him to do an hour a day on it, that that is him at his best. But he simply can’t
He wonders whether the joke was on him or he is the joke on all of it, and then he writes this post.