Fessay So Myself

You are witnessing the invention of a new literary form, the fessay. This is a fictional essay. It takes a news item, writes a column-length (750-900 words) response, but uses a fictional format. The name "fessay" is my copyright and requires permission for use.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MY GREAT FRIEND By Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #7)

(NEWS ITEM: Toys-R-Us pays a prize to illegal immigrants for the first child born in 2007, despite a clear rule requiring citizenship.)

So I get a call and it’s the Pepster. His full and nominal appellation is Pepe Ruiz; he and I were born within blocks and minutes of each other back in the old country of Brooklyn. The year was ’60 with babies booming and wailing as far as the ear can hear. Kennedy was elected President and all the men were asking not and all the women were answering yes.
The two of us were merged and submerged from nonage as only a panicky Jew and a jubilant Hispanic can be. Now I’m a man who occasionally suffers from excessive subtlety, but the Pepster was as flamboyant a jester as ever gesticulated. We exploded cigars and whoopeed cushions and played three-card monty with a fourth up the sleeve. Our public school teachers begged for privacy and the local cops worked donut-and-a-half overtime. No one ever abused or disabused us, because we made them chuckle while gnashing their teeth.
His Dad, Chico, was a custodial engineering genius who pushed a broom for the Board of Ed for thirty years. No cobweb in the deepest corner was safe from his holistic approach to his craft. He was as civil a servant as ever tipped his grotty Yankees cap to the perky Home Ec teacher. He wouldn’t hurt a fly unless it entered the spider’s parlor just as the broom was poised to strike.
No one could cast an aspersion with any asperity on the Pepster’s legality. He was a duly appointed, licensed, passed and ported citizen of these U. S. and anyone endeavoring to challenge that dispensation would be dispensed with forthwith. He was a man of the people, about town, and occasionally overboard. Pepe and I were consummate New Yorkers who lived by the Golden Rule: ‘He who has the gold rules.’
Yes, he and I led quite a life. We had a good upbringing at home and could always bring down the house. We had complications in elementary school and low grades in high school. We went everywhere and emerged unscathed; we ambled and ambulated and perambulated and somnambulated but avoided ambulances. We lived the life Riley wanted, but he looked on in helpless envy. In adulthood, a term I employ loosely, we drifted aimfully into parallel fields, me selling insurance and him adjusting it. My gift of gab and his gift of grab insured us both incomes with heft.
But the Pepster had a gambling yen he could rarely convert into a dollar. His stallions were stallin’ and his fillies were fallin’; his roulette balls rolled out and his cards were discarded. The rest of his stash was spent on the ladies, who smiled on him more often than their compeer Lady Luck. “I buy them drinks,” he would tell me. “Because I can’t bear it when they whine.” His money was easier go than come.
“Get down here, you miserable Hebe,” he’s yelling on the phone. “Before I cut you out of my will.” He’s in the hospital, he says, room 1033, registered as Espedo Gonzalez, and I am not to speak English to him in front of the staff. I’m there in twenty minutes flat as a pancake because I have had a long day.
When I come into his room, a nurse is giving him some pills. He looks wan and sickly, thanking her in Spanish. As soon as she walks out, Pepe sits up and grins: “Good in a pinch, that nurse.”
“Speedy Gonzalez?” I demanded.
“I couldn’t resist. It was either that or Jose Jimenez.”
“Pep, why are you in here?”
“Bad spleen. My old corpus is going derelicti on me.”
“And why are you incognito? Creditors after you?”
“Well, I made the mistake of adjusting my own insurance, down to zero in fact. I canceled my health because I was low in cash.”
“And you lost that gamble too.”
“So the only way I could get admitted was by not admitting I’m Uncle Sam’s nephew. I’m pretending to be an illegal and they’re waiting on me hand and spleen.”
I pulled myself up to my full height of five foot seven.
“Pepe, you shock me. A man of your aspirations and exasperations, your achievements and bereavements, reduced to using deception at Reception? Uncle Sam wants you and he wants your tax money: that should be enough to make you feel wanted. Instead you pretend to be wet on your back and behind your ears so the ER will err in your billing? Say it ain’t so, Peppy Pep.”
“I’m surprised at you, pal,” Pepe said with a wink. “After all our years fighting racism, you go and put the Jew back in prejudice.”

Sunday, December 25, 2005

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #6)

(NEWS ITEM: Congressional committee recommends that intelligence-gathering techniques be modernized to correspond to modern crime and terrorism situations.)

Tony Canoli was buzzing with excitement. He simply could not get over that he, Tony the Phoney, was being called to a meeting with the Don himself.
“Siddown, Tony, siddown,” Don Guido said. “I’m lookin’ over your file here and it’s quite impressive.”
“Why, thank you, Don, this is quite an honor for me.”
“Let’s see what we have here,” the Don murmured as he leafed through the file. “Connected in 1994, very nice work. What’s this? Disconnected in 1996?”
“Didn’t pay my phone bill.”
“That’s not good, my boy. But I see you were reconnected almost immediately.”
“Yeah, whacked the phone guy.”
“Terrific, that’s what we like here, initiative. Well, Tony, I have a project for you that I think is a perfect fit for your special skills.”
Finally Don Guido began to explain to Tony the job at hand. It seemed that the fellas had gotten woid dat da Feds had some new gizmos dat dey was usin against sommada boys, or something to that effect. Tony’s task was to approach the FBI, claim that he was ready to be an informant and ask to be wired for his next big meeting with the Don.
That way the boys in the… er, Outfit could find out what the new technology was and be better equipped to bring crime up-to-date in the 21st Century. Tony was honored. He was so abuzz that for once he didn’t get buzzed before a big job.
Sure enough, the Feds were thrilled when he made his approach. They told him that they would love to send him in to his headquarters wired. But, they explained, there would be no need to “wear a wire” on his body. That was old-fashioned and much too risky. If someone decided to pat him down, the gig would be up and he would be down.
No, this new system was foolproof.
The way it worked was that a small chip would be inserted into his ear. That chip would act as a transmitter enabling the FBI to eavesdrop on the conversation and record it without any need to wear something bulky outside his body. There was only one thing. It required surgery with anesthesia to implant the chip deep enough in the ear that it could not be detectable to the naked eye. Tony agreed, and the procedure was done.
When Tony came back to report to the Don, he was a big hero. First they sent him to the bent doctor who performed a surgery to remove the piece. Then they threw Tony a big party, gave him a big promotion and made him made. You can make much more if you’re made and Tony had always thought he had the makings of being made; now he had finally arrived and been made made.
From that point, Tony got to sit in on every major meeting. He could not believe his good fortune. He was being treated with real respect. He had money, prestige; you name it, he had it. He was on top of the world.
And then suddenly, inexplicably, it all came crashing down. The Feds closed in and arrested every member of the family from the Don down to the lowest of the disconnected and the unmade. In fact, everyone but Tony was arrested, but fortunately no one suspected that he was the informant, since he was the guy who had exposed the new Fed ear bug.
All the men were awaiting trial, but no one knew what evidence the Feds thought they had. Tony was still hopeful that they were just running a bluff, angry at him for backing out of his deal to be a fink. But Tony would not be intimidated. Oh, no. Tony Canoli is no rat.

Tony seemed to be fidgeting a great deal as he told me this story, sitting next to me on his bar stool. It was like he couldn’t sit still, rearranging his position every few seconds.
“Well, this is very weird,” I said. “I hope it all works out the way you think and the FBI releases them for lack of evidence. Although the word in the street is that they have tapes.”
“Yeah,” Tony said. “I heard that too, but that don’t make no sense. The doc pulled that thing out of my ear. I seen it myself afterwards.”
“I don’t doubt it,” I said. “We should know soon enough, when they go to court. By the way, what brings you to this neighborhood?”
“Doctor’s appointment.”
“Really? What kind of doctor?”
“Proctologist. Been having terrible itching down there for the last little while. I gotta have it looked at.”

Saturday, April 16, 2005

SADDAM SHAME by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #5)

(NEWS ITEM: Special Presidential commission reports severe failures of intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction in period leading up to invasion of Iraq.)

The chief called me on the interoffice line, “Come on upstairs, POTUS is having hot flashes.” POTUS, in C.I.A. shorthand, being President Of The United States.
It’s never good for the chief to get nervous, so I was up in a blink to hold his hand. POTUS was looking for ammo to give to Powell to take up to Annan. They wanted old Kofi to get out of the way so they could take Saddam down once and forever. If they didn’t get him soon, he would kick the bucket and Uday and Qusay would catch it. Then we’d have two monsters for the price of one.
“Harlan,” he says to me. “We need Sahara on this. I want you to get on a plane and bring me back some red meat from your boy. Humint, Harlan, humint.” Humint is Agency shorthand for human intelligence, real people, old-fashioned spies who penetrate to the very heart of the enemy, who risk all for the sake of a far-off free nation that is but a dream. They live in fear and privation without the comfort of camaraderie and season tickets for the Redskins.
Sahara was short for Madda Sahara, my prize agent, an intrepid warrior circulating within the inner circle of Saddam Hussein. My name for him was a play on the famous spy Mata Hari, with a desert theme - plus the name Saddam written backwards at the beginning. That’s what I told the suits, anyway. Personally I rigged it that way because phonetically it reads like ‘mad as a hatter’. Many of the Agency’s reports on Saddam were based on the platinum humint of Sahara.
I assured him that Sahara would dig deep into his treasures if I went to hold his hand. To meet in Iraq itself was too scary but a meeting in Jordan was possible, since his position in Saddam’s government allowed him to fly frequently to Jordan on official matters. The chief reminded me to use the Frederickson passport from the Bahamas, and he signed off on a boatload of cash in the Bahamas bank.
The way that works is that I have a separate identity named Frederickson who is theoretically a citizen of the Bahamas. I fly from here to Freeport using an American passport, pick up the operational fund in the bank there and then buy tickets for the Middle East as Frederickson who is a fashion photographer based out of the Bahamas. Sahara is a joint venture between us and M.I. 6 and my partner in managing him is the lovely Sandra Kendrick, once Miss London (and still upset about losing Miss England to a Pakistani immigrant), who travels as an international fashion model and is a very effective spook.
The Sahara management was based on the idea that she and I fly to the Middle East periodically for fashion shoots that involve desert scenes and the like. This time, after my powwow with the chief, I got on the phone to M.I. 6 and went through the usual ridiculous rigmarole of getting routed through every pompous little Oxford geek until I finally got through to my lady.
“Howdy, pahdner,” she says, with a thick Texas drawl. She can do about twenty accents and each one is to die for.
“It’s POTUS,” I said. “He wants to float us.” That was a code between us. It meant that they wanted us to travel. The extra joke in there comes from the fact that CIA parlance for the wife of POTUS is FLOTUS, First Lady Of the United States.
“Trying to bag Big Daddy?” That was her way of asking if they were looking to topple Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
“The mother of all bags,” I said, which was my way of saying yes, alluding to Saddam’s statement before the 1991 Gulf War that it would be the mother of all wars.
The next day I was on the plane. Nice smooth landing in Freeport as Mr. Gibbs. Went straight to the bank, picked up my cash. I looked into the safe deposit box at the Frederickson passport, almost took it like a good boy, but I resisted the urge. Why bother? From there to the hotel, where I took a sweet suite for Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs.
Those two weeks were the best ever. As far as our bosses were concerned we were in Jordan debriefing Sahara, that brilliant agent whom we had developed ourselves. Of course we had no need to actually go, because we had recruited Sahara from our own imaginations.
The day before we had to head back we were lying on the beach and Sandra said, “So what are we putting in the report? What goodies does Saddam have now?” She stood up and put her hand on her hip in finest Miss London form.
“Biological,” I said. “He has potent biological weapons.”

Friday, April 01, 2005

THE BIG DAY by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #4)

(NEWS ITEM: Judge orders Terri Schiavo starved to death. Many people polled disregard the merits of the case but enthusiastically support her dying because she “has no quality of life”.)

I remember the day they came for the cripples.

Mummy was still here, you know, she was huddled beside me as we watched through the window. The trucks were gray and had a special motor that made almost no sound, just a quiet hum. When they pulled up on our street, they never killed the engine; it just sat at the curb doing its little throb while they loaded people into the back, people with wheelchairs and walkers and canes. They all went silently, with profound looks of resignation on their faces. The policemen had no expressions at all, though, not happy, not sad, not angry, not regretful, just blank, uninterested.

I recognized most of them from around the neighborhood, even Mrs. Byrnes who used to lean out the window to pretend she was standing. But her cleaning lady told that she really was living in the wheelchair, and they took her away. Still, they never took Professor Cook, even though he could only move his fingers. Mummy said it was because he used to spy and inform on the others who would take pity on him and visit. He never did get taken as a cripple, but he failed his Tribunal later.

When it was Mummy’s turn for her Tribunal, Daddy worked with her for weeks before to prepare. He kept telling her to remember that beauty is in the mind, that it’s really a state of inner being, that if she believed in herself she could pass. For a few weeks, it was really working and I could see her begin to glow like she never had. Then the card came that tells the name of the Tribunal members; Mummy’s had two women and a man. She got really discouraged from that, because she said the women judge more harshly.

She never gave up, though. She left the house that day with a lot of energy. I could see she had pep and vim and zest and gusto, all those things Daddy kept telling her were the keys to true beauty. If you asked me, she looked like an angel that day. Even with two women on the Tribunal, she should have passed. But it was the mole, always the mole, right there on her neck. That spelled real trouble if they saw, so she wore a turtleneck although the weather was warmish.

They told me later that she had gotten through most of it and she came so close to being cleared. Except one of those ladies suddenly dropped an earring and Mummy bent over as a reflex because she was kind. She realized that they had seen it and she knew it was over, so she just asked if she could see me one more time instead of a last meal. The man voted yes and the women abstained, so she came.

I was crying so much when she told me but she kept saying to be strong. Even though mine is in the same place and is maybe a little bigger, she kept assuring me that when my time came I would approach the Tribunal with enough confidence to win them over. She was so brave and she never shed a tear in front of me. Later they sent me her dress and I still keep it in my closet to remember.

I wanted Daddy to make a twenty-first birthday party for me a few days before my actual birthday, because the Tribunal is scheduled on the day itself. Dad refused, saying that he could not let me harbor the tiniest doubt that I would not make it. It’s just five more days now and I feel like I’m really ready. I keep saying it to myself over and over: Beauty is a state of inner being. Plus my Tribunal has two men and a woman. And also I have Mummy’s turtleneck.

I’ll be fine.

Monday, March 21, 2005

ASHES OF THE PHOENIX by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #3)

(NEWS ITEM: A trucker from Waterbury, Connecticut, disappeared, leaving his cash and his driver's license in his truck. He was found wandering around Miami, suffering from amnesia and complaining of legs aching from walking.)

There was something wet and slimy on my face, and a voice in my head was telling me that I had to get up. Yet I could not muster the strength. It felt as if I had no control over my body. I was desperately trying to open my eyes, to cry out, to wake up, anything, anything but this muck. My body slept on.
Then I heard voices murmuring behind me, one concerned, one disdainful. The first mentioned something about "hurt", the second derisively said "drunk". Then two men were lifting me and putting me on a cushion of some sort. I awoke in the police car.
"What's your name, buddy?", one of the cops was asking.
"I don't know," I answered in a croak that sounded like it hadn't been used as a voice in some time.
"Aw, gimme a break," the other cop muttered. But I really did not know, nor did they find any identification in my pockets at the station. It was a very scary feeling, to be obviously healthy and coherent, but totally amnesiac.
Days, weeks, went by, in the hospital and then out, eventually finding work as an office assistant, but quickly working up to positions of greater income and authority. Nine months passed by without a clue. My picture ran in the area newspapers but elicited no response.
Ironically, my best friend through this was Al Cooper, the originally surly cop, who had become very apologetic when I tested sober. We had begun meeting for lunch a couple of times a week, sharing confidences, although I had none older than nine months.
One day, Al came up with the idea of putting my picture on the TV show, Unsolved Mysteries, which would be seen nationwide. The episode aired but produced no serious leads.

Then, one night, there was a knock on the door of my apartment. I opened to see a stunningly beautiful young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, who leaped into my arms and began kissing me passionately.
"Oh, Greg," she said, when we came up for air. "This is so clever what you did. This way, if your witch of a wife ever finds us, you'll have a perfect excuse."
"I'm sorry, my name is Jeff," I said. "Or at least that's what I've been calling myself since my amnesia. Why did you call me Greg?"
"You mean this is for real? I thought this was just a scam you were running so that you and I could be together."
"So you actually know me?" I asked.
"Of course, and you and I are very much in love. But that rotten wife of yours, who moved out on you first, is contesting the divorce and putting up roadblocks to your happiness. Our happiness."
"Then please tell me my real name," I implored.
"It's Greg Lo…," she began, then stopped short. "Wait, why should I tell you? It will just put us back in the same mess."
Nothing that I could say would budge her. Yet in every other way she was wonderful. We began to date and I fell in love, apparently for the second time to the same woman.
Another half-year passed, my job situation kept improving, but still no word about my identity from any other source. I knew that Kim, my old/new girlfriend, came from Phoenix, but nothing more. Finally, she pressed me to make a commitment.
I could have gone ahead and married her with perfect legality. My strange legal status meant that no judge could prevent me from marriage.
But my heart knows, my conscience knows. I still have a commitment to an unknown, unseen person, who by all accounts didn't put much honor into her corresponding obligation. I told myself all of these things, and then I told them to Kim.
She said that she had to leave, and I agreed with a heart full of pain. We kissed and she cried, and we kissed and I cried, and I was walking her to the top of the stairs, kissing and crying, when I lost my footing and fell down the stairs, hitting my head.

Hi, I'm Greg Lomax. I come from Phoenix, Arizona. Where the Heck am I?

CROSSOVER HIT by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #2)

(NEWS ITEM: Michael Schiavo finally gets a court to allow him to kill his brain-damaged wife, Terri. Schiavo, who has two children by his live-in lover, rails at those who wish to save Terri for invading the sanctity of his marriage.)

It probably never is a good idea, much less an ethical one, to get involved with a married woman. But that Valerie was a real knockout, she lived just down the hall, and her husband was some kind of salesman on the road two weeks of every month. To top it off, she was always flashing me smiles in the hallway that were dripping with invitation.
The old I'm-out-of-coffee rap worked a little too easily. Clearly it wasn't the adroitness of my advances that overcame her inhibitions.
That became our routine. Two weeks a month I got to borrow coffee every day, and the rest of the month I still had to buy my own.
Well, one day old Rudy got back a little early and paid a surprise visit to our coffee klatsch. Suddenly he was standing in the doorway waving a gun. I carry some Mace in my pocket, which wasn't handy at that moment.
"I won't kill you now," he said. "That would be too easy. Instead, I will kill you sometime in the next thirty days, when you least expect it."
I ran out, not terribly afraid, but feeling like a fool. A few hours later there was a knock at my door. Through the peephole I saw Valerie, alone. I opened the door.
"You don't understand," she told me. "He's not a salesman. He's a hitman. He does this for a living, filling contracts all over the country. You must run and change your identity or something." It looked like discretion should have been the better part of Valerie, and now I was on the run.

I made sure not to use my credit cards. I sold my car. I traveled only by Greyhound bus and taxi, anything that did not require ID. I called friends only briefly, from pay phones, using phone cards.
Despite my advanced computer training, I took odd jobs, claiming to be an illegal alien from Canada, taking payment only in cash and being awfully underpaid in the process.
This went on for some months. I had moved cities a few times and finally settled in Oklahoma City. Clearly I had shaken his pursuit, but it had come at the price of any hope for sanity and normalcy.
Then I met Myra, my sweet savior. Neither of us had ever been so totally in love before and we were close to marriage. Finally, I broke down and shared with her the secret of my forced exile.
"You're living in fear and you're responding to fear," she chided. "And it's rooted in your guilt, because a part of you feels that you deserve this."
"How do I break this cycle?" I asked.
"Turn it around," she said. "Sure you had no right to hurt him, but your penance for that is done. Now look at him and forget about yourself for a moment. He's out there. He's a killer. You know that but you can't prove it. You can escape him but he will go on killing."
"You're right," I said.
"Now you need to decide on a course of action," she prompted.

She was right. I was better than him. I don't go around killing people, but I can make an exception, just this once. The hunted became the hunter.
I went back to his place, picked the lock and entered the bedroom. Ironically, he was in the act of conducting his own coffee klatsch; well, he had a right to, I thought, she is his wife. I shot him, knowing that Valerie could not identify me under the ski mask I was wearing.
A perfect shot. He fell off her, dead. She lay there screaming, and I turned to leave feeling better than I had thought that I would.
"Goodbye, honey," I said on the way out, almost with a chuckle. She was not Valerie.

FEE LINES by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #1)

(NEWS ITEM: Michael Schiavo petitions court to remove his wife’s feeding tube, against her parent’s wishes. Earlier, he had her two cats put to sleep rather than give them to her parents or siblings.)

“Hello, sir, and welcome to Kool Your Kat, where we offer a wide variety of options for assisting your special kitty in the transition to the great Beyond. I’m Herbert Watson. How can I help you today, Mr. ….?”
“My name is Doe. John Doe.”
“Oh, we have serviced members of your family before. Many Does have come here, Smiths too, although they can hardly keep up with the Joneses.”
“You folks put cats down, am I right?”
“Oh, no, Mr. Doe. We never put cats down at all; in fact, everything we do here shows them the utmost respect and dignity in their final passage into the Infinite. But we do offer a range of Feline Eternalization packages.”
“Okay, what’s the most reasonable?”
“Well, Mr. Doe, one man’s reasonable is another man’s treasonable. When you think of all the years of loyalty that your kitty provided, it may not be the moment to be economical.”
“What have you got?”
“We like to recommend our special Family Love package, which includes the symbolic gold dust sprinkled on the maw and paw. This goes for Thirty-nine ninety-nine.”
“Forty bucks. Fine, I’ll take it.”
“Three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine, Mr. Doe.”
“Oh, no, nothing steep like that. Give me bare bones.”
“Mr. Doe, please. We do not provide deboning here at KYK.”
“Your best price….”
“That would be our Kat’s Got Your Tungsten package, where the somatic evacuation segment is performed with a Tiger Woods signature golf club. Only four hundred and ninety-nine dollars.”
“Rats. Wait a second, can’t I make some money back by selling the fur for a coat or something?”
“Sorry, Mr. Doe, the only use for cat fur in fashion is in the millinery division of DeGatto in Milan, where they make that lovely Hat-In-The-Kat design, but unfortunately they will not accept the fur off American cats. Wound too tight, they say.”
“How about selling the guts to the violin people? Aren’t those strings made from catgut?”
“Fascinating. We get that question a lot from members of your family. Unfortunately, catgut is made from sheep intestine.”
“Come on, are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes? This is ridiculous. How about for catsup?”
“No, since Heinz has dominated the industry with ketchup, I’m afraid the catsup people are playing catch-up.”
“Well, don’t they need them for CAT scans?”
“Perhaps periodically, but lately it’s been catch as catch can. I’m afraid that the procedure for entrails involves traditional interment or cremation.”
“Is cremation any less expensive?”
“Well, the process is theoretically less costly but the receptacle for the ashes is more ornate, so although there might be a penny saved at first, eventually it’s a penny urned.”
“Can’t you design some sort of custom package for me? Also, I have two cats, so shouldn’t I receive a volume discount?”
“Two cats at once? I don’t think that we have ever performed a twin killing here before, you should excuse the expression. What kind?”
“You’re purgin’ them?”
“Persian cats, very annoying.”
“The problem, Mr. Doe, is that our costs are a constant and there is simply very little that we can do to alter the level of our outlay, which in turn does not allow us the opportunity to offer any discount.”
“What is so costly for you?”
“The most expensive item is the fee for the eternalizer.”
“Why is that?”
“Because very few people can bring themselves to… er, dispatch the little kitties to their reward. Many people try the field but the dropout rate is a national tragedy. It’s gotten to the point where we simply won’t hire anyone without a criminal record.”
“Well, how about if you don’t use any manpower at all? Why don’t you just not give them anything to eat or drink and within two or three weeks they would be gone?”
“Surely you don’t mean to starve them?”
“Oh, nothing nasty like that. You don’t kill them, you eternalize them, right?”
“Yes, Mr. Doe.”
“And the owners thank you for a mystical, euphemistical experience, right?”
“Er, yes, Mr. Doe.”
“Good, so then there is no need to starve them literally, you can do it euphemistically. You simply let them transcend nutriment.”
“And what about drinking, Mr. Doe?”
“Alimentary, my dear Watson? That can be eclipsed.”
“My goodness.”
“So is it a deal? We transcend nutriment and eclipse aliment until they self-eternalize, and I’ll pay you fifty bucks.”
“Oh no, that would be impossible, Mr. Doe.”
“Why so? What’s the problem?”
“To starve a cat, Mr. Doe. Why, that would be illegal.”