"Giant squid, huh? How'd you become interested in that?"
"In childhood, Charles. Always in childhood."
"No, not a monster," she confirmed. "A beautiful animal."
And I thought, Yes, a beautiful animal indeed. When I drove home that night — her number already entered in my cell phone, me jittery with a teenage thrill, alive again after what seemed bubonic eons, the lunar light pulling at my water — I was certain that if I switched on the news in my living room I'd find that the cosmos had been washed of brutality and outrage. Remember the stimulating incipience of romance, the excitement of possibility, of being rescued from the abscess of lonesomeness and having someone to share your hydrogen with? Recall the glee? It meant your little life was worth something, your personality, yes, have-able. It meant sex for your now-laudable seed, and dinnertime conversation, too. Go grab your lovers, people, hold them close, feel the validation. You're barely carbon-based without them.
So that was our beginning in the Garden of Connecticut. The bog in me had ceased its bubble.
HERE'S ANOTHER CONFESSION while I'm hard at it: I dislike cops. You give a man that kind of authority and just like that his cock swells six inches. What it does to female cops I'm not qualified to say, but it can't be good, though each one may be maternally erotic in her own way. Marvin's being a Virginia state trooper could have had some influence on my decision to shepherd him henceforth, seeing as how state troopers can be more crooked than the common cop. More important, he'd always be able to find us, no matter how we tried to elude him. I've heard those troopers have access to supercomputers that will let them locate anyone anywhere, which was how he had managed to remain in contact with Gillian even though she had fled Virginia and started over in suburban Connecticut. His being Southern had zero to do with it; as a Democrat and New Englander I harbor no prejudice and do not care for the Neil Young song that claims the Southern man is a louse. In addition, I readily admit that Robert Lee was the most honorable individual ever to mount a steed, his photographs boasting integrity incarnate. My side won the war and I had nothing at all to prove, but I won't budge on this one point: NASCAR is not a sport.
Now, to the business of killing a man: plenty of books and movies are filled with it, and kids today get batty with their sadistic video games, but the truth is that the standard person has never committed murder and never will, nor is he likely to know anyone who has or will. I suppose I don't fit into the standard category because I don't believe every human life is precious, Christian though I am. Mankind would be a prettier lot without certain sons of bitches. So I've always felt myself capable of killing but was grateful I never had cause, not till hobgoblin Gluck presented himself to me as a pesky root that needed plucking. The cycle of his threats and slobbering apologies gave me digestive trouble or else caused me to urp unkindly.