Dull flashes illuminate the night sky about half a mile away, continue for at least five minutes and are then followed by a darkness so intense people begin to wonder out loud whether or not the planet has stopped moving. Whether it has dropped precipitously from its previous place into a void long suspected to rest just beneath the planet (if terms like “above” and “beneath” hold any meaning whatsoever in a place with no up and no down, a place without any quantifiable boundaries whatsoever) but never before confirmed due to a lack of imagination by those who send probes and other mechanical devices into orbit. Who see there what they want to see, which is usually some version of themselves, albeit without the glasses, without the barely perceptible gleam in the cornea of the eye. Eulalie dons her favorite feathered mask and makes her way from the portico to the land with no trees and draws on a cigarette long and slow as if trying to emphasize a point she has been too timid previously to state. This is the thing about Eulalie that makes me a little bit impatient, a little bit angry, but only the way you get angry at the weather sometimes when it doesn’t behave the way you think it should. You know it is irrational to do so, but attempting to withhold or repress that emotion will only succeed in creating greater difficulties – changing speech patterns, for instance. Intestinal distress. The lisping plays a factor in whatever happens next, and we often have to tell ourselves that whichever words get spoken are probably not the same words that mean anything, that actually tell us anything of value when it comes to things like who is in our corner and who is determined to avoid corners altogether because they leave you very few viable options for escape. When I cave in to the pressure, when I decide finally to set out in pursuit just as, of course, she desires me to – because why else all this over-the-top posing and tacky melodrama, why else the sound of cranes far away in the night sky like dreams? – Eulalie is choking. Not with emotion, certainly, and not as a result of her being exposed to noxious substances for perhaps the first and only time in her storied life, but because she has failed to take into account the size of certain food items relative to the size of the opening in her throat. Something must be done, and I do it, but I am not proud of myself afterward. I do not repeat the story over and over again as others are wont to do when they wish to make themselves the center of attention. When they wish those around them to take notice of how extraordinary they are even when they are (as, when it comes right down to it, all of us are in actual fact), as ordinary as a plain brown seed pod in a field full of seed pods. A field overflowing to the horizon and beyond with fully mature, and therefore by definition brightly-colored, poppies.