Her gestures resemble instinctual responses, or to be blunt, they are intended to resemble such, carefully practiced and perfected, the way someone learns judo. All the same, they limp along behind the group, concealed in shadow, and we respond to them graciously, holding out our hands, offering cash or contracts, referring to a shared past that in all likelihood never existed. It was fleshed out by those with an interest in the outcome, the corners rounded and the everyday objects picked from a list of such they keep on hand for just such emergencies. Enormous stands of sugarcane. Helicopters hovering overhead in the middle of the night. Eulalie introduces an element of the occult that may or may not have been part of the original. She says it will help her sleep at night beside Immanuel who emits unspeakable noises now that he nears death. The shame, she says, resides in the tissues and not the situation. It is something that can be alleviated with song. If I turn the composition of the tale over to her entirely, though, there is the question of ownership, of who will be forced to respond when those in the audience (a theoretical / speculative group, to be sure, whose composition is much like that of the so-called antimatter or the committees relegated to the study of antimatter at the various institutions where such research is still deemed profitable) raise their hands and begin snarky comment. The wind picks up and makes a noise very much like an infant mammal suckling in the narrow place between us, the fire located on the sand a few yards away redoubling its efforts to consume itself, and I recall out loud something in the original having to do with the god of wisdom also somehow being associated with what we might refer to as a god of vengeance, not having anything comparable ourselves and so being forced to approximate. This might just be my memory failing as it has been doing routinely now for thirty-seven days. Eulalie promises to get to the bottom of all that once she returns to the city, or finds a city in the opposite direction the existence of which we have yet to confirm but rumors of which keep falling on our ears while we are sleeping. In the meantime, she makes Kia’s eyes glow with something like fury and something very much like dread (if by dread you mean that which understands at a subconscious level the future and its material consequences) each time the monk makes his excuses where, in the not too distant past, he had been making his declarations. Now a relative is ill or the head of the monastery has called a meeting to discuss fiscal realities more properly suited to a school board or a law firm specializing in divorce and illegal search and seizure. Now the limbs are sluggish and the mind is overcompensating, running away at several hundred kilometers a day, dragging along with it through the mesquite bushes and the dried stream beds the monk’s soul which is, as it happens, perfectly round and so puts up very little resistance.