When he makes his final decision and disappears, Kia follows him across the river. Some say in the guise of a serpent, others by way of the bridge. Eulalie wonders if perhaps these are two different ways of saying the same thing, of following your words to the edge of the verbal or cognitive equivalent of a sinkhole, say, and then purposefully separating them out according to weight and age and abiding by those most likely to repel the advances of their peers. Those most likely to stand erect and dignified while the rest sniff at each other’s tails and bound off together through the thickets and the underbrush until you can’t see or hear them any longer and their very existence becomes, in very short order, the stuff of legend. That night, what the monk sees is colored no doubt by what he has read, the tracts and commentary running thousands of pages and offering when all is said and done next to nothing by way of insight or practical application. Just a vain sort of listing like that birds, I’m sure, are capable of if you were to give them objects and simple commands in a laboratory setting. I like to believe he thought he was dreaming, that the diamond eyes and flames emerging from (forgive me) scaly nostrils might have seemed to him perfectly reasonable in the kingdom that flourishes under the ceiling of sleep, but out here, among the fences and the abandoned refrigerators, among the shadows cast by people strolling past, sometimes hand-in-hand on the sidewalk, the light posts leering behind them, the night sky above littered with divine semicolons, we are constantly overrun by horror and so must learn eventually to take it in stride. To take it with skepticism even of the sort that those who make their living writing stories for the newspaper or the legitimate cinema wish would dry up, would blow away on the wind and disintegrate in the rain. Eulalie likes the idea of placing the bell on the grounds themselves, in an ornate belfry where the monk can run and conceal himself. This will cause us to have to go back and alter the beginning, I argue -- apparently unpersuasively -- convinced that a certain unity of effect is still the best approach and worried about what we might have claimed at the outset. But really, we ought just to be satisfied with remembering there was an enormous bronze prop in there somewhere and just do as we will. This has been Eulalie’s approach to the endeavor from the beginning, indeed to the whole of her existence, one which she has tried for decades now to instill in me, and maybe, finally, for once, it is starting to take root. It is binding obstinate soils together decisively and thus allowing whatever runoff happens to inundate the vicinity -- think crackpot ideas, think those depressingly familiar get rich schemes and the conspiracy theories I can rattle off in their hundreds -- to pass right through rather than gathering those loose soils and transporting them, dispersing them over enormous (and, almost by definition, anonymous) alluvial plains.