The patients are also directly magnetized by means of the finger and wand of the magnetizer moved slowly before their faces, above or behind their heads, and on the diseased parts, always observing the direction of the holes. The first indication that something is amiss is the missing chickens. One or two a night, vanished before I can rouse myself and wander out into the morning with its dry wind and its words painted here and there on the nearest overpass by people who don’t spell very well, who have unsteady hands. Dreams drain out the sink in our heads and we are left with a few tantalizing tidbits. The scaly feet of a lizard. The sound of someone whispering your name over the sound of someone else whispering your name. Both are anxious to communicate something of terrific importance. If only their sentences didn’t disintegrate, didn’t melt away like cubes of sugar held on the tongue. The background, like all standard backgrounds, is tiled a muted yellow and difficult to distinguish from the rooms where we are asked to wait while various officials disappear behind doors with opaque glass panels in them. If we try to peer in through the glass we can see figures, shadows, moving about in quick, antic bursts and then there are longer periods during which nothing whatsoever seems to occur. The question, then, is are the people on the other side of the door aware that we are watching them, or at least tracking the comings and goings of their vague silhouettes, and, if so, does this knowledge alter their behavior in perceivable ways? Does it allow them to set aside their personal animosities and their overwhelming desire to enact bloody revenge? Does it allow them to weigh the evidence fairly, by which we mean with an eye toward that which hasn’t been entirely invented yet but which leaves room still for the minor fiddling of a man of genius? The lack of gruesome remains, the lack of severed feet and bloody feathers, for instance, rules out most of the vermin and carnivores I am accustomed to dealing with in this part of the world. The coyotes with their yellow incisors and their green eyes and their reputation for standing upright when we are not looking. The badgers clawing and pulling at the earth as if it were a rough approximation, a stand-in, for their own genitals – meaning, something they do obsessively and with purpose, even if that purpose is not completely evident at the start of the proceedings. And maybe pleasure is its own purpose, is that which separates the meaningful from the meaningless and does so without intending to, without knowing what it is after, except itself. Wouldn’t it be remarkable if we too could lose ourselves completely in the fumbling for sustenance and pleasure, in the stalking and the obliging all others we come upon to be that which is stalked, to play a role in the tale which is our lives rather than the familiar anecdote which is their own?