Returning with his bloodied pitchfork, Reinhardt set to work almost immediately. The book had to remind one of the color gold and its spine would be eight inches across, so the afternoon began with reflections accompanied by obscure arias on the radio and tea sweetened with the agave nectar Reinhardt himself had collected. That was in the spring and the sun was high overhead but it didn’t heat the ground beneath it properly and the toes on Reinhardt’s left foot turned an off-white within twenty minutes. His determination was matched only by his cowardice and visions passed through his head of mules on winding mountain paths and their riders tossing cigarette butts into the scrub chaparral on either side. In the evenings, the black background seemed to those who stared at it long enough to divide itself up finally into separate spheres and territories, the most impressive of which (in terms of gross square footage and the occupants conceivable if not entirely visible yet due to the way the thing was hung, the impossible angles one had to adopt with the body to a get a closer look) was in the upper corner where a single metal eyelet spoiled the homogeneity of the fabric and where, through the orifice of the eyelet itself, you could glimpse the other side. Reinhardt expected blue jays, those arrow-headed assassins that have gone missing in this part of the country. The trick was to be able to maneuver one’s self high enough in the air to be able to look through and see them, to call to them using the high-pitched squawk they utilized when attempting to mob a chicken. Step ladders were no good because they tilted a little and so altered the reality of what you would see by about six degrees on average, and photographs taken ostensibly by someone who had been here before you wouldn’t work because they inevitably told their stories without movement. They eliminated more than half of the pertinent information simply by being what they were. Reinhardt had no choice but to write the book then so as to be able to place it under the feet of the ladder when he was finished and thereby stabilize the ladder and keep it from leaning. This required, of course, he spend more time composing and striking through some parts of the book rather than others, skipping, say, the portions of childhood where nothing out of the ordinary happened save for maybe someone’s falling in a pond and someone else jumping into rescue her and never coming up again, not even on the end of a hook. No, all of that could be glossed over in favor of the lengthy explorations at the other end of the timeline, of fugitive mental states we run across only when we have become dehydrated or when the blood has grown stale within the veins because there has been no bloodletting for an extended period of time, no spilling it on the concrete in manageable amounts due to a fistfight or the doctor’s anachronistic practice. And poverty, that too could be examined at length because it was poverty, it was the genuine article. The sort of thing one might expect to find in the center of Calcutta when it was still called Calcutta instead of whatever it is called today.