The latency period lasts only as long as it takes someone to identify it and work it into conversation so as to detract from the glaring inconsistencies and tautologies that might otherwise turn the listener off. Might force him to make a decision regarding the sherry and its inflated price, its tendency to make the head swim. I make the rounds one last time, sitting in on the banjo (an instrument I know next to nothing about but from which I can nevertheless extract something very like a tune in its tendency to begin and end in roughly the same location), examining the exposed skin of the fingers of men and women who have spent all day in the sun because their livelihood demands it (think dredging up crustaceans from the briny deep, think the running of barbed wire fence), and finally wrestling with eleven or twelve loosely interrelated concepts hurled at me in rapid succession by the members of the chess club huddled in their usual corner of the delicatessen that has a picture of a rabid boar on the front of it because a likeness of a sperm whale was deemed too expensive by the proprietor and apt to cause confusion. We can’t be expected to fall for the same bit of deception as brought the Incas to their knees but the present difficulty has as much to do with geometry, with how we visualize space and the objects that take up that space, as it does with our genetic backgrounds and the convenient phrases handed down to us over generations by people who didn’t pay much attention to what they were saying or how they were saying it. They were too busy pulling the bits of dirt and the jagged pebbles from their flesh that had gotten there because the people at some point in their journey had fallen on them. Because they were never entirely convinced their flesh was actually made of flesh until such time as the jagged pebbles (and, of course, other things, like the sharp end of goose quills, say, or the metal shavings produced by industrial strength grinding machines) got so catastrophically stuck in it. By midnight, I think all I have to do is walk backwards for about a block and everything will be as it was before I opened the cellar door in the morning and heard the racket for myself – the plovers pitching a fit in the sand dunes because they are, apparently, sick and tired of sand. The thunder kicking up on the far range of hearing, rolling across the waves in an ever-strengthening crescendo and then spending itself against the cliffs just north of here where people jump sometimes to their death either because they have underestimated the height of the cliffs themselves or they have decided intentionally upon this fate instead of all the myriad others available to them. The living to a ripe, and most likely incontinent, old age. The bounding about on a pogo stick picked up at the flea market on a whim because that is what the latter stages of one’s life are for – acting on one’s every saccharine reminiscence. Clawing one’s way ferociously back toward what turns out finally to be not merely an unattainable past, but an unknowable one as well, a cipher with twenty two distinct characters in it, all shuffled about at random and reassembled later with the cognitive equivalent of bamboo pegs instead of glue because pegs help eliminate the mess.