He knew that he was unconscious, that he was a sojourner in that strange and unmapped land between death and life. This was new in his experience. He did not dream, William Fitzgerald, not since the mild May day that he had been old enough to purchase enough cheap grain alcohol to make sleeping neither difficult nor memorable. He came into awareness, conscious unconsciousness, in patches, isolated memories and realizations as in a drunk. He was not drunk, this he knew, by long experience. When the moment of awareness pooled together enough to form a chain of impressions, he found he was not alone.
The other man laughed. “Hehehehehellloooo, Roguey,” he said gaily. He had a thin, queer voice, pitched too high, too fast, and with too much air within the words. It was a mechanical voice imitating a real voice.
William Fitzgerald looked down at himself, then at the other person. He raised his hands, ran them over his face, his ugly, familiar face. The other person looked nothing like him. He didn’t understand, and a person’s unconsciousness should be his own, he said. He was angry.
The other person blanched, and squinted closely at William Fitzgerald. He didn’t like what he saw, which was not unique in William Fitzgerald’s curriculum vitae, but he didn’t like William Fitzgerald specifically, which was. “Roguey?” he whispered. “Roguey? Roguey!” The other person ran away, and then William Fitzgerald truly knew nothing.