“Every fruit is there in the garden,” he said, “wonderful and rare, and all good to eat, except…”
“Except what?” I asked, my voice shaking with eagerness.
“Except…” –from ‘The Death of Grant L.’, by James Hollingsworth (unfinished)
I took to haunting rare book stores, always searching. Some demon possessed me in those days and drove me to keep moving, always moving, so I would alight in some brawling town and spend a day or two — perhaps as much as a week — combing desperately through piles of mouldering novels, wormy pulps, and then… flight. I circled the world three times I think, New York, Berne, Brasilia, Beijing, Hong Kong, Hokkaido… Paris and London of course. Spring was the worst season, and I’d fly across the equator looking for cooler weather and bleaker outlooks, Sydney to Belgrade, Budapest to Cape Town.
I spent millions of dollars just to keep moving, but money came easily and demons are harder to lose than cash. Sometimes I’d write, sell a story from an airport, just enough to keep me together while the banks caught up with me. There was always an audience.
I was in Europe, I think, when the publishing house that handled most of my literary affairs sent word that Mary was coming after me. I grew wings but it wasn’t enough. No demon could have been so implacable, no bulldog so tenacious as she. She ran me to grand and bound me in leather cords and kept me sedated for three weeks. I bled poison and sweated bile and at the end I was weak and eighty pounds lighter but the drive was gone. She’d broken my wings and taken the red shoes from my feet.