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He pulled over with excessive caution; using only the rear-view mirror lest, in looking
back for even a moment, some inexplicable mini- seizure should send him hurtling into a
compound bloody fireball. Perspiration bathed his face and chest. He’d always been the
healthiest of men; didn’t drink, didn’t touch drugs, didn’t over-exert. Gradually the tremors
passed. But not the terror; it was a vital shadow in the center of his skull. Devon called a cab and
a tow truck. He sat slumped in the back of the cab, drawing faux calm around him like a
horsehair shroud. The driver was a talker; Devon let him roll on. All he could see was the cab’s
windshield, streaked and bespattered, a broken mosaic of shocked baby faces that never had a
chance to grow.
“Your scans are clean,” Dr. Goodman beamed. The clipboard, facing away, would not
elaborate. “I think we can cheerfully write off the cause of this visit as one of those little
anomalies that pop into our lives, shake us up a bit to give our egos some perspective, and then
pop right back out as though nothing occurred. And who knows? Maybe nothing did. Sometimes
nature just drops the ball for no apparent reason. I like to compare the body to a complex harp
with one or more strings always out of tune, and hard work and healthful living as the elements
that retune those—Mr. Devon?”
Devon blinked at him. A low hum had just passed through his brain like a train through a
tunnel. There were things in there, moving around, clattering without sound. It was as if his
thoughts were loose shingles on a roof, responding to a sudden high wind. He ble w over.
Devon opened his eyes to another perspective. It was a skewed view, of three vulnerable
specimens frozen in a brightly lit box. The action resumed: receptionist slipping out of room,