Midnight in the garden of the dead.
A silver-white moon hangs high over the mirror-black river and the tired levee, shedding cold light on the Louisiana delta stretching off toward Texas. I stand among the luminous stones on the Mississippi side, shivering like the only living man for miles. At my feet lies a stark slab of granite, and under that stone lies the body of my wife.
I’m afraid of heights, snakes, normalcy, mediocrity, Hollywood, the initial silence of an empty house, the enduring darkness of a poorly lit street, evil clowns, professional failure, the intellectual impact of Barbie dolls, letting my father down, being paralyzed, hospitals, doctors, the cancer that killed my mother, dying unexpectedly, dying for a stupid reason, dying painfully, and, worst of all, dying alone. But I’m not afraid of power — which is why I work in the White House.
Almost everyone in town that had an extra room took in a boarder. There were no apartment buildings or hotels as of yet. The Howard Johnson was built a few years later but in the meantime bachelors needed to be looked after and single women certainly had to have a respectable place to live. Most people considered it their Christian duty to take them in whether they needed the few extra dollars a week or not, and some of the boarders stayed on for years. Mr. Pruiet, a bachelor from Kentucky with long thin feet, boarded with the Haygoods so long that they eventually forgot he was not family. Whenever they moved, he moved. When he finally did die at seventy-eight, he was buried in the Haygood family plot with a headstone that read:
STILL WITH US
PAID IN FULL
Daniel hummed in his sleep. It was an unconscious song, a midnight lullaby, as familiar to me as the sigh of my own breath. I fell asleep at night listening to the cadence of his dreams, and when I woke in the morning, his quiet melody was a prelude to birdsong.
She met him at a wedding she had gone to only because she needed a husband and a wedding wasn’t a bad place to begin looking.
She heard the “pop-pop-pop” of small-arms fire coming from beyond the palace walls and knew the revolution had begun.
Michael was standing beside me —- I was about 8, he was barely 4 —- with his elbows on the sill and his chin resting in his hands. We were looking into the dark from our bedroom window as the snow fell on Christmas Eve, leaving us both in awe. It was coming down so thick and fast that our neighborhood seemed beneath some heavenly pillow fight, each floating feather captured in the clear haze of one streetlight.
Judge Hugo Jackson was on edge–and had been, ever since the trial began. He was not alone. From the financial magnates of Wall Street to the ordinary shop workers at Macy’s, bond brokers at Bankers Trust to grocery clerks at Wehman’s: everyone was unnerved by “People V. Drayson.”
I was nine years old when I began to suspect that my father was a gangster.
While Super Mario is a plumber by profession, exploration is at the heart of his stories.