Downtown Diary 

Hector's fall

Hector’s fall
[this is satire] I ran into Hector at The Abbey the other afternoon. He was bent over a manuscript, writing feverishly, and surrounding the sheets was a mountain of books. “What are you working on now?” I inquired. “As you may or may not know, Italians are quite interested in America. So, my publisher Edizione Testa d’Uovo commissioned me to write a work about America’s Oldest Teen-ager,” he said, pinching his nose, which had been pinched by his pince-nez. “Dick Clark?” I asked. “No, Donald Rumsfeld, he of the squinting-into-the-distance bravado,” he whispered, apparently embarrassed at being engaged in such hack-work. “You? Author of The NASCARization of the American Mind? Writing a book on Donald Rumsfeld? Ahahahhahahahaha! Hector, that’s insane!” I laughed. “Shhhh, not so loud,” he whispered. “I don’t want people to know how a super-genius like me actually makes money. Besides, it’s not a book. It’s a comic book. There’s no money in good writing! I asked Bartolomeo Pistola how in the world Edizione Testa d’Uovo got involved in publishing such a thing, and he shrugged his shoulders and replied, ‘Hey, we got to make money, too, you know.’ So, there you have it, my fall from grace.” Through the window I saw an Ashcroft Youth shove a frail old man. Suddenly, Bad Boy Starling swooped down, aimed his beak at the young fascist’s head and delivered a knockout peck. “Ah, J., maybe we do live in a world without ethics,” Hector said with sadness. “Hector!” I seethed, grabbing him by the lapels. “Get a grip!” “But why? Why even bother? The world around us is a mess!” he exclaimed. “Let me remind you of a sentence you wrote a few years ago,” I said, “a sentence that has exercised a profound effect upon me: ‘In a house of mirrors the distorted images one sees are, in the end, always reflections of one’s self.’”

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