– What did you do today?

– Went to the grocery store and Xeroxed a box of English muffins, two pounds of ground veal and an apple. In flagrant violation of the Copyright Act.

– You had your nap, I remember that –

– I had my nap.

– Lunch, I remember that, there was lunch, slept with Susie after lunch, then your nap, woke up, right?, went Xeroxing, right?, read a book not a whole book but part of a book –

– Talked to Happy on the telephone saw the seven o’clock news did not wash the dishes want to clean up some of this mess?

– If one does nothing but listen to the new music, everything else drifts, goes away, frays. Did Odysseus feel this way when he and Diomedes decided to steal Athene’s statue from the Trojans, so that they would become dejected and lose the war? I don’t think so, but who is to know what effect the new music of that remote time had on its hearers?

– Or how it compares to the new music of this time?

– One call only conjecture.

– Ah well. I was talking to a girl, talking to her mother actually but the daughter was very much present, on the street. The daughter was absolutely someone you’d like to take to bed and hug and kiss, if you weren’t too old. If she weren’t too young. She was a wonderful-looking young woman and she was looking at me quite seductively, very seductively, smouldering a bit, and I was thinking quite well of myself, very well indeed, thinking myself quite the – Until I realized she was just practicing.

– Yes, I still think of myself as a young man.

– Yes.

– A slightly old young man.

– That’s not unusual.

– A slightly old young man still advertising in the trees and rivers for a mate.

– Yes

– Being clean.

– You’re very clean.

– Cleaner than most.

– It’s not escaped me. Your cleanness.

– Some of these people aren’t clean. People you meet.

– What can you do?

– Set an example. Be clean.

The Wor(l)ds of William Gass