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  • I do not know if you have been visited by those little used car salesmen of the soul that are -- visions of dying, but from time to time I come down with them.

    They are always the same. I don't invest this fact with extra significance; lots of things are always the same. I always wake up as left-handed as I was the day before.

    It is very calm. In the scene as it plays, it is nighttime. The moon is too slight to make a difference. It is twenty years from now. As I said, this does not change: ten years ago, it was thirty years. Somebody shoots me very purposefully. The gun is very close, perhaps five feet away. For a single moment, a flash blankets me and the people nearby. I think to myself, ah, what a disappointment, how stupid; it would have been better to live longer. Surely this was preventable. I have done something too hastily, I have been thoughtless. And then it is dark and quiet again.

    This unsettles me. It briefly interposes itself between me and reality. It happened yesterday as I was putting two pounds of blueberries into the refrigerator. My shaken hand slipped and the berries poured out, down my arm, all across the floor. They felt like cool pebbles.

    Flustered, annoyed, I slid my whole body down to the floor to collect them. The wood felt cool against my cheek. I put one handful back into the clear plastic container, and then I started to eat them. The afternoon sun slanted in through the open door, where the other groceries were heaped.

    I crushed the blueberries with my tongue against the roof of my mouth. My father looked in and burst out laughing.

    "WE HAVE A BLUEBERRY SITUATION," he yelled.

    "HOW IS IT COMING ALONG?" my mother yelled back, from the garden.

    "You're going to get to all of them?" he asked me.

    "Eventually," I said.

    "SO FAR, SO GOOD," he confirmed.

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