The Unknown: The Red Line.
  So what is to be done is what we are discussing. Frank doesn’t know, doesn’t know, and then stirs his mate as if to draw the matter out. Dirk has had perhaps too much gin and in his eyes there is only jazz and cigarette smoke, and a tear that might form like a drop of the Seine underneath this electric night at the bottom of the world. There is art, and there is politics, muses William, but he has already lost us, and Scott is looking at Marla across the room where she sits on the edge of the couch stroking the cat and he can only think: “If.”

Dirk has stood up somewhat unsteadily to put another record on and this time it is Billie Holiday, a bird in a golden cage. William has seen Scott looking at Marla and he is trying to put together this terrible jigsaw puzzle, this child’s game, with his numb and yellowed fingertips. For awhile there is the issue of cigarettes and as Frank passes around a pack of Gauloises we are relieved of that terrible uncomfortableness that is all a part of not-knowing. And then there is a silence as we are swept toward the center of the record where everything is named. And then there is the crackle of the needle in its last dance into the end of the spiral and then only Dirk: “Do records spin the other way in the northern hemisphere?”

And we will argue about how to say “Coriolis force” in French but the matter, like so many other edges in this puzzle, cannot be suitably resolved, and we can no longer escape the sense that the end of the night is near.

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