What follows is the beginning of a book length project, which I am transcribing and editing. It is
the confessions of an actual person, a philosopher, scholar, and possible saint named William B.
I: Son of Darkness, Son of Man
The David of Michaelangelo, they say, was fashioned of the greatest piece of
marble the world has ever known. It was worth its weight in gold. But it had a
flaw in it. The whole figure pivots on the right hip. A fraction of an inch away is
where the flaw was. The whole statue conceived itself around the flaw, like the
pearl around the pont of irritation. And I have one too. A tragic flaw, so to
Macomber. I took it first, and for many years, to be Son of Darkness (umbra).
But then I found hombre, a card game in England long ago. I had been quite
happy with Son of Darkness - considering it made Lucifer my opposite - but Son
of Man is better.
I was born on July 13, the eve of Bastille Day. Apres moi le deluge. The end of
one world, the beginning of another. Then, too, it was Friday the 13th, in the
first year of the great Depression (1929). After that, the only way was up.
From the hospital I came home to 325 (the year of the council of Nicea, the
conversion of the world) Buena Vista Avenue. Read: Bright Prospect (or Great
You will either love me or hate me.
I was talking to my brother Jack in the mid-'eighties, and I mentioned my old
friend George, as I am wont to do. And he said "Did you know George
Murphy?" "Yes!" "He died." Well, that stopped me in my tracks. "He died in
bar," he said. It seems he had given up drinking. He only drank Canistota water,
as we call it out here. He had broken the drinking habit, but he couldn't leave
that world. He just couldn't be anywhere else.
I - what? - therefore I am. It's not a fill-in question on an exam. (Which is the
right answer?) The man who thought it up, however, said "think."
To be continued....