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. Macomber.

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 speak.

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 Expectations).

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....