Merry Christmas, said Blurtso.
Merry Christmas, said Harlan.
Wow, said Blurtso, a tin of chocolate!
Wow, said Harlan, a can of whipped cream!
More whipped cream? said Harlan.
Don’t mind if I do, said Blurtso.
“The first time…” sang Bonny, “ever I saw your nose… I thought the sun rose… on your ears… and the moon and the stars… were the crown you placed… on the green… and the tasty fields… my love… on the green… and the tasty fields…”
“The first time… ever I grazed with you… I felt the earth… move beneath my hooves… like the trembling heart… deep inside of me… and I knew… you could understand… my love… I knew… you could understand… The first time… ever I napped with you… and heard your snore… harmonize with mine… I felt our song… would fill the farms… and bray… ‘til the end of time… my love… and bray… ‘til the end of time… The first time… ever I saw… your nose… your nose… your nose… your nose…”
The sun after the rain dried the rain into steam and the steam drenched the street and the bay. Jim’s shirt clung to his neck and his arms beaded with sweat. His arms beaded and his eyebrows glistened with sweat.
In the dark his eyebrows still glistened and from his bed he heard the late voices rise from the bay. He heard a door open and he heard a door close and a streetlight cast a shadow on the wall. The streetlight cast the shadow of the window shutter on the wall. The mattress grew damp where his body touched the mattress and he shifted from where his body touched the mattress. Sweat beaded at the creases of his arms at his elbows and ran to his elbows. Sweat beaded on his neck and ran along the creases and ran behind his ears. “When this is over,” he said, “thirty nights will be remembered as one.”
The shadow of the shutter in the lamplight grew dim in the brightness when the late voices became early voices rising from the bay.
What’s the matter? said Alex. I haven’t been sleeping, said Blurtso. Why not? said Alex. I keep thinking of Lizzy. Lizzy? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, a donkey I saw on campus. What’s so special about Lizzy? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there’s just something about her… I think I’d give anything just to brush against her. Really? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s driving me mad. Like in the poem, said Alex. The poem? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, the sonnet by Shakespeare: “By day my limbs, by night my mind for thee and myself, no quiet find.” Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it. Shakespeare sure knew donkeys.