Excluding Unsuitable Kinds of Stimuli

Your dreams incorporate the element of speed as frequently as they incorporate tree frogs. And the sound of distant strumming. As if there are people on the shore of an unseen lake. And every time they try to contact whichever deity it is they believe in, they are rebuffed in the form of cloudbursts. And stomach viruses. Eulalie waits at the side gate, just as she was instructed. Her hands twitching ever so slightly like hummingbirds. And keeping her from concentrating on her actual emotions. Which she imagines as huddled creatures in the back room of a casino. Terrified alien things marveling at the sounds that surround them. And the aromas like blankets even they wouldn't wear. If her hunch is correct, Squid's belt buckle will reveal everything. Will show through nothing much more than a smudge that her instincts were correct after all and soon she will have to find herself another place to clean and dry the animal skins. To mount them on wire contraptions she fashions in the dead of night. Using little more than the light of the moon. And a memory that has deserted every other part of her life. That has thrown its hands up and proclaimed itself emperor of the unseen, of the vast meteor-scarred landscape of the far north. Where the mail, when it arrives at all, comes to the wrong box. And invites you to parties thrown by those who wouldn't acknowledge you even if you were all forced to share the same escalator. This is why Squid casts his glance downward whenever Eulalie is in the room. When she is holding forth on something he doesn't understand. It's better, he thinks, to avoid antagonizing her in any way. Better to avoid those incisors. And sometimes he admits to himself that he might have made a mistake by encouraging her to memorize The Book of Judges. Because who will take her in now? Who will entertain her for an hour or two when he wants to go fishing for pickerel up the road? It's the same dilemma that leaves us scratching our chests when we realize our heads won't do. And we usually try to phrase it in such a way no one will get hurt. But someone nearly always starts weeping anyway. Eyes brimming over the moment you set your drink down. And go to straighten your shirt. Or dislodge a pebble stuck in the sole of your shoe.