By Raymond Carver
It's what the kids nowadays call weed. And it drifts like clouds from his lips. He hopes no one comes along tonight, or calls to ask for help. Help is what he's most short on tonight. A storm thrashes outside. Heavy seas with gale winds from the west. The table he sits at is, say, two cubits long and one wide. The darkness in the room teems with insight. Could be he'll write an adventure novel. Or else a children's story. A play for two female characters, one of whom is blind. Cutthroat should be coming into the river. One thing he'll do is learn to tie his own flies. Maybe he should give more money to each of his surviving family members. The ones who already expect a little something in the mail first of each month. Every time they write they tell him they're coming up short. He counts heads on his fingers and finds they're all survivng. So what if he'd rather be remembered in the dreams of strangers? He raises his eyes to the skylights where rain hammers on. After a while -- who knows how long? -- his eyes ask that they be closed. And he closes them. But the rain keeps hammering. Is this a cloudburst? Should he do something? Secure the house in some way? Uncle Bo stayed married to Aunt Ruby for 47 years. Then hanged himself. He opens his eyes again. Nothing adds up. It all adds up. How long will this storm go on?