Felix Bonarien

I had already reached the age when a man is tempted to try to tell himself the story of his life, as if it made sense, as if his life were a story, as if a path with footprints could be traced through the forest of his years. I had made an attempt to turn into a detective, one whose unreliable witness I was myself. I had discovered within myself a principle of uncertainty. The detective’s questions disturbed the witness, so the witness shifted ground. He became someone else, not wholly new, but yet not the same. This change elicited more questions from the detective who could not help himself in seeking clarity. He wanted to know what had happened and how it had happened and why it had happened. This was the form that his greed took. If this detective suspected he was driving clarity away by the very act of seeking it, the suspicion was only a fleeting one that soon leapt the perimeter of consciousness and was gone back into the wilderness, its natural habitat. The call came early in the morning as I was having my first cup of coffee, as I was half reading the newspaper, half excoriating myself for this reading of the newspaper, tantalizing habit of a lifetime. I was thinking for the one thousandth time, or perhaps the ten thousandth time that I had never seen a situation with which I was acquainted in depth reported accurately in the newspaper. Was the newspaper fact or jive, or both in one? “Is this Felix Bonarien to whom I am speaking?” The voice...