With a dull, but persistent pain behind his eyes, Spider sat in the window, looking out at the gathering dusk. The rush hour traffic was backed up on Clark Street as far as he could see. People in their cars, coming home from the long work day, and fighting it out with traffic (in that tired euphoria) to get safely home in front of dinner and the television.
Car exhaust wafted up to the window, and dissipated in swirling eddies of a warm breeze that signaled the approach of Spring. Warm weather always snapped him out of his doldrums.
Spider looked at the men in the passing cars—what he could see of them in the glimpses between the glare on the auto glass— and sized them up like merchandise, or checks to be cashed. In his line of work, it was easy to see men as nothing more than an endless parade of cocks to be manipulated and brought to climax.
Some days, he thought, 'Christ, if I have to look at another cock, I'm gonna shoot myself!'
He felt that way now, as he lit a Marlboro and exhaled the smoke out the window. It mingled with the car exhaust.
A siren wailed on a distant street, sounding to him like a movie sound-effect. Occasionally, it was easy for him to imagine that he was playing a part in some cosmic movie. Or that the world, and all of the people in it were a set piece in some giant experiment, and all of his reactions were being documented by groups of anonymous men in lab-coats somewhere.
The feeling was so concrete, sometimes, he'd say into the bathroom mirror, 'Okay you guys, now I'm going to brush my teeth. What do you think of that?'
He turned from the window, and said aloud—in the general direction of the bathroom, 'Okay, you guys, any second now, a strange little man named Wilson Granger is going to knock on my door. He's a completely ordinary closet case who likes vanilla sex—mainly blowjobs— and comes to me to get back at Barbara, his suburban-bitch wife ... who he hates.' Spider laughed, seeing the absurdity of the situation, and to some extent, life in general. 'Then he gets to go back to the office and feel decadent and radical, I suppose.'
Spider thought of his childhood and remembered he'd wanted to be a character in a Lou Reed song and was momentarily shocked to realize that was exactly the case. He smiled and crushed out the cigarette in a ceramic lizard ashtray.
There came a timid knocking at the door.
'Come in, Wilson,' he said.
The headache intensified slightly, and he dreamed of going to Maui. He'd heard they had some nice beaches there.