I joined my gang in a local and rarely visited (by me) drinking establishment to toast a common friend (take that, Dickens) who had passed away very suddenly. He’d leaped hurriedly off the mortal coil with the usual aplomb. Which is to say, no aplomb at all. He’d had a terrific spark when ‘alive’, as do most, on even cursory inspection. This wonderful man was an experiential white buffalo; a drinker, lover, a musician; not one of Thoreau’s wax dolls living in quiet desperation. We’d learned of his un-cinematic and anti-climactic passing the evening it happened. Why do we roman candles get such fucking short shrift from the gods, lower case? Celebrated Life is stolen by the stupidest punk-ass little things, of course. We are soil, and giddily return to base at the slightest provocation. We accept this fucked quantum contract in a state of ongoing rage. Hence art, aspirin, hollering into telephones, white-knuckle love, hair care products, drugs of a spiritually ruinous order. Glasses were raised and there was much carapace-slapping. Individually there were covert interludes of staring into space as the collected gray matter strove to regard itself in light of this development, and there was that sparkling and bestial joviality that barks out when groups gather in public places to bemusedly acknowledge death and the unbelievable dead. A dear old pal of philosophical bent cornered me at the bar and typically enthralled me with much articulate bourbon-catalyzed speechifying about the possibly blank universe, our desperation to make it cohere, and his own present problems with spiritual stasis. As he spoke, the late afternoon sun poured cruelly and boldly in through the establishment’s windows, dusk-announcing sun the color of backlit honey and charging in with the brashness of a laughing moron. My friends’ hairy heads were limned in platinum as they bobbed and jabbered about the eternal, and it must be said the effect was inexplicably ghastly. At turnings of his own handsomely coiffed bulb, my friend’s miraculous eye was struck by the sun at intervals; a fairly famous trick of the light. The flattened brown iris was seen to glow, and to turn in the glow, a piece of cheap and adorable beveled glass. We’re built of such junk. You can see it strikingly when the sun shines just so upon us.