about his family then he was no grandson of his, and that he never
would be again.
the obvious course of action after all this was to shred the manuscript,
delete the file, disconnect from the Internet to ensure the curse
could not escape, remove and burn his hard drive while reciting the
proper incantations to cleanse it of evil spirits, finally scattering
the ashes to the four corners of the Earth to avoid its supernatural
resurrection, he couldn't bring himself to do it. It was his novel.
His work. One hundred and five thousand emblems of his soul made concrete.
And one day, there might be a time or situation that could defeat
the curse. He could be quarantined in a room with another person,
jailed, married. Then the reader could not leave and he could watch
them absorb every last syllable. It was possible. He hoped.
you see, he tells me, the novel may contain the same bullshit, the
same arrogance, the same self-
aggrandizing departure from reality, and "curse" might be just another
one of those words equally divorced from meaning that describe those
very qualities that drove his readers away from his life. But his
novel is still different. It is cursed. Even if curse is just a word.
He tells me that this is why he's never mentioned it before, that
he wanted me to stick around, that all powers of positive thinking,
trust and human intention were powerless against his apparently complete
and total lack of talent or soul.
And then, it's there, on the table between us, four hundred printed
pages with a black plastic copy shop binding and a big red bow. There
is no pen.
He tells me that he wishes this were about trust, about art, about
love, but that it isn't. He tells me that he found the letters, that
he knows I'm leaving him, that at least this way he can rationalize
it, lay blame, it's not him that drove me away, it's the novel, the
cursed failed novel, the one that's waged a war against him for years
now, a ruthless