Lin Page 27
No, no. I'm fine. This line of conversation is annoying him, he feels more petulant and ungrateful with each passing second.

We're in this one together. We have our sorrows and joys, and should our sorrows and joys meet, then all the better. Right? Allen gives him a friendly clap on the back.

Right. C.J. grins, and he has no idea if it is convincing. He turns heel and heads upstairs to the bedroom. Once there, he closes the door. A full-length mirror is mounted on it, and his stooped image glares at him. It is as if talking to Allen has trimmed a good five inches off his posture. For some reason he is imagining a scene in which he walks through the front door of this house every night, tie loosened about his collar, armpits dark with sweat, briefcase in hand, ready to report on the day's activities to

Allen, and Allen greets him with a sardonic Welcome home, dear! And somehow this scene has already played itself out for years.

Jesus, he mutters to himself. Carol has provided him with various slacks, a few short-sleeved shirts. The slacks are the drawstring type, size 38 (he is a 31), and he pulls hard on the string to tighten it round his waist. Just like an amphibious boat, he muses, looking at himself in the mirror. The shirt is brown silk with three buttons. He leaves all the buttons undone so that the shirt splits open down to the center of his breastplate. The bottom of the shirt hangs loosely down his thighs, with no fat to cling to. The overall effect is one of proper decadence and corruption.

Should our joys and sorrows meet, he says, approximating Allen's drunken slur, then so much the better, eh?