Neither remembers the stark start when heart first advised the eyes to see a friend a foe. Meals at the table turned scattershot, casual.... Face leaned to books, lipping the small print, you gazed aglow at your torn, beloved golden "Dragon" magazine: chatty advice about how to kill with stealth or sail the astral plane on a budget. Every confab folded at a call from your Philly hottie, Maria; seminal points left forever unpinned among the live haywires of hasty love. Once you grumped home straight to your pigsty content to yodel D & D cusses at a screen filled with terror and fidgety limbs; midnight found you miserably hunched, a vulture clawing a mouse. You click your friends together with a lassoed gesture, circles of a single color under each pair of feet; you hunt the haunted woods together, crouch bunched at each blind sound and die in the fine faith of the necromancer's talent for resurrection. There you were hunched under the overhead lamp, slaying evil to exhaustion but unwilling to do the simple, sullied work that keeps us good. The sounds of all the world came crashing down, pounded from the tinny PC speakers, an aria of Orc-growls that crescendoed in a hash of static. Were you Ulysses, a grey bureaucrat lost at sea and anxious to survive into the profit zone of his misfortunes. Every crashing zag ends in an ascending zig. Unhappy over your sogged bowl of Cheerios, you wept to make the minutes glisten, praying that the twin tracks of amnesia would cure your ruin. O the world herself was bleak as ashes that day. That day you had swallowed the plot that plumed with your departure a blue peacock's outburst fan waving and waving. It was months before I knew you'd said goodbye.