That early man was now thought a scavenger rather than bold hunter and slayer of giant mastodons, a figure perhaps a little ridiculous, was totally in keeping with Martin's dim forebodings. He put the article down and stepped from the stale office air to the stale evening air and stood upon the street corner. A familiar car passed. He watched as his own girlfriend drove by without seeing him.

He did not walk to the Coney Island. He went back toward the river. Down DeSiard he longs for something nameless among the blocks of abandoned office buildings and the gaps from demolished ones. Is it possible that there's nothing new at all, anywhere, any time?

He glances for any previously overlooked establishment down the lower numbers of DeSiard, only halfway hoping. And then there is one. A bar. In the traditional narrow-building fashion, neon-windowed, the murmur of voices, talk, from within. The street is absolutely deserted. How in the world had he ever missed this place before?

He pulls the door open. Friendly voices call out his name, indisputably glad to see him. How can he not know these people, and so many of them? There's one empty barstool, and that's the one he takes.



Gayle and Kelly banging on the apartment's locked bathroom door; "Martin? Martin! What are you doing in there?" The only sound is that waiting, the expectation of sound when none comes.