ee Wesley. He has been touched by a camp counselor. This is a very special episode. His father is a sportswriter but in truth he has hired an Englishman to work this labor. The boy watches his father. The old man, he tends his beer, he quotes the batting averages of champions now long in the dust.
The Englishman Belvedere, his father says. That great mustachioed thing. You wouldnt think to gaze upon him that he could have killed a man would ye? But he has known blood. To hear him talk its Khe Sahn this and Stalingrad that. Youd have given something to have heard him.
Wesley climbs the stairs to Belvederes attic room. The Englishman is naked save for a loincloth and the wide expanse of his skin smeared with the gore of some unknown and fallen foe. He sits near a fire that burns on the floor.
Come join the dance, Wesley, says Belvedere. He pens down something in the book.
Whyre you always writing in that diary?
The Englishman places his hands on the ceiling’s roofbeams. No event must happen under these timbers without my knowledge and commentary, he says. If it exists absent its correspondence on my page then it endures in violation of my rights to it. This must not be so. Every subplot, no matter how vague or frivolous, must be recognized in its being and given its proper record.
Everything? says Wesley. Thatd be one hell of a journal.
Belvedere smiles. Oh yes, he says. How right you are.
What do you know Wesley replies and spits tobacco juice on the floor. Lynn is a girls name and youre just a butler.
Butlery was always here, Belvedere says, standing. Before man was, butlery waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. If God felt anger with man’s desire for perfect order in red chaos he would have told us so by now. Butlers cull men. What other animal could? The way of a household is to rise and eat and retire to sleep but in the Owens’ house full darkness comes on at noon like an ancient tide. This family is spent when it most lives. And it will be so always. Not just with this family but with every family. You love practical jokes Wesley? Consider this: you were an unplanned pregnancy. That night which descended upon you after the commencement of birth never ends. Do not be surprised.
I was touched today Wesley says. Perry did it.
Yes. Belvedere turned to the window with the night sky hanging over the earth like a hungry maw. Time is a cannibal Wesley. Nothing which happens to this family during their span on the earth must be allowed to pass without my ordainment. Do you think me unaware of the works that walk in shadow? These are trivial matters. Yet they may only stain the fabric of the becoming with my acknowledgment. Know that this will happen again; with other counselors, other Wesleys.
Belvedere holds up a chunk of dark scarlet meat in a ragged napkin. Here is the rogue Perry’s savage heart, he says. It has been removed from the offending vessel. Perhaps you will eat a part of it as I have.
… And they are dancing in this very special episode, the boards of the Owens living room are creaking under a pair of English loafers and George and Marsha are grinning like dying hogs with darkstarred rottenness in their guts over their Baked Alaska. Towering over them all is Belvedere and he is dancing, his feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, smiling under his moustache, always smiling. Streaks on the china never mattered before who cared, he tells them. He never sleeps. He says he will never never leave. He bows and trots backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and then writes in his diary about the day and he is a great favorite Belvedere. He whispers to the family: When you dropkicked your jacket as you came through the door no one glared. Then he begins to dance again and he passes by the childrens bathroom like the lord of the final hunt and he swings about and takes possession of one of the tea trays and pirouettes and makes a pass two passes dancing and drinking all at once. Now he is singing at the top of his lungs, Sometimes things they are turned they get turned around and no one no one is spared. Belvedere, see how his feet are light and nimble. All hands look out below he says to applause. Theres a change in the status quo. Going to need all the help that we can get says Belvedere and he laughs and laughs. It is a very special episode. He never sleeps. He says that he will never leave. He dances in his attic room and makes witty remarks and he is a great favorite. According to our new arrival life is more than mere survival he says. He never sleeps Belvedere. He is dancing dancing. He says that he will never leave and that we just might we just might live the good life yet.