I once brought a girl home because I liked her shoes. That was the only thing I noticed about her. I live in a really small apartment. A lot of my clothes end up piled on my mattress or draped over the open door of the microwave. I guess the girl with the pink high heels woke up in the middle of the night and didn’t remember where she was. She went out naked in the hall and closed the door behind her. She said that she had asked me, and I told her that was the way to the bathroom, to go out the front door. I don’t remember doing that. I remember I woke up with the cops in my house, asking me if I knew this girl. I said of course, she was the girl with the pink high heels. They thought that was really funny. After that, I didn’t drink for about five months. I was mostly celibate, except for my upstairs neighbor, until she moved away. She was this Indian girl. She liked to do it from behind, in this one position. That was the only thing she wanted to do. The other things were boring, she said. When I went to the shower, she got up on all fours to masturbate.

I was alone for a while after that. I got rid of everything in my apartment. I worked ten- and twelve-hour days. Each night, I went to hot yoga. They had a studio between my home and work, on the fifteenth floor of this building, so that, across from you, while you were sweating, you could look in at people living their lives, and see all these slow-moving domestic scenes, like a man standing in front of a microwave. After yoga, I liked to walk home. I liked the cold. I bought a Mediterranean style salad from the same place every night. The woman who worked there was Lebanese and studying to be a doctor. I ate my dinner in front of the TV, watching没有黑鞋

这是a weeknight around tenP. M.她第一次打电话。我让它转到语音邮件,因为我没想到会有任何电话,但是当我去收到消息时,它只是一段时间安静了一段时间,然后这个人挂断了电话。那时,我睡在一座军队的婴儿床上。我也在狗的姿势上躺在脸下面的食物。这是我几天后的姿势,第四次打电话,我回答。

“Who’s this?” I asked. She said, “It’s Koko.” “Koko? I don’t know any Koko.” “I saw you at a party; it was a long time ago.” “Oh, so I gave you my number?” “No, I got it from one of your friends.” “I don’t understand.” “He told me your name is William.” “Who was he?” “I can’t tell you that. He said I couldn’t tell you that. He said he was only telling me because he’s worried, you don’t go out anymore. He said you just lie around watching the same movie and eating the same food.” “That’s a lie,” I said. She said, “He said you do hot yoga.” “I don’t even know what that is,” I said, “hold on.” I reached out an arm and put the movie on pause. I put the container of salad under my cot and propped myself up on my elbows. “What do you look like, anyway? Maybe I remember seeing you.”

“I’m about forty-eight years old.”


“I’m attached to a breathing machine.”

“好吧,很好 - 不要告诉我,看,我必须走。”


“只是那种笑话 - 我的意思是,每个人都说这样的话。你为什么不能告诉我你的样子?”

“Okay,” she said. She sounded shy now. She thought around and said, “I guess I’m normal looking.”

“What’s normal?”

“I’m twenty-five. I have my hair cut into bangs.”


“I don’t want to say any more than that.”

这是weird, because I looked at pornography pretty frequently at this point. It was even a problem, so that I would spend an hour looking for the most disgusting pictures I could find. Maybe disgusting is not the word. For example, I liked a short video where an older man was fucking a girl in the ass while he put a Blow Pop inside her. Then he stopped and put it into her ass. Then he put it into her mouth, and he started to fuck her again. But somehow this conversation ...

We talked for a long time, more than an hour, until I got sleepy, so I started to fall asleep with her on the phone. The next night, around the same time, she called me again. I was really happy she did that. We had a nice conversation. She told me this story, how she used to prank call a math teacher of hers in junior high. She did it so much, she figured out how to reprogram his outgoing message, using his two-digit remote-access code. She redid his outgoing greetings, said things that were explicitly sexual. Her teacher didn’t understand technology or remote-access codes. He assumed someone was breaking into his house each day to rerecord his message. It filled him with fear and paranoia. He bought a dog. He had an alarm installed and got a prescription for sleeping pills. It was a long time—nearly a year—before the police identified Koko and got to the bottom of the mystery. I loved that. I have stories like that, too. I told her the thing I did to my video teacher at an arts festival, and the things I used to say to my science teacher and to the owner of this antique store called J. & B. Lowther. I said, “Why don’t you come over here right now?” and she told me she lived five hours away by train.

她有一个业务在Int卖旧衣服ernet. She was a night owl. She stayed up until sunrise pretty frequently, working on her business. All the clothes had to be cleaned, pressed, tried on, photographed, and entered into her Web site. By this time I had seen a lot of photos of her body. She used herself as a model, and the way she did it was very artistic. I’m not just saying that because I cared about her; I worked with major fashion houses, so I know what I’m saying. She really was artistic about how she did it, even though she always chopped her own head off. She made it look exciting and interior, like she was a party of one. In fact, she had a lot of admirers on the Internet. It wasn’t just gross men; it was women in fashion, too. That’s how it happened we were at the same party.


“They had set up a small stage on the roof, with that carpet rubber as a stage. That foam stuff they put under carpets.”


“You looked really drunk.”

“I think I was really sad; I wish you had come and talked to me.”



I knew that she drank, and most nights she was talking to me, she was drunk and taking pills, but I didn’t think anything about it. She never slurred, or got sloppy, but she did seem sometimes to check out. It was like her heart would go dead. It was one time when she was like this that she told me she had had other romances on the telephone. I said I didn’t care about that. She said, “You don’t understand; I’m a sociopath.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Hold on.”



“You’ve never even seen my face. I could be completely deformed.”

“I don’t care,” I said. “I’d love you even if you were deformed.”


On the train, I kept telling myself to just be myself. I had a prescription for a low-milligram antianxiety medication, as well as a mild beta-blocker, and I kept going into the bathroom to take more—I wanted to get the mixture right. After I took a pill, I’d check myself in the mirror, and I’d always be surprised at what I found. I kept expecting to find a monster.


年代he was waiting across the street from the terminal. Just standing there, in front of her old car. She had on a green army coat and paint-splattered corduroy pants; her features were something like I pictured—wide eyes, Frida Kahlo—but she was more beautiful than I expected her to be.

When I got over to her car, before I could say anything, she said, “Are you nervous?”


“We’ll go to my house and relax.”


年代he lived on the top floor of a converted flour mill. The sleeping area was the size of an ordinary bedroom, divided from the main area by ten-foot industrial shelves full of record albums—the inventory from her brother’s store. He was itinerant and sometimes wrote to her, asking her to sell so many feet of albums. Her bed was a queen-size mattress on the floor. She pointed to the rotary phone beside it and lifted her cat to introduce him by name. Then she led me through the center portion of the loft, past a sliding-glass door that connected to another apartment, a place rented to someone named Douglas. He was gone for the weekend, and so I didn’t think much about him.



“My mom sent them to me earlier in the week. Something about her bowels.”


“She can’t have opiates.”

“They’re opium?”


I ate the pills and broke the bread into pieces. What I wanted was for the two of us to go and sit by the window and listen to record albums and get soulful, but Koko turned on the TV and flipped through the stations until she found a documentary. When that was over, she got a couple more pills for us, and found a medley on a different station. We got take-out from a delivery service, and around eleven, her hair had fallen down, and her cheek was resting on her hand so the top of her head just touched my shoulder. I still have the shirt I was wearing at that time. It’s hanging in my closet. I turned on my side to look at her body, and she pretended to keep watching TV.

I said, “I like your shoes.”


“I like how you are wearing them as shoes.”

“Everyone does that.”




“I travel business class,” she pointed a finger in the air. “Un momento, por favor. Muchas gracias, señor.”

年代he was singing along with the television, but I stopped her before the next line. I mean I kissed her. It was a bit like kissing a doll, or a timid old lady. I mean that she didn’t kiss me back, but I don’t know if you know this. That can be very attractive. Later, Koko and I were together in haze, and her shirt was off, and she told me how she often induced men to love her and then abandoned them. She said, “Didn’t you notice how I forced this on you?” I said, “I don’t know what you mean,” and she said, “Yeah. That’s what I’m telling you.”

这是结束了。或者,它结束了the car, the first time we looked at each other. I mean, she thought I was ugly, and I could see that. But the thing about a dark truth is it is indistinguishable from doubt. And so—since I couldn’t just go home—I kept approaching the dark area. Not by anything I said, but by what I did, and by watching how she reacted. She was nice at times, but at others, when her kindness drew me in, she was sharp, and I spent the weekend confused. I kept thinking, “But she already saw my face.”




“What’re you doing?” Koko said.


“You were like,” she galloped one leg in imitation.

我所做的一切使她生气。煎蛋卷后,她指着她的两个牙齿之间的一个地方说:“那是什么东西?”我的两个牙齿之间的牙齿在她指向的位置上有很大的填充,所以我告诉她 - “这是一个馅料” - 她说:“当你说话时我可以看到它。”

我们在附近去散步。这是starting to feel like spring. We crossed into a residential area. On the sidewalk, one leashed dog was meeting another dog, and he got so excited he lost his footing and fell down on his side. An old suburban house was up for sale, and we let ourselves into its backyard to have a look around. One of its windows had been broken from the inside, and the pane lay in four pieces in the soil of a flower bed. I brushed my hand against Koko’s, and she whipped her head around and said, “Do you want to take mushrooms?”


“I have ten.”