Someone played Leadbelly over again on the jukebox and over again on the jukebox. Something about steamboat traveling on a river in America and the mystic rhythm. Would the body know where it was if the mind didn’t tell it? 

I’m killing myself, Henry said. He kept interrupting. Baseball is all I worry about. You worry about whatever else there is, and I’ll worry about baseball. 

When he got up, his pants were wet. I wagged my finger at him and said Henry, you fool. I said Henry, you vagrant. Henry, you little twit. He took the cigarette out of his mouth and started yelling with his hands hellbent in the air. 

We should be poorer, I thought. We should have no liquor at all.  

We left the bar and after a while passed a courtyard covered in garden statues. There was an old, white-wood windmill. It was the size of a leg up past the thigh. Henry liked it, so he jumped the fence. He pulled up on the windmill and when it came loose, he started wobbling, wooing, and then it popped up like it had roots, and he put it underneath his arm. The sky was black. There were no stars in it. That’s when the front light of the building went on and a small guy in his undershirt started yelling. Henry ran like a running back in one direction. I ran in another.

Somehow I got back home and had my nightshirt on, and when I looked around and yelled a bit, I found Henry sleeping on the bathroom floor. The windmill was in the bathtub, taking up more than half of it, and the water from the spout poured over.

Later that night—if you can imagine there was a later—we went to a friend’s apartment to walk Joe, the dog. The place made us feel small. Every inch of it covered in mirrors or paintings. We watched Joe toot and howl and drank fizzy beer, finding joll in the atmosphere. Henry cooked steak. I rubbed both their bellies. The dog was a sufferer like us. We fed him water with a spoon and injected medicine between his teeth.

Some time passed and Henry said, we need to get out of here. So I got up, stood on two feet, and pulled his arms and his legs and dragged him to the door all folded up like a fortune cookie. I slapped him with shoes. 

I mean all of New York, he said. Leave the whole of it. I shrugged and kicked Joe a little. The dog didn’t move. I pushed my shoe underneath Joe’s chin and lifted. I could see his face. Eyes shut. Is he breathing, Henry said and flattened his ear onto the dog’s back. I lifted a paw and watched it fall straight down. Henry tugged at the eyelids and blew in his nose. He shouted in an ear. I got a cold bottle out of the freezer and pressed it onto the dog’s face. 

We called 911. 

Henry explained that Joe might be dead. We couldn’t tell about his breath.  We needed help. When he hung up, he got down on his knees and started pushing on the dog’s chest with his fists.  

I poured vodka into big glasses meant for something else. We sat on the couch, looking at the dog not moving, and we drank. There were walls of mirrors in the place.  

Soon the ambulance arrived. Where’s the emergency? 

Henry yelled from the couch. 

Two uniforms headed toward the room with the couch and the dog. They had strange eyes. I thought for a second that they were imposters. That some scammers had intercepted emergency calls. That they would rob us and not care about the dog. 

I went into the room and sat next to Henry. The paramedics were on the floor, looking at us. They said something about the body being a dog, not a human. We argued with them that it didn’t matter, both live. Henry drank the vodka. They explained they don’t save animals—don’t we know that? I lit a cigarette and debated stealing the oxygen mask out of their bag and wrapping it around Joe’s head and telling him to breathe, breathe.

They questioned us like we’d killed the dog. When is the last time you fed him? Henry stood up and bellowed—I cooked a steak dinner!  The bigger one, the man I think, went over to Joe and put the stethoscope on the dog’s chest. He told us to shut up. Then he snapped the scope out of his ears and said, Joe’s dead.  

Henry started cursing them. His face was red or maybe it was the liquor. He said stuff about them being the killers, not us. They rattled on about responsibility or purpose or the grave seriousness of living. With a good head, dogs don’t die. With a good cop, killers don’t kill? Henry was asking, but they were gone. I kissed Joe on top of his head. Henry said a small prayer.  

Some time passed, and we left. As we shut the door behind us, I looked back. The dog like a wet dish towel. Or maybe he started breathing again. I can’t be completely sure.

Then we were walking toward the East River. Henry battled the air. When we got to it, I took his head in my hands and made him look out past Manhattan, farther than where the World Trade Center used to be, and I said something like, if you want to leave New York, that's where you will go. Look at it. And he put his head on my shoulder. Only then did the sun come up.   

The next day I got my blood drained. I had a condition. It always surprised me how dark it looked as it passed from my arm into the long, almost winding tube. At the end, when it’s all gathered together in the blood bag, it starts to seem soft. So soft that Henry once said he could picture resting his head on it. He hugged my other arm as I waited for the pint to go. He pushed back my hair and smelled it, lifting it up close to his mouth and to his nose.  

We were in love—we really were. 

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