It had been five days now and Frankie was entirely soaked; he had lost his healthy glow, his lusty high colour; his wan cheeks were dimly phosphorescent; he looked like he’d walked out of the ocean wearing his business suit; when I tried locking him in the bathroom so he could dry out for a bit he was so legless he simply slipped out again from under the door like gelatinous zooplankton. One thing I will say about Frankie is that even when he has not slept for days he can still look remarkably clean, like a hairless cat. “Your father was such a charismatic bastard,” he said. “It would take a lot to kill him. Sometimes I think I can still feel him near. He really was larger than life…”
“That’s for sure,” said I.
“I never had a father,” he said. He was staring at his plate, and his eyes were twice as large as the poached eggs, as though he expected to be able to absorb the nutrients by thought waves.
“Oh, everybody has a father,” said I, with conventional wisdom. “Even if you think you don’t, some Freudian somewhere will some day succeed in nutting him out. Would you like me to cut your toast into fingers for you?”
But Frankie was trembling so much he could barely control his own fingers and kept dropping his cigarette onto the table-top. It was mainly to cheer Frankie up that I decided we should hold a funeral party.