There were two Jasons on Neville Street that summer. The first we called Smoker. Most people only knew him through Michael, his cat. In September Smoker left for California and left Michael at the Neville St. house. The other Jason was a depressive addict who came into some inheritance, tried to make it as a potato farmer, then committed suicide. That was in December. Alain was living in the basement apartment with a girl named George. The events of Michael’s abandonment and Jason’s suicide had a serious effect on Alain. His sadly stoic countenance contained and hid a melancholy of an intellectual sort which in all his twenty-four years only George could properly read. The girl herself was an emotional savant. The couple, as they were, did not know each other very well. Perhaps only enough to understand a difference in opinion or when something was wrong. George saw that now the cat came into their apartment at night and was a happy diversion. Alain knew that throughout the day the cat visited no less than twelve apartments, every one with a tenant that might try to claim ownership of Michael. The idea struck Alain as absurd. The animal obviously didn’t belong to anyone and never would. Smoker’s act had liberated Michael and Alain knew this would be the cat’s doom. No one in this house was mature enough to take part in another creature’s freedom without destroying it in the process. In Alain’s mind these events mirrored the other Jason’s downfall and, in a way, his and George’s own unraveling.


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