Though, it is not unlikely that it was in fact a gnat, circling round the gleaming table lamp that cast the shadow. Time to time, tearing himself away from the page, Jacob looked at the lamp with its long thin bulb hidden beneath the round matte glass. He created the gnat as a hackneyed literary character in his imagination and even metamorphosed into it. He performed several ritual passes around the lamp until he felt the terrible heat that burned his wings and, getting scared, instantly transformed back into a human.
Back at Emmons Avenue, the astonished Jacob first painfully pinched his own leg, and then, turning around, started against the flow of people pouring into the subway. He reached his starting point—the fish market, where the hero of his tale, the student, would often purchase sea bass.
Jacob entered the shop and, turning to the perpetually smiling—but this time seemingly confused—salesperson, asked him to weigh a couple of fish. With astounding dexterity the salesman hooked the gills of the two bass on the counter, threw them in a plastic bag and, having weighed them, twisted the bag, tied it off with a string, and offered it to Jacob. He paid for his purchase and again wandered along the street, looking around with his deathly frightened eyes.
He walked along the lifeless avenue, himself a corpse. He followed the trail of his protagonist, the longhaired man and student for life. Then that very man appeared in front of him yet again! The horror consisted of the fact that his character was alive and real. He dreamed and he loved, and Diana was still waiting for him (only later she began cheating on him.) His character had somewhere to run to. He was hungry, his stomach grumbled, and there was an unpleasant, bitter taste in his mouth because of a liver ailing from heavy vine consumption. The character was alive, and Jacob turned into his shadow. Jacob realized that he no longer had a stomach, not even a sick liver, because love no longer filled his heart. He was nothing, an empty shell, just a “bag of bones and a cup of blood” as Diana mockingly called him lately.