Nick spends many evenings in anticipation of his father’s arrival, when dad comes and tells him a story. After all, no one could make up a story like dad could. Because the heroes of these stories—the pirates, the travelers, even animals and birds—are all dad’s friends.

But dad isn’t home often. “Dad’s busy,” mom says, and, for some reason, Nick feels sorry for her when she says this.

Sometimes, when Nick has almost fallen asleep, he has the vague sensation, through the colored circles he sees when he closes his eyes, of dad entering the room, covering him with a blanket, and stroking his hair. Nick wants to wake up and give dad a hug, but his eyelids are so heavy he can’t lift them. He feels about for dad’s hairy arm and, clutching it, presses it to his chest.


Yet Michelle was mistaken, having penned her husband as a loser! Roy had not wasted time while working this damn boring job as a security surveillance operator. He found a sponsor who agreed to give money for the film and enlisted the support of a children’s cancer center. He attracted to the film a talented actor, cameraman, and set-designer, whom he met once during filming and with whom he maintained a relationship.


He spent all his nights sitting in the Security Operations Center of the hotel editing the film by connecting his laptop to the hotel’s surveillance system. The supersensitive equipment there, and most importantly the large screens, turned out to be invaluable to him.

His partner, the officer-on-duty Walter, a former policeman in charge of a quick response to any emergency incident, was dozing with his feet on the table, in accordance with an old cop habit. Despite their differences, he and Roy felt a mutual sympathy for each other.

Walter soon found himself a girlfriend who lived near the hotel. He would mop his smooth, fleshy face and neck with a pre-moistened scented towelette, and then be gone for several hours, sometimes until morning. He knew that Roy wouldn’t get off to anywhere because he was busy with his film. Walter had little interest in the film about “sick wise children.” However, he respected Roy for his conscientiousness and considered him an eccentric who—you never know—could get rich some day.