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A Guidebook to When Things Were Better

Now there arose a situation that was to be repeated, off and on,
for the next several years. What kind of pills? she asked
over dinner. This doesn't exclude the possibility

that he sensed his death approaching. I also have
my favorite parts. But I never get to do that in my whole life.
It's for your own good, they repeat, over and over.

That's what they say, but I'm beginning to doubt it.
Mario and Irene finally split along lines partly territorial, partly
social and economic. Besides, all their friends were. Frankly,

your kids drive me nuts, she said. We came back and she
was right (see above, chapter IV). Something negative
came between Frank and Jennifer that night. Jen couldn't

remember inviting Irene. And lately his dreams
are about other people's problems. I'd be a great mother
if these kids didn't take up so much of my time, she

says. I swear I had no idea the damn thing was loaded,
he said. It's taken them a week to set up this messy
confrontation. We're sorry we missed it though.

The kids made a paper swan out of your invitation.
Tomorrow I have to drive out there again
and bring them back, diagnosed as they are with

malingering, weirdness, and moral turpitude. He's taking
treatments now and the prospects look good.
Her finger nails are falling out and she says there's

this shooting pain up her left cheek, yet nothing
specific seems to be wrong with her. We trust you
and your doctor are on the best of terms? Phil just

can't shake the hiccups. And Julie's taking those same
little green pills. Later it isn't broken after all, but they
have to walk very cautiously. A good general rule's

to be prepared for anything, so I'm staying here
at the clinic. Anyway, you always liked them better
than you liked me. I've just been wondering, that's all.

—John Gallaher



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