I was dead, and my hair was in the style of a man. I was naked from the waist down, and I was pissing on the floor of a hotel. I was a ghost and alive. That was the form the disease took. I was dragging my legs like a beetle under a boot, and I would do anything to stay alive. I climbed stone stairs to a grand hotel overlooking Lake Windermere. I sat in a breezeway, at once majestic and dowdy, on a small sofa upholstered in floral fabric. It was quiet. Birdsong broke the stillness and gray clouds bounced over smoke-colored water. Suddenly I realized I was sitting beside a pile of money that had silently slid from someone’s pocket.

Laurie Stone
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