Pin Lady has the Pin of Tomorrow Night - a wicked pin, those who have seen it say. That great hug, when Balloon Man and Pin Lady roll down the hill together, will be frightening. The horses will run away in all directions. Ordinary people will cover their heads with shopping bags. I don't want to think about it. You blow up all them balloons yourself, Balloon Man? Or did you have help? Pin Lady, how come you're so apricklededee? Was it something in your childhood?
Balloon Man will lead off with the Balloon of Grace Under Pressure, Do Not Pierce or Incinerate.
Pin Lady will counter with the Pin of Oh My, I Forgot.
Balloon Man will produce the Balloon of Almost Wonderful.
Pin Lady will come back with the Pin of They Didn't Like Me Much. Balloon Man will sneak in there with the Balloon of the Last Exit Before the Toll Is Taken. Pin Lady will reply with the Pin of One Never Knows for Sure. Balloon Man will propose the Balloon of Better Days. Pin Lady, the Pin of Whiter Wine.
It's gonna be bad, I don't want to think about it.
Because of this bloody article, and his idiotic "Contract", Jonathan Franzen's face became pinned to the bullseye in the dartboard of my imagination. (Before then, it was Zadie Smith for this bloody thing and yes, you're right, perhaps I shouldn't be pursuing my academic research in the manner of of Wile E. Coyote packing an Acme anvil - though I've a 5-page square-up as to why prepared, if you're askin'.)
This question of "consolation" and fiction is not quite as simple as bluster, though, is it, as the copy of Donald Barthelme's "Sixty Stories" on my bedside table indicates.