'I forgot. I'll call down to the pharmacy. No, wait;! have something. Nembutal or some damn
thing.' Hurrying to his suitcase, he began rummaging.
When he held out two yellow capsules to her she said, 'Will they destroy me?' She accepted them
'What?' he said, his face twitching.
Rot my lower body, she thought. Groin to dry. 'I mean,' she said cautiously, 'weaken my
'No-it's some A.G. Chemie product they give back home. I use them when I can't sleep. I'll get
you a glass of water.' He ran off.
Blade, she thought. I swallowed it; now cuts my loins forever. Punishment. Married to a Jew and
shacking up with a Gestapo assassin. She felt tears again in her eyes, boiling. For all I have
committed. Wrecked. 'Let's go, '- she said, rising to her feet. 'The hairdresser.'
'You're not dressed!' He led her, sat her down, tried to get her underpants onto her without
success. 'I have to get your hair fixed,' he said in a despairing voice. 'Where is that Hur, that
She said, speaking slowly and painstakingly, 'Hair creates bear who removes spots in nakedness.
Hiding, no hide to be hung with a hook. The hook from God. Hair, hear, Hur.' Pills eating.
Probably turpentine acid. They all met, decided dangerous most corrosive solvent to eat me forever.
Staring down at her, Joe blanched. Must read into me, she thought. Reads my mind with his
machine, although I can't find it.
'Those pills,' she said. 'Confuse and bewilder.' He said, 'You didn't take them.' He pointed to her
clenched fist; she discovered that she still had them there. 'You're mentally ill,' he said. He had
become heavy, slow, like some inert mass. 'You're very sick. We can't go.'
'No doctor,' she said. 'I'll be okay.' She tried to smile; she watched his face to see if she had.
Reflection from his brain, caught my thoughts in rots.
'I can't take you to the Abendsens',' he said. 'Not now, anyway. Tomorrow. Maybe you'll be
better. We'll try tomorrow. We have to.,'
'May I go to the bathroom again?'
He nodded, his face working, barely hearing her. So she returned to the bathroom; again she shut
the door. In the cabinet another blade, which she took in her right hand. She came out once more.
'Bye-bye,' she said.
As she opened the corridor door he exclaimed, grabbed wildly at her.
Whisk. 'It is awful,' she said. 'They violate. I ought to know.' Ready for purse snatcher; the
various night prowlers, I can certainly handle. Where had this one gone? Slapping his neck, doing a
dance. 'Let me by,' she said. 'Don't bar my way unless you want a lesson. However, only women.'
Holding the blade up she went on opening the door. Joe sat on the floor, hands pressed to the side
of his throat. Sunburn posture. 'Good-bye,' she said, and shut the door behind her. The warm
A woman in a white smock, humming or singing, wheeled a cart along, head down. Gawked at
door numbers, arrived in front of Juliana; the woman lifted her head, and her eyes popped and her
'Oh sweetie,' she said, 'you really are tight; you need a lot more than a hairdresser — you go right
back inside your room and get your clothes on before they throw you out of this hotel. My good
lord.' She opened the door behind Juliana. 'Have your man sober you up; I'll have room service
send up hot coffee. Please now, get into your room.' Pushing Juliana back into the room, the
woman slammed the door after her and the sound of her cart diminished.
Hairdresser lady, Juliana realized. Looking down, she saw that she did have nothing on; the
woman had been correct.
'Joe,' she said. 'They won't let me.' She found the bed, found her suitcase, opened it, spilled out
clothes. Underwear, then blouse and skirt . . . pair of low-heeled shoes. 'Made me come back,' she
said. Finding a comb, she rapidly combed her hair, then brushed it. 'What an experience. That
woman was right outside, about to knock.' Rising, she went to find the mirror. 'Is this better?'
Mirror in the closet door; turning, she surveyed herself, twisting, standing on tiptoe.
'I'm so embarrassed,' she said, glancing around for him. 'I hardly know what I'm doing. You must
have given me something; whatever it was it just made me sick, instead of helping me.'
Still sitting on the floor, clasping the side of his neck, Joe said, 'Listen. You're very good. You
cut my aorta. Artery in my neck.'
Giggling, she clapped her hand to her mouth. 'Oh God — you're such a freak. I mean, you get
words all wrong. The aorta's in your chest; you mean the carotid.'
'If I let go,' he said, 'I'll bleed out in two minutes. You know that. So get me some kind of help,
get a doctor or an ambulance. You understand me? Did you mean to? Evidently. Okay — you'll call
or go get someone?'
After pondering, she said, 'I meant to.'
'Well,' he said, 'anyhow, get them for me. For my sake.'
'I don't have it completely closed.' Blood had seeped through his fingers, she saw, down his
wrist. Pool on the floor. 'I don't dare move. I have to stay here.'
She put on her new coat, closed her new handmade leather purse, picked up her suitcase and as
many of the parcels which were hers as she could manage; in particular she made sure she took the
big box and the blue Italian dress tucked carefully in it. As she opened the corridor door she looked
back at him. 'Maybe I can tell them at the desk,' she said. 'Downstairs.'
'Yes,' he said.
'All right,' she said. 'I'll tell them. Don't look for me back at the apartment in Canon City because
I'm not going back there. And I have most of those Reichsbank notes, so I'm in good shape, in spite
of everything. Good-bye. I'm sorry.' She shut the door and hurried along the hall as fast as she
could manage, lugging the suitcase and parcels.
At the elevator, an elderly well-dressed businessman and his wife helped her; they took the
parcels for her, and downstairs in the lobby they gave them to a bellboy for her.
'Thank you,' Juliana said to them.
After the bellboy had carried her suitcase and parcels across the lobby and out onto the front
sidewalk, she found a hotel employee who could explain to her how to get back her car. Soon she
was standing in the cold concrete garage beneath the hotel, waiting while the attendant brought the
Studebaker around. In her purse she found all kinds of change; she tipped the attendant and the next
she knew she was driving up a yellow-lit ramp and onto the dark street with its headlights, cars,
advertising neon signs.
The uniformed doorman of the hotel personally loaded her luggage and parcels into the trunk for
her, smiling with such hearty encouragement that she gave him an enormous tip before she drove
away. No one tried to stop her, and that amazed her; they did not even raise an eyebrow. I guess
they know he'll pay, she decided. Or maybe he already did when he registered for us.
While she waited with other cars for a streetlight to change, she remembered that she had not
told them at the desk about Joe sitting on the floor of the room needing the doctor. Still waiting up
there, waiting from now on until the end of the world, or until the cleaning women showed up
tomorrow sometime. I better go back, she decided, or telephone. Stop at a pay phone booth.
It's so silly, she thought as she drove along searching for a place to park and telephone. Who
would have thought an hour ago? When we signed in, when we shopped . . . we almost went on,
got dressed up and Went out to dinner; we might even have gotten out to the nightclub. Again she
had begun to cry, she discovered; tears dripped from her nose, onto her blouse, as she drove. Too
bad I didn't consult the oracle; it would have known and warned me. Why didn't I? Any time I
could have asked, any place along the trip or even before we left. She began to moan involuntarily;
the noise, a howling she had never heard issue out of her before, horrified her, but she could not
suppress it even though she clamped her teeth together. A ghastly chanting, singing, wailing, rising
up through her nose.
When she had parked she sat with the motor running, shivering, hands in her coat pockets.
Christ, she said to herself miserably. Well, I guess that's the sort of thing that happens. She got out
of the car and dragged her suitcase from the trunk; in the back seat she opened it and dug around
among the clothes and shoes until she had hold of the two black volumes of the oracle. There, in
the back seat of the car, with the motor running, she began tossing three RMS dimes, using the
glare of a department store window to see by. What'll I do? she asked it. Tell me what to do; please.
Hexagram Forty-two, Increase, with moving lines in the second, third, fourth and top places;
therefore changing to Hexagram Forty-three, Breakthrough. She scanned the text ravenously,
catching up the successive stages of meaning in her mind, gathering it and comprehending; Jesus, it
depicted the situation exactly — a miracle once more. All that had happened, there before her eyes,
It furthers one
To undertake something.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Trip, to go and do something important, not stay here. Now the lines. Her lips moved, seeking. . .
Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose him.
Constant perseverance brings good fortune.
The king presents him before God.
Now six in the third. Reading, she became dizzy;
One is enriched through unfortunate events.
No blame, if you are sincere
And walk in the middle,
And report with a seal to the prince.
The prince. . . it meant Abendsen. The seal, the new copy of his book. Unfortunate events — the
oracle knew what had happened to her, the dreadfulness with Joe or whatever he was. She read six
in the fourth place:
If you walk in the middle
And report to the prince,
He will follow.
I must go there, she realized, even if Joe comes after me. She devoured the last moving line, nine
at the top:
He brings increase to no one.
Indeed, someone even strikes him.
He does not keep his heart constantly steady.
Oh God, she thought; It means the killer, the Gestapo people — it's telling me that Joe or
someone like him, someone else, will get there and kill Abendsen. Quickly, she turned to
Hexagram Forty-three. The judgment:
One must resolutely make the matter known
At the court of the king.
It must be announced truthfully. Danger.
It is necessary to notify one's own city.
It does not further to resort to arms.
It furthers one to undertake something.
So it's no use to go back to the hotel and make sure about him; it's hopeless, because there will be
others sent out. Again the oracle says, even more emphatically: Get up to Cheyenne and warn
Abendsen, however dangerous it is to me. I must bring him the truth.
She shut the volume.
Getting back behind the wheel of the car, she backed out into traffic. In a short time she had
found her way out of downtown Denver and onto the main autobahn going north; she drove as fast
as the car would go, the engine making a strange throbbing noise that shook the wheel and the seat
and made everything in the glove compartment rattle.
Thank God for Doctor Todt and his autobahns, she said to herself as she hurtled along through
the darkness, seeing only her own headlights and the lines marking the lanes.
At ten o'clock that night because of tire trouble she had still not reached Cheyenne, so there was
nothing to do but pull off the road and search for a place to spend the night.
An autobahn exit sign ahead of her read GREELEY FIVE MILES. I'll start out again tomorrow
morning, she told herself as she drove slowly along the main street of Greeley a few minutes later.
She saw several motels with vacancy signs lit, so there was no problem. What I must do, she
decided, is call Abendsen tonight and say I'm coming.
When she had parked she got wearily from the car, relieved to be able to stretch her legs. All day
on the road, from eight in the morning on. An all-night drugstore could be made out not far down
the sidewalk; hands in the pockets of her coat, she walked that way, and soon she was shut up in the
privacy of the phone booth, asking the operator for Cheyenne information. -
Their phone — thank God — was listed. She put in the quarters and the operator rang.
'Hello,' a woman's voice sounded presently, a vigorous, rather pleasant younger-woman's voice;
a woman no doubt about her own age.
'Mrs. Abendsen?' Juliana said. 'May I talk to Mr. Abendsen?'
'Who is this, please?'
Juliana said, 'I read his book and I drove all day up from Canon City, Colorado. I'm in Greeley
now. I thought I could make it to your place tonight, but I can't, so I want to know if I can see him
After a pause, Mrs. Abendsen said in a still-pleasant voice, 'Yes, it's too late, now; we go to bed
quite early. Was there any — special reason why you wanted to see my husband? He's working
very hard right now.'
'I wanted to speak to him,' she said. Her own voice in her ears sounded drab and wooden; she
stared at the wall of the booth, unable to find anything further to say — her body ached and her
mouth felt dry and full of foul tastes. Beyond the phone booth she could see the druggist at the soda
counter serving milk shakes to four teen-agers. She longed to be there; she scarcely paid attention
as Mrs. Abendsen answered. She longed for some fresh, cold drink, and something like a chicken
salad sandwich to go with it.
'Hawthorne works erratically,' Mrs. Abendsen was saying in her merry, brisk voice. 'If you drive
up here tomorrow I can't promise you anything, because he might be involved all day long. But if
you understand that before you make the trip — '
'Yes,' she broke in.
'I know he'll be glad to chat with you for a few minutes if he can,' Mrs. Abendsen continued. 'But
please don't be disappointed if by chance he can't break off long enough to talk to you or even see
'We read his book and liked it,' Juliana said. 'I have it with me.'
'I see,' Mrs. Abendsen said good-naturedly.
'We stopped off at Denver and shopped, so we lost a lot of time.' No, she thought; it's all
changed, all different. 'Listen,' she said, 'the oracle told me to come to Cheyenne.'
'Oh my,' Mrs. Abendsen said, sounding as if she knew about the oracle, and yet not taking the
'I'll give you the lines.' She had brought the oracle with her into the phone booth; propping the
volumes up on the shelf beneath the phone, she laboriously turned the pages. 'Just a second.' She
located the page and read first the judgment and then the lines to Mrs. Abendsen. When she got to
the nine at the top — the line about someone striking him and misfortune — she heard Mrs.
Abendsen exclaim. 'Pardon?' Juliana said, pausing.
'Go ahead,' Mrs. Abendsen said. Her tone, Juliana thought, had a more alert, sharpened quality
After Juliana had read the judgment of the Forty-third hexagram, with the word danger in it,
there was silence. Mrs. Abendsen said nothing and Juliana said nothing.
'Well, we'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow, then,' Mrs. Abendsen said finally. 'And would
you give me your name, please?'
'Juliana Frink,' she said. 'Thank you very much, Mrs. Abendsen.' The operator, now, had broken
in to clamor about the time being up, so Juliana hung up the phone, collected her purse and the
volumes of the oracle, left the phone booth and walked over to the drugstore fountain.
After she had ordered a sandwich and a Coke, and was sitting smoking a cigarette and resting,
she realized with a rush of unbelieving horror that she had said nothing to Mrs. Abendsen about the
Gestapo man or the SD man or whatever he was, that Joe Cinnadella she had left in the hotel room
in Denver. She simply could not believe it. I forgot! she said to herself. It dropped completely out
of my mind. How could that be? I must be nuts; I must be terribly sick and stupid and nuts.
For a moment she fumbled with her purse, trying to find change for another call. No, she decided
as she started up from the stool. I can't call them again tonight; I'll let it go — it's just too goddam
late. I'm tired and they're probably asleep by now.
She ate her chicken salad sandwich, drank her Coke, and then she drove to the nearest- motel,
rented a room and crept tremblingly into bed.
Mr. Nobusuke Tagomi thought, There is no answer. No understanding. Even in the oracle. Yet I
must go on living day to day anyhow.
I will go and find the small. Live unseen, at any rate. Until some later time when —
In any case he said good-bye to his wife and left his house. But today he did not go to the Nippon
Times Building as usual. What about relaxation? Drive to Golden Gate Park with its zoo and fish?
Visit where things who cannot think nonetheless enjoy.
Time. It is a long trip for the pedecab, and it gives me more time to perceive. If that can be said.
But trees and zoo are not personal. I must clutch at human life. This had made me into a child,
although that could be good. I could make it good.
The pedecab driver pumped along Kearny Street, toward downtown San Francisco. Ride cable
car, Mr. Tagomi thought suddenly. Happiness in clearest, almost tear-jerking voyage, object that
should have vanished in 1900 but is oddly yet extant.
He dismissed the pedecab, walked along the sidewalk toward the nearest cable tracks.
Perhaps, he thought, I can never go back to the Nippon Times Building, with its stink of death.
My career over, but just as well. A replacement can be found by the Board of Trade Mission
Activities. But Tagomi still walks, exists, recalling every detail. So nothing is accomplished.
In any case the war, Operation Dandelion, will sweep us all away. No matter what we are doing
at the time. Our enemy, alongside whom we fought in the last war. What good did it do us? We
should have fought them, possibly. Or permitted them to lose, assisted their enemies, the United
States, Britain, Russia.
Hopeless wherever one looks.
The oracle enigmatic. Perhaps it has withdrawn from the world of man in sorrow. The sages
We have entered a Moment when we are alone. We cannot get assistance, as before. Well, Mr.
Tagomi thought, perhaps that too is good. Or can be made good. One must still try to find the Way.
He boarded the California Street cable car, rode all the way to the end of the line. He even
hopped out and assisted in turning the cable car around on its wooden turntable. That, of all
experiences in the city, had the most meaning for him, customarily. Now the effect languished; he
felt the void even more acutely, due to vitiation here of all places.
Naturally he rode back. But. . . a formality, he realized as he watched the streets, buildings,
traffic pass in reverse of before.
Near Stockton he rose to get off. But at the stop, when he started to descend, the conductor
hailed him. 'Your briefcase, sir.'
'Thank you.' He had left it on the cable car. Reaching up he accepted it, then bowed as the cable
car clanged into motion. Very valuable briefcase contents, he thought. Priceless Colt .44 collector's
item carried within. Now kept within easy reach constantly, in case vengeful hooligans of SD
should try to repay me as individual. One never knows. And yet — Mr. Tagomi felt that this new
procedure, despite all that had occurred, was neurotic. I should not yield to it, he told himself once
again as he walked along carrying the briefcase. Compulsion-obsession-phobia. But he could not
It in my grip, I in its, he thought.
Have I then lost my delighted attitude? he asked himself. Is all instinct perverted from the
memory of what I did? All collecting damaged, not merely attitude toward this one item? Mainstay
of my life . . . area, alas, where I dwelt with such relish.
Hailing a pedecab, he directed the driver to Montgomery Street and Robert Childan's shop. Let
us find out. One thread left, connecting me with the voluntary. I possibly could manage m-y
anxious proclivities by a ruse: trade the gun in on more historicity sanctioned item. This gun, for
me, has too much subjective history . . . all of the wrong kind. But that ends with me; no one else
can experience it from the gun. Within my psyche only.
Free myself, he decided with excitement. When the gun goes, it all leaves, the cloud of the past.
For it is not merely in my psyche; it is — as has always been said in the theory of historicity —
within the gun as well. An equation between us!
He reached the store. Where I have dealt so much, he observed as he paid the driver. Both
business and private. Carrying the briefcase he quickly entered.
There, at the cash register, Mr. Childan. Polishing with cloth some artifact.
'Mr. Tagomi,' Childan said, with a bow.
'Mr. Childan.' He, too, bowed.
'What a surprise. I am overcome.' Childan put down the object and cloth. Around the corner of
the counter he came. Usual ritual, the greeting, et cetera. Yet, Mr. Tagomi felt the man today
somehow different. Rather — muted. An improvement, he decided. Always a trifle loud, shrill.
Skipping about with agitation. But this might well be a bad omen.
'Mr. Childan,' Mr. Tagomi said, placing his briefcase on the counter and unzipping it, 'I wish to
trade in an item bought several years ago. You do that, I recollect.'
'Yes,' Mr. Childan said. 'Depending on condition, for instance.' He watched alertly. -
'Colt .44 revolver,' Mr. Tagomi said.
They were both silent, regarding the gun as it lay in its open teakwood box -with its carton of
partly consumed ammunition.
Shade colder by Mr. Childan. Ah, Mr. Tagomi realized. Well, so be it. 'You are not interested,'
Mr. Tagomi said.
'No sir,' Mr. Childan said in a stiff voice.
'I will not press it.' He did not feel any strength. I yield. Yin, the adaptive, receptive, holds sway
in me, I fear.
'Forgive me, Mr. Tagomi.'
Mr. Tagomi bowed, replaced the gun, ammunition, box, in his briefcase. Destiny. I must keep
'You seem — quite disappointed,' Mr. Childan said.
'You notice.' He was perturbed; had he let his inner world out for all to view? He shrugged.
Certainly it was so.
'Was there a special reason why you wanted to trade that item in?' Mr. Childan said.
'No,' he said, once more concealing his personal world-as should be. -
Mr. Childan hesitated, then said, 'I — wonder if that did emanate from my store. I do not carry
'I am sure,' Mr. Tagomi said. 'But it does not matter. I accept your decision; I am not offended.'
'Sir,' Childan said, 'allow me to show you what has come in. Are you free for a moment?'
Mr. Tagomi felt within him the old stirring. 'Something of unusual interest?'
'Come, sir.' Childan led the way across the store; Mr. Tagomi followed.
Within a locked glass case, on trays of black velvet, lay small metal swirls, shapes that merely
hinted rather than were. They gave Mr. Tagomi a queer feeling as he stooped to study.
'I show these ruthlessly to each of my customers,' Robert Childan said. 'Sir, do you know what
'Jewelry, it appears,' Mr. Tagomi said, noticing a pin.
'These are American-made. Yes of course. But, sir. These are not the old.'
Mr. Tagomi glanced up.
'Sir, these are the new.' Robert Childan's white, somewhat drab features were disturbed by
passion. 'This is the new life of my country, sir. The beginning in the form of tiny imperishable
seeds. Of beauty.'
With due interest, Mr. Tagomi took time to examine in his own hands several of the pieces. Yes,
there is something new which animates these, he decided. The Law of Tao is borne out, here; when
yin lies everywhere, the first stirring of light is suddenly alive in the darkest depths.. . we are all
familiar; we have seen it happen before, as I see it here now. And yet for me they are just scraps. I
cannot become rapt, as Mr. R. Childan, here. Unfortunately, for both of us. But that is the case. -
'Quite lovely,' he murmured, laying down the pieces. Mr. Childan said in a forceful voice, 'Sir, it
does not occur at once.'
'The new view in your heart.'
'You are converted,' Mr. Tagomi said. 'I wish I could be. I am not.' He bowed.
'Another time,' Mr. Childan said, accompanying him to the entrance of the store; he made no
move to display any alternative items, Mr. Tagomi noticed.
'Your certitude is in questionable taste,' Mr. Tagomi said. 'It seems to press untowardly.'
Mr. Childan did not cringe. 'Forgive me,' he said. 'But I am correct. I sense accurately in these
the contracted germ of the future.'
'So be it,' Mr. Tagomi said. 'But your Anglo-Saxon fanaticism does not appeal to me.'
Nonetheless, he felt a certain renewal of hope. His own hope, in himself, 'Good day.' He bowed. 'I
will see you again one of these days. We can perhaps examine your prophecy.'
Mr. Childan bowed, saying nothing.
Carrying his briefcase, with the Colt .44 within, Mr. Tagomi departed. I go out as I came in, he
reflected. Still seeking. Still without what I need if I - am to return to the world.
What if I had bought one of those odd, indistinct items? Kept it, reexamined, contemplated. . .
would I have subsequently, through it, found my way back? I doubt it.
Those are for him, not me.
And yet, even if one person finds his-way . . . that means there is a Way. Even if I personally fail
to reach it.
I envy him.
Turning, Mr. Tagomi started back toward the store. There in the doorway, stood Mr. Childan
regarding him. He had not gone back in.
'Sir,' Mr. Tagomi said, 'I will buy one of those, whichever you select. I have no faith, but I am
currently grasping at straws.' He followed Mr. Childan through the store once more, to the glass
case. 'I do not believe. I will carry it about with me, looking at it at regular intervals. Once every
other day, for instance. After two months if I do not see — '
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