I'm on the phone, again, with my father. This time I've called him. To get his side of the story.
The story is something I won't go into here, for many reasons, including legal ones. Let's just say that it involved provocation, violence, an evil neighbor, and his golf handicap. Familiar tropes.
Our discussion ranges far and wide, backwards and forwards. People have been after him his whole life, my dad says, for no reason. There was that guy at the steel mill who tried to knife him. Good thing he was able to talk him down with a quote from Thomas Payne. Then there was the guy in the army who tried to shoot him. That time he talked him down with quotes from Shakespeare.
I'm exhausted by the speed of his chatter. By the mental leaps necessary to follow what he's saying. Dad, I say. Have you ever wondered why so many people want to kill you?
See! he said. Your Old Man is a great character! You should be writing about me!
I've been hearing this for years. What a great source of material you have! people say.
It occurs to me that this is just another untruth in a whole rat's nest of untruths. No matter how you look at it, the vessel is half-empty.