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E35. The Final Dream of Lou Reed’s Nephew’s Narrator
“I don’t want to play anymore,” I say. “I don’t want to guess. Just tell me. What is my card?
Ulugbek and I sit close together, like astronauts.
“Back-to-back,” I say. “Isn’t it funny?”
“What’s so funny?” he says. “Like Soyuz.”
“Union,” he says. “U.S./Soviet joint mission.”
“I don’t think so,” I say, jabbing him with my elbow. “This might be the first joint mission between you and us since World War II.”
“Put in a ticket,” she says.
I look into my rearview mirror and the eyes that meet mine are not Ulugbek’s. They are Margaux’s, framed in robins-egg blue.
I stop the craft. Our eyes meet in our mirrors.
“I don’t want to play anymore,” I say. “I don’t want to guess. Just tell me. What is my card? I know you can see it there in our mirrors. Just like I can see yours. Whisper it. Softly. So softly I’ll know you can’t be lying. That’s important. I have to believe you completely. I will do my part. I will relax and open my mind, as widely as possible, so that your whisper can go straight past it and into my heart. I will know my card, at last, and never doubt it again.
“Is it an Ace? A seven? A three? Wait. I shouldn’t have said that. Don’t let me influence you.”
“I can almost see it there, my card, reflected in your glasses. Tell me the truth, in a way I will believe it. Don’t spare my feelings. Or wait. Let’s agree to lie. Yes, let’s do that. But make it plausible.”
Margaux’s lips don’t move. She speaks in a dream language—it might have been French or German or whimsical Portuguese—but I understand her completely, the way one does in dreams.
“A Jack? I have a Jack? That’s good. That’s workable. With one eye? Nice. No advantage in the game, but I like it. Special, like I always thought I might be.
“You? A Queen. No, I’m not joking. Really. You’re lucky. We’re both lucky. Somewhere they have threes and sixes, but not here, baby, not here.”