I probably made three trips back with the little dead; I'm not sure; but who was counting?
What possessed me?
There I'd be, making such a good adjustment, having the time of my death. Then I'd be jumping. Wah!
Then I remembered nothing until I was back here where I started; no body; blind. "Hey!" But I could hear. "Slug!"
When I think about those years or hours or aeons now, or then, I sometimes wonder how I would ever have managed without those floozies. Theirs was the first breath I smelled. Theirs was the first voice I heard.
It was a very hard time for me. I was very mixed up. I couldn't even see Larry; I was him. Then we both died; it hurt.
What was I thinking? Why did I do it? It hurt so much. Sometimes when I got back, I was glad I had no body. I couldn't have stood the sight of me.
I didn't bother wondering why I was only born again as Larry. He had an open mind; I took it as a landing strip. We had an imaginary relationship; so the trip was faster. I doubted I wasn't dead; I doubted I didn't love him; I had to keep paying more and more to talk about it, so I'd realize I didn't. And I just kept running out of cash.
I have no idea what was in it for the little dead; it may just have been by chance that they kept going back to Larry; they weren't that bright; they didn't know what they meant; but they meant something, and that meant they couldn't stay dead for long.
By now, counting all my deaths, I felt I had been dead over two hundred years; except I had gone backward; so if my subsequent births, as Larry, occurred at about the same time as the first one, as me, all my deaths probably occurred at about the same time as each other; so I was back where I started; except each new death took up where the last one ended; also, there was some question at this point as to whether I was Larry or myself; I was mixed up.
I was very depressed.
The floozies saw me through it. They were always there for me. If you can call it there. If you can call it me. Whenever I died again, they were always waiting, wearing something marvelous. What they could do with feathers and a little talon polish! In a way, although it was such a hard time, and very disgusting, the great part of the whole experience was that it taught me what those floozies were made of. Sheets.
I became a sheet, too; it was very disorienting.
There were meetings every night, it seemed.
I saw sides of myself I'd never known. I felt welcome. I felt known. It was fun, too. And those floozies! They could throw a party!
In the end, I think knowing them was what made the difference for me. They never judged; they never slept. As far as I could tell, they had no nerves at all. It's very disorienting to be a sheet; there's a certain risk factor involved; you blow a lot of fuses; you could simply disappear. They never gave it a moment's thought.
They had a real appetite for death.
I didn't know what that meant, myself.
I can't really say when the last time I went back was; I always regretted it; but it gave me some humility. I took things one day at a time; if you can call it day; and even when I lost my head and did it again, and again, and again, and again--there were always the floozies. They were so splendid!
As for myself, there was less of me than there had once been; I don't know what that means; but it was an improvement.