An early version of this story appeared in Bombay Gin 39.1
We are watching a silent film on the television. At first, she translates the intertitles for me, but slowly, somehow, I begin to understand them. The movie, which started midway, played as follows: we see the hero—dashing—trapped in the walls of a stately place.

[Our hero has gone from one tight spot to another!]

He shimmies, a cutaway reveals that he is between a debutante’s bedroom and her father’s study. The father is pacing, a gun held to his chest. The debutante—lovely, dark-eyed, dressed in a transparent slip—is sleeping. Our hero stops and presses his ear to the wall.

[What is this he hears! The dreaming girl talks in her sleep!]

As he listens, he smiles, he swoons. He cannot help himself; he whispers back to her. She stirs but doesn’t wake; the father investigates the sound. His sweet nothings and in conversation with her dream, which she continues to narrate. She says, I’d bet you’d be sweet to eat, my pretty and starts to chew on her pillow. The father smiles cruelly and aims his gun at the wall. The hero says, I’ll lick your pretty, my sweet. A gunshot; she startles awake, looks around and begins to remove, with a perplexed look, one-by-one the feathers from her mouth while the wall behind her bleeds.

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