The greatest book as far as I know is Catch-22, and one of its most haunting scenes describes a lonely night-walk through Rome, where the reader is powerless hostage to progressively disturbing scenes of violence and apathy. In the hands of author Joseph Heller, the terror of life during wartime thickens as each successive atrocity is observed first through the eyes of Yossarian, a bombardier both in awe of and in revolt against the bizarre logic wielded by men driving him to his death, and a second time by groups of inert gawkers beneath dim streetlights. His trail ends with a corpse at his feet, a shocking arrest, and Kafka-nightmarish bureaucrats peddling an odious bargain for his survival.

I bring this up because my usually-serene walk from the movies last night was less violent but nearly as gross and terrifying. Strolling along the north wall of Sony Studios, I saw my path ahead was blocked by a caped man pointing a flashlight into a rubbish pile. At midnight on a Sunday. I turned north where after a few steps I was startled by a delivery guy/ninja whom I presume dropped from a tree in order to materialize on my right arm like that. Turning west again, I quickened my pace to get out of spitting distance of those two weird guys who I saw at lunch yelling epithets at the taco place's security guard. Next thing I knew, somebody was barfing to my left. It wasn't polite little heaves either; dude was soul-puking. I scanned the bushes for Mike but they were empty, which meant the barfer was in the lobby of that pressboard law firm. Weirrrd. I again reached civilization (as delineated by the CPK) and was home free from there. Yes it's a glamorous life I've got going here.

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