If you're going to follow me around, Rémi says, you sure as hell cannot feel pity.

It would defeat the entire purpose.

He says this a few weeks after I first meet him at the gallery; he says this during our third night out drinking, our third night out racking up a hefty tab whilst exchanging meaningless aphorisms and epigrams.

Everyone leads a miserable existence, he says. That's the point. Mine is least miserable of all, he tells me, because I cannot feel. If I could, he says, feel, that is, and he takes a second to turn away from me and belch, if I could feel, he repeats, I would reach into my imaginary depths and procure a sense of pity for the huddled masses, mesmerizing themselves into a silent skepticism, lulling themselves into a complacent cynicism.

My life is dull, Rémi says, but life was never meant to be anything more.