City night life is in vibrant relief in this tale about Booker, a man who buys two or three books a week and reads them in the early mornings by the window of his cheap waterfront flat. At night he breaks loose to prance and play, “cool as the breeze on Lake Louise.” He meets the new club singer, Empress Angel Eyes, who tells him “everybody wants to break your heart like Piaf except she breaks your heart better.” The two do a flirtatious dance that ends with them tumbling into bed after plenty of boozing. He looks to the book titles on her shelf above her bed and not finding anything to get his mind and body going in the way she anticipates, Booker disappoints. In disgust, Angel tosses his clothes in the hallway and Booker follows them, naked and laughing at himself and I laugh along with him.
From All the Lonely People, Exile Editions 2018