The plasma accounted for a peculiarity of Belvedere, a
shaking of the hands often passing for a tick; or, as his parents told their friends, tourettes, a neurotic disorder typical of socialist leaders, beautiful women, and great, misunderstood artists.
(Here, reader, the author must deliver on the promise of parenthetical commentary. It is not my intention to offend any parish, sect, or individual who doesn't find God at the bottom of a soup can. I will say this, however; There are as many ways of coming to God as there are bottles of Inspiration --I myself find him in greeting cards-- and we shouldn't criticize Mr. Vodka for what, to me, is an expression of genuine prayer)
On the mantle above the fireplace, Belvedere kept four bottles of Inspiration. When his hands shook--and they always shook--he would unscrew
When his Inspiration ran dry, he slipped a glass knight under his pillow and pulled it out whenever his hands shook. Under the pillow next to him (he had a queen size bed) he kept the October 2008 issue of Rolling Stone and 99 cents.
Here, my poor, victimized reader, another comment. These items, as well as Katherine Hepburn's autobiography--a plain book with red borders he kept next to the ashtray—are the cancerous bones of American culture. They prop up a flickering, movie-screen skeleton that spills milk and cries for Coca-cola. To Belvedere, these items were more than skeleton, or a literary motiff; they were America itself, as real as the grocery lines and the great yelping stars that made his hands shake.