EVEN THE AMERICANS give up. It may take 20 years, or just 10, but after a long slog in a foreign land, the remaining embassy staff are evacuated and the country falls. It’s incredible how quickly it goes, be it at the hands of the North Vietnamese or Taliban. Liberal democracy is a hard sell in deserts, jungles, and other desperate lands. Religious fundamentalists or Communists do well, for a while, but after a while they too need to make a buck. My own life is a mess, I mean a literal mess. Dishes piled high in the sink. Whirlpools of laundry on the floor, mixed together, clean and dirty. Then the need to generate income in this mess somehow. I am expected to be a fulltime caretaker and fulltime father and fulltime worker. It’s an impossibility. It is impossible to do all the things I am supposed to do, under a cascade of words about how whatever I am doing, it’s not enough, and I should really be far wealthier and better organized given the circumstances. Last night I had some dream about war, but in a really upscale, Scandinavian neighborhood, like that patch of Nørrebro in Copenhagen down near the Søpavillonen, or Lake Pavilion, where the Danish businessmen ride their bikes on lunchbreaks. There were hordes of young scared men running between the houses and some of them were being killed by armed assailants. Some kind of genocide taking place among the fine waterfront buildings and pavilions of Denmark, but I couldn’t understand the reasoning for it. Were they being killed for ideological purposes? Or race? Age? Gender? Sexual orientation? There were men in gray sweatshirts murdering others. Maybe it was somehow connected to these arguments between the vaccine men and the un-vaccine men? These endless bloody arguments? At some point, I came face to face with one of the murderers, but he looked scared and didn’t shoot at me. My countenance was too calm. Then I dreamed of rear-ending some blonde Tallinn businesswoman I know. In a white dress. Sublime that. Sex and murder, from Saigon to Kabul to Copenhagen to Tallinn. I awoke, grabbed my briefcase, and was off to work.