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Christ, he thinks, by my age I ought to know. You don’t get on by being original. You don’t get on by being bright. You don’t get on by being strong. You get on by being a subtle crook; somehow he thinks that’s what Norris is, and he feels an irrational dislike taking root, and he tries to dismiss it, because he prefers his dislikes rational, but after all, these circumstances are extreme, the cardinal in the mud, the humiliating tussle to get him back in the saddle, the talking, talking on the barge, and worse, the talking, talking on his knees, as if Wolsey’s unravelling, in a great unweaving of scarlet thread that might lead you back into a scarlet labyrinth, with a dying monster at its heart.

He once thought it himself, that he might die with grief: for his wife, his daughters, his sisters, his father and master the cardinal. But pulse, obdurate, keeps its rhythm. You think you cannot keep breathing, but your ribcage has other ideas, rising and falling, emitting sighs. You must thrive in spite of yourself; and so that you may do it, God takes out your heart of flesh, and gives you a heart of stone.

He couldn’t remember exactly where he had read it, but he was sure that he had. The fact that she didn’t believe him was quite frustrating as he began to search the Internet to find the article. It wasn’t as if it was something that seemed impossible. Yet she insisted on always seeing the source whenever he stated a fact.

What were they eating? It didn’t taste like anything she had ever eaten before and although she was famished, she didn’t dare ask. She knew the answer would be one she didn’t want to hear.

I inadvertently went to See’s Candy last week (I was in the mall looking for phone repair), and as it turns out, See’s Candy now charges a dollar — a full dollar — for even the simplest of their wee confection offerings. I bought two chocolate lollipops and two chocolate-caramel-almond things. The total cost was four-something. I mean, the candies were tasty and all, but let’s be real: A Snickers bar is fifty cents. After this dollar-per-candy revelation, I may not find myself wandering dreamily back into a See’s Candy any time soon.