“I suppose it started when I was a child. My parents left me in a restaurant.”
“For how long?”
“Forever. They said I should wait, that they were going to pull the car around. It was the last I ever saw of them. Plus they didn’t pay, so I had to wash dishes all night, then off to grandmother’s house. More wine?”
“Yes, please. Surely, things must have looked up after that?”
“Not at all. My grandmother sent me away on a student exchange program. When I got back from Germany there was a different family living in her house. No forwarding address, of course.”
“Oh, God. That’s awful.”
“I know. Really, I’m just telling you this as a sort of explanation. I want you to understand that it’s only because I love you.”
Herman’s face fell flat into the spaghetti alla bolognese in front of him, his body limp. Percy carried him upstairs, soaked the flesh off his bones in a tub of lye, assembled his skeleton with the utmost care, then lifted him by his dear sweet pelvis into the case where he kept all his lovers, secure in the knowledge that none would ever leave.