Maybe he had a sore that would not go away.
      He had a sore that would not go away.
      Anything could get in there.  Remember that.
      He could seal it up, but not all the time.  If it were always sealed, it would never go away.
      And open, anything could get in.  If everything was potentially everywhere in the bacterial, in the viral, sense, everyone knew that these things traveled, if not how they traveled, then anything.
      He felt a deep desire bordering on compulsion to buy a carbine.  Oh he'd kicked the idea around before.  Idly.  Now it was different.
      In a sense, he did not need a carbine.  In a different sense, he could imagine any number of scenarios in which a carbine would be immensely handy.
      He had the money.  He happened to know he could get a perfectly reliable, perfectly durable carbine for under three hundred dollars.
      He had three hundred dollars in an envelope in a drawer.
      He mentioned it to some of the fellows at work.
      They asked him why.
      I don't know, he said.
      He didn't know.
      He could sit in his apartment with his carbine.  In America, there was nothing wrong with that.
      To cradle the carbine would be to heft the perfection of balance.
      The answer to the questions implied by our collective collapse seemed buy a carbine.
      And if it were right in America, how could it be wrong anywhere?
      He knew many were wrong elsewhere.  Many, many of them.  It was on television and anyone could see it.
      He knew he might buy a carbine and hold it every day for a few weeks or months and then put it aside and what then?
      Then what?
      Some of them at work told him this carbine would lead him only to trouble.
      In a world where he might vanish or be paralyzed or end lying in his own filth?
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