Feeding the raven

You never can tell just when Charlie Sheen will enter your life. For me, it was last Thursday. I was reading some translation of a Japanese translation of “The Raven” in which the Poe and the raven become friends. At one point the raven gets very sick and Poe feeds him at his bedside and nurses him back to health. The story was very heartwarming and sad at the same time and my tears were welling up when suddenly I heard a knock on my door.

I shuffled over, sniffling but managing to keep my cheeks dry to open it. Of course Charlie was beaming on the other side, with a bag of flowers and a grin like a dog’s. He bounded in the room without saying hello and threw the flowers in the sink, opened the refrigerator and started poking around. I said “It’s nice to see you too” and went to my room to get a camera, as well as a notebook for him to sign.

When I came back he was on the floor, hunched and groaning. I looked on the table to see a month-old half-gallon of milk—now cottage cheese—half-empty and dripping. The remnants were on his mouth, and at once I saw my chance to become Poe in this translation of a translation of a translation. I knelt next to Charlie, cradled his head in my lap. He looked up at me with a stare full of terror. I returned it levelly, making cooing noises at him until he calmed down.

When he was calm he excused himself to be sick on my toilet. He wouldn’t let me follow but said he would sign whatever I liked when he got back. After half an hour passed and all I’d had for company was the ticking of the clock, I went to the bathroom door. I knocked carefully—once, then twice—to no beaming face, no flowers. I opened the door. There was shit on the floor and the window was open. There was a breeze blowing.