The scene was like an animated Norman Rockwell painting gone ugly-drunk. Through an empty space in the back fence, I saw him, leaning heavily against the railing of his second-story terrace, flailing his arms like a Depression-era politician, screaming about not giving a shit.
He meant it, too: He really did not give a shit.
I'd learned something about these madmen from Tennessee Williams plays and movie portrayals of Italian immigrants, which made this guy's theatrical wallowing and spitting seem vaguely familiar. His blurry features were stained yellow by the porchlight. It sounded like the marbles in his head had slipped down into his mouth.
"I don't give a shit!" he repeated. "I don't give a shit if she's a lying whore!"
His audience down in the backyard, a clutch of quiet women dressed in nightgowns and underwear, watched patiently. This guy was more interesting entertainment than the late-night infomercial or dating show he'd interrupted, their line of thinking seemed to go.
"I don't give a shit who she fucks!" he concluded.
These words finally exasperated him. The strength went out of his legs. He crumpled backward into the wall and remained there, breathing heavily. Inevitably, the helium in any balloon runs short.