I walk into the orchid show with Ed. As soon as I see the tumultuous hall I know he won’t last long. Ed walks like an old man though he is forty. After ten minutes on his feet, he vomits on some purple phalaenopsis. I get him outside through a fire exit and he vomits into the Bay. I find him a chair and he goes right to sleep, body caved in.  

Once Ed understood that he would not have a long life, he began working on himself, guided by banal authorities. He inhabits them like an eccentric tenant, his innocence repurposing them: Louise Hay, The AIDS Book: Creating a Positive Approach. Magazine articles: “Positive Thinking as a Cure.” A culture too stupid to know what it is asking directs Ed to undertake an impossible task, as though AIDS can be healed with love and forgiveness.