He lived in the city, and always cut at an angle, but never against the grain. The slightest trace of a wince around the eyes, and it was done.
The obscurity of his compulsions did nothing to diminish his pleasures, secured as they were by the knowledge that even his tiniest actions participated in the general outwitting of fate that was his true purpose. Red meat he’d given up long ago, a personal choice in a personal regimen of care and healthy-mindedness. The lucky have choices, after all, and he could think of no reason for abstaining. He looked down at the fish. “You had your spawning ground, my friend, and this, as you can see, is mine. And who would dare say anything more to either of us about the anonymous structures within which our individual destinies are transcribed?” The dead fish quite sensibly chose to remain silent, in the face of such a cultivated solipsism.
Just then he made another cut, but an almost imperceptible tremor seized hold of his hand, and the knife’s movements were no longer considered, measured and ordered, but unbound, chaotic and frightening. The cultivated noise of the diners shifted and fractured, suggesting meanings he could not comprehend.
He remembered, in the moments before he lost consciousness, what it had been like.