The Unknown: The Red Line.
  But everything turned out all right.

Krass-Mueller finally read the hypertext. Although the acutely self-conscious literary figure and internet-phobe’s first response was to kick a hole through the wall, yell, and throw a copy of Blood Meridian at his dog, a couple of weeks later he admitted that it was pretty funny, and said that he was reconsidering his initial threat to sue us.

Dirk and Scott, surprisingly, put their doctoral degrees (ABD's actually) and their vast knowledge of critical theory to work to end the war in Kosovo, calling for an end to “identity politics bullshit.” Now, schoolchildren in Kosovo, regardless of their ethnicity, take mandatory Albanian and Serbian history and language classes, and ethnic strife is already far less severe in Yugoslavia than in Chicago.

And Paul Auster called me up to apologize for cheating at shuffleboard. To make it up to me, he invited me to New York for a game of Trivial Pursuit and a little “friendly wagering.” I am pretty sure that the deck of Trivial Pursuit cards was rigged, though. I discovered this when Auster landed on Art & Literature, I drew a card, and asked him “What characteristic of Juliet did Romeo believe might ‘kill the envious moon’?” Auster answered “thermonuclear fusion,” which was in fact the answer printed on the card, but a quick glance at the Riverside Shakespeare (and at first Auster tried to deny owning any Shakespeare) proved that this answer was not correct. Finally, I looked through the cards and found a number of suspiciously difficult questions:

Q: Who was the first nonmilitary Swede to receive the honor of Knight of the First Order of the Polar Star?

A: Carl Linnaeus

Q: Which pharmaceutical and timber company stockholder launched the first anti-hemp campaign?

A: William Randolph Hearst

Q: Who coined the phrase, “All you arts screw to the highest?

A: Kenneth Gaburo

And the devastatingly hard:

Q: Wer wurde am drei Dezember achtzehn hundert drei und achtzig in Wien geboren?

A: Anton Webern

After I forced him to confess, Auster again apologized for cheating.

But his tone of voice sounded like he was swearing revenge . . .


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