What do you mean, 'your' drinking partner?
Do you suggest, parrot, that I was present?

Yes, Marguerite. You were in the next booth,
Wearing a red dress, talking to a toad.

Wait just one second, said Marguerite,
For I remember the occasion in question,
That bar, that booth, and that red smock.
There was definitely no toad present.
Armand and I were having a drink there,
After a long morning spent at shopping.
A creep in the next booth gave me a look
And then came over and started to talk.
He was spouting new age mumbo jumbo,
The moon goddess fertility bullshit,
But I knew he was trying to pick me up.
After a time I told him to screw off.
That was you, parrot? You're shorter now,
Although still not much better looking.
And just what are you? A stalker, maybe,
Who's always around, always popping up?
And what is all this stuff about toads?
Semiramis and the Toad God was first,
And now you come up with Armand as toad.

You're sure that was Armand, not a toad?
That is troubling if true, very troubling,
But let's press forward now with the tale.
Your refusal to join my crusade for cash,
And the fact that one of my toes felt loose,
Had left me in a thoroughly distressed state.
I kicked myself for not using my lines
To coherce you into my coterie.
How could I think my own charm would suffice?

Sorry about that, said Marguerite.
But what the self, as self, desires,
Is that other, as other, desire itself.
It's not the other's fault it lacks desire.

Unless, I said, the other qua other,
Will lack desire, withhold supply
To stir self, as self, to greater demand.
The toe, it turned out, was a false alarm,
Or perhaps a presage of what was to come,
For, as I bent over to tie my shoe,
I felt a wrench, and my sexual organs,
For which I felt inordinate fondness,
With which I had so closely, for so long,
Identified myself and my well-being,
Suddenly came loose and fell right off.

If you play with it, Marguerite said then,
It will fall off. And this has been foretold
By all the seers and prophets from Moses
Right up to but not including you.
I've had enough, bird, of creeps like you,
Who'll never tire of finding new ways
Of bringing such distasteful subjects up.

Your sympathy is so touching, Marguerite.
And I was in complete shock, as you might guess.
Headaches and hair loss were bad enough,
But this - this assault was beyond belief!
This was so extreme and unexpected,
So over the top, that I almost screamed.
I forgot all about you, Marguerite.
I forgot about disciples, net worth,
Forgot everything but what had happened.
I went to the washroom and then came back
After I had confirmed my worst suspicions.

Perhaps, she said, it's indelicate to ask...

Down the toilet. With one flush, it's gone
To that space where thoughts, once thought, vanish.
As I passed the booth that sat next to mine
I noticed at once that it was now empty,
That on the table was a tip in small coins
And a long, thin, flat black rectangle
With little pin legs like a millipede.
The coins tempted me for the briefest moment,
But it was the rectangle that I picked up.

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