Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams read by Alan Nebelthau

In the yard a piece of shiny scrap metal from a nuclear power plant is waiting for Roy to see it. But Roy is reading a not yet published New York Times obituary:

Roy Valois a sculptor whose large works are displayed in many public spaces around the United States and in several prominent museums, died today at INSERT. He was INSERT. The cause was INSERT according to INSERT. The self taught Mr. Valois worked almost exclusively with recovered materials, usually scrap metal but he was “no primitive” according to Kurt Palmeteer …. Roy Valois was born in the western Maine town of N. Grafton on TO COME. He went to local schools where he excelled at sports, eventually entering the University of Maine on a hockey scholarship. But it was while working at a summer job that involved welding and other metalwork that Mr. Valois found his true calling…. It was also at Georgetown that he met his wife Delia Stern, an economist later employed by the United Nations. She died in an airplane crash off Venezuela in TO COME…

Delia is also the name of the sculpture that occupies the center of his house, and reminds his next ex-girlfriend that he is still, in some sense, married. The obituary is wrong about his wife, he tells the journalist at the NY Times. Delia worked for the Hobbes Institute, not the U.N. The journalist is killed the next day.

And Roy himself is not well. He has a cough. His nose bleeds. His arm breaks. A doctor tells him that he has asbestos-caused cancer: . After his treatment in a Fung-Shui designed office, a man in a wheelchair, his age, but skeletal, is wheeled out or wheeled in by a nurse. Roy doesn’t want to be anywhere near the man in the wheelchair, because from the point of view of the unconscious anywhere near = anywhere like. And Roy scales his way through the world more or less unconscious, feeling his way around like a hockey player or a hydraulic excavator.

Roy has shovel fulls of partial information. From Dr. Choo. From his now dead wife. From the past. And we imagine that Roy will piece together something like the truth out of what remains. Scrap metal, memory, curiosity.