"Did you hop onto that tightrope or are you in the middle of crawling on it?"
"I'm just sitting here, waiting."
"Waiting for bugs, I bet."
"Bugs would be good, perhaps a nice ant-trail. How have you been?"
"Not bad for a human my age. I've had tinnitus for four months."
"I know. I can hear it."
"Yes, I remember, you hear the brains of others in the absence of your own. But why have you quit the pumphouse door for this precarious perch?"
"Just showing off. Can Norma take a photo of me here?"
"Of course. But Darwin, why there?"
"Consider it a test of balance. I wanted to see if I could do it. Let me explore your memory. Hmmm, interesting. 40 years ago you were in an alley..."
"Yes, a studio that gave onto an alley. I restored artwork there. I don't do that now."
"Don't you? Consider this photo from a recent poem illustration:"
"Easier, Geo., if we just compare it to the original:"
"One of which was growing out of your collar and into your right ear. That can't have helped your tinnitus."
"It is often an ailment of unknown etiology, Darwin. Its symptoms constitute an enigma."
"Best addressed by...?"
"So far, by maintaining a policy of inquiry --like a detective story-- and..."
"Balance, Geo.? Balance?"
"And, Geo., if you can paint out streetlights and signs..."
"...I can perhaps mask this dialtone in my head?"
"You said it, gong-boy, not me. Why, I believe I saw an ant! Bye.