Please read part one first, or this will make zero sense.
We were on a family vacation in Florida when they told me Oliver Stewart had died—“We have some bad news for you, James: Your friend Oliver is very sick… actually, he’s dead”—but I didn’t shed a tear. It didn’t surprise me; I’d done my mourning already in the bathroom of Jules Feiffer’s apartment nine months earlier. Or maybe shock numbed all normal emotion. God knows, I can still cry easily enough about it today.
Had we been in New York, I might have made it to the funeral, but it was too complicated to get me to Rome from Florida on such short notice. As a consequence of not burying him properly, for years I subconsciously believed that Oliver’s death was just another one of his pranks.