Will lives in uptown Minneapolis, where the streets wind beneath ancient, sheltering trees. It's a far cry from the empty glass office buildings of downtown, where skyways reach across the streets and connect second and third floor malls. They've got everything arranged so you can avoid the icy Northern winds. When I arrived I wandered aimlessly, too ashamed to call the main line of Will's company. Better to explain myself in person, I thought, and so I bought a "Cold Killer" frozen juice and transversed miles of brown carpeting, adorned from time to time with brass sun and moon icons. I stared down at a tiny eye shadow applicator brush that had fallen on the black and white tiles in the deserted Sam Greedy's, utterly transfixed, until an employee in one of those ill-fitting red polos came over and asked if I needed help. There were rings under her eyes and her brown skin was ashen, but her voice was full of concern. "I'm fine," I said, and gravitated over to the sale bin, as though I had a purpose, before walking casually out the door, back to the skyway, where I looked down at the line of buses idling white smoke, until they filled up and drove off, one by one.

I managed to dial information and find Will's address. I could have taken a bus but I sprang for a cab instead, as again I was too embarassed to ask for help deciphering the routes. The cab driver was an old white guy, an anomoly back in NYC. I wanted to ask if it was here as well, but thought better of it. He was uncertain about the address. "You sure there's a house there?" I told him yes, and that it was a company. "There are no companies out there," he insisted. "Well, it's a software company, so it looks different." That seemed to shut him up, although as we got closer I heard him muttering to himself about burnt out shacks. When we arrived at the address, he gave me a receipt with his number on the back--just in case.

The house looked like a haunted mansion from a children's novel: vaulted roof, terraces with twisting vegetation abounding, arched windows. There are rumors of ghosts flitting about the grounds in the surrounding Somali and Indian neighborhoods. Up the road, the Art Institute leads tours of the city's architectural wonders and always makes Will's house the first stop.

Inside there are huge fireplaces and stone mantles. There's a dome of stained glass in the ceiling over the master stairwell. As the word master implies there's also a servants' stairwell, so that the maids could come and go without anyone being disturbed by their presence. There are plenty of nooks and crannies and peepholes and amazing woodwork. On the lower levels, the wood is its natural reddish brown. Upstairs, its painted pleasant greens and yellows in the style of old time Lutherans, who had a real talent for dividing the public from the private in a house. Apparently, they would have painted their living quarters (the above floors) in pastels that were even more vibrant than those Will choose. Like a neon Easter, Will said.

After greeting me enthusiastically at the door, Will took me into the kitchen for tea. He pointed out the original "Condemned" notice framed above the kitchen counter. I liked how he got a real kick from standing on the clay floor and reading aloud the words, "Unfit for Human Habitation". He bought the place when he was 24. The city made him show multiple IDs, he thinks because they thought he was crazy for buying such a disaster. I think it's because he looked like Huckleberry Finn with blond hair. Still does--and he must be over 40. Same teeth and cheekbones that I always imagined. I think one of the reasons I came all the way out here was to see his bare feet. I've had this thing about them--how they'll be the all-American standing on a wooden raft clean white feet. I'm still waiting for the chance. Unfortunately, he's fond of socks.

Will stares into my eyes so intently that I have to look away. I don't like it when the tables are turned, and I usually don't stand for an inquisiveness that isn't mine, but with him something makes me stick around. I like the feeling of being on a string. He asks me question after question, and I answer them all. He knows about all the shit that's gone on. Meanwhile, his life is a blank slate to me. I can't even be sure about whether he likes to fuck boys or girls. Maybe I don't want to know. I like the vague, asexual aura about him. His never naked feet. He's like a lean robot--an android in a silver sports car.

Midnight on the autobahn--the purple clouds reflected in his white blue eyes.

It's not about a Nazi thing. It's not even a Kinski thing--not really. It's about control--a cold veneer and an outright lack of lust that seems to equal control.

Sometimes I get the vibe that he thinks of me as a problematic bit of code--a glitched out app that he can't quite set straight. I humored him as he tried to parse me with a set of generic psych questions. Like the Myers-Briggs or Jung personality tests that AT&T hands out to its new hires.

--If a friend asks you to a dinner starting immediately, how are you likely to answer?

--Do you prefer starting or ending projects?

--When you're feeling tired, do you get more energy reading quietly to yourself or going out to a party?

I answered as honestly as possible:

As I don't generally answer my phone these days, the friend in the first question would have to be already in my company in order to ask me to dinner--in which case why not? (I nudged him in the ribs, to let him know I was hungry).

I prefer no projects--just propositions.

When I'm feeling tired I always figure, "what's the point in pretending?" and I promptly get high.

Will threw his hands in the air and laughed--a boisterous free sound that was over as soon as it began.

"You should really go jogging with me in the morning," he said.

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