An illustration of Margaret Atwood’s short story collection, “Stone Mattress”. Atwood’s stories are about old age and dying and various manifestations of these two irrefutable biological verities.

The image above is how the title story “Stone Mattress” ends—in blood. Stone Mattress is the weapon that Verna, the narrator and an ageing widow, uses to kill her high school rapist, Bob. Verna stumbles into Bob aboard an Arctic Cruise; she recognizes him but he doesn’t recognize her back.

Verna decides to give Bob two chances of survival, either he recognizes her on his own, or he apologizes after she confronts him with her identity. Bob does neither; men rarely do. So Verna kills him at the end, half-apologetically, as Bob dies clueless, bludgeoned with a stone mattress, or a stromatolite, “fossilized cushion, formed by layer upon layer of blue-green algae building up into a mound or dome, … this very same blue-green algae that created the oxygen they are now breathing.” 

The weapon of retribution is symbolical: A primal crime avenged with a primal tool.

“At the outset, Verna had not intended to kill anyone.”
— The first sentence of Margaret Atwood’s short fiction, “Stone Mattress”, which I had had initially in the New Yorker, and now it’s out as part of an Atwood collection extraordinaire, Stone Mattress.
“Faith is nice, but doubt gets you an education.”
— John Lahr, author, recently, of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of Flesh.

Want to scream or be jealous, just look Edvard Munch-ward.

They say, New York City is a grand pastiche, where you’ll find a little bit of every place, thing, food, people, even history (the list is endless) from the world.

Above is a part of the Berlin Wall demolished in 1989, but put up as public art behind 520 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.

When the wall was demolished, Jerry Speyer, chairman of Tishman Speyer that owns 520 Madison, bought five slabs of it as historical memento. The slabs have been in plain sight with graffiti of human faces contorted with anger splayed on them.