a small chinese man,m, puts on his grey wool gloves. he has on insouciant spectacles. he yawns. the tennis racket is in his black bag. he inspects the black bag to see if the racket is still there or to see if he is ready to handle it. he turns to look at the teenagers playing tennis on the four courts. the developing children as a class do drills. there is never a one on one game. the courts are cleared of tennis balls at the end of each drill. the chinese man is waiting for his turn on court four. he has to be in his late seventies. he has a pate. he looks well taken care of. he must have a wife or a kind daughter to look out for him. one day he will be alone and he won’t even know that he’s by himself. he will be with nature. he will chase a tennis ball not to hit it over the net but to see where it’s going. he is thinking about dinner and his wife as he rubs his face with the grey wool glove indoors. she makes him an amy’s t.v. dinner every night. he doesn’t really like the vegetarian meat loaf. it doesn’t taste like meat. he can still taste meat. he likes it medium raw. n has a friend, c. she likes him. she has an unresponsive husband. m doesn’t know what is wrong with him. he suspects that he’s preserving himself for whatever he’s waiting for. he thinks c’s plotting to separate him from his wife. every time they hang out on the bench in the park he gets into a fight with his wife later that day. c brings potato polish vodka. she is a far better drinker than m is. she has one small glass that she shares with him. she has at least ten small glasses. his wife thinks m has been drinking heavily with his tennis buddies. m told c about his erectile dysfunction. he didn’t want to tell her but he told her because there was no one else who would remotely be interested or to tell him not to talk about it. he doesn’t want to tell the doctor. he thinks he will charge him for pills he doesn’t need. the more fucked up and personal m’s dilemma is the more c wants to know about it. the small chinese man, m, asks himself what can you say nowadays? what is appropriate? can i talk to my friend, who is a woman with a brain dead husband, about erectile dysfunction? he has no idea what he should think or do. nothing he does feels natural. he feels like a robot. he knows that exercise is important. m couldn’t remember when his wife started heating up t.v. dinners. she used to make noodles and hearty soups with egg and meat. they used to watch a game show that she liked every night but then she began to retire to her room to read. she has been reading the same thousand page murakami novel for the past two years. he ordered a copy from powell books for himself so that he could talk to her about it. he read it in a few months. he has all kinds of thoughts about it. he admires murakami. he learned that the writer was a long distance runner from his doctor. it made sense to him that the writer was a runner. the novel he read was all about endurance and the void. he tried to talk to his wife about hardship and stamina. she had nothing to add or to subtract. one late evening when he said that the book dealt with lovers looking for their one love she said that she wanted to cry and he said so why don’t you, then and she said she wasn’t able to and he embraced her for ten minutes and she said get away from me. he felt dejected and vowed he would talk to his friend about it. c said she had read the novel. when m said that the assassin was insular and fatalistic she said maybe. when he said that the novelist references pop culture she said maybe.