I was in bed, happily contemplating the length of my just completed nap, when my cell phone rang across the room. Its odd frog-like burbling did not annoy me. With some suggestion of lithe energy, I threw off my down comforter and made it to the phone before it went to voice mail.
It was my assistant, Cory.
"Yello," he said, and the greeting was returned.
A couple sentences passed, where we discussed his inability to attend my concert at the Metropolitan Museum this evening. But then we came to the heart of the matter.
"I think," he said ominously, "I've had my last Chantico."
Such crucial topics are often discussed by us, and though I was not surprised by the serious tone this conversation was taking, I laughed nervously. "Your last one?" I repeated...
"Yes," he said.
"How long ago was this final Chantico consumed?"
"Two nights ago."
He was referring to an evening shared by his girlfriend, he, and I, in the company of some large shaken drinks. I deduced, then, that Cory had not been entirely sober when he had his 'last Chantico.' Was there some terrible admixture of effect?
"What made it your last Chantico?"
Then he proceeded to outline a gradual diminuendo of joy, proceeding from the initial Chantico, which was "fantastic," to further Chanticos, each less delightful than the last. Drinks and mood had nothing to do with it; the spiral of diminishing enjoyment was seemingly outside the hurly-burly of contingent circumstances. was something greater and more terrible.
"So," I said,"aesthetic exhaustion is the reason why you have had your last Chantico." He concurred ruefully, and we agreed further that it was as good a reason as any to abandon an expensive beverage, although perhaps not as pressing as, say, should it become clear that animals or children would have to be murdered somewhere in order to make Chantico. On this sad, gruesome, but thankfully entirely hypothetical note, another of our essential phone conversations ceased.