The seated streetcar woman takes a hard look at Fish.
     “His collar’s too tight,” she says.
     The big girl laughs long and loud.  “Not as tight as my fucking bra!!” she replies. 
     The streetcar clambers around a tight bend of track and shudders to a stop at the station.  People fall out in twos and threes onto the platform and disperse themselves in the granular light.  The big girl and her bottlebrush dog swagger from the streetcar and pause, both of them looking around as if to plot their next moves.
     Michael is the last passenger to disembark.  As he passes the girl and the dog, she calls out to him, “Hey there Slick, how about buying my beautiful dog Fish?”
     Michael is taken aback.
     “Oh, well no thanks,” he tells her, glancing at Fish.  “I’ve got no room for a dog, I’m afraid!”
     “Oh don’t be afraid,” the girl tells him, “not of the dog, not of me, not of the cold, not of the moon, not of this stupid empty streetcar station, not of those stiff old candy bars over there in that vending machine, not of anything, not of mother or father or God or the Queen or the Mayor!”
     Michael wondered how the Mayor suddenly got into this.
     Now apparently exhausted by the recitation of her long list of things not to be afraid of, the big girl suddenly stretched out flat on her back on the subway platform.  Fish wagged his bottlebrush tail and licked her face.
     “Why don’t you go home?” said Michael.
     “I am home, Slick!  This is IT, Mr. Well-bred-Fellow-Traveler- Loafer-shod-Cardigan-guy!  What do you think?  Le platform, c’est moi, pal” she says.  “I sleep here almost every night.  Usually under a bench. 
     She clambers to her feet again.
    “Or sometimes in a trash can, surrounded by candy wrappers and covered over with newspapers.  Nobody knows I’m in there.  And Fish keeps me warm.”
     She yanks the dog’s leash so the creature gives out a sharp, strangled cry.
     “Who are you anyhow?” Michael asks her.
     Okay, I’d better tell you my name straight off because you’d never be able to guess it.”
     “I wasn’t going to try to guess it,” Michael says.
     “Bliss Carmen,” she says, extending her hand.
     “That’s the name of a famous Canadian poet,” he says, shaking it.
     “Yeh?” says Bliss.  “Well he’s through with it now.  And anyhow, I made it up.”
     “You must have seen it somewhere,” says Michael.
     “Okay, in a book in some bookstore,” Bliss tells him.  “I just liked it.  Don’t you like it?” 
     “I liked it the first time, “Michael tells her. 
     “I made up Fish’s name too.”
     “Yeh, but everybody makes up names for dogs,” says Michael “They don’t come with them.”
     “Well ‘Fish’ suited him.  He likes it.” She looked at Michael more carefully than before.  “Who are you?”
     “My name’s Michael. 
     “Michael what?” she asked him, giving Fish another savage yank.
     “Michael Moskos.”
     “You Greek or something?”
     “Half.  My father was Greek.”
     “So you’re some big Zorba-type guy?”
     “Hardly,” said Michael.
     “What do you do?”
     “I’m a writer.”
     “Oh come on, “says Bliss, “everybody’s a writer for godssake!” I’m a writer, just by way of coincidence.  Even Fish is a writer!”