At the very same moment that Bliss Carmen had been reassuring Michael there was no reason to be afraid of the Mayor (or a whole raft of other things she had named), the Mayor himself—his Worship, Cass Tamburlaine—was lying on his back, stretched out on the dove-grey, wall-to-wall, deep-pile carpeting that made his office feel like a soft, mushy parking lot. 
     A stack of Racing Forms supported his head.  He had felt feverish and so had hastily, almost frantically, pulled off his tie and had stripped off his shirt.  Which gave him the appearance, from the waist up, of a fallen Sumo wrestler.  Perspiration glistened on his swollen body like basting on a turkey.
     It was one o’clock in the morning.  The city out the window looked almost as bright now as it would have been at noon.  There’s no goddamned night anymore, thought Cass.  Only round-the-clock glare. 
     He stared at the ceiling and discerned, in the indeterminate patterning of the figured plaster work, the bone-white image of Joy’s face.
     Joy Pommery had been Cass’s mistress for six months now.  He liked her.  He called her Joy Pomegranate.  She had a thin, ferrety face, wide boyish shoulders, remarkably persistent breasts and the strong, willowy legs of a tennis player or a tightrope walker.  He found her a perfectly adequate partner, if not perpetually thrilling.
     His Worship was feeling more feverish by the moment.  Clambering to his feet—no small undertaking—he reeled to his desk and phoned Joy.
     “It’s Cass.  Can you come to my office?”
     “What now?  Cass, it’s almost 2 am,” said Joy.
     “I know I know.  Listen I don’t ask much of you.”
     “Alright.  I’ll be there in half an hour.”
     Cass hung up the phone.  Then he struggled out of his trousers, peeled off his socks and shucked down his shorts.  Unfortunately, he didn’t feel any cooler.
     But he did feel satisfyingly virile.  Being naked in his office always aroused him.  He bobbed over to the window and looked out.  There were the standard noises in the dark, scarcely discernable through the sandwiched layers of industrial glass: distant streetcars, the vibration of subways, the howl of a passing ambulance, dissolute car horns.  He bobbed back to his desk and, feeling disinclined—and physiologically unprepared—to sit in his cavernous leather chair, lay down on his back again on the sea of carpet.  He looked like a fleshy submarine with its periscope up.
    “I wish she’d hurry,” he said out loud.