Liberty had never cared for Halloween. The night gave the false hope that when one was summoned to the door by a stranger’s knock, one’s most horrible fears could be realized by the appearance of ghosts, bats, ambulatory corpses, and the headless hounds of hell.

On a small key off the coast of Florida, Liberty guided three children, Teddy, Lindy, and Yvonne, through the streets to a small darkened shopping center where Nicky, the fourth member of their party, lived with his parents in the back of the Oh pottery shop. Clem, Liberty’s large white dog, followed in his black eye-mask. Teddy was a doctor, Lindy was a rose in a red tutu and long green stockings. Yvonne was a duck.

They passed a shop which sold sportswear. A sign in the shop window said, Yes! We have mastectomy bathing suits! Liberty tapped on the door of the pottery shop. Behind the shop was a kiln and a teepee. Roger and Rosie, Nicky’s parents, hadn’t been able to fire anything in the kiln for a month, ever since a pair of cockatoos had chosen to nest there. Liberty pushed the door open and saw Rosie squatting on the floor on her heels. Rosie’s eyes were bulging, her tongue hung out and the tendons of her neck were prominent. When she saw the children, she relaxed her face, unwound herself erect and came bounding toward them. She reminded Liberty of a particularly mindless Irish setter.

“Oh,” she said. “I feel wonderful! Vivid! But I feel relaxed too.”

“What’s that?” Lindy asked. She touched a pin on Rosie’s blouse. There was a man’s picture on the pin.

“Oh,” Rosie said, “that’s the Dalai Lama. I met the Dalai Lama. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and a little button on his suit just like this one that showed a picture of himself, the Dalai Lama. When I met him I felt his spirit piercing me like little arrows. I felt a great yearning for nonexistence. It was great!” Rosie ran her hand through the ringlets of her rusty red hair. She smiled at the children. “I used to take drugs but then I met the Dalai Lama and he made me clean. It was great to be clean, let me tell you. Then I met Roger-Dad and that was great too. I mean, I’m very accepting now.”