By Mark Leyner
One prematurely sultry afternoon in May, Dean took his 8-year-old daughter to the park. (His wife was the features editor at a nesting magazine; Dean taught math to seventh- and eighth-graders). He met a 23-year-old Haitian au pair named Sanette. He heard her laugh, throaty and uninhibited, turned, and there she was, seated amidst other au pairs and a miscellany of children and strollers. She was voluptuous, her skin gleaming with perspiration, her black bra straps alluringly askew alongside the shoulder straps of her tank top. And Dean experienced a sort of petit mal seizure of lust.
He devised a convoluted plan to "befriend" Sanette's employers—convincing them to share a summer house that August, thus enabling Dean to vacation under the same roof as the au pair.
On several occasions that dreary August, Dean and Sanette got a room at the Sea Spray. And their relationship—never openly acknowledged—effectively poisoned the summer for everyone.
Sanette was fired, lost her work visa, and had to return to Haiti, which she'd planned on doing anyway. Dean's wife just chalked it all up to a "bad patch," when, in actuality, it hurt her terribly.
I don't know, frankly, if he'd ever done this sort of thing before, but he certainly has since, and with monotonous regularity.
So I guess, in terms of Dean's life, this summer was a fractal—one of those geometric patterns that repeats itself at every scale. Or, come to think of it, more like a repetend—that chain of digits that recurs endlessly in a repeating decimal, like the 214 in 2.214214214214214214....
Next: Read Stuart Dybek's Vista di Mare