The kind of spring morning where sexual promise is on everything. The girl with the blond ponytail rides her bike to work, with a bunch of white jonquils in her bike basket; only she knows who the flowers are for. The house painter, propping tall ladders against the wall of the apartment building, majored in English literature but prefers manual labor. He works only when he needs the money; the rest of his time is spent reading and writing. He's currently under the spell of Wallace Stevens, a writer with whom he has nothing in common. "The poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman," Stevens wrote. It's strange how this language works and doesn't work all at the same time, the house painter thinks as he climbs the ladder with a bucket of yellow paint that turns out to be the wrong color.