Top Dog

As we encounter him this morning Eddie Lasst is standing at the corner of Telegraph and Durant Streets in Berkeley, waiting for the Don’t Walk light to change. It is early in his life. He is not yet Professor Ed Lasst, author of The World of the Divine Comedy, published by the University of California Press, or Dean Edward Lasst, author of the reinvigorated liberal arts curriculum at Amherst. He is neither the winner of a minor academic award for editing a collection of Italian poetry nor the recipient of a major literary prize for translating one. These accomplishments are in a future that, as we observe him scraping last night off his ruined jeans, doesn’t yet exist. This morning he is just Eddie, as of a few hours ago ex-student of Italian literature and, as of last night, ex-lover of Rachel. The polo shirt and Banana Republic jeans he dressed in with care only yesterday are stuck with chewing gum and eucalyptus leaves; all night he has been sleeping outdoors, specifically out the door of the third-floor walk-up he and Rachel, both pale from sophomore springs in Indiana, have rented at the cheaper end of Cedar Street for a summer course in Dante.

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