a feeling of evil to come
There is a dull
foreboding in the pit of my stomach.
It was a reasonable concern, though after carefully
scouring the apartment, I couldn’t find a single bug or any evidence of their presence.
in a composed and unconcerned manner
So at work the following day, I walked as
nonchalantly as possible through the newsroom of the New York Post to my cubicle.
an overabundant or excessive supply
Today the newsroom itself is cavernous yet airless, filled with rows of open cubicles and a
glut of filing cabinets packed with decades of unused, forgotten documents.
naughtily or annoyingly playful
“Don’t tell me you have them,” she said with an
giving careful attention to detail
This meeting was impossible to forget, a weekly ritual that we all
fastidiously prepared for, even during days off.
in a plucky or sporting manner
Bedbugs forgotten, I widened my eyes at Angela as I stood back up,
gamely hoping it all would work out once I got to Steve’s office.
a natural inclination
With his shock of prematurely white hair and his
propensity to toss the word...around like a preposition, he is the essence of a throwback newsman and a brilliant editor.
a wild gathering involving drinking and promiscuity
After a few years in which I worked as a runner, covering breaking news and feeding information to another reporter to write the piece, Paul offered me my first big assignment: an article on the
debauchery at a New York University fraternity house.
unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity
When I returned with a story and pictures of me playing beer pong, he was impressed with my
chutzpah; even though the exposé never ran, he assigned me more stories until I had been hired on full time in 2008.
a run-down apartment house barely meeting minimal standards
The apartment, eerily quiet, overlooked the courtyard of several
tenements, and I often awoke not to police sirens and grumbling garbage trucks but to the sound of a neighbor playing the accordion on his balcony.
make keen or more acute
Though the experience had rattled me, it also
whetted my appetite, and from then on, I became the resident “jailhouser.”
severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost
Though there didn’t seem to be much of a connection among my bedbug scare, my forgetfulness at work, and my sudden instinct to purge my files, what I didn’t know then is that bug obsession can be a sign of
move quickly, as if by cutting one's way
When I got to my feet, a sharp pain
lanced my mind, like a white-hot flash of a migraine, though I had never suffered from one before.
any disease-producing agent
But there likely was a
pathogen of some sort that had invaded my body, a little germ that set everything in motion.
found in the ordinary course of events
I sorted through months of
mundane e-mails until I triumphantly unearthed a recent one from his ex-girlfriend.
a large wardrobe or cabinet
Then, as I reached for the next letter, I caught sight of myself in the mirror of the
make off with belongings of others
I raced to the dresser to put away his things so that he wouldn’t notice my
pilfering, trying to ignore the uncomfortable tingling sensation.
a medical specialist in the nervous system
But when I described my symptoms, the usual warmth dropped from his voice: “I’d like you to see a
neurologist as soon as possible. And I’d like you to stop taking your birth control immediately.”
cause to lose one's composure
The contrast between the crystal-chandeliered entrance and the drab office was
discomfiting, as if I had jumped back in time to the 1970s.
A few paintings hung around the walls of the waiting room: an ink sketch of a godlike man with a long white beard holding an instrument that looked suspiciously like a surgical needle; a
pastoral scene; and a court jester.
dependent upon or characterized by chance
haphazard decor made me wonder if everything, including the furniture, had been dug up at a garage sale or pilfered from sidewalk castoffs.
forceful and definite in expression or action
emphatic signs hung at the receptionist’s desk: PLEASE DO NOT USE LOBBY FOR PHONE CALLS OR WAITING FOR PATIENTS!!!!!!
give heart or courage to
This painting would stick in my mind, materializing again several more times in the coming months. Its unsettling, inhuman distortion sometimes soothed me, sometimes antagonized me, sometimes
goaded me during my darkest hours.
make a sound characteristic of donkeys
“CALLAAHAANN,” the nurse
brayed, mispronouncing my name.