Their conversation ceased abruptly with the entry of an oddly-shaped man whose body resembled a certain vegetable. He was a thickset fellow with calloused and jaundiced skin and a patch of brown hair, a frizzy upheaval. We will call him Bell Pepper. Bell Pepper sidled up beside The Drippy Man and looked at the grilled cheese in his hand. The Drippy Man, a bit uncomfortable at the heaviness of the gaze, politely apologized and asked Bell Pepper if he would like one. Why is one of your legs fatter than the other? asked Bell Pepper. The Drippy Man realized Bell Pepper was not looking at his sandwich but towards the inconsistency of his leg sizes. You always get your kicks pointing out defects? retorted The Drippy Man. Just curious. Never seen anything like it before. I was raised not to feel shame and hide my legs in baggy pants. So you flaunt your deformity by wearing short shorts? Like you flaunt your pockmarks by not wearing a mask? Bell Pepper backed away, kicking wide the screen door, making an exit to a porch over hanging a dune of sand that curved into a jagged upward jab of rock. He is quite sensitive, commented The Dry Advisor. Who is he? A fellow who once manipulated the money in your wallet but now curses the fellow who does.
There was, in my view, an unwritten contract with the reader that the writer must honour. No single element of an imagined world or any of its characters should be allowed to dissolve on an authorial whim. The invented had to be as solid and as self-consistent as the actual. This was a contract founded on mutual trust.