If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chapter III.5


What to say? It was an in-between time, a transition, and I see that in my writing. It had the highest attrition rate of any Navy A-school while I was there, a distinction usually reserved for the nuke school. They did not like fleet-returnees, such as myself, much. Absolutely hated it when I first got there. It was like being back in boot camp, which was where most the students were coming from. Thought about quitting and returning to the fleet. Finally found my groove though. I went to Captain’s Mast, for allegedly being UA, YN1 Faulkner the only staff member who stood up for me; got a slap on the wrist and 3.8/4.0 evals, which is unheard of for TDY assignments and were the highest in the class. They ended up really liking me, not sure why. Graduated third in my class, drank way too much, played a lot of beach volleyball, had EOD called on my Jeep, made a few friends, and saw a few concerts: Black Uhuru (again), White Zombie (not that great), Henry Rollins- spoken word (back when he was still angry), KMFDM, and Mel Torme (an incredible show; me and my buddy were the only people there under 50). Spent a lot of time hanging out at O’Sullivans, Friar Tucks, and a great little restaurant, Tautogs, which had just opened up, had great seafood, and the prices were ridiculously reasonable (looks like they still are).

Not much more to say that that. In hindsight, the five or six months went pretty fast and at the end of November, I was once again headed south, to some heretofore unknown town that had recently gotten an NFL team, Jacksonville, FL; which for the record is actually southern Georgia.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach
tastes like rusty aluminum cans
and ten-penny nails,
tourists urinating in pools,
carbon monoxide, and air-brushed t-shirts;
a rotting, stinking, degenerate shithole
catering to the worst kind of trash
and cheap asshole
left on the east coast
that couldn’t afford to hitchhike
to Jersey.

A Bitter PIL to Swallow

One lunatic’s
ravings against the night
A 1000 unheard voices
dashed by the cry of reason
Public Image Ltd.


The moon hung low
full cheddar cheese in the eastern sky
running over hill,
treetop, and telephone pole.
The blower in Barnum’s car
kicked out the warm air around my feet;
it felt good.
The top was down
and the margaritas
sat right
in my head
there should’a been more.
I had wanted to write like hell that night
but I couldn’t.
I sat straight
and stared ahead—
street lights
converged and vanished
into a yellow flash
my face a mask—
lips pursed
eyes slit
like a man
without a soul?
Like a man
who hurts too much?
We drove
on into the night
through the stoplights
into my nightmare—

The Wino and I Know

And I sit on the edge
of the Sea of Uncertainty—
slowly erecting my ship
of confidence, courage,
and self-inner-strength
The winds of fate blow
this and thus
whipping up
wicked foam-topped white caps.
I am a sailor at heart,
an explorer
lone wolf howling at the moon
on crisp
December nights
questions in my soul
big as the spinning universe.
My boat rides lightly
in the breeze and chop—
my destiny
the coral keys green
and aqua blue around—
for too long I have stared
out across the Sea
listening to her cry
smelling her
salt spray and breakers,
unable to reach her—
the naked lover
you’re allowed to see
but not to touch.
How I have yearned
for her
till I thought my heart would break—
caught up in the games
of pompous assholes
and righteous fools.
Every night I’d set sail
on her again
across my dreams
through the setting sun.
And the days and waves
slip into one
and slowly fall away—
giving way to
falling into
Whence I came?
I do not
Where I’m going?
I don’t think
Just to be underway
once more.

5th Deck

A boy
once dreamt of the Sea—
of full moons rising
slowly out of the blue-wet-waves,
of ships gongs
and buoys,
of tracing his fingers
through the warm-glowing
of midnight dreams
quietly rocked to sleep
by steady, reassuring swells.
Night after night
he stared out through
the smudged glass
and dreamed of places he’d been
lands he’d like to visit
and the people he loved
who’d been there
with him.
And one night
as the half-full moon rose
lazily out of the summer Atlantic
the boy realized
he’d forgotten who he was
reflected sharply in
the eyes of another
and the years of pain and hurt
rose like seaweed-clad
ghosts in the Sargasso.
And ever beyond the glass
the Sea beckoned reassuringly—
he was unsure whether to go
unsure what he had lost
unsure who he was.
And she flashed through his days
his dreams—
a lighthouse in the confusion
if only he could close in
on her beacon
find a way through the words
to himself
to trust her.
Could she actually
light the way?
or was he afraid of crashing
into her
and drowning her among the
scattered wreckage
of his broken soul?
Her eyes were clear and sharp
could she steer him through
the straits?
Was she strong enough to
withstand his darkness
the Ache in his soul
or would he once again
turn away in blindness,
wake up
and stumble upon legs
never meant to walk the ground?

Hurricane Season

The clouds are low and gray, whipped by a hot, dry breeze and threatening rain. One of those days were everything is jangled and discordant, gritty, and you can slide sideways between the edges into the shadows to catch a glimpse of how the machine works behind the scenes.

I wish I was sitting in an outdoor café slowly getting drunk on gin and tonics, watching the pretty girls stroll by, hair tossed by the breeze, oblivious to the magic working its fingers all around them— sharpening, loosening, twisting, prying. Instead I am stuck here on base, on duty, in this case a very cheap, heavy, ugly thing to have to have. Maybe I shall give it away or leave it lying in a ditch by the side of the road, a place, in this case, to which it is much better suited to call home.

So here I am, finally, at Cas and Carrie’s, lying on the sofa; Jeff outside with Bear— his wife lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a machine, liver slowly succumbing to its own poisons— and Kelly…I don’t know, it’s dark there, where she is, but she’s having a smoke.

The waves are getting frantic, crashing about as the sea turns a deeper green, the clouds slowly picking up speed and momentum as they begin to circle. The rain comes suddenly, in sheets, driving, stinging, a thousand paper cuts of consciousness ripping your tears away and drowning them in a swollen river of guilt. The road is washed out, the way unclear. The hollowness inside calls warmly like the freezing cold, “…lie down and sleep, forever.”

Fifty aspirin. She ate fifty aspirin in the darkness, crying, as the last hand slipped away from hers, outstretched. Fifty aspirin as the hurricane picked up momentum and began drawing players into the dance, front and center, leading actor, supporting actress, starring…

I’ve seen it happen before and my whole body screams, begs for me to kick all engines back full. I’d don’t know if I can hold the eye of the hurricane this time, don’t want to. And yet that ugly misshapen word calls: duty. And he brought his friends, loyalty and friendship.

Oh god Kim, I’m so sorry. I had to kill all my feelings to be the rock you clung to, and in the darkness I lost them, tried to steal your sun, told you you meant nothing at all. And you believed me…the rock you clung to becoming the one around your neck.

Fifty aspirin. Fifty fucking aspirin. What a way to show your love for someone. What a way to say stay. Love cannot live like that, doesn’t mix with aspirin, drowned so deeply in another’s cry that it wipes away the sun. I cannot save anyone, I cannot even point the way to someone who believes I can. I know this, in the most terrible, conscious way.

The hurricane builds, growing in intensity, velocity. But no! To the west, always to the west, the sun is going, setting, casting long, intimate shadows over the landscape. It knows. It comes. It goes. To the west then, with a cold drink in my hand and an easy step in my gait. Maybe I will see Kim…tell her I’m sorry.

Engine Summer

The fresh cut Grass
lay in the yard
among the beheaded Dandelions,
slowly bleeding
green ichor.
His sad little mouth
twitched and convulsed
as He tried to sing
to the Sky
with His last breath,
eyes weak but focused.
The air was thick and pungent
with the smell of freshly mown grassy comrades
and warm dirt
another Indian summer Sunday
afternoon massacre.
There was no dishonor though
in dying this way—
He was after all,
no weed!
He’d started young
thrusting and cutting, slashing
through Death’s fold of snow
and grown straight and sharp
a Blade:
a Hero, a Warrior, a Brave…
And so it was,
that a wise and contemplative old preying mantis—
named Hunter—
stopped an impertinent young moth
from stepping on the dying Blade—
knocking him back on his righteous little ass
clicking in an ominous tone,
“Leave Him be…
He is Bro-Ken,
one of us.”
The Sun finally sank
behind the red and yellow Maples
as the brave Blade finished his song
and lay back with a sigh
closing His eyes.
The mantis bowed his head respectfully
slowly slipping his empty flask
back into his tweed coat pocket
and headed home—
He was late.
He told his wife
that he’d eaten on the way.


Sitting here on the rev watch
looking at post cards of Charleston—
a final palm-treed,
cobble-stoned oasis
before stepping off
into that azure-blue desert
known as the Atlantic
where white stratocumulus clouds

pile up,
stacked one on top of the other
by the steady offshore breeze;
and the salt-tangy flavor
of the Sea
greets you
in the already hot and balmy morning
as you climb sleepy-eyed
into your Jeep
to race the coming sun to work.
In it’s red-brown brick,
black wrought iron,
Rainbow Row-shuttered
iron cannon clad Battery—
muzzles pointed hauntingly
towards Ft. Sumter.
A black container ship
slips under the lighted
Cooper River Bridge
(the one Bruce Willis and what’s his name jumped off of
In Die Hard III)
past the darkened Yorktown,
coming hard to port
to head west
as the tiny pilot boat
races back,
past Chutes Folly
and the red warning light there
towards hot coffee
and the warm buzz
of 4 a.m. radio.

The Jewish Mother

Two a.m.
Another lonely Saturday night.
The wind
is blowing cold-Indian summer outside
as last call goes down
and the smoke
from a 100 lonely cigars
follows me out the door
like so many lonely ghosts—
where are you?
The waves flood the beach
my soul awash
in this lonely town
I thought
I’d find you here
another city
another bar
another lonely night.


Her form was Japanese-cartoonishly-
her smile
all woman,
and her eyes
openly wanton.
“Did you call my name?” she asked,
small leather brown pack skewed
to one side of her shoulder.
The Cult sang, She Sells Sanctuary.


I can feel it all over again.
I can feel feeling it.
A great big cry
once a year
echoing down the halls
from my past.
A cry, a call for help
so sad, so pathetic
tuned so specifically to me
that my whole body, my whole
soul resonates and I cast about
forlornly for the source
the answer drowning in
a sea of melancholy I can’t
explain and pounded by low
gray clouds, cool first Fall
and a steady drizzle.
Every year from September to
January, although much
much more poignant with
cold, velvet snow underfoot
and a crisp, crunchy full moon—
a certain kind of winter’s insanity.
I have stayed too long
in this place
lost my peace lost
my way I walk
about not talking lips
pressed tight eyes
wide and open like I’m
dreaming full of hurt
and lonely trying to get out
looking for a saint to rescue
me so pure my darkness
my sin will not break her
eyes not turn into my own
and cast me into the deepest
depths of isolation and hell
not condemning, not my father
a prisoner on death row
awaiting judgment
sentenced there by himself
a jury of one unable to
follow through on his own execution
and the world spins about just so
it’s in my blood a melancholic
junkie unable to find the fix
that would set him free
forever begging the pimps
and pushers for something knew
something different the
answer burned in my old
past discarded like some
worn, cheap toy without a second
thought the Velveteen
Rabbit my savior will
you hold my hand as I open
Pandora’s Box praying for
tomorrow and drying my tears?
The things you’ll only admit to
yourself when you’re drunk.


And I wonder who I am anymore
this thing I’ve become
my face amuses me
in the mirror
because I don’t recognize it
for my own
And the music takes me away
under the full-bloom stars—
cutting between the moon-drenched
white-washed orange mesas,
green Saguaros and Joshua Trees
eating up the yellow-dotted line
laid so carefully on the worn
cracked tarmac
a junkie speed-freak
the wheel warm in my hand
face alive in the glow
of the dash
the smell of sage
and red rock.
My eyes in the mirror
amuse me
because they now dance
look less harsh
two pools of humor
a child’s
And what do they want
has the world changed
or how they see it?
Where are they going
and what are they looking for?
Just wait till tomorrow
the sun slowly sets into the sea
no land in sight
sitting, smoking, thinking
the calluses on my hands
I know like an old friend
and the faded and salty dungarees
they rest on
happy, tired, content
smiling to myself
rolling with the swells
my eyes in the sky
amuse me
familiar though—
and who we are
where we are going
maybe I forgot
I don’t know
Just wait till tomorrow
Just wait till tomorrow.

A Poem To My Dead Father

I heard you died yesterday
and didn’t know
to smile,
to cry,
or to curse you to the ends
of the worlds.
Because finally,
you are at rest
peace with yourself
your world—
your father
no longer able to reach you
but neither can I.
And a tear falls
into the bonfire of my anger
for leaving me here
without a map,
a birthright
the ancestral wisdom
you took to the grave with you.
And even as you embark on your journey
through the land
of the dead
I do likewise—
a new ancestral line
hoping that my son will find
in me
everything I yearned for
in you.
Fare thee well.


The wound so deep
the fear so great
when will you just let go
and quit running this darkness,
staring the specter of soullessness
in the face?
Your dreams are all empty
and nobody hears you cry in the night—
all so all alone.


What I imagine
doesn’t come true
and what comes true
I don’t imagine.
What I remember I don’t know
and what I know…
I don’t want to remember.

Graven Image

And I am erecting an Idol—
a magnificent graven image
gilded in the amber gold of dreams
and the abysmal black of a thousand nightmares.
Riding high above the plains
of our loftiest expectations,
terrifying and angering the gods,
it will replace you my love,
with your delectable imperfections,
as the object of my desire.
I am building it
in my own image
because it is impossible to love
what I do not know…
no longer to awaken
and see reflected in your eye
what I put there
and neither of us understands.
But instead,
trapped in every eye
this glorious, ignoble
monstrous image—
cold and definable
without doubt
Help us, save us
take us away.

Ophelia had Friends

Why is it
that man feels that
he, or at least someone else,
should own everything
he sets his eye to?
Instead of teasing, enticing
what he would
from Mother Nature
he insists that she is his—
beating her constantly,
demanding ever more.
The romance is lost
magic and communication gone,
and, ultimately,
she will humble him mercilessly
for his arrogant suppositions.

2nd Gear

She blew through me
like a passing summer breeze—
the heart and hand of God.
What did she do to me
and what have I done to myself?
Drug-crazed-amphetamine smile
keeps the barking dogs at bay.
Somewhere there is a place for me—
where these empty eyes don’t see
and these hollow hands
reach no more
for empty graves.
She’ll be waiting for me there
with gun in mind
and a cold summer’s stare.
You eat the pills
you play the part
you watch the tube
from dawn to dark.
But in the spaces
between the words
you hunger for more
than the cardboard shit you’re fed.
You long for cold stars
and a fiery sun
hot love
in another’s arms.

NMITC Summer (Adams)

Hot summer sand
and dehydration
lying back in cool white sheets
and air condition
long days
and long barracks
cold, white tile floor
beneath bare toes
no-bodies home
some where out side...a boy is shouting
in the dusk
something smells like boot camp
and the earth is uncertain and
shifting underfoot
the back asphalt
is still warm
and prickly
above, the stars
are bright
and I can hear the ocean.
It makes me smile to myself
young, tan, wild, and free
my hair dancing in the breeze—
a Monet evening
of youth, BBQs, lights, and music.
I turn
and Adams looks up from his book
he laughs
he knows what I am thinking
But I’ve forgotten already...
and Caudle...
ahh Caudle...
But the Jeep is calling
and gin
and tonic
because life is short
and you only have a lifetime
to do what you want.
On the road with Kerouac
there’s a full night out
and I look over at Adams
halo’d by the dash lights
and stars
he looks at me
and laughs
cause he knows what I’m thinking
but I’ve already forgot
and Caudle—
ahh Caudle...

Saving Grace (Unfinished)

“I can feel the fall coming,” I said. We stood silently watching the waves crash up onto the beach. Weekend after Memorial Day in Virginia beach, the place was empty, a ghost town; it was the first thing that either of us had said in ten minutes.

“The fall?” She said, looking at me with large green eyes, voice catching. I turned away from the wheeling gulls to look at her. White clouds torn from some crying kid’s cotton candy floated lazily over her head under ominous, heavy, haze-grey ones. Some 200 miles off shore, hurricane Lewis whirled like some cheap 45, spinning off a steady breeze and an occasional sheet of cold grey rain from its terrible eye, squinted in unbiased judgment at 120 mph.

“Things only get complicated,” I thought, “when you slow down to look at them closely. Keep it simple stupid.” Grace looked like she was going to cry and then it clicked in my head and felt like an unintentional ass. “Yeah, fall,” I mumbled around my cigarette, “as in autumn. You know, leaves turning orange, yellow school buses, pumpkins, etc.”

“Oh,” she said, “but how can you tell?”

Flicking the cigarette onto the white sand and turning, “How do you know anything? You just do.”

“I guess so she whispered,” pulling her white sweater tighter around herself. It was all wrong and I didn’t know what to do about it.

Let me go back here to do some explaining and maybe this will start to make a little sense. Maybe.

Grace is an angel, so she says, with wings, harp, halo, the whole nine yards. And the crazy thing is that I find myself believing her, in spite of all my skepticism and agnostic tendencies. Maybe I want to believe her, not so much for my own sake or salvation but for hers. More than one night coming down in some shit-hole for a bar with a gin and tonic in my hand, thinking it’d break my heart if someone who believed so much in what they said were, was wrong.

I met her back in late July at King St. Station. She just sat down next to me and stared at Beavis and Butthead on the TV, not even ordering a drink or anything. There was something different about her, you could tell immediately. Different from all the young yuppie and rich-kid-hippies who frequented the joint, rebelling against dad’s money and everything else they’d come to embrace as soon as they’d smoked enough dope and grown their hair long enough. The cheap drinks and the fact that no one from the boat went there were the only reasons that allowed me to put up with all the pretensions in the place. Usually I was drunk by eight if not sooner. From there the nights only got better, usually.

Anyway, here am I am ordering another gin and tonic even though it’s pointless because I’m halfway through the night and nothing, no buzz. But, it’s something to do. She sits down on the stool next to me, watching TV like she’s never seen it before. Billy Pilgrim is playing on the radio behind the bar, “…I can see you. Don’t even know you. Falling into the sheets at night. Lay my hand flat on my chest. Feel your heart beat back the night” and all of a sudden it’s one of those weird moments you can’t explain, anyway you try. Michelle- so beautiful it hurts- brings my drink, something to do with your hands when it hurts too much to hold the pen and get close to the truth. She looks at me, Grace, and smiles the saddest most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.

She sat there smiling at me- a drink in one hand my pen in the other. And suddenly I felt like the biggest fucking fake in the world, just like that night in France, watching the old men play bocce ball, listening to Dead Can Dance and sipping a cold rum and coke.

We walked out to the end of the pier, the drink I’d snuck out of the bar in my hand. Beyond the hazard lights of chutes folly, a little to the left, you could see the lights of the WWII carrier, Yorktown.

“So you’re an atheist,” breaking the silence.

“Not an atheist,” I replied, turning to her, “an agnostic, of sorts…”

“Oh,” she said sharply, turning and walking on. Her feet echoed dully on the grayed wood planks worn smooth by a thousand couple’s feet on a thousand Indian summer nights just like this one. The waves lapped quietly at the pilings and faintly off in the distance you could just make out the clang- clang-clang of a buoy’s bell bobbing slowly in the swells. I had the strange feeling that something peculiar was about to take place as the hairs on my neck stood up. I watched Grace walk, puzzled.

She stopped about five feet away from me- it was quiet again- paused, and pivoted on her left heel, stopping to face me squarely.

“And…,” she drew out the words sternly, “what do you think of angels?”

“I don’t know,” I laughed, “I don’t think about them that much.”

“Don’t think about them huh?” She snapped, ponytail swinging vigorously, accentuating each syllable. “Well, what the hell do you think about?”

I was taken aback by her tone, the iciness in her voice. “What? You’re not serious are you…,” I paused, “wait a minute, you’re not saying that you’re an angel are you?” My voice was incredulous, “are you?”

Grace stood still, glowering at me; feet spread wide, hands on hips. “Mark well what you see here Chance,” she growled between clenched teeth, “for it will only happen once in your lifetime.” Her words were hard and cold and I raised the cup to my lips in a half gesture of self-defense, carefully sipping the nectar within. “I have never disbelieved in you or your imperfections, don’t doubt me in mine.” She held my gaze steady, hard, for a full minute. Then, threw back her head and held her arms outstretched, back arched. A blinding white light seemed to emanate from her and I blinked several times, taking an involuntary step back. When I had refocused, Grace floated in front of me two feet off the wood deck, slowly pivoting around an invisible axis that ran through her head and out her feet. She was bathed in a soft white light, from her shoulder clefts/blades sprang two beautiful/huge wings that stretched and contracted slowly like unworked muscles. Her face was radiant and serene- the most beautiful I had ever seen, reminding me if every thing that was ever right in the world. A tear slowly ran down my cheek for no good reason.


Grace climbed up into my lap, wrapping her slender arms around my neck, and burying herself in my shoulder.

“I never want to lose you Chance,” she sighed, her whole body trembling. “You’re my only salvation.” I felt a t once a tremendous surge in my ego and importance, but at the same time, my heart sank like a rock thrown in still, clear water because I knew that I’d never be able to save her, anyone, barely myself. A tear rolled down my cheek followed by another. She pulled back and looked at me curiously, tilting her head to one side. I slowly shook my head, as if trying to clear my thoughts. She looked so damned beautiful, head cocked to one side, blond bangs hanging in green eyes torn between concern and confusion. I didn’t want the moment to end, her arms tight around my neck, the closeness of her lips, her right breast pushing against my heart, the whole thing so bittersweet. Our eyes locked and I felt a part of me go cold, a part of me die. Her eyes so deep, so open…

“What’s wrong?”

A thousand sunsets slowly sank into the sea as the stars slowly popped out, one by one, like popcorn in slow motion, a full moon finally climbing its way up the horizon-slowly turning blood red and slipping down the other side. My hands felt cold.

“Grace…,” I felt like Peter as the cock began to crow.


My silly (smiling) man fighting
With the shadowy burdens of your/his soul
I’ll behind the silver (dream) moon dreaming (waiting)
For the lover of my whole


I used to draw turtles when I was suicidal. Somehow they seemed so stupidly brave, just going on and on as if someday the glass would give way to their pressed noses and constant paddling. And with that freedom, what ecstasy they would know- like a seagull in flight.

Stupidity, determination, or faith? The way we slowly, stubbornly plod through our lives ready to pull back into our armored shells at the first sign of confrontation or intimacy. I’m not looking for salvation or sanctuary, but (a little) grace- for being the monster I know I am.


“You had no guardian angel,” she said.

“What,” I put down the spoon and turned.

“You’ve never had a guardian angel. Ever,” carefully, as if the news might fell me.

“What do you mean never had… I though you just said that…but…,” I stopped confused and suddenly nervous.

“I know, I know. I asked once, my mentor (need name), and he told me never to speak of it again and to leave you alone.

“This is ridiculous,” I said, turning back to the skillet,” I mean, I never believed in this crap anyway; ex-communicated?”

“No,” she whispered, a small hand on my shoulder, and then another- slowly pressing up against me, “I first heard you whimpering in your crib when you were about two, when you had meningitis. You couldn’t even cry. I felt so sorry for you, just lying there alone suffering so quietly. I looked for your guardian angel but couldn’t find one. That’s when I asked my mentor and he told to me not to think of or mention it again.


This was s’posed to be the story of Grace and Chance but I could never find the right voice for the damned thing and finally gave up after many hesitant starts. I wonder if I could do it now, seeing the story for what it really was trying to get at (yes I know, you’ll just have to wait, to see if I do and what I meant by “what it was really trying to get at”)? Here’s a hint, though at the time of conception of both ideas they were totally unrelated, at least consciously, Grace is, thematically/symbolically, the same as the singer in the Wasteland.

Grace, as you have figured out, is an angel who comes to earth to save/assist/help Chance, who has no guardian angel. She is strong and fearless but naively innocent. If they were to make a movie, Alicia Silverstone would be a good fit. Chance, unbeknownst to himself or anyone, was once an angel who fell out of grace for some, as of yet unknown transgression, and was demoted to earth as a human. He is too smart for his own good, cynical, has a heart of gold, but is slowly succumbing to his own self-destructive tendencies. I would actually say that Bill Murray in Lost in Translation would make a good Chance, or Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.

Grace is determined to save Chance but the longer that she spends in the mortal realm, the less of her divinity she remembers and she slowly starts to spiral out of control and away from herself. Chance, unable to recognize the same patterns in himself, readily sees them in Grace and in spite of his disbelief, cynicism, and self-protective fears finds that more than anything else, he wants to do something that matters, he wants to save Grace, even though doing so means facing everything that he has spent his whole life trying to avoid. Ultimately, they end up saving each other. I guess, in a way, it would be like O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, only different.

But actually, I guess, it would be more like the Frog King because, as Joseph Campbell notes of the story, 

“I like the story particularly because you have both of them in trouble and they’re both in the bottom of the well and each rescues the other.”[1]
So there you go, sorry to leave you hanging.

[1] Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss, pg. 126

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