Oh, I was such a pretty little thing once. I would walk down the street and men would appear from nowhere, trailing behind me, straining to catch a glimpse of my ankle.

I was as reckless as I was lovely then, and would take so many lovers. I would take rich lovers and poor. Kind lovers and wild men. I did not care. There was the foolish musician who was, in his way, as pretty as I was. He taught me how to play the banjo, or at least got me started. There was the psychiatrist who taught me how to understand the secret ways people were really thinking, and how to control them. There was the little thug who would cry when he told me of the cruel things he was forced to do for his bosses, he taught me things too.

I'm older now, and not pretty anymore, but I have my little Sally. My little souvenir from the final waning years of my pretty younger days.

I have other consolations too. You learn things as you get older. You have to. Three things I have learned:

1. People are inclined to trust someone playing the banjo.

2. People are inclined to trust children.

3. People are such fools.