Outside: the deep echoes of fireworks. An occasional whistle and crack. There is technique in fireworks, the mixing of explosives with the right metals for the particular color. They etch the sky.... One thing about fireworks, at least the ones I've seen: they never reach an ideal, never seem to go off fast enough. The crowd watches appreciatively as the pyrotechnicians try to time the teases between blasts: the double spangles, the flowers punctuated by a yellow dot and a boom. The climax is never as full as the one in our imaginations, where they sky cannot rest and our faces all are lit forever. Perhaps the low budget fireworks of my life have helped me appreciate more what perfection is, and [to know] there can be no sense of it without frustration. I wonder if the fireworks crew members, running from mortar to mortar with flares in their hands, have this sense of the underachieved, or if, when the show is over, they are simply exhausted with their labor, pick up the charred refuse, and are glad it's over.