"Wouldn't that be a Thompsonesque thing to do?"
He searched my face for assurance. None found. Having some time ago arrived at the conclusion that I know nothing at all, I didn't have the wherewithal to answer. I told James this; it didn't register.
A warm night breeze blew through the open door into the pool room. Through the large plate-glass windows, you could see the swarms of people loafing around the tables outside.
I asked James how the job search was going. He winced, shrugged. Nothing yet. An outrage. Even Jeff had found a job. Jeff: the most famously unemployed person we knew. The man who'd reached celebrity status for his gentleman-pauper routine. Now he had a fine job and new tabs on his license plates. An era had come to an end. It wasn't that James was underqualified. Nor was he undersearching. Just too long living anxiety-ridden -- one of many I knew in similar predicaments.
"I've been focusing on points other than St. Louis," he said at last. "I just might have to finally leave this dying city."