I once believed that I would meet my end on a bleak afternoon in November a few weeks after my birthday. The sky would be pale gray, shimmering with the promise of rain, smelling like the ocean before a squall, like a fresh oyster nude in half its shell. And I would remember the oysters and champagne on Christmas morning and wish I had just another minute to enjoy a glass and let that be the taste on my lips when I met my maker. Would the creator smell booze on my breath? I bet that would be nothing new to the Almighty. Countless souls come before their King reeking of something akin to a mixture of sorrow and sensual pleasure: Suicides, Drunk Drivers, Alcoholics. But my breath would not smell of oysters. I never cared for them, raw or otherwise. I don’t empathize with invertebrates, I just can’t abide cruelty so I leave the spineless to their own devices. There are people who don’t consider such things, content with their position atop the food chain at a polished bar in an eupeptic brasserie with the pale winter sun streaming in as bright as the tinkling of glass and silverware, laughter and palaver before one dozen blue points on a bed of crushed ice with lemon wedges, tangy housemaid sauces and relishes. If an oyster is worth the money it must be good enough to eat without concealing the flavor in hot sauce. Don’t you like the taste of the sea? Somewhere deep in the subconscious we must all enjoy the pleasure of consuming a living thing whole like a predator does its quarry, like Lucifer does a soul. November contains the letter R. It is safe to eat oysters and sip champagne. It is safe to enjoy a bleak afternoon, too, without worry and with the hope of passing on beneath the warm sunshine.