"I know," said Dwight, standing and putting money on the bar. "It's the same way with me. Truth be told, I think it's already too late. But I thought the least I could do was warn you. For old time's sake. Be seeing you, Richard. Look after yourself. I think we all need it."
Dwight tipped his hat to Richard and walked out. Richard watched him go. He shook his head.
"Damn crazy story," he said to himself. "Damn crazy. Don't believe a word of it, though."
He paid his tab. As he stood, he swayed drunkenly to one side, knocking over a wineglass, spilling its contents onto the man on the next stool. "Christ, I'm sorry!" he said. He grabbed a handful of napkins.
"Quite all right," said the stranger.
Richard began blotting man's dark clothes. "I'm a damn oaf when I drink," he said. " I just hope I haven't ruined your—" Richard stopped and squinted through the alcoholic haze. "Your, um, cape?"
The stranger took his cape away from Richard, then stood, face to face with him. His bloodless lips curled back in a smile. Richard felt his heart stop.
"No," said the stranger. "It wasn't mine. I never drink...wine."