Ed was no Beethoven, and comedy was not composition: his genius could not emerge despite his muteness like the maestro’s symphonies had despite deafness. Nowadays, he haunted the dim rows in the club, drowning in expensive disguises and cheap bourbon. And every midnight, when a tavern door uncorked itself, he stumbled out Eduard Pacinto once more, flowing into the flickering city streets. And within the fabric of those deserted nights, some old applauses pierced through to him, stitching themselves against his suffocating silence.

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