“Imagine you were born in a box. A big box, you can walk around in it, you have food and whatever. That’s not the point. You grow up in this box. You don’t meet anybody else. You don’t see anything. And then when you turn thirteen or some age, the box comes open. The walls fall out and all around you is this world, something bigger than you could ever have imagined. And the question is, is it wonderful? Or is it terrifying?”

Eric leans his head against the passenger window, his eyes closed. “Those are the two types of people in this world,” he says.

I ask him which type he is.

He opens his eyes fully, watching downtown Miami sweep past us. Then he says that I’m missing the point.

Afterwards, when Eric and I arrive at my apartment, he makes it his business to go through every room. I’m not offended. It’s a big step down from his estate in Coral Gables.

When he’s done I give him his choice of couches. He says that with what he’s paying, he should get the bed. He’s kidding of course, and he says so. He thanks me again for doing this.

Around seven at night, he takes me to a restaurant on South Beach where the maître d’ and half the waiters know him. He says some of the waitresses can be had for a price. I tell him I’m meeting Elena tomorrow and he rolls his eyes and sips his orange juice. He orders four desserts and almost finishes them all.

“That’s very bad for you,” I say.

He says, “Not as bad as Tylenol. Too much of that causes liver failure, you know.”

When we get home, I make a note of that comment on the day’s behavioral report. He asks if he can read the reports I write. I remind him of the judge’s orders.

He says that he was joking and not to get so worked up.

Continued in Confrontation 118.