When her father died five years ago, Alice had a dream that gave her a great deal of comfort. Her father was sitting at the end of the bar in MacDonald’s — where the owner later put up a little brass plaque with his name on it — and Alice came in and tugged at his sweater to ask him for nickels for the pinball machine. In the dream she was still her age, sixty-two, but at the same time she was somehow a little girl. Her father gave her a roll of nickels and smiled at her, and as she watched he began taking off his clothes. He removed his button-down sweater, the yellow golfing shirt and the blue-and-white striped trousers, and when he’d taken off his boxer shorts he peeled out of his skin. Underneath there was nothing — nothing, at least, that corresponded to bones or organs — just a series of quick sparks, like someone’s lighter that wouldn’t quite work. That was her father now, and as she watched him leave the shell of his body behind — somehow it had taken on the colors of his clothes, so that it looked like a deflated beach ball there on the cracked leather stool — Alice saw that death was no big deal.