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[Steve Werminski is sitting in his apartment drinking alcohol, talking to a framed picture of his dead grandfather]

Steve Werminski: Grandpa, how does it feel to be dead, uh? They let you meet with, uh, King Stanislaus yet?

[He begins laughing, then cries]

Narrator: His mother drowned one summer at Far Rockaway, and his father, who couldn't swim, vanished trying to save her. The 9-year-old boy entered the world of his grandpa. Grandpa's world was full of wonderful things. For instance, King Stanislaus and the Knights of the Round Stable, which Grandpa proved was Polish, not English, history. The polite English made the knights sit around a table. Yet everybody knows that knights rode horses. Obviously they gathered not around a table, but in a stable. And only Polish kings had round stables, because corners bred demons.

Steve Werminski: Old man, I got a black soul today.

Narrator: Grandpa's world also included a remedy for black souls and evil demons. Not talk. A black soul could not be exorcized by talk. Talk was for priests, and doctors, and old ladies. For a real man there was only one remedy for a black soul. Find a good friend. Let the demon loose on the friend until the friend drew blood from you. In the blood drawn by a friend, said Grandpa, the demon would drown. However, warned Grandpa, if you picked a weak friend, the demon would overpower both of you.

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