You get three guesses to tell where this story’s going to go, and the first two don’t count.

It all started with a shower of confetti.

Stevens had brought a piñata to the office for my birthday party. It was enormous, almost as big as he was, and a lion, just like me.

“Saw this in a window of that party place on the corner and thought of you,” he said. “He looks just like you, don’t he? Happy birthday, lion.”

I looked it over, and it kinda did, in an exaggerated way: it didn’t look like me so much as it looked like a piñata modelled after me would look like. It was firm papier-mâché—or whatever it is they make piñatas out of these days—with ruffled paper in tawny gold all over its body in place of fur, and long orange paper streamers for its mane. “Thanks, wuff,” I said. “It’s great. Let’s hang ’im up and have a couple swings at him, eh?”