I’d never seen him so pale or gaunt. His eyes were sunken, riveted to the bank of monitors in front of him, and his clothes hung loosely from his emaciated frame. He clearly hadn’t seen the sun or any other light except his flat screens for weeks.

“My God, you look awful,” I said.

“The outside reflects the inside,” he replied without moving.

“You need to get up and do something,” I said. “You’re letting these people do whatever they like with your stuff. Kevin is out there now using your charge card, and Mary’s been tooling around in your car.”

“They’re doing what I’d like to do,” came the reply. “What the hell’s wrong with that?”

“You’re not doing it and they are. You’re letting them take over your life.”

A hoarse laugh. “Maybe so. Maybe I took over theirs. They’re kids, you know, really. Away from home for the first time, going out, establishing identities. It’s what I’ve wanted all along…”

“What you wanted?”

“You heard me.”