“You’ll have to excuse an old man, Mr. Barnes. We get set in our ways, and I suppose I was thinking more about how the police used to be than how they are now. Ben would have called them himself, that’s what I was thinking; but he was old like me. Ben and I, we sort of lived in the past, I suppose. It was hard for us to keep in mind how much the world’s changed. You’re too young to understand it, maybe. Crystals in the brain’s what some of them think it is. Did you know that, Mr. Barnes? Hirano bodies. The brain’s turning to glass, or something like it. Well, folks said the both of us were cracked a long time ago.”
Barnes laughed dutifully.
“For you young people, it’s all the same. But people my age, or Ben’s age, we have to wonder what kind of glass it is. For some a shot glass, I suppose. One of those funny mirrors for Ben, I think, and if Trudie were still with me, hers might be a pretty cut-glass vase. I don’t know.”
– Gene Wolfe, Free Live Free