The hospital-bed notebooks of the late Ulysses Cinder, containing chiefly his adventures with Sadass the genie. Seems old widower Cinder woke up in the park one night after getting nicely stewed, and there was this huge, naked, Mexican-looking guy leaning on him. ""So damn me for a softhearted fool if I didn't take him home to share my food."" A smart move, however, since this big guy soon declares ""You have shown me great kindness with no hope of personal gain"" and reveals himself to be a genie--a fact which he proves by magically foiling Cinder's confused suicide attempt, by turning men into birds, and other genie-type stuff. Assad (or ""Sadass,"" as Cinder keeps calling him) offers Cinder the standard anything-your-heart-desires, so Cinder gets to see his beloved, lamented wife Emily again; unfortunately, all she has to say is that she was spectacularly unfaithful to him and died, in fact, of lovesickness for her extra-marital Romeo. Cinder, luckily, has other romantic interests now, however--a ""hot trio"" with two sweaty belly-dancers in a Greek restaurant men's room (""she-devils,"" Sadass explains) and then a weird, touching liaison with an aging, living-in-a-fantasy road-stop waitress. But, alas, Sadass' powers start waning fast; he dies once, is resuscitated at the funeral parlor by a revolting poultice that Cinder throws together, and lives long enough for the twosome to turn into condors and go flying over the site of Cinder's last wish: the sunny hospital where he's writing this story. With lots of bed-pan interruptions and crabby asides (""If you're bored, skip ahead a few pages""), DeMarinis keeps Cinder from taking on too much unflattering weight. Result: a genial fable that's tart and rude enough for fable-hating cynics, with an admirably sustained, if not particularly original, game-old-codger narrative voice.