DeLillo ends the section of the alternating bits of storyline with Nick failing to call Marian because loneliness is "a thing [he] tried never to admit to and knew how to step outside of, but sometimes even this was not means enough. He ultimately says, "I didn't call her because I would not give in, watching the night come down" (637). I think that although the story threads have great differences between them, for the most part, they involve characters who knowingly practice and in a certain sense have an addiction to brinksmanship. Lenny Bruce's ideas are dead on and by bringing it to an audience he has the potential to effect real change, yet his addiction to heroin and his paranoid need to please the crowd weakens his message. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of their inevitable decline, Edgar and Clyde continue to insist on shaping the world in their own way. In Clyde's case, he ultimately mortgages his individual identity and potential in exchange for the safety and security of Edgar's patronage. Worst of all, Nick fails to make the simple gesture of calling Marian out of stubborn opposition to feeling vulnerable even as he can see a window of opportunity closing before him.