“So we’re just going to carve that dead pumpkin and eat it?” asked George, actually missing Duncan’s fish in the moment.
“It’s not dead, young George. It’s a snow pumpkin, a very special kind. It will melt in the spring. Luckily it’s perpetual winter here in the Snowlands of Sansara which we sit on the edge of.
Turning around, George looks out a row of windows facing south. His moral compass remains slightly askew. Snow — as far as the eye can see. Yet when he looks north: gray, with some green and also some beige. Edgeland: that’s what Aunt Clare had decided to name her home — *homes*. Because she had 2. For now. The whole parcel was up for sale on this landmark Fissure Mountain on the border. Just like a certain brain damaged man we’ve met more recently who sometimes goes by Can; prefers that name to the rest, which, in tandem, means he likes to hang around friends because they’re the only ones who call him that. Kolya, some strangers call him, Pepi others. It was war out there. Back to George and Clare.
He tries a piece of white pumpkin just laid on his plate. Ice is all he can taste.
“Good, eh?” says Clare, munching and crunching down on her own.
“Sure, sure,” returns George, trying to sound positive. “Great. I can really taste the pumpkin.”
“Oh there’s no pumpkin in it.” George stares. “I’m just *kidding*, right Bell?” She shakes her other head now held under the table, which maybe indicates it is laughing along with her. They chuckle in tandem, if so, for a small while, then return to eating, or at least the head not on the stick does.
“How’s… Duncan?” she asks at last, broaching a subject laying before them like a deep chasm needing a bridge.
“He’s okay.” Pause. “He stares at tulips now. He says rats are in them.” Another pause. “He… went to Dixie.”
“I know, Bell told me.” Short shaking sound here under the table. “Very surprising. Dixie, well you know their former relationship. I can’t see for the life of me what he sees in her.”
“Then you rung up, or, I mean, Charlie… he dialed the number, all the numbers I guess, or so he says…”
“And you reached me,” Clare finished for George. “Well, tell me more about this Yelloo subject we were talking about before. Sure sounds like a TILE concept to me.”
(to be continued)