“Well, Wheeler. There it is. Alien Island. The new foothold.”
“And here we are, still not together, still not a couple, Peter and Prissy swum away to some secluded haven in the sea.”
“He stole my hat!” Baker Bloch exclaims again, this time aloud.
“Indeed.” She noted it was back. Did *he* notice?
“What… do you make of it?”
“Do you know what hat stealing means? Hat removal?” she rephrases.
“Sex?” he guesses, then realizes the obvious. “Ted Bear,” he says, segueing into Wheeler’s new train of thought.
“About this time in the past,” she began, “we showed a film. ‘3 Friends of Belleville.’ Remember?”
Baker thought back to a Table meeting that seemed far far away, almost hidden in time if it weren’t for memory reinforcements; continual; eating through time like sideways ants. “Yes. We could have moved backwards from Belleville into Billville: ‘Billfork’. But we instead moved forward.”
“‘Pumpkineaters,’ yes,” Wheeler agreed, and then studied the shore again in front of them. Not looking back, not looking *black*.
Baker thought about Mabel, how happy she was. *Wait*. That wasn’t it. “Wilson Wheeler?” he said, testing her name. She didn’t answer. Her task for the night seemed done.