Afterwards he was too despondent to even fish off the back porch, his favorite past-time here after Wanda and watching TV, which always seemed to feature reruns of that old 60’s sitcom “Green Acres”. “Since you’re so *interested*, would you like to see?” Franklin said, and he said, “*sure*. Why not.” He hadn’t seen one in a while, except Wanda’s. And she really didn’t count. “Sorry about that, Wanda,” he imagines himself saying into the shack to his companion in the moment, his companion for a while apparently, however rubber and fake she is. He didn’t realize it was a mixed up jumble of stuff down there for Franklin. How could he? And then to top it off, the yellow came. Right in the face! He didn’t think he’d ever get over it. They cackled like hyenas, they left, back on their boat to the hell in which they came. Just around the corner, they said. Come see us if you want more, sweetie. So now he was scared to move in any direction — even if he could right now, being without a boat himself as he was still — for fear of facing them again, fear of facing *it*. He felt them all around. “Aim free guidance,” she also said while the, er, *flow* was happening. “Right down the toilet, ha ha ha!” And then that song or whatever while they were gliding away, having done all the damage they wanted or needed — for the time being, they said. Eels. Just the word repeated over and over, in a certain pitch. He didn’t have the gift of perfect pitch, else he’d know it was D Flat, the most cursed key of all, directly resonant with The Abyss itself some say. A green woman — or *something* — a “song” or sea ditty about eels… what did it add up to?
Albert was never good at maths, so the next day, taking pity on him a bit, Claude came back to visit, finding him still in about the same position as that photo at the top of this post. Back porch. No fishing pole in hand.
“You knew something like this would happen?” he begin in earnest to the black man sitting beside him now, both staring out at the waterfall in the distance during the exchange.
“Yup.” Silence between them. Albert then realized that he never really, properly made an apology to the boy, because he called him [delete name] in the process, as in, “I apologize, [delete name].” Thus: here. The Abyss. He knew the term from his parents, devout Tilists both while he was growing up, having been drilled about the static filled hell ever since he was big enough to pick up a book as heavy as the TILE Bible, all 1036 pages of it (518 x 2). “You’re going to the *Abyss* if you don’t eat your cereal,” says Jasperia, the mother. “You’ll go to the *Abyss* if you don’t do your homework then say your prayers before bed,” she might start again after supper. Always the cereal at supper and not breakfast, all because a certain passage from the damn thing that said morning and evening are interchangeable (pgs. 518-519). What else did the cursed thing say? he tried to recall.
“Albert,” Claude said over, tired of my inner monologue apparently. “You don’t have to face them again, you don’t have to face *me* again. No dykes or [delete names]. All you have to do is go back to your family — Ohio is it?”
This [delete name] knows it’s Ohio, Albert thinks here.
“And apologize. Not to Darla directly, but to the parents, your sister and her husband. Tulipia and Pinky isn’t it?”
Albert turns toward Claude, tries to tone down the hate showing in his face. “She goes by *Apples*.”
“Apples, right right.” More silence. Albert realizes Claude is waiting for a response. Out of his control, he finds himself blowing a raspberry.
He’s going to be here a while longer.