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YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT

 

‘Hal?’

‘…’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘Yes Mario?’

‘Are you asleep?’

‘Booboo, we’ve been over this. I can’t be asleep if we’re talking.’

‘That’s what I thought.’

‘Happy to reassure you.’

‘Boy were you on today. Boy did you ever make that guy look sick. When he hit that one down the line and you got it and fell down and hit that drop-volley Pemulis said the guy looked like he was going to be sick all over the net, he said.’

‘Boo, I kicked a kid’s ass is all. End of story. I don’t think it’s good to rehash it when I’ve kicked somebody’s ass. It’s like a dignity thing. I think we should just let it sort of lie in state, quietly. Speaking of which.’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘…’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘It’s late, Mario. It’s sleepy-time. Close your eyes and think fuzzy thoughts.’

‘That’s what the Moms always says, too.’

‘Always worked for me, Boo.’

‘You think I think fuzzy thoughts all the time. You let me room with you because you feel sorry for me.’

‘Booboo I’m not even going to dignify that. I’ll regard it as like a warning sign. You always get petulant when you don’t get enough sleep. And here we are seeing petulance already on the western horizon, right here.’

‘…’

‘…’

‘When I asked if you were asleep I was going to ask if you felt like you believed in God, today, out there, when you were so on, making that guy look sick.’

‘This again?’

‘…’

Really don’t think midnight in a totally dark room with me so tired my hair hurts and drills in six short hours is the time and place to get into this, Mario.’

‘…’

‘You ask me this once a week.’

‘You never say, is why.’

‘So tonight to shush you how about if I say I have administrative bones to pick with God, Boo. I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I, Boo.’

‘You’re talking about since Himself passed away.’

‘…’

‘See? You never say.’

‘I do too say. I just did.’

‘…’

‘I just didn’t happen to say what you wanted to hear, Booboo, is all.’

‘…’

‘There’s a difference.’

‘I don’t get how you couldn’t feel like you believed, today, out there. It was so right there. You moved like you totally believed.’

‘…’

‘How do you feel inside, not?’

‘Mario, you and I are mysterious to each other. We countenance each other from either side of some unbridgeable difference on this issue. Let’s lie very quietly and ponder this.’

‘Hal?’

‘…’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘I’m going to propose that I tell you a joke, Boo, on the condition that afterward you shush and let me sleep.’

‘Is it a good one?’

‘Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic, and a dyslexic.’

‘I give.’

‘You get somebody who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there’s a dog.’

‘That’s a good one!’

‘Shush.’

‘…’

‘…’

‘Hey Hal? What’s an insomniac?’

‘Somebody who rooms with you, kid, that’s for sure.’



‘Hey Hal?’

‘…’

‘How come the Moms never cried when Himself passed away? I cried, and you, even C.T. cried. I saw him personally cry.’

‘…’

‘You listened to Tosca over and over and cried and said you were sad. We all were.’

‘…’

‘Hey Hal, did the Moms seem like she got happier after Himself passed away, to you?’

‘…’

‘It seems like she got happier. She seems even taller. She stopped travelling everywhere all the time for this and that thing. The corporate-grammar thing. The library-protest thing.’

‘Now she never goes anywhere, Boo. Now she’s got the Headmaster’s House and her office and the tunnel in between, and never leaves the grounds. She’s a worse workaholic than she ever was. And more obsessive-compulsive. When’s the last time you saw a dust-mote in that house?’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘Now she’s just an agoraphobic workaholic and obsessive-compulsive. This strikes you as happification?’

‘Her eyes are better. They don’t seem as sunk in. They look better. She laughs at C.T. way more than she laughed at Himself. She laughs from lower down inside. She laughs more. Her jokes she tells are better ones than yours, even, now, a lot of the time.’

‘…’

‘How come she never got sad?’

‘She did get sad, Booboo. She just got sad in her way instead of yours and mine. She got sad, I’m pretty sure.’

‘Hal?’

‘You remember how the staff lowered the flag to half-mast out front by the portcullis here after it happened? Do you remember that? And it goes to half-mast every year at Convocation? Remember the flag, Boo?’

‘Hey Hal?’

‘Don’t cry, Booboo. Remember the flag only halfway up the pole? Booboo, there are two ways to lower a flag to half-mast. Are you listening? Because no shit I really have to sleep here in a second. So listen — one way to lower the flag to half-mast is just to lower the flag. There’s another way though. You can also just raise the pole. You can raise the pole to like twice its original height. You get me? You understand what I mean, Mario?’

‘Hal?’

‘She’s plenty sad, I bet.’

At 2010h. on 1 April Y.D.A.U., the medical attaché is still watching the unlabelled entertainment cartridge.


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 87


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