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I don’t know what it means when

We buried Albie in the front yard. He was very tall but then we put him horizontal and he was just as short as the rest of us; it was an even-ing. I think that’s where the word evening comes from: the time of day when everybody is bent double, and nobody stands any taller than anybody else. Albie worked construction most of his life, and by the time he died his hands were all fucked up.

We put him in the dirt like he wanted, and sprinkled seeds over him, and we drank beer (European shit, real high-quality) while the sun went down. RIP Albie, he was tall, he liked to play XBox, he owed me $20 but I won’t hold it against him.

We grew a garden on him. He was good fertiliser, I guess because he was so big. Some of the plants were fragile/bold/yellow. Some were vast and red, like dawn. Some were white and painful, like staring at the sun. They grew in and out of each other — a jumble of stems and cups and caps; lillies and roses and fly agaric and whatever the fuck.

He still talks to me, I think. Sometimes I hear whispering from the garden at night but I can never make out what it says. It’s sounds, and they’re language-sounds, and I hear them with my ears but they never quite reach the rest of me.

I guess it’s maladaptive but whatever, man, who gives a fuck? I went to a therapist once and all I learnt was that beer costs less than counselling, and I can barely afford either of ‘em. When the wind goes through the garden’s tangle of green-and-shit it makes me think there’s something to be heard. There’s a language to their colours and stems, and I just gotta work it out — once I know what Albie’s got to say,  the world will unfold like what-you-call-’ems in Spring.

You want to know what happens next? Tough titty. Why’s there always gotta be a next? Why’s the world a big staircase that we trudge up and up until our knees hurt, and our lungs burn and–  

There’s an answer, I think.

It’s written in the garden, and spoken on the wind. I just gotta keep my ears open, and my eyes sharp.

There’s an answer, I think.

There’s an answer, I think

(you gotta say it three times or it don’t count. There’s rules)

but you knew that, already.   

My boy Karl Marx would have something to say. He’d be all “man that’s fucked up, Albie’s a symbol for the workers. He’s a downtrodden lumpyprole who died for fucking nothing– “

–no I mean he didn’t die for nothing he died for something, I just haven’t figured it out yet. He knows, though. He’s tryna tell me, and I’ll tell you too when I figure it out. There’s colours in the garden and they hurt to look at, but I do it for Albie–

but you knew that already.

We buried Albie in the front yard. He was tall, now he’s not. He knows why he died, I think; he’s tryna tell me. The sun set on him, and it was an even-ing, and his hands were all fucked up. There’s a point to all of this, I swear, I just haven’t figured it out yet.

but you knew that already.

Published inProse Fiction

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