Peanut leaned on a fence, panting, watching Ransom walk away under the staggered streetlights. The pain in his head was crystallizing, it shimmered and glinted. White facets strobed behind his eyes. He slipped between the bars of the gated construction area and meandered along a row of new homes.


The soup smell, the weeds, the dim heat. He lived there with his sickly mother, who was chronically bed-ridden. Sometimes I doubted whether she was real or not; she never made a sound, never emerged. Supposedly she was dying.