The sky is vibes, Knott. Vibes.
I heard a tiny humming in the pear orchard. It came from a tear in the quiet. A tan tide of vinegar flies were feasting on the scrump and they drew me, so I crouched. And, ankled in the pale night grass, I perceived another humming within. Just as tiny, but I knew it. I knew it at once to be him. The old man humming Al Bowly.
Remember the radiogram in the living room at Cliff House? Size of a coffin. Well, lift the lid a little again. Look in. Beneath a black glass millpond, measured in lines, numbers, initials and names, valve-glow. A finger beam of light rolls, soft and electric, over the window, illuminating for an instant, glimpses of a world rarely seen.
Horn-shine, bright laughter, strange language, brief chime. Voices reaching out of the static, with greeting, with message, with nothing.
That’s what I heard in the orchard that evening – old man Grinner humming I’m Stepping Out With A Memory Tonight.
Lately, he is everywhere; behind the shower curtain, lurking in the kitchen drawer, in the shadow of the fridge near the skirting. He is close. He speaks a nonsense, a jumble of how he was. I hear him. Perhaps there is a smell, too. Perhaps there is the peal of a bell.
Bell’s right. Yous hears that then! Very small it be. But yous hears it, don’t yous? Don’t come it, Knott. Like a doorbell on a doll’s house door is it? Or a very mini Minnie Mouse hole? Ding! Ding! Who is it? Ah, hell bowl! Such tiny little elbows, ain’t they? Minuscule they be. Is a bell what brings the vinegar flies to piss on all me chips. The bells! The bells! The bring out your dead bell. Oh, bloody hell, Knott! I knows yous hear me. Just say it, boy! Say it!
So I say it. The sky is vibes.
She turns her face to me, tries these words back on me.
That’s what he said he’d say. That’s what he said.