Phil continued: "DMT is no sacrifice, man. We were on a real brain burner in France: neuramine. It came as a fraction in these vitamin pills you can get in literally any chemist's in France, but you have to take a while fucking bottle to get any effect, see? So we went into the thing feeling like martyrs, like Jesus Christ, and come out like mad Vikings. Keep your eye on these chemists. Try this Romular, Spanish cough cough syrup, cocaine derivative, a bomb, twelve pesetas a bottle."

Pelle turned from Phil to Aleck He asked earnestly, "Do you have all that in there?" He pointed to the purple-patterned purse.

Phil answered: "Various and sundry. Enough to get us back to England. Odds and ends. Maureen and I have six caps apiece in there, don't we, Aleck? It's been two and a half months we started on that. Maureen?" Maureen's eyes were closed. Her head lay against Phil's shoulder. He held her more tightly, flicked his cigarette away, and began to pinch her with his free hand until her eyes opened in protest. His voice had become plaintive, nervous: "Maureen Maureen Maureen. Wake up wake up. Can't let yourself fall asleep all the time."

Maureen said, "Stop pinching me."

"Falling asleep all the time. Can't be good, Maureen. It's been two and a half months, now, you know?" Phil looked at the ground as if he were still anxiously looking for papers, but his hand was still.


Maureen smiled at Pelle. Maureen asked, "What was this about your holiday?"

Pelle looked from Maureen, to Phil, to quite Aleck. He said to Aleck, "I do not understand."

Aleck commented succinctly. "I should think not."

Phil stood up, holding Maureen next to him. His voice pleaded, "Aleck, let's split, now, please." Before he stood, Aleck scooped into his purse the brown paper package and the packet of papers. Pelle stood because the others were. Phil said to him, his voice still plaintive, "No man. "We've got to split. You stay. God-bye." Phil took Aleck's hand so that he could walk with Maureen tight against one side and Aleck close by the other.

Pelle called after him, "Wait! A matchbox full for three hundred pesetas."

Phil neither stopped nor looked back, but replied, No, it's too much. Can't spare it. It's far too long." The pine trees soon hid the three.

Pelle sat. He looked below, at the town, and out across the sea. He shook his head. He noticed scattered on the ground about him red-tipped matches and their empty box. Pelle began to gather the matches in their box.


SITVAR TIREDLY CLIMBED the last flight of steps to his room. He fumbled with the key. The door always stuck, so he had to press it open with his shoulder. Ro ran up to him arms outstcetched, "Daddy! Daddy!"

"Hello, sweetheart." Sitvar hugged his son.