Oct 122011
Authors: Justin Goodfellow

Editor’s note: This is the eighth installment of the fiction story “Inside the Hollow Sun,” which will run in Verve throughout the rest of the semester.

I wasn’t sure how long I’d been crying for. It must have been awhile. Once I got my composure back, I looked up for Elizabeth. I saw her and Officer Burling a couple hundred yards away. They had walked along the path, and it looked like they had even started up a conversation. It’s hard for people to not like Elizabeth. Greg and I speculated that it might be one of the effects of her implant. I paused for a moment after that thought. Greg.

I pulled out my phone and called him.

“Harrison!” Greg exclaimed over the phone. I felt a sudden pang of guilt. It almost sounded like he’d been waiting for this call.

“Hey Greg, how are things?” I asked.

“Pretty boring. I haven’t really left the apartment or anything.”

“Oh, yeah. Well there’s nothing wrong with a quiet weekend every now and again, right?”

“Nah, there’s nothing wrong with it. Most of the time there isn’t anything good about it either.” The enthusiasm had already drained out of Greg’s voice. “How’s Ketchum?” he asked.

“It’s fine.” I stopped. Greg waited as I searched for my next words. “I’m here,” I finally managed to say.

“What’s it like?” he asked.

“Nice,” I said. “I think you’d like it.”

“Take a picture for me.” I could feel the longing in his voice tug at me. Tears started forming again.

“Sure, Greg, I’ll bring back pictures. Actually, I’ve got to go. My chaperone’s making me hang up. I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Oh, alright. I’ll—” Greg’s voice cut off as I ended the call. A few tears had started streaming down my cheek.

“Why did you hang up on your friend there?”

Startled, I turned around and saw a man had walked up behind me. He looked around 40 and his head was shaved clean. He wore a black button-up and khakis. I stood up quick and faced him.

“Oh, I see,” he said. “Having a moment, are we?” Embarrassed, I wiped my eyes and nose.

“I don’t think that’s really any of your business,” I said.

“Fair enough,” he replied. “So what are you?” I didn’t understand his question. He waited before nodding to Hemingway’s grave. “What are you? Just a fan?”

“Something like that,” I said. He watched me for a minute, and I sighed. I bent my head and pushed aside the hair that hid my implant’s scar.

“Got ya,” the man said. “Well me, personally, I’m just a fan of the man’s work. How about you send me a message some time? We can talk some classic fiction, huh?” The man pulled out a card and passed it to me. I looked at the name on it: Dr. Evan Wendell.

“What the hell is going on here?” Officer Burling and Elizabeth had made it back to me. I put my hand with the card in a pocket before either of them noticed it.

“Nothing,” said Dr. Evan Wendell. “Nothing at all. I was just leaving actually. You all have a wonderful day.” Without another word, I watched him turn around and walk toward the black metal arch at the entrance as I clutched his card in my pocket.

Fiction writer Justin Goodfellow can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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