A Confederate General from Big Sur(39)

By: Richard Brautigan



‘Yeah,’ Roy Earle said. ‘Forgot my pomegranate. I remember putting it down here somewhere. Right around here.’

‘It must be some place,’ Elizabeth said.

Lee Mellon was looking under a rock.

‘I spent a dime for that pomegranate,’ Roy Earle said. ‘It means a lot to me. I bought it in Watsonville.’

‘We’ll look over here,’ I said. There was nothing else to do, for after all this was the destiny of our lives. A long time ago this was our future, looking now for a lost pomegranate at Big Sur.

‘What are you going to do with that pomegranate?’ Lee Mellon said.

‘It’s going to Los Angeles with me. Big Business.’

Elizabeth looked up and smiled. Lee Mellon put the rock back in place so you couldn’t tell it had been moved.

A Second Ending

A seagull flew over us. We got dressed and went back to Lee Mellon and Elizabeth. They were just as we had left them.

Elizabeth was sitting on a white rock and Lee Mellon was lying flat on his back, sprawled flung out on the rough sand.

Nothing had changed. They were exactly the same.

They looked like photographs in an old album. They didn’t say anything and we sat down beside them. That’s where you’ve seen us before.

A Third Ending

A seagull flew over us, its voice running with the light, its voice passing historically through songs of gentle color. We closed our eyes and the bird’s shadow was in our ears.

A Fourth Ending

A seagull flew over us. We got dressed and went back to Lee Mellon and Elizabeth. Roy Earle was there with them. It was good that I was not surprised.

They were all standing together in the surf and throwing Roy Earle’s money into the Pacific Ocean. Hundred dollar bills scattered off their hands.

‘What are you doing?’ I said.

Lee Mellon turned toward me, hundred dollar bills still falling off his hands, floating down onto the water.

‘Roy Earle doesn’t want his money any more, and we’re helping him throw it in the ocean.’

‘We don’t want it either,’ Elizabeth said.

‘All this money ever did was bring me here,’ Roy Earle volunteered as the hundred dollar bills fluttered like birds onto the sea.

‘You can have it,’ he said, addressing the waves. ‘Take it on home with you.’

And they did.

A Fifth Ending

A seagull flew over us. I reached up and ran my hand along his beautiful soft white feathers, feeling the arch and rhythm of his flight. He slipped off my fingers away into the sky.

186,000 Endings Per Second

Then there are more and more endings: the sixth, the 53rd, the 131st, the 9,435th ending, endings going faster and faster, more and more endings, faster and faster until this book is having 186,000 endings per second.

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