This is part of serialized short story. I posted the beginning on 11.03.2012, and if you click on the label, “The Adventure of Alphus Gibb,” you can see all the available pieces together. I’ll be posting new segments on Sundays. I hope you like it.

            The hospital had big square tiles on the floor. Alphus was watching the squares. The nurse started talking to Masha. Some tiles were burgundy and the rest were white.

            Masha told Alphus that the hospital was borrowing Suzan for a while. He slept during the ride home.

            “Safety is an illusion.” Masha told Alphus. She sometimes had these flashes of parental guidance.

            “Feeling safe comes from comfort and denial. Comfort comes from denial, too. From lying. I’ve been told to have my keys out before I walk to my car and to not jog by myself or sleep with someone I don’t know very well, as if that would be enough to get through life. They should have told me to go around naked, and start drinking at 3:00, and to take the doors off the hinges. Because glass can break, and locks are only an inconvenience. People in line at the grocery store can say things that make you want to take a shower afterwards. Or a couple of showers. Going to sleep at night is a wildly irresponsible act. You’re right to be afraid of the dark.

“The only thing for it, Alphus, is bravery. Alcohol and bravery. Only if you’re very good at lying to yourself can you count on feeling safe.” 

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