“Friend of the folk”

“Maybe it’s a girl thing. I don’t know. Guys generally don’t put each other on the spot. Not unless they wanna get socked in the face.”

“Why do you put up with it?”

“What else can I do? Weird as it sounds it feels like at the very least I’m obligated to show him some courtesy since we knew each other prior to being here. If I had just met the guy Id tell him to fuck off. All I can think of to do is get the hell away from him. Even Alyce knows the guy gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

_______

Three months. Three months of listening to a deluded, deranged and slightly demented white boy rant morning, noon and night. If it weren’t for the food line Will could’ve avoided Cletus altogether but since the facility was only so big and locked there wasn’t much that could be done. What Will neglected to tell his therapist at their weekly meetings was that he may have inadvertently been the cause of it all.

Somehow when they first met Cletus happened to mention he was in for manufacturing. Hearing this Will struck up a conversation in which he offered to help him start an operation so they’d both get back on their feet once released. Cletus good naturedly agreed to show Will the ropes but as time passed Will started getting the sense that Cletus was bullshitting. He didn’t know a damn thing. By the time he realized it-it was too late. Cletus has gotten used to the attention.

Now that they were both at Bellevue waiting for outpatient housing Will prayed for some sort of solution. He didn’t know how much longer he’d be able to take hearing more of how much money Cletus supposedly had made on the streets or idiotic rumors about the president being unable to find his way back inside the White House. For someone who didn’t vote and was on public assistance it was infuriating. To him Cletus seemed like one of those pathetic souls who cling onto any cause to feel a sense of belonging. To cover up a wasted life.

“So they coming to get me man.”

“Who’s coming to get you?”

“My people. The one’s I done told you bout.”

“Oh. Okay…”

“Yeah man. They already picked up my cousin. The one who used to go to the University of Florida for organ transplants. One of them surgists.”

“Surgeon you mean?”

“Naw. Surgist what they call it. The people who be doing transplants.”

“Un-huh.” Although tempted to press the issue Will let it go. It wasn’t worth having Cletus throw a tantrum. The last time staff dared correct him it was no surprise that later one of the restrooms ended up with graffiti etched all over the walls. Everyone knew who did it. So for the sake of avoiding something spiteful being done to him Will just held his tongue and listened for what was probably the hundredth time about how Cletus’s “people” were somehow going to get him out of Bellevue.

The day came when Will woke up abruptly to the sound of fire alarms and his bedsheet being pulled out from under him by Cletus who stood over him pale and terrified. In a fit of rage Will barked at him.

“What the fuck?!”

“Help me man! They came!”

“Help you? What in the fucks your problem?”

“I-I messed up. Messed up the signs. They see me now…I can’t close it!”

“What?”

“The stuff I wrote on the walls. They was supposed to help…they see me now!”

Vaguely Will recalled some odd symbols and Cletus’s rants about his so-called “people”.

“You been fucking with the Lwa?! You dumb fuck!”

With dawning realization Will felt truly sorry for Cletus and forgot about trying to not hurt his feelings.

“I told you I was Haitian and to one-up me you go ahead and start messing with magic…I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”

He barely finished saying this when a suffocating presence entered the room. Will’s eyes for some reason was forced to look away while Cletus uttered a muffled sob.

Intuitively Will knew it had not come for him.