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back to work.
Dad seemed a whole lot better since he and Momma went off on their own, but still not the same as before Gill died. I never cared one way or the other about Gill, 'cept for when Terry was stalkin' him and I went along. I feel kinda' bad about that now, but I never did anything to hurt Gill or help Terry finish him off either. It just feels bad now that he's dead.

Momma always says, "the conscience is the thing that hurts when everything else feels so good." I guess it's my conscience making me feel bad about Gill, whatever my conscience is.

I went to work with Dad the first day he got back from their trip. Work that day was driving around taking orders for helium from party stores and from a chain of novelty supply houses that sell wholesale to other stores. Work also was picking up empty cylinders of helium and cleaning valves on site or gathering boxes of failed regulators and bags of cracked o-rings.

"Hot dogs for lunch today?" Dad asked right when we were about to pull into the next town. He knows I love hot dogs, like, more than peanut butter, even.

"Does the pope poop in the woods?" That made Dad smile. I don't know why, but when Dad smiles I automatically rub my hands together and shuffle my feet. I was doin' it when he smiled in the truck, pulling into Snoopy's Dog Shack off the highway.

"Yep, clean little holy turds," he said. "But the real question is, if there's no one there to hear it, does it still smell?"



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