East of Our Garden
What a very great shame, Purvis. The dear cat hasn’t been seen since. I’m surprised any of our neighbors even bother with us. Wretched thing to do. When you’re out of prison again it is my intention, an effort of unwavering will, to lead you across the lawn to the gazebo overlooking the marsh. There we shall sit in silence for a time, preferably at dusk, preferably in a cool, dry season without the voracious bloodthirsty appetites of female mother mosquitoes, who desperately need to feed their babies…and there in that gazebo, Purvis, I intend to tell you why you must go—forever. Yes, of course, it will be a horrible shock. You’ve grown comfortable with your father and I taking you back. We may argue, you may wish me bodily harm. But know this, the police in the palmettos will come to my aid in an instant. You must leave, Purvis, forever. You are the cruel precipitation of god knows how many generations of planters bred on blood and guilt. But guilt no more. You are evil, inherently vicious, and you lie to torture. All that flimsy prison therapy, all those points for your false good behavior (and early release—wretched concept), all your penitent letters, those evocations of sentiments from the nursery, the tender, vulnerable lapses of childhood, and the heart-rending New Testament cajoling and whining, all the time your insincerity shining through like a bad penny, be forewarned, you will like Cain, killer of Abel, be banished east of our garden, across these marshes forever.