The great sham in accepting for myself the reason for my own successes and Eller's departure amid them is that I have ignored the chain of causality that brought Eller and I together in the first place, dragged from our respective coasts and brought together in the furthest point from the ocean (in fact, that was the primary draw of the town, its absolute land-lockedness). I have opted, rather, chosen to situate myself in history, footnoted with a date of birth—present, in situ, never to be expanded upon, while Eller preferes, distinctly, the flow of time, the reassurance of his past and his future, which I have traded for an admittedly stellar present, reflective of my only recent past. To be footnoted, he thinks, is to be unable to write the remainder of his story, to be afixed; in his mind, I had left him, stepped into the airport lounge of history where he was not welcome, and this is perhaps true. I would, from then on, have little say over my own character, but I was also free to do largely as I pleased, so long as I did nothing to overshadow myself. Eller left when he saw that this was my aim, that I would no longer plot and scheme with him, no longer stay up writing our own obituaries, revising them based on the moods and happenings of the day. After my citation, I stopped writing altogether (I am dictating even this), content to have been born. Perhaps there would never be a second edition, and my death would never be noted for posterity. When they talk of the immortality granted by the written word, this is it. The other truth of it is that I could have insisted on Eller's inclusion, which is really the heart of the matter; we were the other's primary source of amendment and abridgement in those years, and I could scarcely take credit for a thought, so deeply entangled were the two of us; I can, even now, reviewing what has been dictated (we had taken a break, and have now returned), point to phrases that only Eller would have uttered naturally, and myself only under his austere influence. But I now exist. What more could become of it? When Eller and I had only just met, only just become acquainted, we could scarecly imagine a division between us. The smallest fissure was simply not there, and we looked. After a local expression, around him, I could keep my hands in my pockets, and vice versa, which is to say—and this is only my interpretation—that the added context of gestural speech was unneccesary, so well did we understand one another. (Another interpretation would be that, among formal company, it may be considered rude to stand with your hand in your pockets and rock thoughlessly on your heels.) We came from opposing coasts, but seemed to speak the same dialect, had similar cadences, etc. Which all leads back to this rupture, and how unforseen it had been for both Eller and myself. I never struck out to receive citation, never so much as ventured a letter of inquiry. The damndest things happen on impulse. If Eller had taken himself seriously... no, I can't fault him. I won't stoop to that. If a marble becomes stuck in sand while another rolls on, it may just be that there were imperfections in the surface to begin with. Oh, I was an opportunist. This much I'll grant you. Only the stiff and otherwise unhealthy are not opportunists. Modern life has just made it seem not so, with its abundant second chances. I have been vague, to this point, and I know that expectations are heightened. When I opted to confess to the killing which we had both committed... this is how you would like me to go on. The stuff of honor and absolution. Hemingway's leftovers. Or else I had done something frivolous, like copulate with a farm animal. But this is says more about you, than it does me. Your mind goes to crime, paints Eller a fugitive, me a miscreant. Why else would I have dictated the story, if not this? Well, why indeed.

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