This friend who never dies leaves his place at Hollywood Cemetery, catches the four a.m. bus to your bedside and urges you to come with him to the creek where you caught sixteen bass one year on July third. You promise him you will if you can sleep a little longer. He decided to live just so he could see the shimmering fish fly from the shallow water like silver footballs. He pulls at the covers until you feel the cool spring morning slither up your legs to your troubled middle. Admit it, you deny him, but you don’t have the heart to explain how you saw him all those years back stuffed in a white coffin and a suit that had not fit him since high school, how you and his other buddies went every day to court in Charlotte to see what happened to the biker scum who shot him in the back of the head because of what was on the jukebox. You tell him what happened. He says that’s just revenge. He wants to know about your car and how much beer costs. Know any girls who might go with you and how hard is it now to find good, strong, cheap reefer. It’s hard to tell him that you have not smoked in over ten years. You’re cautious now about women. You don’t just have sex with them. The loneliness sometimes feels better than waking up with someone you cannot look at. Dreams. And life. And tell him you remember now the sixteen bass, how they shot from the water that was clear and cooler than the air in any beer joint, but go on, there’s a bridge there now for the bypass. Life is like that. You drank your last beer, smoked your last joint, screwed your last hole, played your last jukebox. You sit up and ask him what’s the difference but he’s gone.