– – Look at that albatross.
– – It isn’t an albatross, Al. How many times do I have to tell you. That’s a buzzard.
– – Not an albatross, Frank?
– – No, it’s a buzzard. Albatrosses are over the ocean, and we’re a thousand miles from the ocean. We’re in the desert, dammit.
They were crawling in a desert, under a brutal sun that, like an incandescent copper disc, radiated terrible photons upon them and upon everything else as far as they could see, mostly endless sand.
– – How about that over there, Frank?
– – What?
– – That white whale.
– – It’s a sand dune, Al.
– – Not a whale, in the middle of the ocean?
– – I keep telling you, we’re nowhere near water. We’re dying of thirst here, in the desert.
– – Not the ocean, huh?
– – Al, why do you have to hallucinate saltwater when we’re dying of thirst?
There was not much more time for them. Frank knew it. The circling buzzard seemed to know it. If only they had some freshwater.
– – Over there, Frank. We’re saved.
– – What? What is it, Al?
– – It’s an above-ground swimming pool, and it’s about half full of water.
– – You finally hallucinate some freshwater, and it’s an above-ground pool?
– – But how about the freshwater?
– – Forget it. My cousin Ralph has one of those things in his backyard. And I hate that pool almost as much as I hate Ralph…