Three years later Abel Erikson was alone in his San Francisco house at the top of Pemberton steps watching fog from a living room terrace window drifting below Twin Peaks and into the city. Fog always depressed him especially when it was wet and grey and cold. But even without fog he was unhappy. Unhappy over his boy not being with him. The boy was late and, as usual, had not phoned to let him know he was running late. His behavior had become rude and inconsiderate, and he was angry about the constant way the boy disrespected him after he had done so much for the boy. His dinner in would be cold and tasteless when he got home. He’d left it there on the sideboard in the dining room and decided he wouldn’t care since the boy had not called. However, he did care and knew he would gladly warm the boy’s dinner the moment he said he was hungry because he loved the boy incurably. His great love for the boy had not changed. He sucked his teeth wanting to scream and swung around. Two decanters were on top of the bar, one full of gin, the other brandy. He hesitated and felt himself shivering as he was moved gingerly towards the bar.
A mirror behind the bar captured him readying gin and vermouth and draining it tirelessly over crushed ice into a shaker he grasped and shook vigorously. He got a glass from underneath the counter slamming it down on the bar, dropped in two olives pierced on a toothpick and filled the glass to the rim. As the olives floated to the top, he cracked a smile and hesitated before lifting the martini to his mouth remembering once upon a time when he could drink until he was literally blue in the face. There were no hangovers then, no problems. Now he went to therapy and made special appearances at AA meetings upon his therapist's suggestion. He hated the meetings, having to sit there in that melancholy room, half listening to their stories, thinking he wasn't as far gone as those people. Drinking out of control and waking up in a gutter was not something he had in common with any of them.
He looked dubiously up at the ceiling admitting he was powerless over alcohol-that his life had become unmanageable. The second step he whispered, then paused at mid-sentence unnerved to hear her feet in a pair of exhausted slippers dragging across the floor and coming up the hall. He looked at the door and saw her in the doorway, her snow-white hair erect like an electric bush. A beige gown clinging unnaturally making her look naked. She struggled breathing through her mouth and, then swallowing, leered at the chandelier never noticing his presence in the room when her trembling fingers like bony bird claws reached for the light switch shutting out the light.
"Farchrisake!” he hollered.
"Ahab," the old woman gasped, turning white and grabbing her heart.
“Turn that light back on, now!”
“Oh no," she cried, stumbling to find the switch. "I didn't know anyone was here." She squinted her eyes in the light and saw it was not Ahab at all. She panicked and backed up.
"That’s right, it is I,” Abel said scornfully. “The other one! You so ardently hate.”
"I don't hate you so much.”
"Why I’m flattered,” said Abel, and he smiled grimly pouring the martini he’d just made down the drain and rolled his eyes. “Now be a good girl, go back to your room.”
“How dare you speak to me in that manner. I’m not a child or a simpleminded crone to be told what to do.”
“Indeed you’re not a child, but simpleminded and in need of instruction is debatable.”
“I’m your mother.”
“Yes, let’s not forget your maternal devotion that’s neither here nor there.”
“I happen to get an allowance every month, young fellow. Ahab deposits it in the bank to-"
"Ahab made those deposits of your measly pennies alright, right into his own personal account! Right down to your last nickel. Silly woman, don’t you know there’s nothing left? That Ahab spent it all.”
"Ahab wouldn't have.”
“In fact, he would have allowed this house to foreclose from right under your nose if I had-"
"You always do that. Why must you make up filthy lies to torture me?"
"I just can't get it.” Abel threw his hands up in the air helplessly. "After all the miserable years you've spent with Ahab, you still insist defending him against me when it Ahab, your first begotten bastard son who bankrupted his inheritance and defrauded you."
"I'll get Ahab. He'll speak the truth unlike your filthy lies."
”Then you’ll have to go all the way to 6th Street to find him.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course not. Ahab has been evicted.”
"Evicted as in discarded like an old shoe thrown into the trash."
"Because he’s a son of a bitch living in an SRO, nothing more than a flophouse he deserves and where I suspect he’d surely perish since I won’t support him anymore.”
The thought of Ahab being evicted had never actually occurred to her. Poverty—yes by his own doing, but eviction—no, she had never considered that when they had a home. Harpogon built at the top of Pemberton steps below the heaviest fog on Twin Peaks had always been their San Francisco home that Carl James, her husband, their father, first named Harpogon after the family Charleston house on Tradd Street. And then the bitter memory of Ahab’s eviction from Harpogon came back to her. She cringed feeling his pain, his desperate despair wrenching in her gut. Her eyes welled up with tears recalling the policemen dragging Ahab down the stairs kicking and screaming to never be seen again by his own mother. "Ahab can't be gone," she snapped. "He simply can't be. Why would you evict him? Your own brother? It was because of her, wasn’t it? Her! That woman?"
"Why mother," retorted Abel, "you are that woman."
She started to leave, then recoiled long enough to accept they were a cold family of stone, heartless and unforgiving of each other’s faults. They had always been that way since the beginning. "I don't hate you so much," she said wiping tears from her eyes.
"Get the hell out or shall I remove you personally? Dearest mother, you wouldn't prefer that..."
"All right,” she sucked her teeth and raised her chin high. “I am leaving...now." She left the room feeling her hands along the wall like a blind woman and, entering her bedroom down the hall, she slammed the door hard enough with all her strength.
"Wretched bitch!" Abel muttered under his breath pulling his fingers through his hair with gritted teeth. He started to make another martini to finish this time because he needed it when he heard the front door banged open downstairs, he squirted club soda into a glass instead. Footsteps pounded, rushing up.
"Darling, I’m home," came the boy's breathless voice from in the doorway.
His boy had come safely home. He wouldn't complain or question him about his day away from him. Besides, he had argued long enough with Zerita, his scraggly mother, about those goddamn cats all day. That had exhausted him. "Well, don't just stand there,” he said walking quietly to the sofa. "Come in my boy."