The Visible Filth
Nathan Ballingrud
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
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Chapter 2
Summary

Will comes home in the wee hours of the night. Carrie always leaves the light over the oven on for him. Once settled, he takes a beer from the fridge and sits at the kitchen table. The events that encountered at the bar have given him a buzz. At this point, the author confirms that the police later came to the bar, during which Will gave his statement. Eric’s fight was the worst ever, and it may just slow his drinking behavior for a while. Will goes to the bedroom where Carrie is already asleep. He stands there, looking at her for a while, before returning to the kitchen for another round given that he is not sleepy yet.

He hears a musical chime but is unsure about it. The sound comes again, and this time he feels the vibration. It is the phone he picked from the bar. After examining it, he notices that there is a notification of two received messages. He decides to read them, and they are from someone called Garrett. The messages seem scary, as the sender says he thinks there is something present around him, and is scared. After receiving another scary message, Will starts to think that the kids are the ones who are messing with him. He subsequently replies by saying that they should pick up the phone from the bar at six on the next day.

There are roaches in the house too, and they keep making notable movements — of which heightens the already-sombre mood. He wants to join Carrie, but the scene at the bar keeps coming back to his mind, especially how Jeffrey tried to help out Eric during the brawl at the bar. The phone buzzes again — this time, with a message asking about Tina. Will becomes annoyed and texts back saying that she should pick it up tomorrow night at the bar. He feels guilty for being rude on the phone, as well as shame for not taking action like Jeffrey at the bar. Finally, he sets the phone’s ringer to “off” before heading to the bedroom, ignoring the messages which were sent after that.

Analysis

Will’s job and working hours clearly do not allow him to come home early. It seems that Carrie has already adjusted to her boyfriend’s job, as well as lifestyle, considering that she leaves the oven light on for him every night. Although bar fights are common, it seems that the one Will witnessed tonight was like no other since it keeps coming back to his mind, denying him of his sleep.

He had already forgotten about the yellow phone, for he fails to comprehend the source of the musical chime. Without giving much thought, he reads the incoming messages — being a potential invasion of the owner’s privacy. Furthermore, he even replies to the messages thinking that the sender is only trying to mess with him. The messages are scary, and the presence of roaches heightens those emotions. The information exhibited by the conversations shows the possibility of Garrett being in real danger, but Will cannot comprehend that for it is possible that he is self-centered to the extent of not wanting to put himself in danger to help others. For example, the bar fight and the shame he feels explains his nature — for he failed to stop it when it was his duty as the bartender. Once again, he decides to ignore someone who might be in real danger, but with the notion that it is the college kids who are playing a prank on him.

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