The Visible Filth
Nathan Ballingrud
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
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Chapter 9

The night is busy at Rosie’s, and most of the regular customers are present. Even Derek and his partner show up; as per usual, they start playing on the pool table. However, Alicia is not among the crowd, and her absence is causing a change in Will’s mood. He wants her to show up so that he can apologize and tell her how he feels about her. The college kid who ordered drinks from the other night is suddenly standing before him, with a wide smile on his face; but the other kids are not with him. He claims they will not stay long since he forgot his ID, and adds that the purpose for his visit was to tell him that they have “left him a little present” — possibly referring to the yellow phone and/or its contents. Thinking about Carrie, who is alone at home, he weakly asks the kid to leave her alone before ordering him out. Just before that, he asks the kid who they really are: “The truth? We’re nothing but a nice suit of clothes, waiting for someone to put us on”. He texts Carrie immediately after, and finds out that she is okay.

Alicia and Jeffrey stroll in sometime after eleven; but Will does not engage in their conversation at that moment. Derek talks to him about Eric, insisting that he should have called them during the fight. He even gives him his card with his number so that he can call the next time such an event occurs. Will notices that Jeffrey is staring at him with an expression that he cannot explain. He goes up to them, and their conversation becomes a challenge rather than a typical engagement. Subsequently, Will asks Alicia to take Jeffrey home for he is drunk. Upon Will stating that he will call her later, it becomes apparent that Jeffrey knows about them kissing. He becomes violent, but Derek stops him. Will pulls out his phone out to call Carrie, but there are two messages from her — one claiming that she believes something is in the house with her, with the other being is a picture of their apartment’s bedroom with a man is sitting at the edge of the bed facing the camera. Immediately, Will leaves the bar and attempts to drive home as quickly as he can.


Although it is a busy night at Rosie’s, Alicia’s absence is significant — at least for Will. There is a lot he wants to share with her, but he must hold it in. It is already established that the bar has its regulars, including Derek and his partner, among other individuals. The appearance of the college kid portrays his courage and disrespect for Will, as he does not seem afraid or intimidated at all — an indication of the evils he knows besides the pictures on the yellow phone. Also, Will has had a glimpse of what the kids are capable of and the filth inside them, and this explains his decision to contact Carrie and check on her immediately.

Because he is a regular, Derek feels entitled to be the first person that Will should have called on the night when the fight occurred. He wants to portray his intentions of protecting the bar, especially from intruders.

Will is happy after Alicia arrives at the bar, despite having come with Jeffrey. It seems that he had secretly wished that she would inform Jeffrey about them kissing, for it would possibly affect their relationship and, therefore, availing an opportunity for him to be with her. The conversation he has with Jeffrey is meant to shame him in front of Alicia, and intended to portray him as weak.

Finally, the messages from Carrie changed everything, where he rushes home to see her — indicating Will’s declining complacency, for he now begins to see the problems that are possibly affecting their lives now.

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