A great gulf fixed
White. All white, off white and slightly yellow. Liquid.
In the all white liquid a particle popped. He heard it. Pop. Something separated and a piece of the yellow white field, a cream-colored piece, broke itself loose from the field and went up, drifting top-ward. It moved slowly through the slog, rising until it came up to the top edge, letting free a bubble and then resting there.
He watched. Another one went. The loosed pieces gathered along the top of the off white in a line, a layer of color more off white than the color below. The line thickened. The one white separated, while he watched, into two.
The cream rises, he heard heard a grandfather say, his grandfather or some other old man. Separating. He watched.
When Detective Bitty sat up he was in his chair, leaning back and snoring. He was sweating and all the liquid had come out of his body and was sponging up in his shirt collar and below his arms and between his back and the chair. His put two fingers in behind his collar, sliding them around between his tie knot and the front of his neck.
The picture in the frame on the wall had slipped, leaving the wall showing through the top quarter of the frame. The frame framing nothing there. The picture, a picture of a house in the woods, was one quarter blocked behind the bottom matting.
He sat up and pulled his feet off his desk, knocking free a sheaf of papers piled in a manilla folder. The folder opened sideways, opening up over the edge of the desk and a few pages slid out, falling like leaves onto the floor.