“She’s always run cooler, yeah,” Phillip smiled. “So, today was a good day, huh?”
“Kinda,” the boy said. “The election thing was kind of cool, but then the whole thing with Deacon made that not so cool.”
“Jeanne told me,” Phillip said. “Rob will be okay.”
“Not that,” Gene said. “Deacon got picked for Asia. He’s going to be one of the cannibals.”
“Candidates,” Phillip corrected. “Though given Deacon, maybe you’re not far off.”
“Yeah,” Gene giggled. “At least he doesn’t really eat people.”
Phillip fought the urge to say what he was really thinking. It wasn’t appropriate to suggest it seriously, right before bed. He’d probably crossed the line already, but he shrugged it off. “There aren’t any cannibals in Pittsburgh. I promise.”
“I know,” Gene said. “It’s just, I could kinda see Deacon doing it.”
“He can’t,” Phillip joked. “He has terrible taste.” Gene laughed, and Phillip reached down to give the boy a hug. “You have a good night, Gene. Dream of peace for me.”
“Love you, Phillip,” Gene said. “Good night. You sleep good, too.”
Phillip shut the door behind him and slowly walked downstairs to the den. He made his usual rounds of the night, checking doors and windows, and shutting off lights. The day had been rough on everyone, he reflected, but at least it was over.

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