Monday, December 29, 2008

An Aversion to Pecans

Unscrewing the top, Jip Jones noticed a pecan on the floor. Being averse to such nuts, he let out a faint howl. Then he went back to unscrewing the top.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mrs. Kerchif and her son, with the latter reading the paper and the former wondering what might be contained within the paper being read

Mrs. Kerchif enters her son’s room. He is sitting on a couch reading the paper. When Mrs. Kerchif sees this she lets out a deep sigh. The son looks up.


The mother smiles. She loves when her son speaks to her. “So you found the paper father left?”

The son shakes the paper.

“Well I was just making sure.” She waits briefly for a response, and then turns and leaves the room.

Mrs. Kerchif is now standing outside of her son’s room. She is thinking about all of the things that her son might be reading about. She lets out another deep sigh.



“Why are you standing outside of my room?”

“Oh, I’m not dear.”

The son doesn’t reply, but Mrs. Kerchif can hear the crumpling of paper. Then she hears his footsteps. Mrs. Kerchif’s son walks out of his room and past his mother. He doesn’t look at her as he passes, but she is staring hard at him. “Where are you going?” she gasps. He doesn’t reply to this either, but instead hurries down the hallway. Moments later Mrs. Kerchif hears the front door open and then almost immediately slam shut. She smiles, then enters her son’s room. She walks over to the crumpled paper on the floor. Picking up pieces at random, she skims over the paper’s contents. Having sufficiently perused the paper, Mrs. Kerchif leaves her son’s room. She goes to her chair near the front door and sits down. She will wait here for her son to return.

In a cardboard box, on Friday, with two guests, one related, the other not, Gene plays host.

Gene, feeling obligated, begins:

Good evening.

The other two:

Hello, Gene.


Do you two know each other?


Absolutely not.


Well then I must introduce you.


No need.



Nothing more is said the rest of the evening.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Allegory Overheard While Rehearsing For The Production Of A Play In Which I Was To Have A Minor But Nonetheless Significant Role

A man walked down a road. He was tired, but he kept walking. Then he heard a chirp. He paused to think about the chirp, but then continued walking. Finally he got to where he had been walking to, so he sat down. While seated, the man had all sorts of thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts would lead him back to the chirp he had heard only just recently. The man wondered what sort of creature had made the chirp. Finally, he decided to look for whatever it was. He began walking down the same road from which he had just come. He walked and walked and walked, listening all the while for a chirp. Then, suddenly, he heard a chirp. Was it the same chirp? he asked himself. Was that the same chirp I heard earlier? He couldn’t decide. Being uncertain, he stopped walking. He didn’t dare continue, knowing that this might be the same chirp he had heard earlier. At the same time, he couldn’t help thinking that, perhaps, it wasn’t the same chirp. The man is still standing there to this day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finally Understanding What Everyone Else Has Always Understood

A nasty bug had been going around the office. People were miserable and suffering. Everyone had a sniffle or cough or weepy eye. Everyone, that is, except Chandra. Chandra never got sick. She was always, as she put it, fine. People resented Chandra for this reason, and despite her naturally ingratiating personality, she had very few friends in the office.

Chandra’s husband was the same way: he never got sick. Or at least he hadn’t ever gotten sick until now. This nasty bug, the one that had been going around Chandra’s office, had also been going around Chandra’s husband’s office, and he had caught it. When he came home sniffling and coughing and weepy eyed, Chandra’s face dropped. “What’s wrong?” she asked. Chandra’s husband looked up at her and in an instant realized why everyone disliked his wife. “Nothing,” he said, and walked sullenly back to their bedroom to be alone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thack and Smith

A man named Thack set a grapefruit on top of the head of a woman named Smith. He told her to hold still. She tried, but something made her shudder. The grapefruit rolled off of her head and hit the floor with a small thud. Thack picked it up. He stared at it for a moment, then walked with it over to a chair. He set the grapefruit down on the seat of the chair and stepped back from it. Both he and Smith stared at the seated grapefruit. Then Thack walked back over to the chair and picked up the grapefruit. “You see,” he said, “like that.” She nodded her head to show she understood, and then Thack walked back over to her. He set the grapefruit back atop Smith’s head. This time she didn’t shudder. The grapefruit balanced atop her head for several minutes. Finally Thack walked back over to her and removed the grapefruit. “Now you see,” he said. “”Yes,” she replied, “I do.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


There is a long string tied between two trees. One girl notices the string and adroitly hops over it. Another girl does not see the string, however, so when she walks through the trees she trips and falls. Had there been people there, they all would have laughed. As it was, though, I was the only person who saw it, and I felt it would be rude to laugh at the girl. Instead we just sort of awkwardly nodded at one another, and then the girl hurried along.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Boys and Bugs

Vincent imagined that being an insect wouldn’t be all that much different than being a boy. He even came up with some reasons to support this idea: bugs, like boys, have legs; also, bugs have eyes. Legs and eyes, those two fundamental human traits, are also shared by bugs, and as a result, a little boy named Vincent imagined that being an insect wouldn’t be all that much different than being a boy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Woman Leaving a Room

He sat straight up in his chair. She stood above him. Her neck was red, but her face was white as ash. Attached to his long left pant leg he had a small, unsharpened knife. It had a red handle.

They were inside of a room. The room had white walls, and the bright light on the ceiling gave it an exaggeratedly harsh look. This look was the reason she had once wanted to move into the room, but now it only antagonized her. She hated the way she looked in it, and she was constantly rubbing parts of herself as if to protect them from the light. He had never cared about the light, but now he was upset with the way it made her look. It was like a refutation of his taste, a blow to his connoisseurship, etc.

She had been standing above him for several minutes, her neck growing redder with each passing moment, her face more blanched. He could hardly look at her now. She was menacing and awful. He folded his left leg over his right and began stroking his calf. He wanted to laugh, but he knew what would happen. So he stared at her or at the harsh white walls, or he would just let his eyes roll desultorily about. At last, finally, the woman coughed into her thin, ringed hand. He looked immediately up at her and began:

“I know. I know. But I always said. I mean, I have.” He stopped there. His eyes fled back toward the walls. He continued rubbing his calf.

Her voice began, choked, almost coughing, “What?”

“Well I did,” he said. “I absolutely did.” He still wasn’t looking at her. He just looked hard at the wall and rubbed his calf.

“Perfect. Perfect. Of course.” She coughed each of these words at him, and she never withdrew her gaze.

“I don’t know. I don’t. You know. I can say something. I have.” He laughed at this. “I have.”

At this her body heaved forward, but it snapped back almost immediately. She caught herself. Then her face split. Strange rubicund thorns blossomed all over her blanched face. A sort of scream seemed to be swallowed. She turned away from the man and walked stiffly towards the door. “I’ll just go then,” she whispered.

He looked at her again. He was smiling, but not laughing. Nodding his head, he said, “Sure.”

She walked out of the apartment.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finding A Note, Composing A Note, And Not Sending A Note, Along With Other Biographical Details

A short note was found under a waste bin. It read: ok for now. uncertainty later. will speak when possible. ha. yrs. And the initials were smudged. A man found this note. The man’s name was Hall. He worked for a textile company. Three months prior to having found the note, Hall had insulted someone he had been intimate with. When he found this note, he was reminded of this person. He didn’t care for his job, but he kept it anyway. He felt that this was easier than looking for a new one. After reading the note, he decided that he would try to contact the person he had insulted. He wrote them a note. It read: for now, certain. speaking when possible. unamused. yrs. H. His initial wasn’t smudged – he made sure of this. He was going to stamp it and drop it in the post, but he remembered that the rate for stamps had gone up recently. He only had stamps at the old rate, so he didn’t send the note. He still works at the textile company, and he still prefers this to looking for a new job.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Heroine and Mr. Round Roundly

On top of her head sat a small cap. It was brown with a faint yellow bow. Underneath the cap, at the peak of the lining, was a pink button. Nobody but her knew about this button, though, because she never took off her cap. She didn’t take her cap off because, as she said, she didn’t feel inclined to do so. People, curious creatures that they are, would often ask her if there was anything they could do that might incline her to remove the cap. No, she would reply, absolutely not. And she meant this. There wasn’t anything anybody could do to make her feel inclined to take off her cap. Or this was what she thought, anyway, prior to meeting Mr. Round Roundly.

Mr. Round Roundly was a proud young literary man. He had brown hair and square, solid teeth. He spoke in clipped but elegant sentences, and was considered to be a very amiable young man.

One day Mr. Round Roundly saw our heroine sitting alone in the middle of the street, atop a stool, wearing, naturally, her brown cap. Thinking it odd that a woman should be sitting atop a stool in the middle of the street, Mr. Round Roundly approached her. Cars buzzed by the two as they sat conversing in the middle of the street, and though many onlookers strained to hear what was being said, nobody could make out much above the roar of the automobiles. The only thing about this interaction that anyone can be certain of is that, after several moments of what seemed like pleasant enough conversation, our heroine removed her cap and stuck it smilingly atop the head of Mr. Round Roundly. A great gasp could be heard above the roar of the cars, and all eye were fixed on the couple. Finally, our heroine hopped down from her stool and locked arms with Mr. Round Roundly, and the two walked carelessly through the traffic and out of the street. They left the stool behind them, and to this day it remains in the middle of the street, a symbol of this inscrutable event.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the Existence of Ornithologists

For a bird to be that – a bird – it must possess a number of more or less essential qualities. There are certain sorts of humans that know with certainty what these more or less essential qualities are. These certain sorts of humans are known as ornithologists. Why anyone would want to know the more or less essential qualities of these creatures – birds – I cannot say with any degree of certainty. That they exist, however, is irrefutable.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Engineer

He had set up a device to help him consume his soup. A bowl (of soup) was set atop a stack of books. Then, he laced together a number of celery stalks, and angled them up towards the bowl. This created a sort of channel from the bowl to his mouth. He would then kick out one of the books. This was supposed to cause the bowl to spit forth a bit of soup. With any luck some of the spit soup would land in the celery channel, and with a bit more luck the soup would be able to pass down the entirety of the long channel and into his mouth. It was not the most efficient way of eating soup – this he would willingly admit – but it was, as he was always repeating, the most interesting way.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two Men

A man enters another man’s room and sits down. He has not been invited, but he does not appear to be unwelcome. The man whose room it is even nods at the guest, but he does not smile. He is seated in a cushioned brown chair, and his eyes are only barely open. The other man, the guest, points at an empty chair next to the seated man. The seated man nods again, but his face remains impassive. Once the guest has seated himself, he reaches into his pocket. After a few moments, he withdraws a single unbent, pristine flower. He holds the flower perpendicularly to the ground. He shakes it slightly, and then stops so that it is again perpendicular to the floor. After this short ritual he retires the flower, stuffing it back into his pocket. He turns his head so that he is now looking at the man whose room it is. Both his eyes close, and as they do his grayish tongue begins to poke slowly out of his mouth. The other man, the man whose room it is, turns his head towards the man. He is offended, but only slightly. He closes his nearly shut eyes, but he does not stick out his tongue. He turns away from his guest and sinks more deeply into his seat. The other man, feeling rebuffed, recoils his tongue and turns away from the man. He too sinks into his chair. Neither has their eyes open, but neither is asleep. Some time passes. Then the guest stands up. He walks over to the host and grabs him by the chin. He shakes the seated man’s head jerkily from side to side. He stares hard down at him. The host’s face is unflinching; it is totally unresponsive. The guest lets go of the man. He stands above him, shaking slightly. He lets out a faint grown, and then turns towards the door.

Standing at the door, the guest turns and once more looks at the seated man. “And tomorrow,” he whispers. The host, without opening his eyes, whispers, “Of course.” The other man turns the door’s handle and disappears from the room.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


He read: cocktails @ 8. yours &c, rw

Chuckling and sniffling at once, Laim Clot stuffed the missive into his pocket. He then took one of his ten fingers and rubbed it against the lobe of his left ear. He could not explain why he had done this, but this is understandable since no one had asked him to.

In three weeks time Laim Clot will be dead. The papers will pronounce it an accident, his family a tragedy, and his friends, well, his friends will most likely chuckle and sniffle all at the same time, but not really pronounce it anything at all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Man in a Cup

He felt like he was inside of a cup. It was a slender cup, though he was by no means a slender man. He was not uncomfortable, however. Simply annoyed. And then the bird came.

A bird was always coming to him when he felt as if he were inside of a cup: a big colorful bird that makes all sorts of sounds. He would always confuse these sounds with words and begin speaking to the creature. This always seemed to quiet the bird down, and after a few moments it would typically fly away. The man would then be left alone, still feeling as if he were inside of a slender but not uncomfortable cup.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Allegory Overheard in the Woods

Two fish forget for a moment that they are fish. One of them thinks that it is a bird, so tries to fly from the water. The other, thinking that it is a rodent, tries to scurry across the beach. The fish that tries to fly flops briefly out of the water but tumbles almost immediately back in. The fish that tries to scurry across the sand, however, is never able to return to the water. It flops about on the beach for a while, until finally it grows tired and falls asleep. It never wakes back up. Since other fish witnessed the surviving fish try to fly, they tease it relentlessly to this day. Since no fish saw the other fish try to scurry across the beach, however, it has been entirely forgotten.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mull's Mail

Unfortunately for Mull, the mail is not coming today. He only very rarely received anything in the mail, but he was always anxious for it to come. What might it bring today? he would ask himself. Then he would imagine all sorts of things that it might bring: a salad, a new can of paint, a thumbtack, a toothbrush. Mull would have been pleased with any of these things, and thus each day he would anxiously await the coming of the mail. Today, though, the mail is not going to come, which is unfortunate for Mull, obviously.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


She had had big strands of hair. They covered her whole head. You could grab one in your hand and wiggle it. When you did this she would laugh. She is old now, though, and nobody grabs at her big strands of hair any longer. They have gotten thinner over the years anyway, so it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. In fact, she only has normal strands of hair now, which really aren’t worth wiggling at all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If it has to be cotton, he said, I don’t think I’ll bother.

The woman looked a bit stunned. Who said anything about cotton?

The man, considering her words, blinked. I never suggested anyone had.

Then what are you talking about?

Nothing. He paused. I never talk about anything.

The woman bit her lip, then blinked. Never? she asked.

Rarely, he replied.

The two then joined hands. They walked a great distance together. Then, just as suddenly as they had clasped hands, they released one another. Turning in opposite directions, each began marching away from the other in loud, deliberate steps. I’ll be seeing you, said the woman from over her shoulder.

I’ll eat swarms of the stuff, swarms of it, the man said, also from over his shoulder.

Several weeks pass. Neither the man nor the woman thinks a single thought about the other. Then, suddenly, they run into each other on the street.

What are you doing here? she asks him.

Two-thirds, or maybe a pigeon more.

Irritated, the woman throws up her arms. The boy, tired, lies down at her feet. She shakes her head, steps over his supine frame, and continues down the street.

Were this tale to go on these two would meet several more times, until finally they decide no longer to meet but to instead simply be together at all times. It will not go on, however, so we leave them where they are. A woman, continuing down the street, and a man, once lying at a woman’s feet, but now merely lying on the ground.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Cup's Contents

Inside of a rather ornate goblet sits a smallish yellow pickle. Sir Clumb Hoof had left it there. This little morsel was later discovered by one Lady Chit Heel. Upon her discovery she let out a small gasp, then fell to the floor. This rather large morsel was discovered by Pal Loot (untitled, sadly). It was met with indifference. Later, Lady Chit Heel’s fallen frame was found by Father Pall. Father Pall was a popular man. He owned a dozen game hens and called each by the same name – Neh. Women adored Father Pall, and the Father adored his female faithful. Lady Chit Heel, not being among this sacred sect, was again met with indifference. What interested Father Pall, though, was the goblet on the table. He went over to it and peeked inside. Noticing the smallish yellow pickle sitting inside, he stuck in two of his ringed fingers and plucked it out. He held it up close to his face and examined it. Being hungry, he then ate it. He left the room with as little ceremony as he had entered it, and Lady Chit Heel was once again left alone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rooms and an Attic

Tucked away behind a large crate and a big brass trophy sat little Lara Smit. She had been crying, as usual, and her face was still faintly gleaming. A humming noise could be heard coming up through the floorboards, but Lara strained not to hear it.

Lara had been coming up to the attic for as long as she could remember. It was a private place, and Lara felt she needed privacy. Like all people that feel this way, Lara was prone to excessive crying. It is said that the best thing one can do for a person with such a disposition is to ignore them, and thus we will presently turn our attention away from the attic.

Below the attic there are several rooms. Some of these rooms have beds, others sinks, and still others chairs. In one of the rooms with chairs a man is sitting by himself. Though he does not particularly care for privacy or solitude, he, like Lara, is alone. He doesn’t have a hair on his head, and this detail makes his solitude all the more comic.

A lady stands in one of the rooms with a sink. She is tall and thin and ugly. There is also another man in this room, and he is staring at the ugly woman. He cannot understand why it was that he had built so many rooms with sinks. You see, this man was an architect-builder. He had been responsible for the construction of the majority of the rooms beneath the attic. Now though, years after having built so many of these rooms, he couldn’t fathom why it was he had thought it necessary to build so many rooms with sinks. He thought about this as he stared at the tall, ugly woman.

None of the rooms with beds are occupied at the moment, but in a few hours the majority of them will be. Lara, for instance, will be in one, and so will the bald man. The architect-builder will not be in a bed, for he does not sleep, but the tall, thin, ugly woman will be occupying one. Other people will be in certain of the other rooms, and the attic will be empty.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not wanting to say a thing about something.

Each of his paintings was hung. That is how paintings are meant to be. They are meant to be hung. And his were no different. The only difference with his being this: he painted them in blackness. He used colors though. Or so he thought. He didn’t know, of course. Until he hung them. Then he could tell. He hung his paintings in the light. In lightness. People can see them in the light and in lightness. People can come if they want and see them for themselves. People can do this and do. That is something that people do. They see things that other people have made. When they see these things, these paintings, they say things to them and about them. They say to them oh my. They say about them oh my and then something more. They add things when they are saying something about them. Not when they say things to them, though. When you say something to a painting you don’t say much. Usually just oh my. Or if it is a painting that isn’t the type of painting you like then you don’t say anything at all to it. You glance at it and maybe note something or maybe not and then you glide along. People are always gliding when they look at paintings. They look at paintings and they somehow just manage to glide along. Then something else will come along. Usually a someone else. And they will be forced to talk about paintings. Or something else. Usually something else at first and then about paintings. In the course of talking about a painting one of the people will usually think of some reason to no longer have to talk about anything. They will part. Then they won’t be saying anything to anyone but will instead be gliding again. They prefer this. Though people are always saying things, really they prefer not to. They prefer instead to glide or be in darkness or in lightness. They prefer instead of saying things about things to instead simply say things to things. They prefer simply to say oh my. They prefer simply saying oh my to a painting and then gliding along. People do not want to say about things anything, but they do. Despite themselves they do. They say things about things without wanting to. And that is why he paints in blackness. Because then for a moment there is nothing to say about anything.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dull's Release

I haven’t the stomach for any right now, thank you.

Should I save some for later?

I don’t care.

One of the men walks from the room, while the other remains seated, staring stolidly before him. He is hungry, but he knows he can't eat. In place of food, he tries to nourish himself with thought. The problem with this is that he really doesn't have much to think about. He tries for a while to recall something he’d read a few days before, but fails to remember so much as the title. He gropes blindly about in his mind for something, but never grasps a thing. Finally, the other man returns.

Have you heard?

Heard what?

Dull has been released again.

A short pause.

I’d forgotten that he’d been captured.

What a way of putting it!

Well it’s true.

I suppose. In any case, he’s been released again.

Will he be coming over then?

I expect so.

A long pause. Both men look uncomfortably down at their hands.


I don’t have any idea.

Both men are now seated. Neither looks at the other. They both seem focused on something else, but really they are just trying to think of something to say. Finally:

Did you remember to shave?

Of course not.

Yes. I suspected as much.

One of the men stands up. He glances furtively at the other, then turns for the door.

Is there any soup?

The other man laughs at this.

A long pause.

Well. Another short pause. I hope it isn’t soon.

I expect it’ll be sooner than later.

Another long pause.

Me too. He says this with a sort of sigh. Then, abruptly, he walks out of the room.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making Promises to Yourself

She balanced a small berry in the palm of her hand. It wavered faintly, but never once rolled completely over. For this she was proud of herself. As a reward she ate the berry. Then she felt full. Berries always made her feel full. She would have to walk about for a while until she felt less full. She hated having to walk about, and she only did so grudgingly. She promises herself never to eat another berry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coming Home

The bottom of his coat was wet. This angered him immensely. When he got home he tore it off and threw it to the ground. The person he lived with saw this and laughed. He sneered at her, then walked quickly to their room. He shut the door and began to cry. A faint chuckling could be heard coming from outside the door.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unlike a Painting, Waiting

A woman sits in the window of the gallery. She has been waiting for some time. Someone is supposed to come and meet her there. She took a shower today, and her teeth look scrubbed.

If a painting is on a wall, it is not waiting. The woman is surrounded by paintings, and she is as still as any of them. Yet this woman is waiting. Anyone can tell that.

She remembers for a moment a steeple she had once tried to construct out of soap. Someone mistook it for a candle and so lit it on fire. Nothing much happened, but it had still affected her. She only rarely washed herself with soap anymore. Today she had.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Lover's Wince

His stubble hurt her lip. She winced every time he put his face against hers. Other things he did made her wince too. In fact, very few things he did did not make her wince. They were lovers, naturally. And as we all know, wincing constitutes a very big part of love.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Uncanny Likeness

She walked on stage and to the microphone. She tapped it exactly 3 times. She then looked down and began to sing. There was no musical accompaniment.

His lips were blue like mine,
Oh so fine, blue like mine,
His lips were blue like mine,
Oh so fine, oh so fine.

His teeth were square like mine,
Oh so fine, square like mine,
His teeth were square like mine,
Oh so fine, oh so fine.

She then continued to sing about various parts of him that were just like hers. Their hair, for instance, was black, and their toes were thin. They had similarly flat noses, and the insides of both their ears were soft. It was remarkable, really, how much he and she had in common.

When she had completed her song, she turned and walked off the stage. Nobody clapped, but that wasn’t because nobody liked her performance. People were too busy contemplating the uncanny parallels between these two to even realize that they were supposed to clap.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fingers and Memory

He had, with fingers calloused and hard, examined certain things. He had looked into them with these stubby thick things and found that, on the inside, they were warm. Not everything was warm, of course, for not everything is warm, but many of the things he had examined had been warm. Some of them though had been cold. These thrilled him the most, the cold ones. He had felt inside the cold for some time, thinking and touching and feeling all the while. He had always had fingers, he thought, though he did not know for certain. There are always things one cannot remember, thus there are things that one cannot know for certain. Not that memory is certain, or that that is at all what he thought. Memory for him was a pleasure, like feeling, and it could strike upon all sorts of wonderful, unknown things. It too can feel warmth and coldness, dryness and hardness. Memory too is calloused and thick and hard. It cannot always find things to feel, though, and thus it too gropes blindly about, striking sometimes upon something, sometimes not.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Johnathan Mulch

There is a stuffed bullhorn in the foyer. Please recycle it with the tuna cans you made such a mess of this morning. And make sure to eat some paper. Your lips look dry as can be.

Each morning his mother would mutter this same admonition as he left the apartment. He never knew exactly how to respond to her. Sometimes he would nod, other times he might give a slight bow, but usually he would just shake his head and walk silently out of the apartment.

He had never met his father. Someone once told him – an uncle of his – that his father had been a tramp. He hadn’t known what a tramp was, and so he had asked his grandmother. Her response: “Your father.” In the end, he had had to look up the meaning on his own.

Johnathan Mulch was a small man. He ate whatever was given to him, but he preferred celery to any other sort of food. On his birthday he would swear loudly that he’d never age again, but each year a new birthday seemed to come. J. Mulch found this endlessly distressing, as he did so many things. For instance, Mulch worried endlessly about being a character in a story. And thus, for his sake, this brief story will presently conclude.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meeting, Agreeing (Twice), and Parting

He met her on a hill. This frightened him. He suggested they move to a flatter place, and so they did. She talked and talked and talked. She could always talk. He tried to listen, but he found he couldn’t always do that. Finally they agreed that for now they had had enough of one another. They further agreed that this was a temporary thing, and that they should one day meet again. Having twice agreed, this pair went their separate ways.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A desire not necessarily fulfilled, not necessarily desired.

A row of thin canvases hung sloppily on the wall. He nodded at the people as they came and then quickly left. When they had all gone (which hadn’t, he noted, taken too terribly long a time), he plucked each of the thin canvases from the wall and draped them over an arm. He had not meant for all the people to come, but since a friend of his had suggested that he use this space to sloppily hang his work, he had agreed. Now that it was over, though, he felt quite silly. I’d always said they were too thin to be shown, he muttered to himself as he continued plucking them from the wall. He would go home that evening and try to make them thicker, but he was not sure he knew how.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dialogue between a man and a woman.

M: In the corner?

W: Yes. Right over there. (She points over there.)

M: No, no. I don’t think so.

W: Right there. (Her finger reiterates the point with a faint wobble.)

M: (The man shuts his eyes and shakes his head. There is a long pause.) I haven’t coughed yet.

W: You haven’t?! You haven’t!

M: No. I haven’t.

W: (She is no longer pointing.) Well.

M: Well.

W: (Raising her hand to her mouth.) Just air. (She breathes out.) Just air.

M: (Nodding at something in the distance.) But for that.

W: (Laughs.) Look how silly.

M: Can’t even smell.

W: Oh heavens no.

M: (Another long pause.) Then later?

W: Yes. Naturally. (She walks towards the man and grabs his hand. He smiles. They part.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Knowing a Person

He had a way of not quite smiling. He smiled, but not quite. And then there were his teeth. It was probably best, in the end, that he never quite smiled. Women talked to him, but he never seemed to know what to say to them. In any case, rarely did either party profit from these exchanges. For a while he affected a sort of deliberate remove from the others, but most nearly everyone could see it for what it really was: him fleeing from them in fright. Stranger people have existed, surely, and more interesting people, and I only bother to mention this person because I knew him once, and I realized just a moment ago that I no longer know him at all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turning Away II

It is little more than a series of short hissing sounds. Then there is nothing. Just the silence of the convex black screen. Blockish green figures mar its blackness. He puts his ear to it, but still there is nothing. He turns away from the screen.

Across the room a small canary sits humming to itself. It is a green bird. He cannot figure out why this is so. The man, not the bird. The bird does not concern itself with things like green. Only the man does. Or at least the man is the only thing in this room that does.

He turns back to the screen. It remains unchanged. He waits a moment and then taps it once with his thumb. A dull thud. Then he looks away.

For some time now a pattern has been developing on the carpet. At first it was nothing, he thinks, but now it is something. It was always assuming new forms. Inscrutable patterns very nearly emerging but ineluctably sinking back down. He thinks that if only he stares at it for long enough he might be able to stop some of these patterns from sinking, but he never can. There is simply not that much time.

He turns back to the screen. He has not been thinking of it. Its green blockish letters are like a rebuke. He smiles in shame. He promises it he won’t turn away again. He stares at the screen. Faintly, perhaps, a hissing sound emerges. He presses his head to the screen. Yes, yes, he thinks, there is definitely some sort of hissing sound.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turning Away

A small tube sticks out from just under the shelf. B. leans towards it and wraps his mouth around it. A man at the other end of the tube looks through the tube and thus into the mouth of B. Unimpressed, he turns away. B., hurt, removes his mouth. He places his hand on the shelf and shakes it. The small tube is withdrawn from the room. Nothing replaces it, so B. turns away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The tall woman and I take a drive

At first I simply follow the women. Then I am running after them. A man in a red suit stops me. His arm is larger than my whole body. I see one of the women down the hall. She turns to me and nods. I understand her to mean that I am to meet her outside, later.

I run to a car. I hadn’t known that I had a car. I drive it. Sitting next to me is a tall woman. She does not like the way that I drive. I decide to park the car. There are no places to park. I get out and begin folding the car. Resentful as always, the car begins to howl at me. Then the tall woman comes out of the car and begins howling at me too. I set the car down and just leave it there.

Walking down a very busy street the tall woman tells me all sorts of things. She tells me about how different I used to be and about how that other woman would not be waiting for me outside. I forget what happens after this, but I remember thinking that you’d be interested. So I’ve told you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Coincidence, in the style of...

As I walk into the room I notice a professor of mine seated without anybody near him. He looks up and notices me. We both sort of wince. I walk over to him. He asks me how my girlfriend is. When he does this he smiles. Then he looks back down at the cover of the book he is holding.

Have you read this? he asks.

I tell him that I have.



I walk out of the room. I haven’t seen my girlfriend in three days. She is sick. I don’t think I’ll go to class this afternoon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

He met a man yesterday, and although he had not admired him, he had pretended to. Today he felt a pang of remorse for having done so. He was always doing things he didn’t admire.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A large medical factory where I once stayed and am in fact staying again

On a bed in a large medical factory I lie awake. A man approaches me and suggests I not touch the sheets. I ask him why. Well, they’re covered in things, he says. I ask him what sorts of things, and he tells me. I throw the sheets off.

I have been here for some time. I of course do not know how long. Another man approaches me. He is surrounded by people, but so long as he is there they will not say anything to me. As soon as he leaves I know they will begin to taunt me. It is one of the things you become accustomed to here. Their taunts. The man tells me that there is a problem. He cannot seem to find my file. My file? I ask, not realizing that, of course, I have a file. Yes, he says. Your file. He does not tell me what a man without a file is to do, so I leave.

Once outside I feel strangely excited. A man without a file ought to be able to do all sorts of things. I, however, can think of nothing to do, so return to the large medical factory. I note that the sheets on my bed have been replaced, and am careful to remove them before I lie down again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Her nose curled upwards. It was an enticement. When she was a child she would set her cat on her face. She thought this might make her nose curl upwards one day. It had worked. Her nose now curled upwards and people were, generally, enticed by it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In a far corner of a house

In a far corner of a house, wedged in between a bathroom and a closet, sits a small room without windows. In this small room sits a small, lumpish man. He is seated in the room’s one and only seat, and he is talking to himself. The subject of his talk is unfixed, shifting arbitrarily from one thing to another. He nods frequently, exclaims often, and is constantly interrupting himself with prolonged sighs. He is a confused man, and upset.

People, he says at one point, cannot seem to stand a bit of sense. This is interrupted by a sharp screech, followed by another declarative statement: I cannot fathom that man with the teeth over there. And, perhaps, he couldn’t fathom the man with the teeth, and perhaps people cannot stand a bit of sense, but none of this is of any importance, that is, none of the things he said or exclaimed or sighed are ever of any importance. The only thing of any importance is that there is a room for this man – tucked away, naturally, but nonetheless there; a room in which this confused man, this upset man, can find some sanctuary from everyone else – all those people who seem so certain about things, those people who do not seem to be upset at all. That is, it is important for a confused, mildly upset man to have a corner somewhere, even if that corner does not have windows, and even if it only has a single chair.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The French Pear

He had left a French pear on the table for her. When she saw it she was surprised. A pear? she thought to herself. And he, squatting beneath the table, could tell by her face what she had thought. It’s not a pear! He screamed from the floor. It’s not a pear!

She hated how he could always tell just exactly what she was thinking. I know that, she said. Of course it’s not a pear.

She hurried from the room, and he remained squatting under the table.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yipin the Cat

Outside of the bedroom sits a small, sounding creature. It bothers him. He looks down at the packets and thinks of words. The only words he can think of he reads. He has to read for thoughts now. And the animal won’t stop sounding. It sounds interminably. It is going to leap, he fears, leap up or out and onto some unwilling frightened part of himself. That is what creatures that sound do. It is muttering and sounding interminably. It sounds like a man now, sad and sharp and deep. It is hurt. He cannot think of anything but packages, each one nearly full, or full mostly, and each one with words. He cannot remember certain things. Names or names for things. He cannot remember her at all, or at least not through the creature’s constant soundings. Not much can be thought of or recalled in the presence of a creature sounding. It bleats interminably, always, just outside of the bedroom. It bleats on and on.

Then from off of the table a small sheet emerges. On it are faces drawn in black ink and bodies that strain and curl off the page. People cannot sound on pages. We cannot have people sounding for nothing. Or rather we cannot have anything sounding for nothing. And by this I of course mean that a thing on a page curling and straining cannot be allowed to sound, simply and for no reason at all, but that is of course what simply means: no reason at all.

I cannot hear the soundings at all now. I can still see the packages. They still have words. White words against an inky surface. The letters more dry than the surface. The creature has at last stopped sounding. For now. As is the case with all things interminable. When it resumes I will not have this to write on any longer, for I have already written on it now. I have filled up this small and crumpled thing. I will have to endure the small sounding creature with nothing at all now. But for these packages, I suppose. And the words that they have printed on them. And their inky insides.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

James H. W. James Academy for Children

An important trait to look for in a child: having at least two middle initials. This is the motto of James H. W. James Academy for Children.

Pupils: 6
Avg. Weight: 74 lbs.
Favorite Color: Varies
Knowledge Attained: Some
Tuition: Varies
Courses Offered: Varies
Mascot: Mallard

James is the only teacher at James H. W. James Academy for Children. He is, however, constantly in search of new faculty to relieve him from what he calls “the great burden of pedagogy.” James is willing to admit that it is a noble enough profession, but after doing it for as long as he has been doing it (nobody is certain how long a time this really is – James H. W. James Academy for Children opened its doors 8 months ago), one simply needs a rest.

The above list is a reproduction of an ad James put in the local paper in order to solicit help. Nobody responded, and thus in my nearly boundless generosity, I felt that I would try to help out this dear, dear man. I write this, then, in the hopes of finding some member of my no doubt immense audience who would be willing to assist James in his pedagogical pursuit. If interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to James H.W. James Academy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

There is a series of small mounds. As he walks across and over them, he cannot help but frown. He hears something that sounds like a bug in the distance. He hates bugs, and thus hears them everywhere. For lunch he will have a leg of chicken. He does not yet know how he is going to attain such a thing. My my my, he thinks to himself. Then he pats the top of his head. He does this in order to check for hair. He is certain one day he will pat the top of his head and nothing will be there. For supper he will have another leg of chicken. He has not forgotten anything that the old woman said to him. But there are times when he does not keep what she said to him in mind. This, to some, amounts to the same thing as forgetting. Mindful always of others, the man wears shoes publicly. He also speaks in high, cheerful tones. Before bed he dips his face into a small bowl of olive oil. This, he says, is for good measure. And then he goes to sleep.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tun's Bothered

Horrible things are always happening to Tun. He tries not to let them bother him, but anyone can tell that they do. Some people are just like that, I guess.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Betty Kerchif

Elizabeth Kerchif is not allowed to yawn or blush. She is allowed to do certain other things. They would not be of any interest to the common reader, though, so I will not bother to list any of them for you.

Miss Kerchif lives in a smallish room in a largish house. She knows the others she lives with, but not, as she often remarks, intimately. Instead, her relationship with the others in the house is a subservient one. They tell her what to do, and she does it. This arrangement is suitable to both Elizabeth and the others.

One evening Elizabeth Kerchif will hiccup in front of several of the others. At first they will not know how to react, for none of them have ever heard Elizabeth Kerchif hiccup before. After some time passes, however, someone will inform Miss Kerchif that she is no longer allowed to hiccup. She will nod her head in understanding, and never hiccup again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sharing a Drink

Having split two thirds of my drink with the man sitting next to me, I notice no change in his expression. He is not unpleasant to look at, this man with whom I shared my drink, but he smells dreadful. That is fine. I do not condemn him for this.

I have of late begun reading books again. None of them are very good, naturally, but all of them are full of other people. I have begun to reacquaint myself with my fellow man, I suppose, through these books. I am actually somewhat overwhelmed by them all, but that is ok. You see, I have a horrific memory, so I am able to forget most of them almost immediately.

I do not want to forget the man sitting next to me, though. He is not unpleasant to look at, as I have mentioned, and he has shared a drink with me. Not many people are willing to share a drink with me anymore. There was a time, surely, when I could share a drink with nearly anyone, but that time, I’m afraid, has passed. In any case, I have written this down, like all those others who have written all those books down, to try to preserve some faint memory of the man who is at present by my side, but who will not likely remain there much longer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The man’s body wilts over a crutch. He looks stuck. People walk by and snigger. People are always sniggering at something.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gypsum Weed

Gypsum weed is a nasty little devil. People’s toes have been lost to the stuff. Certain creatures’ toes too. People seem to forget this, though, and are always bringing gypsum weed around. Whenever I see anyone with a stalk of the stuff, I declare aloud I won’t have it. People typically clear the area of gypsum weed when they hear this declaration, but some simply carry on as if I hadn’t said anything at all. I always find this quite upsetting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lop or Sided

He had a patch of hair towards the center of his head, and that was all in terms of top hair. It was of a thin, flaxen variety, and people tended to shudder when they saw it. His name was Lop.

When Lop was in grade school, the cleverest boy in his class began calling him Sided. The other children did not know why this particular name was so funny, but they all took a great deal of pleasure in calling Lop Sided.

Upon reaching a suitable age, Lop moved very far from home. He felt a great sense of relief at no longer being known as Sided, and instead simply as Lop. Then one day a terrible thing happened. A boy from his hometown showed up in his new town and, in a very public manner, addressed Lop as Sided. Everyone around found this devastatingly funny, and soon Lop was once again known to all as Sided.

It is not clear why Lop found the name Sided so objectionable, but a person’s reasons for finding anything any way are rarely very clear. Suffice it to say that Lop did find the name Sided objectionable, and that the return of this name made his life in his newly adopted home just as unpleasant as the one he had tried so very hard to flee.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sort of Person I Would Like to Meet

A woman sets up a small lamp near her bed. This, she thinks, is adorable. Other adorable things in this woman’s bedroom: her rug, her chair, her bookshelf, and her small stack of postcards. Whenever she has anyone over to her house she says Oh you absolutely must come see what I’ve done with my bedroom. People typically oblige her, following her back to her room and feigning interest for a moment or two. It would be interesting, though, to meet a person who refused to oblige her. That would be the sort of person that I would like to meet, anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hair and Sand

Her curled hair pulled mightily towards the floor. Sand pieces, little cubes and shoots of sand, hummed coyly up to it. They snickered and spat and were, as the hair would later remark, horrible. We, however, will simply call it indecorous sand.

I being the type of person who knows many other types of people once knew the type of person who, when asked, would say that the whole world boiled down to two simple sorts of things: sand and hair. When she would tell me this I would nod, but I cannot say that I ever fully believed her.

Then one day I was in my bathroom and I noticed something on the floor. Kneeling down I looked at this something but couldn’t determine what it was. I took the thing to a scientist friend of mine – a short man with square teeth and too many wise things to say – and asked him what on earth I had found on my bathroom floor. He placed it under some sort of device and peered at it for a good deal of time. When he finally turned away from the device he looked at me and winked. I slapped him, not being the sort of man that lets other men wink at him. He took this rebuke well, and then told me what he had discovered: It is sand and hair, just as plain as day…sand and hair. I was certain at first that he was joking, then remembered that this was not the sort of man to make a joke. I nodded at him and left, contemplating as I did so the strange implications of what this man had told me. As with most things I contemplate, my contemplation of this was brief and cursory, and I really have not thought about it again until now. I just thought I would mention it to you here so that you, perhaps, could contemplate it at greater length and in more depth. Or not. It is not, after all, a very interesting thing to think over for very long.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

,,Opop’’ sang a dill bird to a mother tart.

For now, though, a man needs introducing: Dill, meet Burt. Two men in tow then. And each an introduction.

How very good it is to meet you. Oh heavens yes! They both snicker sibilantly at this. ESSESSSESSSESSSESSS. It is a gross, harsh sound. We are repulsed. I am, anyway.

Next day: twins entering a room.

The boys, neither of whom you or I have ever seen, come waddling up. They have cross expressions on their faces, as if a maggot were nibbling importunately on the insides of their cheeks. One of them coughs into a rag he pulls from his pocket, then replaces it once the cough is through. The other does not seem to notice.

A lifetime ago, or so it seems…That is how her stories always begin. She will sit talking to you for hours. Each person, though not enthralled, is at least willing to listen. A lifetime ago I met a man who I couldn’t for the life of me…

As things go on so too do stories. They seem sometimes to persist forever. Interminable things, I often find myself remarking. Not here, though. This will not be one of those stories.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Story with Two Blinks

His arm is intact. He had thought for a moment that it might not be. But it is. He blinks.

On the plate in front of him is a sandwich. He never eats sandwiches. In fact, he hates sandwiches. Why he has one on his plate, then, is the source of some consternation. Did I put it there? he asks himself. And the question, as he puts it to himself, sounds like a rebuke.

He glances down at the floor. He thinks a tile looks out of place. He makes a circle with his forefinger and his thumb, and then peeks through it. His massive eyeball, framed by his fingers, blinks. The tile has not been moved. It is not out of place at all. He lets his hand fall to his thigh.

If someone walked in now and scratched the man on the cheek, he would not blink. He will not blink again for the rest of this story. Twice is enough. Instead, were someone to walk in and scratch his cheek, this man would sit still and impassive. You see, he tries not to let people know that he knows they are there. This has become harder to do of late, though. But he cannot say why this is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Portrait

Her small, square face juts out in relief against a garish orange. Like a rug under a door, perhaps. In the orange, though, barely perceptible globules form, dripping almost, and they make my eyes blink. She has not swum now for twenty years.

We knew each other once. Her face then was not so square and not nearly so small. She was a great woman then, a proud woman. In any case people used to think of her like that, though I am not sure she ever really was either of those things. Probably not great, and surely not proud. People, though, often get confused about things.

I knew her for a brief time only, but I am certain she would agree with me that that time was more than enough time. People do not know each other for a time and then one day simply stop. It is deliberate. There is some sort of reason. Or else there is real loss. And real loss is too terrible a thing to discuss in histories. So trust that this was not a real loss but instead a parting: deliberate, abrupt, absolute. Until now.

Her face in relief against the orange strikes me as a bit overdone. It is too much. It should not be there. She has no right to have her face like that. But then I have no right, I suppose, to say what are and are not her rights. Or her face’s rights anyway.

In another part of another country I have sat for nearly a decade. People have visited me, and I have received them graciously. We have, for the most part, tolerated one another. Why people visit, though, I have never been able to understand. Until now.

I am here now and I am greeted, dolefully, with a small, square face in relief. It cannot speak, but it is there. It glowers. Its eyes have no reality, none of the horror of the old eyes, but they are there. Globules glowering. And then the background, those too, nearly glowering but not eyes, just globules. There are globules that are shapes and globules that are matter. Her eyes are matter.

She has been set, permanently, there. Her painted visage a sort of rebuke. Garish as the orange, she seems to sneer at me. It is comic, almost. And so I smile. Her face – square and small – remains rigid, jutting out in relief against the orange. And I sit staring up at it, smiling, but also very much afraid.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Feeling Things about Being in a Tunnel

Having been in a tunnel now for something over an hour, Bilp felt it was time to go somewhere else. Then he felt other things. He felt uncertain, for instance, about having felt it was time to go somewhere other than the tunnel he was presently in. He also felt a momentary pang of compunction for something he thought he might have done just before having come into the tunnel. Then he thought other things as well. He thought that there were certain moments when the collapse of something was not necessarily a tragedy. Then he thought that it was not right to think that simply because something collapsed it should therefore constitute a tragedy. Then he tried to think of how he could have ever associated the two – collapse and tragedy. He began associating other things. He associated a long, thin stick of celery with a molar, and this made him laugh. Other things too made him laugh. He laughed at the thought that inside of a tunnel he could still hear himself. He laughed at the fact that there was not a single other person in the tunnel, and how if someone walked in they might think that it was his tunnel. Then he thought about other people thinking. He thought that they might think he was foolish for being there. And then he felt foolish. He felt foolish for being in the tunnel all by himself, and then he remembered. He remembered that he had perhaps felt he ought to leave the tunnel because it would seem foolish if someone were to see him in the tunnel all alone. He felt this for a moment, and then he felt all sorts of other things.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Most Unfortunate Accident

Ipo has a lisp. She split her tongue by accident as a child, and as a result has a lisp. Tongues split when cut, and that is precisely what happened to Ipo’s tongue. She had been eating a sandwich when, for some not entirely certain reason, she tired of eating sandwiches. What else is there to eat? Ipo then asked herself. She glanced around the kitchen and noticed a wood block with black handles sticking out. Tasty, she thought to herself, and walked over to pluck and consume one of the black handles from their wooden holster. It is not difficult to imagine what happened next, so I will not go into all of the details. Suffice it to say that as a result of having cut her tongue, Ipo now has a lisp. And it is to this most unfortunate accident that the title alludes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A bird chirps in its cage.

1. To him it was precious. Or pretty. He always got those two confused. Maybe it was both. He had only just learned the former. Precious. Things were always precious to him now. Like his little feathered bird. It certainly had all sorts of feathers. And a tongue too. He knew it had a tongue because he could hear it sometimes clucking. Making sounds and acting just like a friend of his. He had never seen it spit, though, and this made him slightly distrustful of the creature.

2. Weeks had passed since she had noticed it. She had not even glanced at it in weeks. But there it was, still, persisting as always in its quiet, unobtrusive way. A chamber is how she thought of it, a bird chamber. Birds, like people, must have chambers. She did not know a single person who did not have some sort of chamber. So why shouldn’t a bird have one too? This, anyway, was her thinking on the matter.

3. There are feathers, variegated, strewn across a sheet of yellow newspaper. He blinked at them, heavily. Then, in an ear of his, the sound of people’s voices. Those voices are not coming from the cage, he thought. The bird can be heard in the cage, faintly. Nothing sounds like the voices of people. They are so rough and unpleasant. So loud. People should really not be allowed to say so very much. Quiet, he thought, would be better than this.

4. There is a daughter too. She has seen the thing but does not know it yet. She sees the bird as she sees all other things. Which is to say she just sees them, actually, before she says them. Once you start saying things then you are no longer really seeing anything at all. She was, the little daughter, still seeing things, but she did not really know it yet. That is, she did not say it yet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Anniversary

The two people that this story is about met underneath a squat tree. They shook hands, smiling, and then walked out from under the tree. Neither knew the other’s name at the time, but both were glad to have met the other.

Things persisted like this for some time. People began to see these two together and say things like What a lovely couple or I simply adore those two. Kind things, then, were said about these two, and generally things were thought to be quite fine between them.

Today though, on the anniversary of the day they met under that squat tree, neither one is smiling. Grimacing would perhaps be the better word to describe the contorted faces of each, but surely not smiling. They are no longer holding hands, and nobody is commenting on the loveliness of either. People pass by and look at them, but instead of adoration for the felicitous pair, they feel an ineffable sadness.

This pair, though, is not yet aware that their smiles have turned to grimaces. They think that things must probably be fine, and that what they are feeling is probably not quite right. Thus, as happens in so many couplings, the two will celebrate many more anniversaries before, at last, they no longer have to suffer each other any longer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Impolitic Man

In a journal of some slight renown a man published an article titled The Impolitic Man. People, being averse to all things impolitic, neglected the article. For decades it went unread. Then one day the author died. This was noted in another journal of equally slight renown. More people read this, though, than had read The Impolitic Man. It is not certain how the author would have reacted to this fact.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thurle and Trill

The movie had been for the most part a bricolage of human gestures, or so said the review Thurle had read of it in a magazine in which he was wont to read about such things. Thurle saw the movie and thought the reviewer was absolutely right – it had been, for the most part, a bricolage of human gestures. When asked later by a woman Thurle was involved with – Trill – what he thought of the film, he had responded It was, more or less, a bricolage of human gestures. Ah, she had responded. Yes. Ok. I see. She did not, however, actually see what Thurle was talking about. Trill rarely did see what it was Thurle was talking about, and it was precisely this that made him so appealing to her: he was inscrutable, mysterious, etc., or so she thought.

As we know, however, Thurle read somewhere that the movie had been, for the most part, a bricolage of human gestures. Thus when he told Trill – much to Trill’s delight – that the film had been, for the most part, a bricolage of human gestures, he had been borrowing another man’s words. Trill, then, very much impressed by the seeming profundity of her lover’s words, had in fact been listening to the words of another man. Who, then, does Trill really love, and for how much longer can it possibly last?

Thurle, for his part, will continue reading various magazines and books in search of inscrutable things to say to Trill, and Trill, for her part, well I cannot say for certain what she will do. Perhaps someday Trill will come across one of these comments written down in a magazine or book she happens to pick up and will then think to herself Wait, wait. Didn’t Thurle say just exactly that only the other day? Wait. Wait! Perhaps, then, she will discover for herself the source of her man’s inscrutability. But likely not. Inscrutability is one of the most tiresome traits in a lover, and it is likely that, in the end, Trill will simply tire of Thurle, with all his insight and wisdom and inscrutability.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Gip was a sort of drooping figure. His back sagged. His cheeks and eyes sagged. Even his words seemed to sag. Everything about Gip, in short, seemed to be sagging and drooping in some way.

To survive, Gip, like most, made money. He did this in a variety of ways. One day he would be skulking along a street, for instance, and he would chance upon something that at one point must have resembled a desk. It now resembled something else entirely, and thus Gip would set his sagging frame down next to it and ask people walking by if they would perhaps like to buy a paddle or broom or mound or shelf or whatever it was he thought that person looked as if they might enjoy purchasing. Gip had found that all a thing needed in order to sell was a man nearby selling it, and he nearly always found customers for his found goods.

Gip did other things to make money too, like carrying things for someone in need of their things being carried or speaking about something in an informed manner to whomever needed something informing said to them or simply submitting his body to be poked and prodded by someone in need of a body to poke and prod. Gip, then, like most, made money.

He did all sorts of other things too, of course. He showed up at various places and then subsequently would leave. He would eat supper amongst groups of other people, or sometimes just by himself. He made plans and concerned himself with current events and even sometimes formed romantic attachments. All of these things, as well as a good many other things, were things that Gip did.

The story of Gip, then, is really like the story of anyone else. He was a man who sagged and drooped, yes, but he was also a man that made money and ate things and occasionally formed romantic attachments. He liked certain things, as we all do, just as he disliked certain things. To mention that he was a sagging, drooping figure was a mistake, I fear, for it may have, for a moment anyway, indicated that he was in some way unique. Gip is not at all unique, and I apologize if for even an instant he made that impression.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A part had by many people. Some no doubt do not. Others only barely so. They are mentioned often enough, or at least were in the past. Now hardly ever, hardly at all. Now not often enough, in any case.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Chronicler and his Chronicle

A chronicle of a time not too terribly long ago. A man setting down to compose it, to draft it. He is older than most men. Also he has refused to speak for a number of years. People try to speak with him but he, for his part, will not speak to them.

When composing or drafting a chronicle one must be certain about certain things. Details, for instance, must be exact, and opinions must be contextualized. This man, the chronicler, knows all this, he having been professionally trained to competently carry out such a task. This should, then, inspire confidence in us, the reader of the chronicle, if ever we are to read the thing. Since the likelihood of this happening is slight, however, it does not seem appropriate to continue discussing the chronicler or his chronicle any further.

Monday, September 15, 2008


IN his haste to sing the song he had come to sing he forgot several of its lyrics. The part about the young girl, for instance, was entirely omitted, as was the line about them rising at dawn. A few people may have noticed, but if they did nobody seemed to mind much. When he walked off stage he gave a short, clipped bow. Like the song’s lyrics, this gesture was hardly noticed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Afternoon at Chaim’s

Oh and up into nostrils the offal scent went. The artist’s face – sneering, crooked, flat – seemed little more than a collection of holes, of dots. He had had for months too much of the stuff. All over the carpet. Thick mounds all over the carpet.

A man was coming over. He had not met the man. Nor had the man met him. To meet the man he took into his mouth sips large and small of whatever he could find. Thick sips of sweet and thick and horrible, sips that made his lips sputter or whistle or smack. Each sip a miniature cataclysm.

Racks or rows of the things. Tall but at the bottom steeped – like everything here – in thick mounds of the wet hot wet stuff. Thick heaping mounds, dried in parts, but wet, mostly wet. All over the carpet! He with his mouth and throat and chest gasped. A finger of his scratched a leg of his and a small fleshy wound began again to seep.

When the man came he was naturally overcome. He with his shirt covered the two tiny nostrils on his face. My god. My god! He glanced around him and at the rows and racks and looked somehow above the heaping mounds all over the bottoms and all over the carpet and he looked and with his eyes became for a moment more overcome. He gasped too with the parts that one gasps with and he, removing his shirt from the two tiny holes for a moment, declared I must have them.

They are now on display in a home the stranger owns just outside of Philadelphia.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just hardly ever at all.

Just hardly ever at all. That was a response one man made when asked by a woman Do you still love me? Other responses could have been made, though. Which is to say that other men have made other responses to women who have asked that very same question: Do you still love me? This one man’s response was probably as good as any though.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Considering Things

Mark had been considering a good number of things for a good number of minutes. It is said that if one considers something for even a limited number of minutes one can come away from that something having considered nearly all there is to consider about it. If that is true then it would seem that Mark had considered nearly all one could consider about a good number of things. This was not, however, the case. Mark knew next to nothing about anything, and though he considered a good number of things for a good number of minutes, he never came close to considering much about any of those things. And that, I suppose, is simply the way some people are: always considering something, but never really considering much about it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daphne and Sir Pole

Sir Pole really had no reason to be called Sir at all. Or rather no official reason. He introduced himself as such, that was all.

A woman named Daphne had once been in love with Sir Pole. She had found him refined and tall. Those two qualities, then, were her criteria for finding a man suitable to love: refined and tall. Her friends opposed what they saw as her unsubstantiated adoration, and would condemn her privately every chance they had. Sure he’s refined and tall, they would say, but so what? I know plenty of tall fellows who are, more or less, refined. And other things too! Daphne never paid much mind to what her friends said.

This love affair lasted only a brief time. One day Sir Pole ran into a friend of Daphne’s, and a horrible revelation was made to him: Daphne loved him. Me? he asked incredulously. Are you sure? The friend assured him that she was absolutely sure. Sir Pole, thinking the whole thing over for a moment, said Well I can understand that. Makes perfect sense.

From that moment on Sir Pole snubbed Daphne. When she would come over to his modest apartment and request an interview, Sir Pole would slip a small sheet of paper under his door that read Not at all well. Sometime, perhaps, later. Daphne never protested these rebukes, but instead walked dejectedly away. One day, though, she saw Sir Pole on the street and ran over to him. Sir! Sir Pole! How are you? Sir Pole, stunned by having to confront this pathetic creature, began fumbling through his pockets. Eventually he landed upon a small slip of paper and handed it to Daphne. She read the familiar note and her face fell. She handed the slip back to Sir Pole and turned and walked dejectedly away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He took some comfort in knowing that he had said it first – he had said the joke first. Nobody had responded, but he had said it – aloud, for them all to admire, yet none had done so. Then, moments later, seconds really, the other man, a taller, finer looking man, says the same joke, nearly word for word, and the crowd adores it. They fawn and laugh and feel comfortable around the man who has just made this devastatingly amusing joke, and meanwhile the man who had actually said it, or rather who had said it first, is standing alone under his umbrella wondering to himself Did they hear what I said? Did they hear that that’s just exactly what I said?

They had, in fact, heard, but like so many of the things that this premier jokester said, they felt awkward about it. Is he trying to be amusing? one woman asked herself. Had she asked this aloud, perhaps, the man would have told her that Yes, yes I was attempting to be amusing, for I am an amusing fellow. Watch, I’ll prove it. In just a few moments someone else will repeat what I’ve said and the others, all the others including yourself, will find the man’s joke, which is to say my joke, devastatingly amusing. He would, perhaps, have said this to the woman, but she didn’t ask her question aloud but instead only to herself. Is he trying to be amusing? she asked. Is he amusing?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Midge and the Fisherman

He had a face on that Midge described as sour. Midge was a spinster. She had all sorts of ideas about people’s faces. His, she was certain, was sour.

For fourteen years Midge had known the man with the sour face. She had fed him and lodged him and kept herself occupied with the things he did to occupy himself. He is a great fisherman, she would tell all her friends, though he never once had told her anything about him having gone fishing. She had seen him leave early one morning with a tackle box under his arm, and ever since has told her friends all about his fishing prowess. Fishing did not interest Midge’s friends much though, and neither did her lodger, for that matter, so speaking with Midge, or rather being a friend of Midge’s, was generally avoided.

In any case Midge cared a great deal about faces. Faces, she would say, tell you everything about a person. Though she had received no formal training as a physiognomist, she had developed an amateur system for categorizing and condemning the various faces that she met. A thoroughly furrowed brow, for instance, signified tolerable breeding, while a mole condemned one to a depraved caste of untouchables. Her lodger had neither of these characteristics, but he did have something – Midge was never quite certain what – that betrayed a certain sourness of disposition. This too she liked to discuss at great lengths with her friends.

Midge, though, is growing old, and it is becoming clear – to the lodger at least – that she will not be renting out a room for much longer. The lodger, then, sets out early in the mornings with his gloves on and a large, tin tackle box in hand, determined to find a place to live once Midge is no longer around. It is not totally clear why he takes his tackle box with him on these excursions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Nonetheless, nonetheless, muttered the official under his breath. Nonetheless. His head was shaking back and forth in small sharp sudden bursts. Nonetheless.

A few moments prior another official – taller, rounder, of slightly redder complexion, etc. – had whispered something into our official’s ear. This not-yet-muttering official’s eyes bulged noticeably as the other, taller official’s lips hotly caressed his ear. What? he might have thought, or Damnit no! Any number of things, really, might have raced through our official’s mind as the other, rounder official whispered we know not what into his ear, but the result of whatever was whispered is, as you know, known – it provoked our official to go about, head shaking in sudden, violent bursts, muttering Nonetheless, nonetheless, nonetheless.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spots and Smiles and Scratches

Just before he stood up he noticed a spot on his pants. He was always noticing spots: on people's cheeks or on his shoes or over there against the wall. He never knew what to do when confronted with a spot, and so whenever he noticed a spot he would smile wanly, scratch his chin for a moment, and then try, with varying degrees of success, to go about whatever he had been doing prior to having noticed the spot.

So, having noticed a spot on his pants just before standing up, he smiles, scratches his chin, and then, slowly, arises from where he had been sitting. He looks about for a moment and then shifts uncomfortably. What was it I was standing up for? he thinks to himself. His eyes scan the room for some clue to what he had planned to do once standing – a bookshelf, a closet, shoes, a porcelain bowl with a spoon sticking out, an overcrowded desk, and then, as if from nothing, a spot. He is neither alarmed nor impressed by the spot’s appearance, but instead smiles wanly and scratches his chin. He tries after a time to discern what it was he was about to do prior to noticing this stray spot but, as so often happens, notices a small spot resting somewhere near his bed, and thus breaks into yet another smile and scratch.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Boat's Most Unfortunate Dispositon

Like all people, Boat despised nearly everything that he did. Shaving, for instance, was a great burden to him, as was dressing and combing and brushing his teeth. His contempt for things that he did was not limited to the things he did to groom himself, though. He hated speaking with others and walking about and nodding his head and consuming the rotten meals he prepared for himself. Most of all, though, he despised being introduced to others. Hello, Boat would say in as forced a manner as possible, my name is Boat. People, being the easily amused creatures that they are, would generally laugh at this. BOAT? They would say through smiles or chuckles or both, BOAT? Yes, Boat would respond dryly, and you are? Oh, the other person would say, suddenly growing grave and serious, my name is Steven or Katherine or Bill or Sarah (there were other names too, of course, but I do not need to catalogue them all here). Boat would nod curtly at this and then turn his shoulders slightly to the side, as if this slight transposition of his body were enough to obliterate the existence of the other person altogether. In short, then, like all people (e.g. Steven or Katherine or Bill or Sarah, &c.), Boat despised nearly everything that he did, and is only natural in people with such dispositions, nearly everyone that he met.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Long and Spindly Road

A young man with a bright shirt collar walks down a long and spindly road with a camera in his hand. He has decided that he is a photographer, and that as a photographer it is now his duty to take pictures. Thus the camera.

He walks down the long and spindly road, and with his eyes picks out what he will with the camera capture. There are trees, he thinks, and bushes and toads and flowers. There are other things too, he is certain, but for many of the things he sees he does not have a name. He thinks to himself that with a camera names are no longer necessary – a thing does not need a name if it has itself, he thinks. He points the camera at a bundle of things he does not know the names of and, with a simple, sudden click, captures the bundle with his camera. A smile breaks out on the young man’s face and for an instant it seems that his already bright collar gets just a bit brighter. He is happy.

As the young man continues down this long and spindly road he will no doubt have similarly happy experiences. He will encounter further bundles of things that he will photograph instead of name, and his collar will perhaps seem to brighten in several more future instants. Whether his camera or its pictures are ever seen by others, then, is not of any real significance, as if this were ever a question or concern. Let me conclude then by saying that he has taken and will continue to take many pictures, and that each time he does his collar looks for an instant like it has gotten slightly brighter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Soft Boiled, with a Spoon

Having boiled his entire supper, the man sat down with a spoon. He swallowed most of it up, wiping his mouth with a thin rag when he was done. For dessert, he thought, I ought to try something hard. He thought for a moment about hard things he might enjoy having for dessert, but in the end could think of nothing.

Boiled bread, then, was what the man had for dessert, and like his dinner he consumed it with a spoon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stump Being Questioned at the Office

He had been asked, he felt, too many questions already. That she had just asked him another question, then, seemed profoundly unjust. Terrible things ran through his mind. He couldn’t even bare to look at the woman as he made his clipped, seething response. That must be it, he thought hopefully to himself. It was not.

Stump had been working in an office for several months now. His responsibilities were limited, and he rarely had to interact with anyone. People would occasionally ask him a question, but the infrequency of these questions was such that he could write them off as minor inconveniences to his otherwise uninterrupted indolence.

For the last three days, though, a woman had followed him about interminably asking questions. It was as if she were chronicling not only all the events that took place within the office, but all the events that had ever taken place and that could possibly ever take place in the office. Stump had reached a point, however, where no question, whether about the office’s history, present, or future, would be answered. He would not, he told himself, suffer this woman a moment longer.

He turned to her – his eyes carefully avoiding hers – and said: I don’t believe I’ll answer any more of your questions today. The woman looked at him for a moment and then smiled: Oh yeah? He did not say anything, but instead shook his head. She laughed, and then asked him another question. Stump, coward that he is, responded.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Jauntily, the boy descended the slight staircase. Three steps was all, and the boy, jauntily, covered them in two.

An older man – portly, upset, etc. – watched as the boy descended the steps. My, my, the man thought to himself, how that boy moves! This excited the portly, upset man a great deal. I must get myself a boy like that, he thought further. And like all terrible things, that was how this terrible thing was born.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Small List of Qualities

In her pocket she kept a small list of qualities that she would ascribe to the various people that she met. At work, for instance, she would be introduced to Mr. ---, a banker and philanthropist, and when asked later what he was like she would remove the small list of qualities from her pocket and declare: He was dull, loud, sincere, and gregarious. She would then place the small list back in her pocket, satisfied that the man’s character had been more than adequately described. Four adjectives, then, were ascribed to all of the people that she met. Nobody I’ve ever met, she would often tell people, has ever warranted more than four.

When people learned of this lady’s list they often grew resentful. Four? they would gasp in disbelief, she thinks she can sum me up in a mere four adjectives? Then, oftentimes, they would offer a snort or grunt to show just how preposterous an idea they thought this was: four adjectives? ME? Not possible.

But it was – this woman did it all the time. Dull, frightened, quiet, and awkward, for instance, or dull, vain, talkative, and tiresome – how many hundreds of thousands of people have just been summed up by these tiny sets of words? The woman, anyway, felt that many had been.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rightly Call Green

There are only so many things a person can rightly call green.

A very pretentious man once began a story with that line. He went on to detail a number of things to which this adjective could not apply – horses, fangs, telephone poles, etc. – without ever actually mentioning a single thing one could rightly call green. Which is fine, I suppose, but it did not make for a particularly engaging story.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dearest Plop,

I write you this letter only because I just realized that I’d nearly forgotten about you entirely. I was eating my beans, as usual, when one fell – plop. I laughed. I really must write to him, I thought. Then I thanked the bean. How have you been? I haven’t done a thing since last we saw one another. When was that? I don’t expect any of these questions to be answered, of course: I know you don’t write anything down. Still, what does one do in a letter if not ask questions? To talk of myself seems gross and presupposing (if inescapable); plus I know you never cared to know too much. “That’s enough, that’s enough,” you’d say anytime I started on myself. “That’s enough.” Do you still tell people that? Or do you even bother with others anymore at all? It’s difficult to say at this point whether there are others around or not; we’re all so damned sick with ourselves. “Oh that’s nice,” we’ll say as we admire something, and as the last syllable falls lamely from our lips we’ll recognize ourselves in the thing and nod, knowing as we know that we’re simply sick to death with ourselves. I thought of you when a bean fell to the floor, and I realize now I’ve only been reminded of myself. But listen to me: I sound just exactly like all those people that we hate.

Yours interminably,


Monday, August 11, 2008

A Felicitous Encounter

The girl’s pallid hand was cupped in the air. It looked about as if to catch something. Turning, turning, it saw nothing and so coiled back into a small white fist.

Trumpet, a hirsute man with a magnificent baldspot in the back of his head, approached the girl with the tiny pallid hand. He did not speak at first but instead stood admiring the little creature. She too admired the man, smiling and laughing at his bearded, silly face.

Trumpet then made a suggestion: we should buy a chicken. The girl’s fingers seemed to flutter at the idea, and her smile gave a slight twitch. Oh please, she said finally, oh please can we. Yes of course you little mutt, of course.

They took each other’s alien hands and walked briskly to the nearest shop. On their way they walked over all sorts of things: corks, geraniums, mollusks, celery, &c. Then, finally, they were there.

One chicken please, says the hirsute man.

Handing the chicken to him the vendor winks, knowingly.

The two walk hand in hand to a field. It is vast. They ascend a small hill, then sit. Come here you little mutt, the man says. She does. Give me your hand. She does. Now cup it. She does. The man stands up and raises the chicken in the air. Slowly, noiselessly, a small egg tumbles from the chicken and, gracefully, lands in the tiny cupped hand of the girl. The man, proud of his little mutt, winks at the girl. They both laugh aloud, admiring the egg and the cupped hand and each other.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Towards the back a small note: we regret to inform, it begins, that for some reason (no doubt) the author decided (more or less) to discontinue writing at (or around) this point. And then it ends. The reader, feeling a little overwhelmed after having trudged through so many parentheses, shuts the book with a sigh.

Why now? he thinks a few moments later. Why at this point? He had regarded the work as a whole to have been consistently, satisfyingly mediocre, and to cut it off just then seemed to him not quite right. He had persisted, oftentimes against every urge in his profoundly unexcited mind, in reading the novel; he had done this despite, and sometimes it seemed perhaps even because of, the book’s dullness, its level, ceaseless mediocrity; and now, somehow, without explanation, the author had chosen to discontinue the writing of the book.

This, naturally, upsets the reader. He glances down at the spine of the book and looks at the publisher’s mark. It is an anchor with three loons fluttering in the background. He walks over to his phonebook and flips through it. Picking up the receiver he presses a series of numbers. At last he speaks into it: yes I’m calling about the most recent book you’ve published…yes…yes, I am calling about the appendix…yes…well I don’t see…yes…yes…possibly then there is someone…yes, yes, I can see that of course but…yes…so then…yes…well I had no idea…no I didn’t…yes ok then…yes…perfect sense, yes…ok then…yes…yes…well thank you. He hangs up the receiver and returns to his chair and the book. Like the phonebook he flips through it, landing at last upon the book’s final words. He rereads them, mouthing each word slowly, and then, even more slowly, begins to nod his head. Ah yes, he mouths, I see it now, ah yes, and he continues shaking his head for some time.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Winnie Doesn't Care

OintMint was a potent drink. People drank it for all sorts of reasons. Winnie Shingle, though, drank it for no reason at all.

For breakfast her mother would come into her room and ask, Win, would you like your OintMint warm or cold this morning?

I couldn’t care less, mother, Winnie would always respond. You know that.

Of course I do dear, her mother would say, but it never hurts to ask.

This statement, while oftentimes true enough, was in this case actually very far from the truth – it hurt a great deal. Winnie’s mother was well aware of the potency of OintMint, and she also knew that as a result people were often very particular about how and when and why they were drinking the stuff. Her daughter, though, could not seem to care less, and as a result, Winnie’s mother worried greatly about her daughter. Thus when she asked, Would you like your OintMint warm or cold this morning? and Winnie declared that she did not care, her mother was genuinely pained, fearing her daughter might be a bit off.

One day Winnie’s mother developed a scheme to determine whether she was truly indifferent to OintMint or not. Instead of giving Winnie a glass of the potent substance in the morning, she brought her a cup of milk (this drink being the same color and thickness, naturally, as OintMint). Here you go Winnie, the mother said as she handed her daughter the cup. Winnie drew the cup to her mouth and took a large swallow. After finishing the contents of the cup she handed it back to her mother and, as she did everyday, and said, Thank you, mother, I think I’ll take a nap now.

Mrs. Shingle, an honest, dependable woman, was terrified. It’s true then, she thought to herself, she doesn’t care at all. Returning to the kitchen she drops the tray with Winnie’s empty cup on it into the sink. A small crash is heard as she makes her way to the kitchen table and falls into a chair to cover her face with her hands. She begins sobbing loudly for her poor daughter Winnie who is, she is now convinced, a bit off.

Friday, August 8, 2008

On Court St. or in the Courtyard, amongst the Various Groups, a Man Will Speak to You

In either place, Court St. or the courtyard, one will encounter groups of people. These people, none of them at all pleasant, all know one another, but none of them, not one, knows you. At first this is upsetting, hurtful even, but over time it develops into a source of pride. None of these people, you exclaim proudly to yourself, know me! As is the case with all sources of pride, this one has developed out of a profound insecurity. In any case, in either place, Court St. or the courtyard, people can be found.

One day, though, you will either be walking down Court St. or walking through the courtyard and a man, a not very tall or attractive man, will summon you over to his modest little group. Say there guy, he will begin, using a sort of affected language you find both charming and repulsive, we’ve noticed you walking through (or past, whichever the case may be) here a number of times and wondered to ourselves – why isn’t that guy ever with anyone else? Not knowing how to respond you will nod your head, confident that this response will be sufficient. You are wrong. No seriously, the man will continue, why is it that you’re always by yourself? Don’t you know anyone in the courtyard (or on Court St.)? Haven’t you anyone to be with? Recognizing the futility of a nod you will shake your head No, hoping that that will be sufficient. It is not. Look! Look at him shake his head! The guy can’t even talk! No wonder he hasn’t a person to chat with in the courtyard – he can’t even mutter a word! The others in the group will all chuckle at this, finding it strange that you will not speak to their happy, comfortable group. You, desperate to retain some dignity, say, No, I can talk. I can talk. The group will stop chuckling. They will all stare at your still, sullen face. The man will say:

He can speak! Look at him – all of a sudden he can speak! Well then, please, what else do you have to say for yourself? After he asks this he will look around at the other smiling faces of the group, all anxiously waiting to hear what you have to say for yourself.

Well I don’t know that I really have anything to say for myself, you will say, looking down as you say it.

The group will no longer be smiling. The man who had summoned you over, realizing finally that he has made a mistake, will scratch uncomfortably at his face. Well then, he will say with forced amiability, I suppose we won't keep you any longer.

Ok, you will softly say, ok thank you. Turning from the group you will continue on through the courtyard or down Court St., thinking to yourself what an awful lot of groups of people there are around here, and about what it might be like to be a part of one of them someday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

At breakfast he was Claude, a man of some renown in a rather limited sphere of the business world. He sipped two cups of black coffee and nodded knowingly as he read an important newspaper.

By midmorning he was comfortably acting as Robert, the diligent and soft-spoken assistant to a not altogether prominent figure in Washington. His hair parted, collar relatively straight, he would go about pleasantly enough doing as he was told.

For lunch he was Bruno, a swarthy gentleman with an appetite for women and trouble; between bites he would snarl at one or the other.

His afternoons were either spent as Jacques or Pedro, the former being a member of a fledgling avant-garde painting movement, the latter being an athlete of some kind. Oftentimes the two were interchangeable during the afternoon hours.

At supper he was Reginald, an aristocrat with a taste for mutton. More mutton he was wont to say at about this time of the day, though he was rarely if ever brought anything even close to resembling mutton (he ate at a public house where the menu was chosen for you).

Most people enjoy some sort of postprandial something after supper, and our man enjoys Wilfred, a persona he adopts with great relish, though with little effect. Others - what few there are around - can rarely comprehend who exactly Wilfred is supposed to be, and some even believe him to be the closest thing they know to our man - that is, our actual man - that there is. Like any belief, though, it cannot be confirmed.

Before retiring for bed he is Augustine, a repentant, solemn man. He says his prayers on his knees and by the time he arises he is Iachimo, a duplicitous Italian philanderer. Sadly, though, Augustine rarely has a woman waiting for Iachimo in bed, and thus, being worn out from a day’s hard work, often goes to bed alone and unsatisfied.