what's in a name?

Yesterday had my first lecture. Prof is a beanpole, a real lamewad. My toenail gunk is more interesting. Kid beside me was wacko. Started breakdancing outta nowhere. People cheered. Ate shawarma on bench for lunch. Was pretty good. Really good actually. Probably have it again tomorrow. Texted McKenzie. She didn't respond. I think that might be done. Had a seminar later. Breakdancing kid was in there. Recognized me so he sat next to me. Has a bowl cut like Jim Carrey in Dumb And Dumber. He asked my name,  told him Amir. I asked his name and he said some shit i can't even pronounce. Martinveege?

Today, class worse. Fell asleep twice. Got called out for it. Then phone rang. Prof in this class is a ballbuster. Came right over and took the phone when i pulled it out, and answered it.(!) Was mom, Jesus Christ. She told mom Tell your son to turn his phone off, he's in college now. Everyone laughed, except breakdancing kid. He's in like all my classes. He had sympathy. After class, said Do you wanna do some breakdancing? I said Uh, i'm kinda hungry dude. We got lunch. I asked him his name again. He said Martinveeger. I said, haha was the R always there on the end? He said, super straight face, No, i got my second R today. I looked at him like what the fuck? He goes on, says My parents were real generous, they gave me a second R. I could have five or six by the end of the year. Then he said what letter did you gain today? I looked at him like how pigeons look at dog turds. What in the fuck was he even saying? I said, Wait, so your name, like, changes every day? Your parents give you a new letter every day? And he said, Duh? Don't yours? I thought he was messing with me, but then he showed me his acceptance letter, from last year. Had it in his backpack. Name went off the page. Like over 200 letters long. Said it resets every year on his birthday. I told him to show me his passport and he said What's a passport? 

Kid is a total weirdo. I like him though. We're gonna get lunch again tomorrow.

length

Marguerite had won the short story contest. Several famous authors had entered, and she beat them all, and had done so with a story of only 100 words. She went to receive her check and her little plaque from the literary magazine's office. They gave her her awards and shook her hand. She felt amazing. Outside she sat on a bench and ate a hotdog and drank Coke from a glass bottle. A tall man with an oily-looking leather jacket sat next to her and asked her about the plaque. I won a literary contest, she said. Did it in only 100 words. The man said Congratulations. Did you know Hemingway once wrote a story that only had six words? Marguerite nodded as she swallowed her last bit of hotdog. She smashed the Coke bottle against the bench and stabbed the man in the liver. The man survived for three weeks before succumbing to his injury. Marguerite went to jail, where she continued writing. Over the years she tried to enter literary contests, but was mostly rejected. When she was in her forties, she won a contest with a story that was one single word long. An article was published about the convicted murderer literary genius. A literary agent came to see her and tried to convince her to write a novel. Marguerite refused to speak, but wrote the word NO on a piece of paper in big letters and slid it to the agent. The agent came to see her a few more times, but failed to convince her to write a novel. Marguerite responded with the same one word answer each time. She was nearly sixty when she was released. She took a job at a bookstore. After a few days of work, she noticed that a book had been written about her life, unbeknownst to her. The introduction to the book was written by the literary agent that had come to see her in jail. The intro began by saying Hemingway was famous for, among other things, publishing a story that was only six words long... Marguerite closed the book. She bought a Coke and a hotdog on her lunch    

 

little things

For two days i had been hearing this scratching noise in the wall whenever i was in the can. It was coming from down by my feet. I was worried it was a rat or something so i got my hammer and pried the sucker open. Inside the little hole was a person, about two inches tall. Holy shit! i said. She didn't panic or anything; she just looked at me like i was a nuisance. She was wearing high-waisted jeans and a turtleneck. In her little space was a tiny desk built from wood and paperclips, with a little makeshift computer. There was a bed, and a few other electronic apparatuses i didn't recognize. Do you mind? She said. I have very important work to do. Well, i said, you're in my house, so yeah i do mind. She rolled her eyes and said I guess it was only a matter of time. I shrunk myself a while back, with one of the earlier prototypes i built in my lab. Jesus! I said. Are you ok? Do you need help? She said Do i look like i need help? I'm doing just fine, thank you. I shrunk myself to get away from all the noise. I never have enough time to focus on my most important work. She turned around and went back to her computer. I noticed the pile of insect legs in the corner. Can I bring you some food? I asked. She looked like she wanted to smack me, and then she sighed and said Sure. Can i put in a request for a vegetable? Frankly i'm getting sick of eating ants and termites. I have termites? i said, but she was already busy on her little computer. I brought her some kale and a cherry tomato, and she put them in the corner and then she told me to buzz off cause she had to work on her particle accelerator.  What's your name? i said. For god's sake, she said. It's Anna, Ok? Anna. Now get the hell out of here! I need to focus on my work. What an ungrateful little bitch, I muttered, walking back to my room. I sat down at my computer and checked my email. I had a message from an Anna Zeenan at CModernTech. It said I heard that!   

jesus wept

For weeks, i brought Anna rations in her little hole while she worked on her particle accelerator. I don't know how the hell she got all her materials, but day after day, this thing was getting bigger and more complicated-looking. I would ask her how it was going, and she'd usually reply with something like Maybe if you'd screw off and not bother me so much i would actually make progress! She enjoyed the food rations, but didn't want me spoiling her because, as she put it, hunting kept her sharp. But then things started to change. Over time, her work on the accelerator started to wane. I'd peak an eyeball in there and see piles of metal tubing on the floor, and she'd be working on other things. Once i saw her binding a book she'd made, using ultra thin sheets of wood. She'd written a whole novel by hand and bound it into a book. Eventually, she became disinterested in science altogether. All i ever saw her working on was artistic stuff. She'd unplugged everything electronic that she'd made and repurposed it all for picture frames for paintings she'd made using her own blood, and, uh, other stuff. It was hard not to be mesmerized, looking at these tiny little paintings. They were really something. She'd crafted her own museum. Then, one day, she was gone. I went to bring her a blueberry, and when i peered in there was no trace of her, or her artworks or novel. What remained was a miniature Golgotha. She had built three wooden crosses, and affixed a termite to each cross. One of the three termites, the one with the crown of thorns on its head, was still alive, wriggling with its last few ounces of strength. On the floor she had written I've done enough. I cleared out all of the debris and the crucified termites and threw it all in the trash, then i patched up the hole. I'll have to fill it with something or else mice might move in there. I went to my computer to check if she had emailed me, but of course she hadn't    

excessive steepage

At the Little Neck Café, Jenny dropped the drinks off at 31. A moment later, the lady at the table waved her back over. My iced tea, it doesn't taste right, the lady said. Jenny nodded and said One moment, i'll get someone. A minute later a giant man, uniformed like the other staff, at least six and a half feet tall, with absurdly large hands and only a few remaining wisps of hair on his head, approached the table. EXCESSIVE STEEPAGE, he declared, with a volume so stentorian that all the guests in the Café jumped and looked around as if they'd just survived an earthquake. The woman with the iced tea said Uh, th..thank you, and the behemoth walked away. Later that day, a gentleman in a mauve suit tried to send back his bleeding steak. Jenny told him to hold on. A minute later the giant approached the table. INADEQUATE TIME OVER HEAT, he proclaimed. The man in the mauve suit looked at him, then at the steak. He took a bite and said, You know, this is fine. The next day, Jenny's guest found a hair on her Portobello mushroom. Jenny went away, and a moment later, the giant was looming over the guest and her Portobello mushroom. He stared at the solitary hair as it sat, defiant. Do you think it's nice to remind a man of his impending baldness? The giant said. The guest said Well, I don't really care about that. I just want to eat my lunch. The giant nodded and said UNCOVERED SCALP in his mighty voice. The guest looked at the hair, and then at the giant. She picked the hair off with her fingers and handed it to the giant. He walked away and she ate her lunch

simulation

Glenn came home from the lab. He decided to forgo the usual announcement of his arrival home. Sheryl said Is that you? and he muttered Yeah. Come in here, she said. Stir this risotto. I need to change Charles before his diaper becomes a shit bowling ball. Glenn walked into the kitchen and took the wooden spoon from Sheryl, and she gave him a peck on the cheek. He stirred and stirred, and Sheryl put the baby on the dinner table. What's wrong? she said. Glenn sighed. You remember Dr. Anna Zeenan? he said. Of course, she said, changing the baby's diaper right on the dinner table. Well, Glenn continued, after she disappeared, we started scouring her old notebooks for any unpublished theories and formulas that might be of use. Recently we discovered a very peculiar formula that she had been working on. Well, today we... solved it. Her formula proves, beyond any doubt, that this is all a simulation. What's a simulation? Sheryl said. This is, Glenn said, making a circular motion with his hand. Us. Life. Everything. It's all some kind of computer program. Zeenan proved it. Sheryl looked at the baby as she applied the new diaper and said It's burning. What? Glenn said. It's burning, Sheryl repeated. The risotto. It's burning. Glenn! Stir! I can smell it. Did you add more milk? What, no, Glenn said. Was I supposed to? We've made this how many times? Sheryl said. You know how to make it, stop playing stupid. Add another splash of milk and keep stirring. Sheryl, Glenn said, are you not hearing me? Our whole life, everything on this planet, our baby, this stupid risotto, none of it is real! It's all software. Sheryl took the baby and put him in the high chair. She put baby food into the little plastic blue bowl and the baby shoved its whole fist in its mouth while eating the mush. Do you even care? Glenn said. Sheryl set the table. Does it mean i can stop changing diapers? Does it mean i can go back to sleeping normally? she asked. Glenn stirred and said Well, i mean, i guess probably not. She took the wooden spoon from him and commandeered the risotto. Then no, i don't care, she said. Go change, last time you spilled on your work shirt you moped about it for three days. This will be ready in four minutes. She gave him another kiss him on the cheek, and he walked upstairs, unbuttoning his shirt 

tennessee

On day one my cat catches a mouse. On day two my cat catches a second mouse. On day three my cat catches a third mouse. On day four he skins them. On day five he leaves them in front of my bedroom door, but retrieves them before i can claim them as my prize. On day six i look for my cat, who i haven't seen all day. On day seven i hear sounds under the floorboards, so i look, and i find my cat with his three skinned mice. The mice are all miraculously alive. I catch them in a tableau, and it is immediately clear that the three mice are enacting a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. On day eight i hear a noise in the attic, and i go up there and find the three skinned mice once again mid-scene, this time from The Glass Menagerie. My cat is there, standing on hind legs, wearing a bow tie. He has always been obsessed with Tennessee Williams but this time he has gone too far. I tell the mice they can go free, but they don't want to leave. My cat calls me a tyrant and a chauvinist, and scratches one of my eyes out. On day nine i watch TV with my one good eye and my cat licks himself 

dick picks

Ziggy played guitar in the death metal band Penile Hacksaw. Wonk Magazine had labeled them the heaviest band in the world for two years running. At shows Ziggy would throw his infamous guitar picks into the audience. They played the Toledo Portuguese Community Center to a crowd of thirty-two people. During the song Extra Virgin  Blood Oil, Hana Fyst stood headbanging in front of the stage, and headbanged so hard she hit her head on the barrier and split her skull open. Ziggy noticed the incident when a modest spurt of blood hit him on the nose. After the show Ziggy went to the hospital to see Hana. You are an exceptional headbanger, he said. The best i've ever seen. My cousin Boyd runs a headbanging academy. He could use a junior instructor like you. Hana said i'm no good, look, as she pointed to the stitches in her forehead. That is a mark of talent and dignity, Ziggy said. She smiled, and said thank you. Ziggy reached into his pocket and handed her a bag of his infamous guitar picks. They were shaped like penises and had silly-looking blood flowing down them. Here, he said, you can have all of these, for your headbanging efforts. You're giving me this bag of dick picks? she said. He nodded. She was so happy that she cried, and a little bit of blood seeped out of her wound. Ziggy left, for he had obligations, and Hana played air guitar with his dick picks all night long  

Basquiat

I'm telling you, i can't deal with Aanders anymore. You wanna know what he pulled the other day? We left the Penile Hacksaw show and then went to shoot pool at Sadie's. There were these two girls playing 9-ball at the table next to us and one of them, the blonde one, was wearing this Jean-Michel Basquiat shirt, the one with the crown on it. Aanders interrupted their game and said, Excuse me, but do you even know who that is? The girls just looked at each other all confused, and Aanders went ballistic! He screamed You don't even know who Basquiat is! Have you ever even seen an artwork of his? Have you ever even been in an art gallery before? and the girl is just yelling Dude, get away from me! Get away from me! I'm like trying to tell Aanders to chill, and then this huge black guy comes over and asks what the problem is, and the girl says This guy is freaking out at me! The guy turns to Aanders and tells him to calm down, and Aanders says Well she doesn't even know what a commodity is, so tell her to calm down! The big guy says Hey man back up, that's my girlfriend, and fucking Aanders says Well your girlfriend is a moron. The guy smashes Aanders in one shot, and then kicks him twice in the face while he's down. The guy and the two girls are running out of there, and all Aanders can say is She can't even spell Basquiat! Like two of his teeth are on the floor in front of him, and he's still giving this girl shit! I help him up and hand him his teeth and there's blood all over his shirt. That moron, she can't even spell commodity! he says. I say Dude! You're holding your own teeth right now! Who cares if she's wearing that shirt! Who cares! And he just spits out blood and says Moron. I can't deal with him. I just can't 

valentine's day

Beth stared in shock at Valentine's Day. She read the artist's name on the placard: Shonda Williams. She looked around the exhibit, but she was alone. Beth had seen many famous, challenging works at The Beringen Contemporary Art Collection in her 75 years. She would save up money for a month to pay the entry fee, even though it meant she'd eat less. Here she'd met Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol when Basquiat premiered his Irony of the Negro Policeman. She'd come here and marvelled at the works of Damien Hirst and Francis Bacon, and the performances of Marina Abramovic. But Valentine's Day made her uncomfortable. The hands were grasping one another in such a way that suggested that they were the hands of two people deeply in love. And yet they were identical-looking, except that the left ring finger bore a gold band. Beth stared at the bones that jutted out of the severed wrists. Some blood had leaked onto the white slab. At the base of the slab, Beth read the words: "hands donated by a willing subject. She lived and loved without them, for a time." Beth felt a drip on her head, and looked up just as another drip hit her eye. Suspended several feet above her was a human heart, still beating, attached to some kind of special pacemaker. It dripped blood onto the floor and onto the slab on which the hands rested. She walked around the slab and read the other note, "heart also donated by our willing subject, at the very end, while she was alive." Beth felt faint, looking up at the bleeding, pumping organ, and rested heavily on her cane. She let the blood continue to drip on her forehead 

through pain we learn to live

Beth lined up to purchase a ham and cheese sandwich in The Beringen's cafeteria. When she attempted to hand the cashier some money, the cashier said We don't take money anymore. You have to use photos you took of the artworks on your smart phone. If you've published them on social media they are worth more. Beth said But my phone doesn't have a camera. It's an older one. The cashier shrugged her shoulders and said You'll have to buy a new phone i guess. Beth asked for a cup of water and the cashier filled a plastic cup and set it down hard on the counter, spilling a little. Beth drank her water and then explored the gift shop. She found a book about the life of Shonda Williams, the artist of Valentine's Day. In the opening blurb it explained that Shonda never had a husband or a lover, and lived alone until her death. Beth was surprised, as she assumed Shonda was still alive. She read about an older work of Shonda's, entitled Through Pain We Learn To Live, where she took several dead dogs, all of which she had owned at one point, and all of which she had killed herself, and stacked them on top of the other, in order of age with the most recently dead at the top. The dog on the bottom was nothing but a pile of bones. In the section about Valentine's Day, Beth read that the severed hands belonged to Shonda herself. She had had them removed the year before for the piece. When Shonda was alive she would grasp her own hands when she lay in bed, imagining that one hand belonged to someone else, so she could experience intimacy. The heart also belonged to Shonda. She had had it removed the day before it was included in the piece by her assistants. Beth took the book to the counter and asked if she had to pay using smart-phone photos. The clerk nodded. Beth took the twenty dollars out of her pocket; it was what she had remaining after she had paid the entry fee. Do you think this is enough money to buy a smart phone? she asked. The clerk shook his head no. She leaned in on her cane and motioned for the clerk to come closer. I'll give you this twenty dollars if i can use your phone to take some pictures in the gallery, she said. The clerk looked unimpressed by the offer. And i'll give you this, she said, showing him her cellular phone. Ha! he said, that's like a relic. Ok lady, deal. How many pictures do i need to take to buy this book? she asked. Twenty pictures, he said, but only ten if you are uploading to social media. Since you're doing it on my phone i'll give you a deal; upload five and you can buy the book. All right, she said, that's a good deal. Now you hold on to that book for me. I'll be back in a few moments. She walked into the gallery, looking at this strange device in her hand, wondering how to use it. She looked at the gallery exit, which was only a few feet away, and she looked down the hall, toward the exhibit which housed Valentine's Day. She looked one way and then she looked the other way, deciding

beringen

They opened the door to the cellar and told me it was time i went to an art show. They told me i needed some culture, plus seeing the artworks might inspire me to write. I asked them if i had a choice which gallery they took me to and they laughed. They said Do you know any art galleries? I thought for a minute and then i said Beringen? They looked at each other, unnerved. Where did you hear that name? one of them asked. I said i didn't know, that for some reason it was in my head. One of them whispered something in the other's ear. They said they needed a minute to consult about something, and brought me back down to the cellar. After some time, maybe an hour or so, they opened the cellar door. Now's not a good time after all, they said. We'll try again some other time. But you keep writing, they said, and they closed the door 

absent star

When i was twelve i went missing. i was in the desert for many months, alone and sunbitten. In evenings i froze. When they found me i was mostly dead. Only my skin, eyes, and temperament remained. They made me into a statue but soon i collapsed into a heap of sand. Little by little i'm carried back to where i belong, out the open windows, back toward the sun 

zebrahead

So tell us about your trip to Africa! Janie said, sitting down at the dinner table. The roast was almost ready. Her sister, Amanda, was playing with the cat in the living room, avoiding the conversation. Papa Morris sunk into his chair at the head of the table with a nice cold beer in his hand. It was great, he said. Wild animals and safaris, mmm mmm mmm. Mama Joan took the roast out of the oven; she lifted the tinfoil and revealed the gigantic zebra head. The fur still smoldered; the stripes were still discernable, despite being cooked. Joan began to carve. What a great trip, she said. Your papa here got us this zebra with his own two hands and a machete. What nice people those park rangers are. From the living room, Amanda said what countries were you in? The African ones, Morris said. Amanda got up and shouted You don’t even know which countries you were in?? Morris said Silly girl and Joan said Silly girl and Janie said Silly girl and they all patted Amanda on the head. Once they were all seated they said a prayer and began to eat. Amanda took a bite that was covered in burnt fur. She chewed for several minutes but couldn’t seem to chew through it. Everyone else around the table appeared to be doing just fine with the meat. She kept chewing and pretended everything was okay 

the ages

  

Young people: Facebook is cool


Old people: Facebook IS cool! Let's try it!


Young people: Fuck. Ok, Instagram is cool 


Old people: Haha Instagram most definitely IS cool! We love the pictures


Young people: FUCK! all right, Snapchat is cool


Old people: Haha we don't necessarily get it but sure, this is fun! Snapchat IS cool, come on everyone!


Young people: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!! Memes!


Old people: Already there with you! we look at the memes on the smartphone. Lol, what's with the gorilla? 


Young people: Alright you wanna know what's cool? You wanna know what's cool?? Eating fucking poisonous laundry detergent!


Old people: This is the death of society. The decline of civilization. Our children have betrayed us *a shift of eyes, and slow, mincing bite of a Tide pod* it's actually not that bad if you eat it slowly, over the course of a week. There's not as much poison that way, and the flavor could be worse. I might use it in the roast next Sunday


Young people: This has gone far enough. We have no choice but to self-terminate en masse. Coordinate via Finsta and meme pages and whatever routes we can. The method is irrelevant. Bullets, blades, blunt force trauma, jumping in front of freight trains, playing dangle-the-bacon with rattlesnakes, skydiving without parachutes, whatever. As long as we coordinate the timing so that we all take ourselves out of this stupid existence at the same time


Old people: Um, you know we monitor your Finsta, and we understand your memes, right? Ok, so no, no mass suicide, and you're grounded!


Young people: … fuck


Old people: And stop swearing so much or you're double grounded


Young people: *eye roll* 


Old people: Ha! That looks fun! Let's do that together. *all eyes are collectively rolled, which become stuck up inside their heads, because they did it wrong. They are unable to see, and the panic, which following the sudden blindness, results in mass hysteria. They accidentally run off of buildings, run through plate glass windows, run into traffic, run into freight trains, run into rattlesnakes, run into Niagara falls, run into the sun, until there are none. The majority of the population is eliminated. Older generations are completely decimated 


Young person, retired, Bitcoin-rich, sitting in a rocking chair, smiling triumphantly: what will younger generations enjoy in the future?


Young person's unborn child: *eye roll*  

death

Dirkwood Gleebs, 117 years young, hacked up a storm and rose at 6 AM. He walked to his little rickety office, still wearing pajamas, and sat at the typewriter. He heard a sound coming from the doorway and spun around to see a young man standing there. Who'n the hell'r you? he said. You know who I am, Dirkwood. It's time; let's go, the young man said. Wot? I ain't goin nowhere's. I gots a write my memoirs. I dunno how in the hell ye got in here, but git! The young man smiled and said Come on Dirkwood, make this easy for yourself. Don't make my whip out my scythe. Dirkwood typed on his rickety typewriter and said ye best git the hell on outta here 'fore ye git hurt. The young man rolled his eyes and touched Dirkwood on the shoulder. Dirkwood jerked out of his chair and stood up, hunched and wobbly. Well that's weird, the young man said, and Dirkwood punched him hard in the nose, and then he kicked him in the balls. The young man went down like a bag of hammers and lay there moaning for a while. Ye git the hell outta my house! If i see y'around here again i'm on' kill ya! The young man crawled out of the room and coughed. You old son of a bitch! I'm coming back tomorrow. Sure y'are, sure y'are, Dirkwood said, shaking his fist. That's what they all say 

weight

I'm at the gym four times a week but i saw some crazy shit the other day that i've never seen before. Skinny Greg Mallard was in the squat rack, loading up that tiny amount of weight that his skinny little legs can barely even handle, like 95 pounds or something, and he's chatting away while he's doing it with anyone around him that will listen. One of those gym talkers. Some people hate that, but me, i don't mind. Hard enough to make friends as it is. Outta nowhere this big, mean looking juice-head comes along and throws him, and i mean literally throws him out of the squat rack. Skinny Greg must have flew five feet. This jacked up shithead says something like Get your puny ass out of my squat rack! Everybody was stunned, just standing there, looking. Skinny Greg picked himself up and walked right out the front door. The juice-head was so terrifying no one even said anything. But you won't believe what happened the next week. Skinny Greg came into the gym but he didn't put his duffel bag in his locker, just brought it with him into the weight room. And there was the juice-head, already in his rack. Skinny Greg waited till he had the bar on his back, and there must have been over 400 pounds on that bar, and then Skinny Greg unzipped that duffel bag and whipped out a big honking 12-gauge. Everybody froze solid. The juice-head could see the shotgun pointing at him in the mirror, but the fear didn't register till Skinny Greg pumped it and said Squat! The juice-head went down and came up like there was nothing on that bar, like angels helped him lift in up. Skinny Greg yelled it again, Squat! and the juice-head, sweating and shaking, squatted again. And he did it again and again and again. After twelve or thirteen reps the juice-head was weak, grinding up the weight with all his might. I could see Greg's finger tightening on that trigger. The juice-head had nothing left but Greg yelled Squat! and the juice-head went down with no strength left to come back, and Greg levelled that shotgun right for the bullseye. That's when those slow-ass security guards charged in and put the kibosh on the whole murder thing. Haven't seen Skinny Greg or the juice-head since. Probably won't again. Goddamn security, always gotta ruin everything

liquor store

Work is not always fun. Yesterday the same troop came around, the ones that always give us trouble, and they got us good this time. Chained up all the employees around the special cheese and white wine tasting display, and stole all the red wine from the store, and i mean literally all of it. The ring leader came inside the store this time. She usually waits in the car. I've made eye contact with her a few times while on the phone with the cops. Normally they run around, smash a few things, and only steal a few bottles. But this time there was more of them than usual, and one of them, the twitchy skinny kid, had a gun. And then she came inside, tall, dark eyes, towering over us. Looked like someone not to be trifled with up close. I said why the hell are you doing this? and she said Cause my best friend has cancer. We all looked at each other, the employees, and the blonde continued talking, said My best friend has cancer. She's dying. Wants to swim in a pool of red wine before she goes out of the game, and i don't plan on letting her die unfulfilled. I said You won't get a way with this! and she just shrugged her shoulders. They had a truck waiting and everything; must have been twenty of them. It all happened in a few minutes. She blew us a kiss and then they were gone. Left the chains on us too. Cops took almost an hour to arrive. After i gave the police report i went to change and my arms felt like they'd been squeezed by god himself. By the staff room a lone bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape was rolling on the floor. I picked it up and tucked it into my shirt. I brought it out to the car later, tucked it under the seat. I don't think anyone noticed   

that lou reed album that's nothing but noise

Jim sat down in his and put his coffee cup on the wood coffee table. He began to read his book. Sheryl came into the living room and glared at him. He looked up at her. Please use a coaster, she said. He nodded and said alrighty, and she walked away. Thirty minutes later she brought a laundry basket full of towels into the living room and set up to fold them on the floor. She saw that Jim still had his coffee cup directly on the wood of the coffee table. As he flipped a page of his book, Sheryl looked up at the coffee cup. She walked over and lifted it off the wood, revealing a water mark. Look, she said. Look at this mark. That's never gonna come out. I asked you to use a coaster! Jim nodded and closed his eyes. He said I'm sorry. Next time i'll use a coaster. Sheryl took the coffee cup away and went into the kitchen. Jim continued to read his book  

the author

They let me out to visit The Author. At one point he had a normal name, but he changed it legally to The Author a few years before he went prison. I had told them many times that if they let me out for anything it should be for this, despite the difficulty involved in arranging a meeting of this nature. He hasn't been in a normal prison for the last year, but rather a maximum security psychiatric facility. I heard a rumor that he keeps his Pulitzers and his Nobel Prize on a shelf he built in his cell out of some of his own books and pieces of human bone. But it didn't happen the way it was supposed to; The Author wasn't there. They opened the cell door, and they were all as shocked as i was; there was no one inside. Security scrambled; people got on their walky-talkies, spewing out codes for this and that security situation. In the confusion i entered the cell. There were words written on the wall: "My biggest fear is that the world will end during my lifetime. My greatest desire is that the world will end during my lifetime." It was written in bold, childish lettering. The words were brownish-red in color, and i started to wonder about what substances he may have used to write them. A security guard came in and pulled me out of the room, citing danger and escaped patient and other things that blurred together