Everyone wants you to read the book on which he or she is working, a novel everyone is writing in order to find the meaning of life, with which everyone’s spouse ran off. But everyone has to finish the novel before everyone can know where the novel begins. In the meantime, there are all these distractions, such as the twelfth-floor window at the office building where everyone works out of which people or maybe just one person keeps jumping or falling--everyone isn’t sure--or everyone’s sexy coworker Sam, whom everyone is struggling valiantly against to keep from becoming a paramour. It’s kind of pitiful, actually, the way everyone keeps begging you to read, sending you e-mails, dropping it into conversation (“I have a book, you know?”), posting links to it on social-networking sites. Everyone figures that if he or she begs enough, you will break down and try it. Everyone is like a dog that way, watching you eat your dinner. The way you handle the dog is to push it away from the table, lock it outside the room. Sometimes, of course, you hand the dog a bite, an inch-sized bit of beef, and that is all everyone is asking for--a bite, that you read just the first line of his or her book. The problem is that you know everyone too well. If you read one line, everyone will beg you to read another. Just one more.

To start from the beginning of the novel, go here.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Everyone Sees Something in Journey

The next time everyone saw his or her former coworker J. D., it was inside everyone’s darling child Journey. J. D. had been inside everyone for several weeks, and before that J. D. had been a coworker. Journey did not seem to everyone to be a very good darling for J. D. to reside in. J. D. was excessively rule and budget conscious, while Journey cared only about chocolate, budget be damned.

When Jeremy was inside everyone, everyone had at times felt a ping in his or her heart, as if he or she had replaced a two-hundred-year-old painting of Methuselah by an unnamed master of the medium with a half-life-sized photo of the pop star David Bowie by a third-row concertgoer or of the rapper Iggy Azalea by herself. The Methuselah painting seemed like it might be worth $5092, which everyone needed desperately for a down payment on a car, but the Bowie or Iggy photos aroused in everyone a longing for his or her spouse because Bowie’s cheeks and Iggy’s eyes looked like their child Jan’s, which in turn looked like everyone’s spouse’s. Everyone’s spouse had left him or her about six months previously.

The best child to have hosted J. D., everyone figured, would have been Star. Star had a literal heart of gold. On weekends, everyone’s darlings Jody and Journey and Jan sometimes played hide-and-go-seek with Star using a metal detector.

The part of Journey in which J. D. came to reside was the left eye. Journey complained of pain, and everyone tried to clear it. When everyone reached into his or her eye, however, Journey cowered. Everyone pushed Journey to the floor and stared. That is how everyone found J. D.

J. D. was slightly larger than Journey’s pupil. The invader was wearing a plaid jacket and galoshes and was carrying an umbrella. No matter, J. D. was soaked as the way his or her clothes stuck to his or her body attested. Journey’s eyeball was wet.

When everyone stared into Journey’s eye, J. D. stared back. If everyone waved, J. D. did too. If everyone raised a finger, so did J. D.

Everyone grabbed a piece of toast and ate it. So did J. D. Everyone took his or her shoe off and tapped it against his or her head. So did J. D.

J. D. was annoying.

Everyone thought carefully regarding the best means by which to remove the invader. Sharp metal objects like tweezers and forks seemed too dangerous. Fingertips might have worked, but Journey wouldn’t stand for them. Water only seemed to make J. D. wetter. And a toothpick could have introduced a splinter, as everyone knew from the Sermon on the Mount, though everyone was unaware of the sermon’s biblical origin, believing it to be the work of his or her coworker Harvey, who had recited parts of it one Sunday while they were cleaning an office.

The only way for everyone to capture J. D. he or she realized was to join him or her. Everyone instructed Journey to open the left eye as wide as possible. “I’m going in,” everyone said, pushing his or her two hands against Journey’s top and bottom eyelid as everyone tried to squeeze in the right foot.

It was in this manner that Journey ended up with a black eye and bloated face, as Journey later explained to others.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Everyone Learns Character

When the Internet told everyone that she or he lacked character, everyone agreed. It was a peace offering, as everyone and the Internet had not been getting along.

“The key to character,” the Internet instructed, “is to know your self and to know other people. As an exercise, write out the experiences that make up your character.”

Everyone thought hard. Everyone had two jobs, though only one was active. The active job involved archiving the designs and technology used at Dasneyland Amusement Park Malls. Everyone wasn’t sure of the purpose of this archiving, though she or he supposed that engineers might one day wish to return the malls to an earlier state. Or conceivably, marketers might analyze the malls’ different arrangements to see which attracted the most customers. Or perhaps, Dasney had a collection of patents over which it wished to sue others. “Is that character?” everyone asked the Internet, referring to her or his filing of information for possible future use.

Yes, the Internet said: “Your archives lend to who you are and to what Dasneyland Amusement Park Malls are--though no one who visits you or your mall need know such details. You alone need to know them, inside you, so that your character is informed. Once your character is informed, all you say and do will follow from that.”

Everyone mentioned her or his spouse and their four children.

Yes, the Internet agreed: “Your offspring demonstrate your character. Even if a person only sees your offspring, you are inside them.”

Everyone felt reassured. Everyone had character after all, more than she or he had thought. It would have been difficult to write a blog novel, as everyone was doing, without character.

Don’t get cocky, the Internet blurted then by blinking the next words. “You can never have enough character. You can always know more. What is the person’s hair color? What is the person’s sex? Or the person’s age? And most important of all, what is the person’s purpose, the motivation for her or his actions, her or his meaning of life? If the spouse has the meaning of life but the protagonist does not, only one of those persons could be said to have a fully developed character.”

The Internet really knew how to bludgeon a person. Everyone’s spouse had left her or him almost six months earlier for the meaning of life. Obviously, the Internet was still angry enough at everyone to bring it up.

Everyone rose from her or his chair. Everyone felt like crying, but everyone was not going to give in, not in front of the Internet.

Everyone looked down at the dog beside her or him on the floor. The dog’s eyes looked up at everyone as if the dog were a girl or a boy who was remorseful about spending her or his parent’s life savings on chocolate.

Everyone sat down on the floor next to the dog and patted it. What was the dog’s sex? Its age? Everyone didn’t know. Character was so hard.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Everyone Hugs

The Internet and everyone were still not on speaking terms when everyone returned to the office. Everyone was disappointed in the trip that he or she had taken to the convenience store to buy a Handsome Cola. Everyone had intended to write a chapter for his or her blog novel on the way there or on the way back. Instead, everyone had conversed with his or her coworker Sam.

At first, the conversation had been with Sam and Alice and Pat and Max and K. and Morgan and all the others who came to the store, but then the others split into tiny factions in the corners, and then so did Alice and Pat and Max and K. and Morgan. Some disappeared, likely to return to the office early or to go shopping for shaving appliances at the mall or to drink a depressant rather than a stimulant (or perhaps the two mixed together) at one of the downtown eateries. So then it was just Sam and everyone.

Sam had a crush on everyone, and everyone could feel him- or herself slowly falling for Sam, which was bad, because everyone was married. Although everyone had not seen the spouse in 5.5 months, everyone still wanted him or her back, and falling for someone else was not conducive to that.

What’s more, everyone had had 3.5 danishes and 2 frappuccinos instead of a Handsome Cola. Everyone was on a diet, and Handsome Cola was a diet drink. Danishes and frappuccinos were not. Everyone had gained sixteen pounds since starting the diet. Everyone would skip lunch and dinner in the hope that today’s gain could be offset by starvation.

Everyone was getting bigger, but Sam would always love everyone whether he or she weighed two pounds or two thousand. That is what Sam told everyone with the tilt of his or her eyes and the lean of his or her body. Sam used no words so that nothing would be stated definitively.

That is why everyone choked on his or her danish at lunch.

I am full of more love than I ever imagined was possible, Sam had said by putting his or her hand on everyone’s.

Everyone beat his or her fist against everyone’s sternum. “Wrong pipe,” everyone said. And then, removing Sam’s hand, “I’m married.”

Sam did not notice. Sam was too full of love. “I can’t get the thoughts out of my mind,” Sam said. “I never would have thought I could have so much sorrow, so much pain, over a coworker.”

Everyone nodded before he or she realized everyone should not have.

“It takes losing someone to know how much that person meant,” Sam went on.

“But I’m still here,” everyone said.

“I know,” Sam said. “You’re a Godsend. We have to stay strong, like you.”

Everyone’s heart beat quick. Sam was moving in close. If everyone wasn’t careful, they would kiss.

Or hug.

Everyone had his or her arms around Sam again like the day that J. D. had fallen out of the twelfth-story window at the office, and both of them were crying.

Everyone needed advice. Everyone’s thoughts were running like a vacuum cleaner spinner on a bad belt. Everyone knew he or she should not blog about this, but at the same time everyone felt compelled to spew it onto the Internet. The Internet would know what to do.

But the Internet was not listening. The Internet was still mad at everyone for being selfish, and now everyone felt even more selfish.

If everyone knew the meaning of life, the way his or her spouse had come to, everyone would have been okay. Everyone would have been able to focus on what mattered. This is what everyone told him- or herself. Everyone wanted to know the meaning of life.

“I need you,” Sam said, standing in the doorway to everyone’s office, when they were back in the building.

Everyone swooned.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Everyone Raises the Darlings

Everyone needed to make money so that she or he could buy a new car, so everyone had taken a second job as a janitor of random office buildings. Unfortunately, the boss of that second job, Harvey, had disappeared, so there was no second job, unless everyone returned to the random office buildings she or he had been to already with the hope that cleaning was needed and pay was forthcoming. But that pay came from Harvey, so it was unlikely.

Everyone thought about starting her or his own business, using everyone’s children, except everyone didn’t have children anymore because everyone had taken some bad advice and killed them. Everyone was learning: Never trust the Internet.

Everyone looked down at the dog beside her or him at the desk as everyone was typing. One’s darlings are one’s darlings for a reason, everyone thought.

Everyone decided on a rescue mission. Everyone was going to resuscitate the darlings, bring them back to life: Jody, the sanctimonious fart-joke expert; Star, the gold-hearted surgical miracle; Journey, the $5092 tax write-off; and Jan, the copy of everyone’s one-time spouse except in the sense that she or he was a six-year-old girl or boy and hadn’t yet found the meaning of life and disappeared. Everyone loaded her or his pen with the intention of letting the kids spill once again across the page.

“Today, my precious progeny,” everyone wrote, “we are going to Dasneyland.”

There was nothing like a Dasneyland Amusement Park Mall to bring kids back to life. Dasneyland had sick-smelling sweet shops in unnatural and unhealthy levels of proliferation, fart-joke bookstores, metal detectors for kids with hearts of rare earth minerals, chocolate carpets, and rooms where one could select new parents or pretend to be one’s own. It also had rides: on faux cars and faux planes and faux boats, all them through faux cities with faux people, and in those faux cities were faux restaurants that served faux food and faux eye doctors with faux eyeglasses. Everyone loved Dasneyland, and so did her or his kids.

Today, especially.

Today was the day that the John Quincy Adams animatron’s job was transferring to Hawaii, and anyone who paid the twenty-seven-dollar entrance fee could go with him. The way you went with him was to stand in a line, and then walk, and then stand in a line some more, and then walk some more, and then stop and listen to John Quincy Adams speak, and then walk some more.

As it turned out, John Quincy Adams knew a lot about Hawaii. Hawaii had hula dancers and Don Hoe and lots of pineapple. If you smelled closely, you could feel the pineapple in your nostrils, and if you listened closely, you could hear the swish of hula skirts on your legs.

“People were uncertain about electing me president,” John Quincy Adams said, after he explained Hawaii to the visitors, “just as they were uncertain about letting Hawaii become a state.”

Jody’s eyes were the first to come alive as everyone stood with her or his kids staring at the president. “Is it really John Adams?” Jody asked. “When is he going to fart?”

Star came next, pushing a hand against her or his metal heart. “I feel like George Washington and I have so much in common,” Star said.

Then came Journey, chocolate lover, who kneeled and licked the floor.

And finally, Jan, who noted that Hawaii would be a good place in which to look for meaning.

Everyone smiled. The kids had come to life just as she or he had wished.

Now came the hard part--making the kids do as everyone expected them to, or at least wanted them to. Everyone could, of course, force the children to accede to her or his wishes, but everyone could not make the kids wish as she or he wished for them to wish.

“Come on, guys,” everyone said to her or his darlings. “Let’s go clean an office building.”

The darlings stared at one another as they stood beside everyone in front of the president. They felt safe with John Quincy Adams and Dasneyland. They were unsure about an office building. They did not want to leave. It was dangerous outside. They knew. They’d already been killed once.