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 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.

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