Everyone felt guilty about giving her or his child Journey a black eye. Everyone had given Journey the black eye because she or he had seen inside it an ex-coworker named J. D. J. D. was obsessed with budgets and rules and was something of a jerk. In Journey’s eye, J. D. was wearing a plaid coat and galoshes and was carrying an umbrella, and J. D.’s clothes were all wet.
J. D. was not known for originality. Whatever everyone did, J. D. did as well. When everyone waved, J. D. waved. When everyone ate a banana, J. D. chose to eat one then as well. J. D. was annoying.
J. D. had been wearing the plaid jacket when she or he, after falling from the twelfth floor, landed in the bushes beside the sidewalk at the bottom of the office building where everyone worked. No one had seen J. D. wear such a jacket before, so everyone and her and his coworkers were not sure if it was actually J. D.
Everyone had not been one of the people to go down to the sidewalk to check if the person who had fallen was actually J. D. and whether J. D. was wearing a plaid jacket. Alice had said that she would check, and a few others said they would go with her, but everyone could not recall anyone returning to confirm her or his findings.
Everyone suspected now that J. D.’s appearance inside Journey meant that J. D. was calling out to everyone to go to the sidewalk below the office building to look at J. D.’s body and to recover the jacket. J. D. had lost either a body or a life, and now it had become everyone’s job to find it, just as it had become everyone’s job to recover her or his spouse who had run away after finding the meaning of life. All sorts of people were asking for everyone’s help. Everyone wasn’t sure how many others J. D. had tried to reach before her or him, but everyone suspected she or he was one of the last, since everyone and J. D. were not really friends.
Everyone looked inside Journey’s black eye. Journey’s black eye looked back at everyone. J. D. waved. Everyone knew what she or he had to do.
The ride to the office was twenty-five minutes and involved many lane changes, which did not please the car, so it stopped. It did so at the point where it was supposed to enter the freeway. Already, it had been going twice as fast as any human could run, and everyone was asking it to go twice that speed. Everyone wanted too much, which was what a really good car cost. This car with peeling green paint was not that car. It was not too much. It was less than that, and thus it was fed up.
Everyone slid from the vehicle and walked around it, staring. Everyone opened the hood. Everyone could not tell the difference between a working engine and a nonworking one. A nonworking one did not have blood spurting from it the way a nonworking person would.
Everyone thought of J. D. Everyone had not seen blood spurting from J. D. because everyone had not gone down to the sidewalk to check on her and him. Thus, everyone could not be certain whether J. D. had a working body or a nonworking one.
Everyone raised her or his head. In the distance--maybe six miles--the office where J. D. and everyone worked rose like an old mother complaining about her back, which is to say it sat forward on the flat landscape as if ready to topple the way J. D. had.
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.