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, June 19, 2016
Everyone Fails to Avoid Distractions
The meaning of life liked Popsi Cola, so something involving refreshment was in order. “The taste that refreshes,” everyone wrote in his or her blog. “The taste that refreshes,” everyone wrote again, “Popsi.”
“Leisure, success, and happiness,” everyone wrote. The meaning of life liked leisure, success, and happiness. “Fit and tan people smiling,” everyone wrote, thinking of the photographs on the meaning of life’s blog, “holding Popsi Cola, the taste the refreshes.”
“While on motorboats,” everyone added, for it was obvious from the photographs that the meaning of life liked those too.
And so that the Internet could properly file the information, everyone added, “Plaid jackets,” and linked the phrase to a photo of the meaning of life, poolside, with a plaid jacket draping off the lounge chair on which the meaning of life lay.
The meaning of life also liked business and sales, so everyone thought about what business and sales words might appeal to the meaning of life. There was a patio deck beside and beneath the meaning of life in the pool photo. It consisted of pinkish pea-graveled cement. Perhaps, something about patio sales was in order.
Everyone should have ignored the thumping. Everyone was writing a blog entry.
Everyone had specifically opted to write not during lunch but at home, at night, after the kids were in bed and the dog done barking outside, so that he or she could focus. Everyone needed to find the right links and tags to add to his or her key words and phrases. Everyone needed to optimize the blog so that the meaning of life would find it and be motivated to comment, because the meaning of life so much enjoyed, for example, Popsi Cola, the taste that refreshes, and would want to know more. “What do you think of Popsi Cola, the taste that refreshes?” everyone would have asked, had he or she continued to write. “Is there any soda that compares?”
Instead, everyone turned.
The vacuum cleaner was behind everyone.
The vacuum cleaner should have been in the laundry room, not in the dining room where everyone’s desk was. Then everyone remembered: everyone had left the vacuum in the hall, where everyone had had to vacuum up dog puke. The dog had not gone to bark outside. It had puked and gone to everyone’s room to pretend death.
Everyone stood and went to the vacuum.
“In here, lunkhead,” the vacuum called.
Everyone looked around the room--at the small dining room table of mammoth thickness and six equally pompous charts, the bowl of oranges atop the table, the cheap chandelier from which what looked like clear plastic knives dangled. There were no closets in which to hide, and the room, expunged of the usual hobgoblin of papers and dirty dishes, offered no decent crevices.
“In here, lunkhead,” the vacuum called again. And then it shook, almost jumped.
Everyone looked down. A hand was protruding from the vacuum’s mouth.
Everyone tipped the vacuum over, shook the hand, pulled on it.
“Ow,” the vacuum said. “I’m not going to get out like this.”
Everyone danced a bit, uncertain what to do.
“Don’t just stand there,” the vacuum said.
Everyone ran to the garage, sorted through his or her tools--wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, lug nuts--grabbed the whole box, returned to the dining room, and began dismantling the vacuum.
The vacuum sighed impatiently.
“You know how many weeks I’ve been in here?” the vacuum asked.
Everyone strained to pull the bag loose. It was jammed. Opening it was like opening a window on a glass skyscraper. Everyone had to use the full force of his or her arms, and still opening it took an inordinate amount of time, as if everyone were playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with an abstraction.
Harvey pushed the bag up with his hands, unveiling himself. Harvey was everyone’s boss at the janitorial job everyone had had cleaning random office buildings.
Everyone stared. Harvey was covered in dust--and he smelled. Dog puke caked the shins of his pants.
Harvey sucked in the warm air of the room.
“Finally,” Harvey said. “You finally listen.”
“How’d you get in there?” everyone asked.
“How do you think?” Harvey grumbled.
Harvey sat down at the computer, let out a breath. “I got to write some e-mails,” he said, “let people know where I am.”
“Of course,” everyone said. Everyone still wasn’t sure how Harvey had managed to get in the vacuum, but he or she didn’t want to risk angering Harvey by asking again. “You want something to drink?” everyone asked. “You must be thirsty.”
Harvey read what was on the screen. “What is this crap?” he asked.