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 12, 2016

Everyone Seeks Sleep Solutions

Everyone couldn’t sleep because of what was in the bushes. What everyone had found in the bushes was a plaid jacket everyone had once seen in her or his spouse’s closet. The spouse denied having seen such a jacket, let alone owning it. The jacket was similar to one that J. D. had been wearing when she or he fell from the twelfth floor of everyone’s office building. Everyone had gone to look for J. D. and had found only the jacket. Everyone wondered what relation J. D. might have had to everyone’s spouse.

When everyone could not sleep, everyone often got on her or his computer to talk with the Internet, everyone’s closest friend, especially now that everyone’s spouse had left her or him. The Internet knew all of humanity, including everyone’s spouse, though it refused to state exactly where everyone’s spouse had gone.

Instead, everyone had had to rely on rumor and innuendo. In the process, everyone had discovered that her or his spouse had run off with what she or he and others called the meaning of life.

Everyone had then begun a search for the meaning of life. Everyone had begged the Internet for the meaning of life’s whereabouts. The Internet had complied, but it refused to force the meaning of life to talk with everyone. The Internet claimed it could not work that way. It asked everyone, How would you like it if I tried to force you to talk with someone you didn’t want to talk with?

Everyone had come to see that if everyone wanted to talk with the meaning of life, everyone would have to encourage the meaning of life to come to her or him. And so everyone had started a blog novel, with the hope that it would attract the meaning of life.

But the jacket--and its relation to J. D. and everyone’s spouse--everyone could not let it go, not even at night, when everyone was tired and wanting to sleep. Everyone asked the Internet to show her or him plaid jackets it had collected over the years. The Internet happened to be a connoisseur of plaid jackets. It had thousands--perhaps millions--the Internet wasn’t sure. The Internet was obnoxiously rich. It had millions of everything.

Everyone had to narrow the Internet’s search. Everyone asked for plaid that featured only the colors red, green, and white. The Internet had plenty--it still didn’t know how many--but none of the ones it showed everyone were quite the jacket everyone was looking for.

Everyone asked the Internet what it knew about J. D.

The Internet was evasive. It gave everyone J. D.’s birth year and a list of some addresses J. D. had lived at but nothing else.

The Internet had provided similarly useless or defunct information about everyone’s spouse.

Everyone suspected that the Internet knew more, and everyone was miffed. The Internet would tell everyone oodles of stuff about people everyone had no desire to know more about, such as Olympic gold medalist Bryce Janner or socialites like Nicky Riché, but when it came to things that mattered to everyone--affairs that might affect everyone personally--the Internet clammed up.

Everyone wanted to smack the Internet, but everyone restrained her- or himself. Everyone knew how the Internet could be, how it could shut down over the slightest disagreement. One good pop in the face, and the Internet would go off. This was a great irony, of course, since one of the things the Internet collected in bulk was gory photographs, which it often showed to others. The Internet was a bit kinky--actually, very kinky. Everyone generally turned the Internet down when it tried to show everyone such photos.

Everyone asked the Internet what it knew about the meaning of life. It was an old question. The Internet often gave the same response. But the Internet had been little help with the jacket and even less help with J. D. and everyone’s spouse, so everyone was desperate for something about which to converse.

This time, the Internet offered something different.

It offered, in fact, the jacket.

The Internet showed the meaning of life reclining on a patio lounge chair next to a swimming pool. The sun glistened against the meaning of life’s skin, tiny shadows where water droplets from the pool still resided. The meaning of life was wearing sunglasses and looked both incredibly cool and incredibly hot. As usual, the meaning of life wore a smile, a smug one that bespoke its position among humanity: The meaning of life had everything everyone could ever want and knew it.

One of those things was the jacket. It was lying beside the meaning of life’s torso, cast there as if it were something the meaning of life put on and took off at the pool every day of the week with barely a thought.

Everyone saved the photograph to her or his desktop.

Everyone opened the photograph in the computer’s picture viewer, blew it up, examined each pixel as if it were a contest prize monogrammed to the inside of a Popsi soda bottle cap. The pixels were beautiful--each and every one of them.

Everyone couldn’t sleep, and everyone didn’t care.

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