Everyone and the meaning of life had arranged to have a phone call. The call was to come in two minutes. Everyone was nervous. Everyone was drinking water and eating carrots to pass the time, which was slow.
Everyone wanted a cola, but everyone had just finished one ten minutes ago, and everyone was supposed to be on a diet. Everyone, in fact, had finished not just one but one six-pack. Everyone had drunk Handsome Cola, a diet soda. Everyone was poor and trying to lose weight. Handsome Cola was cheap and low on calories and could be purchased from the market on the corner three blocks from everyone’s office. Thus, it was a constant temptation, especially when the workday was long and the window was open and the smell of Popsi Cola wafted in from the outdoor eateries below.
Handsome Cola was not Popsi Cola. Everyone preferred Popsi Cola, and so far as he or she could tell, the meaning of life preferred it also. In photographs on the meaning of life’s blog, beautiful people held cans of the cola at waist height as they stood on a motorboat in the middle of a body of water. But Popsi Cola was comparatively expensive and had a high calorie count.
Everyone was not at the office, however. Everyone was at home. The four kids were in bed for the night. Everyone was supposed to be posting an entry on his or her blog, but everyone was waiting for the phone call before he or she wrote the conclusion. Outside, the dog was barking. It was a medium-sized dog with matted hair. The children were very close to it, but only when everyone mentioned getting rid of it. Otherwise, the children ignored it, like now, or pushed it out the door so that it would not be in their way. The dog was irritating. Everyone bit a carrot.
Everyone asked the Internet why the call was taking so long to come. The Internet said that time seems to slow down at moments of great importance because more is being written into one’s brain’s memory so that one will be able to respond more efficiently when similar situations arise in the future. Everyone had asked the question rhetorically. Everyone wondered sometimes why he or she remained friends with the Internet. The Internet was rarely sympathetic and often shut down when everyone needed it most or gave stupid answers like this.
And then the phone rang.
Everyone jumped. The dog barked.
Everyone took a sip of water, another one, another. Everyone needed to pick up the receiver before the phone stopped ringing, but everyone was unsure what he or she was going to say after answering it. Everyone had been practicing for weeks--indeed, months--the lines, and yet everyone had still not learned them. In fact, everyone had not yet discovered them.
Outside the dog was still barking. The dog would keep everyone from being able to hear. Everyone needed to answer the phone.
“Hello,” everyone said. The line was so simple, everyone could hardly believe he or she had been so nervous. A calm came over everyone. Everyone had answered the phone.
The voice on the phone asked if this was everyone. The voice sounded like that of a large person of another ethnicity. It was not at all what everyone had imagined.
“It is,” everyone said.
The voice laughed. “I bet you’re relieved,” the voice said, “after all this time, to talk to me. I bet you’ve been thinking a lot about me.”
“Well,” the voice said, “you’re going to be thinking about me a lot more after I tell you this,” the voice said.
But alas, the dog came to the window, and its barks were not to be restrained.
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.