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, September 18, 2016

Everyone Needs a Monument to Grieve

Journey had come upon the idea via the Internet. Journey had long regretted eating up everyone’s $5092 fortune in chocolate, and Journey wanted to make things right.

The Internet told Journey, who was only eight and thus required special care, in the highest, most condescending, and sing-song voice it could manage, that often when people do something that causes real harm, so much harm that the person or item can’t be replaced, people erect a memorial.

The Internet showed Journey photographs of cemeteries. The cemeteries featured mostly headstones. Journey liked most the cemeteries that had life-size reproductions of people and animals or fountains and pools into which one could drop one’s feet.

Journey’s favorite monument was a stone merry-go-round that rotated when one pushed on it. Said push would activate a water pump that spewed lemonade onto riders and, if one was seated at the proper height, directly into a rider’s mouth. The memorial was for a horse jockey who had died in a game of musical chairs played on saddles mounted on live horses sponsored by Minuet-Made Lemonade.

Journey decided to create a memorial to the $5092. Journey wanted to help everyone grieve for the $5092 in a healthy and productive manner.

The memorial featured fifty one-hundred-dollar bills, four twenties, a ten, and two ones. The currency was mounted atop a giant stone candy bowl, peaking out of it. The candy bowl was ten times the size of a human. Leaning up against it was a candy bar the size of a vacuum cleaner, and next to it was a life-size figurine of a child eying the candy greedily. The child was in the back seat of a car made of granite (fashioned to look like Laygos, the attachable bricks so popular with the under-ten crowd). The driver’s side door of the car was open and off its hinges so that people could curl up in the front seat when it was raining. But the focus of the monument really was the $5092, highlighted by lamps shining up from below and covered in gold plating made from the melted-down heart of a child. In fact, it was gold, which Journey had found in the back of everyone’s closet, that Journey used to pay for the memorial and for the spinner that twirled the money around atop the bowl and for the chocolate milk that came out of the top of the bowl on special occasions, special occasions such as this, the dedication, spewing down the bowl’s side like mud.

Journey stood in front of the bowl next to the candy bar, waiting for the chocolate to run down to where Journey was. The bowl was in the middle of the Dasney Amusement Park Mall. The prime location had been arranged at a discount by Sam, a friend of Journey who was acquainted with everyone and the mall.

“How do you like it?” Journey asked everyone.

Everyone was crying, no doubt, very moved.

Journey took a finger, ran it along the bowl, stuck it in her or his mouth.

Aw, chocolate!

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