The news had traveled unbelievably fast, but such was how the world worked when the Internet was a close friend of yours. Everyone’s spouse and the meaning of life had left the party around five p.m. They had traveled in an exceptionally expensive Roles Roice convertible to an office building downtown. A restaurant with a special lounge that admitted only people who mattered resided on the top floor. The twelfth floor was where everyone’s office was. There, the news reports said, everyone’s spouse and the meaning of life had made a pact. The pact involved undying love for one another.
This news, had everyone heard it, would have depressed everyone. Everyone would have wanted to drink Popsi Cola but would have settled for Handsome Diet Cola because everyone was trying to lose weight in order to attract back his or her spouse.
This was why everyone kept rejecting the advances of his or her coworker Sam, even though Sam was hot and didn’t seem to care that everyone was not. Sam felt as if everyone shared a connection with him or her because their ex-coworker J. D. lived inside them. Sam had much affection for J. D., and everyone had come to have affection for him or her because J. D. was dead.
“Where is the meaning of life?” everyone asked the people at the party. The party was for people who mattered, and everyone had crashed it.
“Didn’t you hear?” the famous actress Gina Monrovia asked. She pointed at the television in the cabin of the boat where the party was. The television was atop a bar, where people who mattered sat drinking. Sam, wearing a risqué swimsuit, was among them, placing his or her hand on the knee of the person beside. Sam had a cocktail in the other hand and appeared to be drunk. Everyone wondered if it was because of him or her. They had come to the party together, but everyone had spent it looking for the meaning of life and his or her spouse. Sam had probably thought everyone was ignoring him or her, which everyone was, but that didn’t stop everyone from feeling jealous that Sam’s hand was on the knee of a person who mattered.
That’s when everyone saw the picture on the television. The picture showed everyone’s downtown office building. Blue lights strobed around it as if the party for people who mattered had moved from the boat to everyone’s building. The strobe lights were from police cars, and yellow ribbon ran between them.
“The meaning of life committed suicide,” Gina continued, “minutes ago. It’s all over the news.” Gina took a sip of Popsi Cola. The Popsi Cola was laced with bourbon. Gina was drunk. This was because Gina’s boyfriend Clint Gabble, another famous actor, had gotten up an hour earlier to visit the bathroom with a parent who had been hired to pretend to be everyone. Clint had been spending a lot of time with the cast of a local play that had been turned into a movie, and Gina rarely saw him anymore and was afraid that Clint was going to leave her the way everyone was leaving her right now to be closer to the television at the bar.
On the television was a replay. It showed the meaning of life in silhouette walking toward an open window on the twelfth floor of the building where everyone worked. The meaning of life stood for a moment looking down before the jump. The jump looked as if meaning were leaping out the emergency chute of an airplane--a little scared but not in a way that would have announced death.
On the ground now among the police cars, everyone saw the body covered in blue plastic.
Everyone wondered where his or her spouse was.
Around him or her the strobe lights reigned.
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.