REPORT A PROBLEM
Here's a story I want you to write. The protagonist can be male or female, but married, and having an affair. He or she is in a motel room while his or her adultery buddy is showering. Your protagonist hears the clock ticking. Your protagonist can't stop hearing it. There's a sex scene, but still, the clock is always ticking. You can make the moral--if you want a moral--something about the futility of trying to fight against time. There's always the clock, tick tick ticking. I think you should make it about ten pages. Remember to be naturally tedious.
Jim was in the washroom when the Tall Woman came in. She said, "Are you involved with Fertility First?"
"No, I'm not," he responded.
"Oh. Do you have something against them?"
"I have nothing against Fertility First."
"Are you working on having children?"
"Jane and I are too over the hill for that. Are you working on having children?"
The Tall Woman said, "No, since Women's Lib they're not really that necessary any more."
They both laughed.
She said, "It was just something I heard about you, that's all."
"It must have been some misintepretation."
"Okay. I see." She left.
SAN FRANCISCO SUPERMARKET SCENE
(Unpacking my groceries and ringing them in.)
"Okay," she says.... "Wait a minute. I can't sell you these groceries."
"What do you mean, why not? You don't have even close to enough fruits and vegetables."
"Sorry, I'm from out-of-state."
"You have to spend at least three more dollars on fruits or vegetables. City ordinance."
"But, I have no way of cooking. I'm in a hotel room."
"Doesn't matter. You're not leaving here with that bag."
"Can't I just
you three dollars?"
She looked very cross. "Don't you give a damn about the children?"
Self-Disgust, Chapter 1,958*
He sees a woman come out of the washroom for women, and he is tenderly charmed. She was in there, caring for her body and its functions. He thinks how horrible he himself feels when leaving a washroom--like he needed to make an apology to whoever saw him. Afraid he's carrying a bodily stink, afraid a spot of pee shows on his trousers, afraid of being
. And yet, this woman, this young woman, charms him. She's a fine upstanding figure. Responsible and caring, too. Too bad he himself is so gross.
*More or less.
About a week ago I heard reports of a stone-storm falling on a neighbouring town. Weird, I thought. Then it rained stones on
town, busting all sorts of windows. It was quite odd. On Thursday, it rained blood. The streets were way slippery. Lots of car accidents happened. My wife and one or two of my kids were killed. (Where was all the blood coming from, anyway?) Then, last night, at maybe two a.m., fire started raining from the sky. Everything's on fire. My house is gone, and the population is marauding generally. I am very close to panicking.
HER FAVOURITE COMPUTER GAME
was a simple computer game. She would have to fill a Microsoft Word document with precisely one hundred words a day. It wasn't always an easy game. Some times she stared at the screen, waiting to respond in order to make the next move. The screen would challenge her. The screen would insist on grammaticality. She'd spend a lot of her waking hours (and many of her sleeping ones too) trying to solve this game. And the game went on. On and on. Eventually she doubled the challenge with longer stories. (The rules were looser there.)
IN THE TORONTO STAR EDITORIAL NEWSROOM
-Man, I hate those fucking soldiers. I just hate them! I hate what they wear, and I hate that they're killing our friends in the Taliban. They trundle around, the goons, and they rape and murder. All getting their marching orders from Bushitler. I bet they don't even know which fork to use at the oyster course. They're disgusting, these
. The pigs probably would have voted for that piggy pig fat piggy pig Rob Ford. Piggy pig.
-Boss! It's Remembrance Day soon!
-Oh? Then let's praise 'em! They're the salt of the earth!
She stopped short and soft.
She didn't say, "I wish I could speak to you. I can't do small talk, and I was just about to say something personal about you. I was going to essentially say that I like you, but I'm afraid, afraid because I'm not sure what I would be meaning. And so I can't speak, I can't say anything at all. If I was merely to talk about the weather It'd be a lie. Or rather it would be true--but it wouldn't really be about the weather. So: nothing."
She moved along through the fair.
Doesn't it seem loud in here?
What are you drinking?
What do you do for a living?
How many people do you know here?
Did you see that?
That laughing woman?
Do you come to these things often?
Where were you born?
What do your parents do?
Would you like to go outside?
Where were you born again?
Do you live around here?
Are you enjoying the weather?
Did you see that?
That laughing woman?
Do you drive?
Where was your last vacation to?
Do you like this brooch?
What's your name?
Doesn't it seem loud out here?
Well, what exists?
Well, dreams exist. I know they exist. There are event witnessless dreams. They exist. Even when there's no-one around to see them.
Birds exist. Birds exist in flocks. How many birds are in a flock, in that flock, that one there? There appear to be around thirty. They have a definite number. But what's the number?
And what else?
Borges exists. He had a proof of God.
You're dreaming of a flock of birds. How many birds are there? You can't say definitely. How can there be an indefinite number of birds? Only God knows.
Here's an odd story.
At work, there was a fire drill. Everyone got out. She stood there, talking to someone, about something, until the all-clear was sounded and they could go in again.
This, incidentally, all took place when there was just an hour left to her shift. She debated with herself: should I simply go home? Before she could decide they were let back in.
So she sat there at her desk for the last ten minutes of her shift. Didn't even take off her coat.
Then she went home to find that her house had burned down.
A CURIOUS THING
There was a curious discovery in the science world last month. Experiments in Europe concerning the origins of the universe have unequivocally determined that time works backwards. The gluons and bosons all evidently begin in decay and death and proceed to a state in which they are created, along time's arrow. Therefore, everything we know is wrong. We all begin in death, and flow back to birth. The so-called Big Bang is the point toward which we are tumbling. So-called Heat Death is the single point from which we are coming. Of course, it can't be true.
A counterfeiter passes a fifty dollar bill to a shopkeeper. The bill is bundled up with other bills next day and put into a deposit bag. The shopkeeper carries the bag to the bank.
So, what is that piece of paper? What's its ontological status?
I make it a forgery. I make it genuine. It's also a word. And it's a representation of an idea. It's a particular colour and a specific size. It's a symbol of something bigger than itself. It's falsely real and really false. It actually doesn't exist
as things exist
. It's all these things, and more.
THE LOST FINAL PARAGRAPH
Three years later, after Boo raped and killed Jem and then hung himself, Atticus was sure blue. Seems that Bob had been defending us that Hallowe'en night when Boo'd attacked Jem and me, but seeing as how his whole scheme had gone awry, Bob winding up stabbed and all, he chose to bide his time by pretending to be the saviour. It was all down there in Boo's intimate diary, along with careful charts of his watching us. Shows you how wrong you can be about people--even if they seem to be mockingbirds at heart.
Curious news from our Murder Capital:
It appears that on Saturday night Victor the Enforcer after garotting upstart 'Sword' in the West Side Pool Hall was shot to death with nineteen bullets from the tommygun of Bama Billy who was subsequently arrested only to die in the police car after a bludgeoning by Sgt. Nicky O'Donell but before the latter could report the accidental death at hq a machete found its way into his back and the owner of that machete was Mandingo who got into his car which blew up because of a bomb planted hours earlier by 'Sword.'
Girls stop developing earlier than boys.
Q: Are you coming to the celebration?
A: No, I've got a life.
Cancer research is pretty much a scam.
The only way to unpop a popped umbrella is to thrust it into the wind. I do this all the time, and I don't even own an unbrella.
We all so believe we're not solely inside, we're shocked to find out we can't find a way out.
A wise man said that committee psychology is best understood as a subclass of mob psychology.
Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas.
I was plowing when Hank waved to me.
"Let's go to the city," he said.
"What's that?" I asked.
"It's the place of evil," he said.
And so Hank and I went to town. We played billiards and drank whisky and found some loose women for pleasures of the night. Next day we got up after noon and did it again. And the next day, and the day after that.
We found ourselves sleeping in parks and drinking orange juice and Lysol, and filthy. Hank got rolled by some kids on drugs. I'm sprawled out, near death. In the city.
TODAY'S COMMEMORATIVE PLATE
(third in the series of
China Plate Decorated With Enamel Transfer Paints To Commemorate The Third Day Of The Engagement Of Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Of Wales To Catherine Middleton Of Berkshire, A Limited Edition Of 7,200,000 Of Which This Is No 2, Mercian China, Burton Upon Trent, England, Diameter 11", "John Lydon Formerly Johnny Rotten Of The Sex Pistols Formerly John Joseph Lydon Of London Penning Congratulatory Epistle To The Betrothed Couple In His Apartment At An Undisclosed Earlier Time, Iconic Teacup Near, Sun In Window, Script Visible Reading, 'She's Bang On The Money'."
"Bobby's teacher came."
"About an hour ago."
"There's been some ... problems."
"According to Ms Thompson, he's showing signs of ... nonconformity."
"Nonconformity? How severe is it?"
"She was just concerned. No need for drugs yet."
"Drugs? She mentioned drugging?"
"No, but I could see it's what she meant. She asked if he watches enough television."
"Um.... Does he?"
"Apparently not. He can't join into conversations about television when the subject comes up in Media Studies."
"I guess we have to keep him away from those books of his."
"Yes. We can't have him ostracized."
The broken front step and the brass door handle with the keyhole above and the key slides in best from the bottom, and the key turns counterclockwise and the door opens with the rattle of loose panes of glass. There's wood stairs three to a riser then the stairs continue up to the right. Above the riser is a window (open). The next door opens with a creak. Directly ahead is a shelf of compact disks seen crosswise, and a basket with coloured markers, and the small persian carpet is askew, tassels climbing the wall, folded in parts.
Boy I hate that Daniel Thomaspoon. I really hate him, I hate him so much! You know what he said to me? Do you? I'm not going to repeat it, it was so nasty what he said to me.... I have to get all kinds of revenge on him, I'm going to kill him. You want to know how I'm going to kill him. I'm going to push him off a building then I'm going to drop pianos on him. Then I'm going to hack the pianos apart, mixing him up with them. Yes, it has to do with music.
The underling Xs were going through the applications for the N school which as everyone knew was heavily X.
First X said, "This applicant's creds are good. Good grades, I mean."
Second X looked at the sheet. "Let's put it in the possible pile."
This applicant here: let's Google him."
They Googled the applicant.
"Maybe it's a fluke."
"Maybe not. How can he believe Y's stuff?"
"It could be someone else?"
"I think we're going to have to junk this one."
And into the trash it went.
So distantly no-one noticed, a star fluttered, and utterly vanished.
Gwen was over at Joan's for tea. Down the stairs came Pete who nodded quickly at Gwen before proceeding into a small room.
A couple coughs then Gwen said, "Joan. Honestly. Doesn't it bother you?"
Joan paused. "A little."
"You could do a whole lot better."
Joan shrugged sideways. "I love the man."
Gwen looked over. "I know what he does in there."
"So do I."
"But, aren't you shocked?"
"Aren't you scandalised?"
"If I told others about what he does in there--why, you'd be finished socially!"
Joan blushed richly. "I'm bewitched bothered and bewildered. I love him."
Very early this morning the Tempter came to me.
He said, "Make me something interesting out of this." He held forth a rock. "Write about a rock."
I said, "No."
He took me up a tower. "Jump off. Your angels will catch you."
I said, "No."
He swept his arm across the world. "Worship me, and all this will be yours."
Again I said, "No."
The Tempter shrugged. He said, "Suit yourself. Don't say I didn't offer you everything." And he left. I pinched myself and recoiled in horror. "Wait!" I shouted. "Come back! I thought I was just dreaming!"
I was talking today in English to a recent Chinese immigrant girl. I said, "Hey, let's try something. You talk to me in Chinese, and I'll use complicated English words. Let's see how we well we communicate."
"Okay!" she said. "□□□ □□□□!"
"What avenue to approach? Cunnilingus and fellatio eventuate sensations of a complexity unparalleled in sublunary existence!"
"□□ □□□ □□ □□□ □□□□!"
"Cogitate the arhythmical stimulations advanced by my glans and meatus upon your mons veneris!"
"□□□ □□ □□□ □□! That was fun!" she said. "But I'm confused. Didn't you say you were going to use complicated English words?"
It's a straight vertical line at insemination. The lowest point, the 0, is experience. At the top, at approaching ∞, is potential. After the first instant, the bottom point moves up infinitesimally, while the top drops infinitessimally. Then there's birth.
Barring accidents, the lines converge and cross when experience exceeds potential.
this takes place is unique to the organism.
Then experience grows and grows, approaching ∞, while potential approaches 0. Limbs creak, thoughts are lost; finally, experience hits ∞ (really!) which potential equals 0. Death.
0 and ∞ while death
∞ and 0.)
A CEDAR SHINGLE
One of hundreds measuring 8½ by 11, smelling strongly of raw cedar, grooved top to bottom and a half inch thick; ready to protect all that's right below it; and the water runs through the grooves from top to bottom etching like glaciers the soft wood that's stronger than you'd think and strengthening the wood itself through every fraction of its half inch; and it may warp but the warp can be rectified at some date; pretty much eternal barring fire; one of hundreds, interlocking with its neighbours and borrowing and lending power; something made to last.
I went for piano lessons with a guy on my street.
He seemed very normal. We sat beside one another at the piano.
He said, "Let's start at the beginning." One key at a time he went, "Do, re, mi, fa, la, ti, do."
"Wait," I said. "Isn't there a note missing in that?"
He took a snit. "We do not need ... that note!"
"It's used quite often, you know."
"The world is made of fools! Six notes are enough!"
"Did you build this piano yourself?"
"I was forced to! I was forced to! I was forced to!"
It's a film set. There's a motion picture being made. Peculiar accidents have been taking place. The director (who is female) wonders if the production is cursed. They're making a light comedy. Perhaps the God of Light Comedy is pissed off? She goes to a witch doctor? "What's wrong with my production?" The witch doctor says, "The God of Light Comedy is a savage and merciless god." "Okay, so, what should I do?" "Sacrifice an albino goat at the next full moon." "We're not shooting that long!" "Okay, then, tonight."
The goat sacrificed, production continues. Jack Nicholson wins another Oscar®.
I'm working with these suckers and I try to make the rent
And all the time there's a guy wants my woman money-spent
And my shirts are overstarched, I can't move a fucking inch
I swear on granny's grave suckers want to see me lynched
I'm running for my grill because the dentist don't take checks
I start thinking of my legacy like that dude called
My blood's a-boil, my pressure's up, my feet are fucking hurting,
Can't see sometimes, forgot my lines, no time for hopeless flirting,
Please help me God, help helpless sod, I can't stop hurting
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