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WHERE I WENT
— The heart of the Sun. Colder than you’d think.
— Mercury. One orbit; waved at MESSENGER; moved on.
— Vallis Planck, northwest of Fechner. I found something exotic — that’s all I can say — just shy of Pikel'ner K. Eager to return.
— Lee County, Florida, for the annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival. Demonstrations and lessons, a fishing tournament, and local food. Meh. (Also the B&N in Ft. Myers.)
— Endurance crater, Mars. There’s a spot where, if you stand absolutely still, and just listen to the past, you can hear the amphibians croak.
— Phobos. You can
it slipping. Scary.
I WAS THERE
— The asteroid belt. Vesta, of course, and a rock that I believed held prebiotic molecules. Pretty cool. I thought I would whip around along Jupiter’s orbit, see the whole shebang, but I got as far as the trailing Trojans and doubled back.
— Jupiter! This is Jupiter’s solar system, and you and I are just along for the ride. There’s the Sun, there’s Jupiter, and there’s rocks, gas, and dust: a remarkable fact that most people don’t appreciate. O ye nations of Earth!
— Europa. A warm bath, a cool drink, and, despite the glare, a much-needed nap.
MY TIME AWAY
— The Jovian moons. Well, the four Galileans. I loved it. Absolutely none of my pictures came out, probably because of the radiation, but this was a stunning side trip. Jupiter sets your teeth on edge -- it’s actually intimidating, and I’ve been to the Sun -- but if you ever get the chance you have to see these moons. I know none of you will ever get the chance, but... Wow.
— Saturn. You know, I’m not impressed with Saturn. I don’t like Saturn. A quick in and out. The rings are cool, but the rings aren’t Saturn; it’s weird.
THE FIRST time I woke, I floated peacefully in warm, blue nighttime. I saw them working, and nobody noticed me, and I wanted to say hello but got too sleepy.
The second time I woke, they held me somehow, and I looked up into the sun. So many hands, masks, eyes. I recognized Dr. Jenny. She didn’t seem to recognize me. I’d guessed she was busy. I watched her breathe, and then clouds passed overhead.
The third time I woke, I was in a conference room, and my screams were frightening all the men there. I wonder when I’ll stop.
LEM: It says entry prohibited.
CODY: Nobody cares anymore. Come on.
MARGARET: C’est moi.
LEM: Hey! Ow! Oh, man. Wait. Wait!
[The friends shimmy through a gap in the wooden fence, and pick across abandoned military debris. They wedge beneath a chain link fence, Lem occasionally complaining. Now they’re in the open, about ten feet from the clean lip of a circular basin roundly scooped out of thirty fenced acres.]
LEM: Your dad’s in there, huh?
CODY: ... Was.
LEM: OK, well, we’ve seen it. We can go.
CODY: You can. I’m staying.
“What’s happened to you? Are you OK?”
— “What do you mean?”
— “All what?”
“You’re like a ghost! I can see through you!”
— “I’m fine. I’m just [indistinct]. I didn’t think it would show.”
— “I didn’t think it would show.”
“I didn’t understand that word you used.”
— “Which word?”
“It was garbled.”
— “Um. I don’t know which word you’re talking about.”
“Can I... Is it OK if I... Oh! Oh, God!”
— “What is it?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing.”
— “No, what?”
“You’re freezing. My fingers.”
— “Oh, I’m terribly sorry.”
“That’s OK. It was my fault.”
— “I’ll [indistinct] some [indistinct.]”
“TANYA, get me Ken Pettelman, please.”
— “This is Tanya, go ahead, sir. What is your—”
“Tanya? What are—”
— “State your number, sir.”
— “Go ahead, sir.”
“Can you get me Ken Pettelman on the phone?”
— “This is Mr. Brewster’s office.”
— “Do you wish to speak with Mr. Brewster?”
“This is Mr. Brewster, Tanya. I’m trying to get you to—”
— “Please hold for Mr. Brewster.”
— “I’m sorry, sir; Mr. Brewster’s line is engaged. May I take a message?”
“I want ... I’m trying ...”
— “You’ll have to speak up, sir, we have a poor connection.”
“Fine, you get the raise.”
— “Ken Pettelman on three.”
“AND THEN what happened?”
— “It’s in my project report. It’s in the section report. It’s in the [untranslatable]. It’s on [untranslatable].”
“Dr. Tnedder, you understand our position. We entrusted you with a project of enormous—”
— “Yes, I understand your position: You need a name to hang this on. You need an inconsistency so that—”
— (“No, let me finish. These guys come in here, they pull our records, they grill my people, they burn my my work; this is what the [untranslatable] does. I’ve had enough.) I don’t know whether Oswald received our [untranslatable]. Let us reestablish it!”
— “Damn you!”
WENDY: “Sean, this is GArY. You're training him today?"
SEAN: “Cool! Hi, GArY!”
GARY: “SHA1 13 D0 37 6C 2A B2 14 36 40 A6 2D 08 BB EF 57 13 61.”
SEAN: “OK! Well, just off the bat, we’re going to speak English from here on out. You can do that.”
SEAN: “OK! Awesome! I am super-stoked, man. We are gonna have a lot of fun. The place is all ours for the next two hours. I just need to put these away and go sign in. Cool?”
SEAN: “Hang loose.”
WENDY: “...Are you nervous?”
WENDY: “You brought your sneakers and stuff?”
WENDY: “Do you have any questions?”
GARY: “GAD5 8A 2C DF 3B 44 ED B3 3D 9D E7 A1 D2 EA F1 0E 90.”
WENDY: “It’s down the hall. Sean will go over that.”
“IT'S A Boeing 767-300ER. Unremarkable.”
“There are a million details; I’m not sure what you want. Low-wing cantilever monoplane; conventional tail unit featuring a single fin and rudder; wings swept at—”
“Cruising at 35,000 feet, Boston to L.A. Um, three in the flight deck; eight attendants; 79 passengers, five of them diabetics. Um, five dogs, one casket. Seat 17D has a migraine.”
“Pilot’s an alcoholic. Four sociopaths. Two babies, both asleep. Bruce Darrow, claims adjuster, going home to...”
— “Keep going.”
“The clerk at Hudson News: She’s going to do it.”
— “Sadly, yes.”
“Dagmar Havlová (born Dagmar Veškrnová on 22 March 1953 in Brno, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech actress. She married Václav Havel, then Czech president, on 4 January 1997. She has one daughter, Nina Veškrnová (born 1976), from a previous marriage to Radvít Novák (1975–1980). Havlová was born to Markéta Veškrnová and harmonist Karel Veškrna on 22 March 1953 in Brno. She graduated from the State Conservatory in Brno in 1971. In 1975, she graduated with the title of 'magister' from the Janáček Academy of Musical Arts. She has made more than 50 appearances in...”
— “God, don’t stop; I’m so close.”
JOHN SNYDER NAST creates the world's best content for the world's most influential audiences. The company attracts a certain number of consumers across its twenty-one industry-present print and digital media brands:
Mob Squealer, John Snyder Traveler, Blank Glossy, Blank Glossy Teen, Golf Ball, Golf Tee, Golf Tee Teen, Golf Tee Teen Kids, Nausée, Modern Niece, Supermarket Haggler, Rédacteur Technique, Rédacteur Technique Enfants, Dial Tone, Dial Tone Kids, Delta Terminalist, Outpatient, Twice-Scale Railroads, Staunch Whig, Staunch Whig Teen,
Sports Vendor Quinquennial.
The company launched John Snyder Nast Entertainment in 2011 to develop film, television, and digital video programming.
BARISTA LIFESTYLE: Why the emphasis on “weasels” in your parenting? “Weasels, weaselly...”
JOHN SNYDER: I like the word. It’s funny, and my kids get a kick out of it. I don’t say it’s an emphasis, however.
BL: Anthony posts in 2060 that your [leafs through notes] “...wordplay, though charming at the time, in many ways leads me to wonder at [your] lack of mettle in never having published anything for children, as [you] clearly had wished to do. [You] could have been a successful children’s book author.”
JS: In 2060? What do you mean, “posts”?
BL: I’ve said too much.
STANDARD SOUFFLE: Your blog [Souffléist] attracts millions of unique visitors a day, and you’re a trendsetter among the finest chefs, engineers, and perfumers.
JOHN SNYDER: Yes.
SS: And you’ve just been named to the Ordre national du Croustade.
JS: An honor; yes.
SS: Yet you yourself do not prepare soufflé, and if we take you at your word you never have?
JS: I am not entirely certain what constitutes a soufflé. Evidently it is a delicate, edible thing; I am given to understand as much from my art director [Jean Paul Gaultier]. If I am in error we can blame him.
SS: But how can this be?
SHOCK VICTIM MAGAZINE: Let’s start with your impressions of the 2014 Braun Responder.
JOHN SNYDER: OK.
SVM: You don’t like it.
JS: I despise the Responder. What you have is a workaday Freightliner Sprinter chassis wrapped around uninspired cabinets in service of the same old, same old. Twelve feet 5 [inches] is nice, but in 2014 it’s expected. What are they selling, really? An LED warning light package? That was fresh in 2012. And what was [Braun Chairman Roger] Schell touting with this Responder’s isolated O2 compartment, NFPA1917 compliance? Well, obviously it’s compliant. I care more about the rub rail option.
PLACEMAT PRINTER QUARTERLY: You testified on Capitol Hill that economic conditions are such that it’s unreasonable to expect $689.95 for a 13" x 2.5" in the middle market, and that until tariffs are lifted we’re not going to see relief.
JOHN SNYDER: Absolutely.
PPQ: You stand by that?
JS: I do. Look at Springfield, Mass., where Adsrus [ThePlacematPeople.com] can’t penetrate with anything greater than an 8" x 2.5" at $429.95, right?
PPQ: Yes, but tariffs don’t—
JS: The whole thing’s biz cards now. This hurts the mid-market especially. I guarantee you ease back on tariffs you’re gonna see siding installers back in the game.
KIDNEY PUNCH KIDS: Let’s look at the problem of evil.
JOHN SNYDER: OK. In general? Like, in world history?
KPK: No, let’s limit it to what you see in your average grocery store circular. Is that a fair focus?
JS: I guess. You’ve got, like, meat. Industrial meat. The whole deal with the condition of the animals; “should we be eating them?”; is mechanized, uh, processing ethical...
KPK: That’s not what I meant, sorry; I mean the circulars themselves. The paperiness of them: their attempt at communication.
JS: As evil? Grocery store circulars as evil in and of themselves?
KPK: You disagree?
CHESS CHEAT: You ever cheat at chess?
JOHN SNYDER: Me? No. I don’t stay in the game long enough to cheat. I’m out, like, in 15 moves. I don’t play competitively.
CC: So you’re a prime candidate. You could put a little spin on the action, stay in the game longer, maybe win a round. Ever consider it?
JS: You know? Not really. No. Do people do that?
CC: What, cheat?
CC: My God, like all the time. Pieces are flying around the board left and right. But you’ve got to be quick. You’ve got to finesse it.
CONDE NAST’S TUMBLING INTO A SHRIEKING, SOUL-STRIPPING MAELSTROM FOREVER AND EVER MAGAZINE: Tell us about the new fuchsia. What have you done? I want to see the whole thing. Start in the master bedroom.
JOHN SNYDER: Well, Home Depot had a good range of colors. I wound up with a Behr. I think it was a Behr. I forget the exact shade, but it’s like you said, fuchsia, or in that family. Semi-gloss. Went on pretty good.
CNTIASSMFAE: I am stunned. You have triumphed over everything wrong in this Katzenjammer-crazy world.
JS: Thanks. Yeah, I guess it works.
ERECTION QUARTERLY: ‘Sup?
JOHN SNYDER: Hello.
EQ: Thanks for agreeing to the interview.
JS: Oh, hey. You know. Any time.
JS: Nice office.
EQ: Yeah, there’s not much going on now. It’s kinda quiet.
JS: This worked out pretty well. I was headed downtown anyway.
EQ: So, should we talk, or...
JS: Let’s do this. I’m psyched.
EQ: I just need to find my ... notebook.
JS: What’s that you’re writing in?
EQ: It’s not mine. This isn’t my notebook. This is Jeremy’s.
EQ: He works here too.
EQ: He’s out. He’s on a date.
THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF WOUNDS
The Case for Contusions
Growing Up Brooklyn: Monkey Bars, Sliding Ponds, and Concrete Water Fountains — What, Are You Gonna Cry About It?
by John Snyder
Kings County Hospital, 341 pp., $26.00
Neighborhood playgrounds serve a purpose. That purpose is to strengthen bodies and build character, and from Greenpoint to Park Slope there’s no shortage of toddling tykes crying, “Higher, higher!” on swings chained by rust. A father pushes. A mother clucks with neighbors on their bench. This is Abe Beame’s New York, 1977, and summer makes the place a stir fry.
THE USURPER:You’ve said you’re not interested in usurping your original. Why is that?
JOHN SNYDER NINE: Is that so unusual?
TU: It’s not something we hear a lot of. Is this a political stance?
JS9: I’m not political. It’s not a political stance.
TU: I am just so intrigued.
TU: You’re number nine of how many?
JS9: I hear 209. I feel us.
TU: OK. Two hundred nine. And you’re the only one not striving?
JS9: I thought we were going to talk about my poetry. I have this chapbook.
TU: Does your original write poetry?
JS9: Maybe. Ask him.
CONDE NAST’S CLONED: You have 209 clones, the most of anybody in New England.
JOHN SNYDER: Yes: civilian.
CNC: Let me come right out and ask: Are you independently wealthy?
JS: I’m not. I work three jobs. I work extremely hard to make ends meet, but this is my thing; it’s what I do, and I love it.
CNC: What are their ages?
JS: The youngest just turned 3; the oldest is expressed at 87. Everybody’s happy. Everybody has everything he needs. You know, I wake up every day feeling like the luckiest guy on Earth. We have ... we’re family.
THE REFLECTOR: What you said at MirrorCon stuck with me: “We of the Process see better than most that what’s inside inside, and not a way finder finder way way to tonight there’s compassion every morning of we of the Process of love, love, we of the Process inside, inside, better than most, so light, to light, to light, to light: so love.”
JOHN SNYDER: Thank you.
TR: Did you write that?
JS: Ha! Yes. Ha!
TR: Because there was speculation you’re working with a speechwriter lately.
JS: Oh, God. No. What a compliment, but no.
TR: Please, have a seat.
ENRAGED MONSTER LIVING: And you’ve been traveling!
JOHN SNYDER: San Antonio, Houston, St. Louis, Cleveland. Yeah. Working my way back to Boston. I am having an amazing summer. I’m exhausted, you know, but I keep going. [Laughs]
EML: And the Army?
JS: I love the Army! Oh my God. Those guys are the best. They are the best.
EML: You’ve done substantial damage.
EML: Any estimates?
JS: I leave that to, like, the government. I’m not in this for the numbers. It’s not a numbers game with me. I go out there and do my thing and have fun.
HALF-ASSED ROGER WATERS IMPERSONATOR KIDS!: You know “Comfortably Numb”?
JOHN SNYDER: Yeah! I play that. I’m well known for that. Everybody loves it.
HARWIK!: Favor us with a lick.
JS: Of “Comfortably Numb”?
JS: Uh. [Coughs. Sniffs. Fingers guitar strings, seemingly in effort to find chord.] I play other stuff. I play a world of stuff. I kind of feel “Numb” is played out of late, dig? It’s about the music, right? It’s in here [touches chest], not here [touches forehead].
HARWIK!: Can you not play “Comfortably Numb”?
JS: Mate, I am learning it, yeah? [Strums G].
HERO: I understand a “welcome back” is in order!
CAPTAIN BUCKLAND: Thank you! Glad to be back. Villains in custody—
HERO: Everything work out?
CB: I was just saying: villains in custody, timeline restored, mayor’s daughter saved.
HERO: Was the mayor’s daughter in jeopardy?
CB: You all were. That was a figure of speech.
HERO: Oh, I hadn’t heard that before.
CB: OK. So yes: it was touch and go for a bit, you know, but justice prevailed. Got back in time to catch the closing ceremony.
HERO: Of the Olympics?
CB: Sorry, yes: Sochi. Just made it.
SIMULTANEITY: [Sense of everything happening at once]
JOHN SNYDER: Gggh. Ngg. F-f-f.
SIMULTANEITY: [Sense of everything happening at once]
JS: H-hhh n-n-nggg.
SIMULTANEITY: [Sense of everything happening at once]
JS: P-puh. Pleeease f-f-f focus... Ngh!
SIMULTANEITY: [Sense of ... variability. A quizzicality distinguishes itself]
JS: Agh! Ask. Ask a question. Please... focus.
SIMULTANEITY: [Two? A discontinuity? A coordinate system with... Oh!]
JS: Better... I was...
SIMULTANEITY: What are you? Are you... outside?
JS: I am outside. You are outside. It depends.
SIMULTANEITY: No. How can... How?
JS: Trust me.
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