Friday, May 5, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

Give me a sharpened stick; I'll gouge my eyes out, roast them over a fire like marshmallows. Then, I'll shove them down your fucking throat. Punch blindly until the bones in my hand are splinters. I have words inside me that can cut you down so low, you'll be invisible. Don't believe me? Try it. 

I'm not a good person. 

I'll lie about you. I'll start rumors. I'll enlist others into my campaign, and I will watch them dance the dance of drunken blood. Put this sugar cube in your mouth, I'll show you God. Then, I'll destroy God and let you watch. 

I'll be God. 

The anger inside me is like shaken hornets. It's tearing my muscle from the bone. Snapping tendons. I'll tell your kids you died cursing them. I'll start a new civilization on top of the rubble. I'll be your God Emperor. How lucky will you feel, not having to make decisions for yourself? We might argue otherwise, but history proves it. 

People love being told what to do.

I'll tell you who to hate. What's happening in the country and how you should feel about it. I've constructed arguments that you an use against your friends and family. You're mine. Your vote is mine, and I will do with it what I want. 

What are you going to do, write a mean tweet?

Tweet away, motherfuckers. The monsters move in the darkness you're afraid to look into. They are gnashing their teeth as you line up for slaughter. Don't worry. You won't feel a thing. Watch some TikTok videos. 

The operation will be painless. You'll be happy once it's over. 

Trust me. 


  1. This piece made me realize how hard it is to distinguish justified anger from manufactured anger. Maybe we're all angry, but the anger of the fascist is cynical and inauthentic and manipulative. Good piece, brother. Made me think.

  2. “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside?” — Song of Solomon 6:1

    Behind the motel, to the west, the night still held loosely to the nacreous ghost of its yesterday. Irresolute. Semitrucks on the interstate growled through their gears on the slight incline, oscillate tires amphibious to the ear. Weak lights of the towns behind the eastern hills like the nests of hallucinated spiders. He stood silhouetted by a wan yellowish overhead light in the motel’s breezeway, a small red coal bespeaking his cigarette. Stillness. Dark coming, uncoupled from the day, emboldened, the unfathomable night.

    He stood like that for much of the night. When the spiderlights dimmed beneath the roseate onset of morning, he climbed in his truck and headed north, the western plains to his left still enscowled by night. Rain came sporadic to congeal the road dust, which he smeared with his wipers. But soon it was a torrent and fell for hours, mercury worms writhing on his windshield between frenzied blades. Sometimes a gale drove the rain like handfuls of gravel hurled against the glass. Great cretaceous rigs loomed and lurched from the deluge.

    He drove out of the rainstorm and he pulled in when he saw an old payphone by a two-pump filling station and lifted the handset and dug for coins in the pocket of his jeans. He found two scuffed quarters—in god we trust—and dropped them in the slot and listened when she answered.


    He tried not to breathe.

    “Hello? Who is this?” Her voice like that gentle braid of freshwater uncoiling under loose shale you happened upon after a parched trek through high sierras.

    Soon she hung up and he listened to that unwarranted air and wondered, Are you still there? Who have you just spoken to?

    When that evening came, the third or fourth since he’d left his past like a dark snakeskin, he thought to drink in a bar in the next town, but he only stood in the street outside and listened to the wind in the treetops of a nearby park and the raucous walled-in sounds of men and the clash of beerglass and some country lament glowering on a jukebox. What song he couldn’t rightly construe. Snatches of words from the air of your life on the staves of the wind. Just gusts. Songs and tales no other will sing or tell. Stop singing. Don’t say my name.

    1. JD here, this is such a cool piece. I love your word choices as always, and I'm digging hallucinated spiders. You put us in the wasteland, and I felt it.

  3. JD you've managed to describe humanity today in under 300 words. And sadder words I've never heard.

  4. (I don't have an ending yet)

    When the last of her students filed out of the classroom, their questions answered and their assignments received, Ida Yanofski exhaled with relief. She took a black felt eraser to the chalkboard and began to excise each section of numbers and symbols, but her arm tired with each stroke. Teaching Advanced Geometry used to be the highlight of her academic day. It was her best subject in school and a private obsession. The students were bright and engaged, but they were all male. She’d made what she thought was a grand push for the university to bring more women into math and science, and the higher-ups had said the right things, but lately it seemed they were just humoring her.

    At least the school year was almost over.

    She stopped, set down the eraser, backed away from the board. Among the remaining work was a ten-step proof a student had put up for defense. It was ambitious, but flawed, inelegant. She quickly scrubbed out everything but the given statement then rewrote it, refined it, made it bulletproof. Then smiled.

    “Not bad,” said a male voice from the doorway.

    Her lips thinned. As the only woman in the math department, and among the University of Chicago faculty in general, she’d grown accustomed to fending off untoward comments. But his suit looked expensive and had no wish to offend a potential donor—again.

    “You’re a fan of geometric theories, Mr.—?”

    “Eberhardt. Sam Eberhardt. And you could say that. You’re Ida, right?”

    She stiffened. “I prefer Professor Yanofski. Is there something I can help you with, Mr. Eberhardt?”

    “I certainly hope you can. The dean told me I could find you here, that you might be interested in a little project over the summer. Said you want to teach girls math.”

    Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. The thought had crossed her mind that the university might have been stonewalling her in hopes that she’d give up and leave. And maybe they’d brought Mr. Eberhardt in to sweeten the proposition.

    She held back a response, waiting for him to elaborate. He didn’t waste much time. “It’s government work, Professor Yanofsky. You’d be helping your country. It’s all very hush-hush, but we’ve been—well, I have it on good recommendation that you’d be perfect for the job. If you’re interested”—he handed her a business card—“I’d be glad to tell you more.”

    And then he left. Students, all male, began to file in for her next class. She slipped the card into her pocketbook then erased the rest of the board.

    1. Such an intriguing snapshot. You KEEP pulling all these stories out. I wish so many lived in my head.


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