Wednesday, May 4, 2011


An elderly woman sits in her recliner watching TV.  There is no light in the room except what emanates from the TV screen.  What sunlight remains of the day is disappearing into the sunset.  The elderly woman stares at the screen.  Its light is spread across her face like various colored transparencies. 

TV: The next slide.  The next slide tells your audience what you will be speaking about.  Then the next slide tells your audience what you are speaking about.  Then the next slide tells your audience what you have just been speaking about. 

The elderly woman says, "Next slide please."  She changes the channel with the remote she is holding in her left hand. 

TV: At the touch of a button, you have all the information you need at your fingertips.
Elderly Woman: All the information you need at your fingertips.
TV: Categorize, label, date, time, reference, link, break links, kill links, dead links.
Elderly Woman: Dead links.  So many of those.

She turns off the TV.  The room is quite dark now.

Elderly Woman: So many dead links.  Lost connections.  Tabs.  Add tabs.  Too many tabs.  Deleted tabs.  Shut the whole fucking thing down.  Stones.  Headstones.  Born.  Died.  The dash.  Dash it all.  Close eyes.  Go to sleep.  Stay in this chair.  For this one last night.

As the elderly woman nods off, she slumps and her fingers on the remote turn the TV back on.  She startles awake to the light and sound.

TV: The dog somehow dialed for emergency services and was able to obtain the help her master needed.  Her master suffered from -
Elderly Woman: Suffered from arthritis.  Suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Suffered from stones.  Gallstones.  Kidney stones.  Headstones.  So many dead links.  The wind. Light.  Sound.  Is blowing her web away.  Strands are fraying.  Fraying strands pulling and clinging to leaves.  Twigs.  Bones.  Make all the bones about it that you want to.  You make all the bones.  In a pile.  Stack them until they obscure the headstone.  More headstones.  Stretching for blocks of houses and garages and parks.  Parks colored green with grass and pink with children.  Blue sky.  Sunset.  Close your eyes.  Close them.  Open.  Shut them.  Open.  No good.  Still in the same place.  The dust.  The pits.  Shortness of breath.  Shortness.  Shrinking body.  Less here.  Less here.  Still here.

TV: Her master received medical attention just in the nick of time.
Elderly Woman: Nick of time.  Nick.  Where was that?  When was that?  Too many headstones.  Stretching on and on along the alley where they pick up the trash so we can dump it there again.  Trash.  The dust.  The pits.  Apples.  Oranges.  They didn't have oranges all last week.  And the bananas.  Not a single bunch.  Her master.  Master.  Him.  They.  Always watching.  Always watching TV.  Them.  Always watching.  Every squinting moment.  Every breath that desperately tries to extend to the next.  Next channel.  More information at your fingertips.  Fingertips pressing.  Keeping it on.  Watching.  Always watching.  More information.  All that paper.  Rooms of paper.  Boxes and boxes.  Boxes of shoes.  Boxes of cups.  Broken cups.  Broken links.  Dead links.  Too many headstones.  Stretching on from house to house, garage to garage.  Garages stacked with stacked boxes.  To the ceiling.  The ceiling.  As far as one gets.  As far as one gets. 

- Max Stoltenberg

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