A Self Help Guide For the Last Few Zero Years
INSTALLMENT ONE: HOW TO CUT YOUR LIFE TO PIECES
Man, that inveterate dreamer, daily more discontent with his destiny, has trouble assessing the objects he has been led to use, objects that his nonchalance has brought his way [. . .] he feels extremely modest: he knows what women he has had, what silly affairs he has been involved in; he is unimpressed by his wealth or his poverty, in this respect he is still a newborn babe.
—Andre Breton, 1924
In sixth grade you found yourself on your red Schwinn again, the one with the banana seat that had a busted seam so that the foam pad stuck out the side when you sat on it. You stopped outside North Middle school with one foot on a pedal and the other inside a two-square box, and you watched a flock of geese fly in a V, heading south. The birds had an instinct for this; they knew where and how to position themselves in relation to each other. The mass of them passing over your head was a wonder that made you stop and watch even though you knew that you were running late, and even though you'd seen it all before. The second bell had already rung, and you would be given another official tardy, but you didn't care. This time you stopped and watched the geese, listened to them honk and bleat as they passed. You took a deep breath, adjusted the straps on your nylon backpack, and then saw that you'd left the pack unzipped. You checked to make sure your three-ring binder was still there, that your sheets of stapled homework assignments and plastic ziplock bag of pens were all still in place, but found it was all missing. When you looked up again the geese were gone and it was time to go into North Middle School and face your first period teacher, but you just couldn't. Not this way.
You set your watch back.
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—Identified: Musings (Attributed to Mardun T.)
TOIYA KRISTEN FINLEY
—Mr. Water Bones and His Wife
—The Writing's on the Wall
—Praise and Criticism for M. Rekling's The Bottle
ALEX DALLY MACFARLANE
—Between the Lines
NANETTE RAYMAN RIVERA
—The Birth of Bluebeard
—Bluebeard Searches for a Bottle
—Interview: Duncan MacLean
—A Self Help Guide for the Last Few Zero Years