On that crisp spring morning the last thing I wanted to think about was failure, but it was my job to analyze results and interpret the data, whatever it was. In this case the outcome was clear. Small minds, narrow minds, puny minds had been victorious and were now lording it over everyone else in as loud a voice as they could make it. I could only hope they’d run out of breath, or somehow or other completely fall apart in an instant, and we could all go back to life the way it was before their grubby revolution. There was a slim chance, however unlikely. I found myself wishing I could conjure up scandal like a genie out of a bottle, but of course I did not have that power, or any power. All I could do was remember that bad things come and go, and we’re all in this enormously complex and infinite project together, and to focus on the little things was necessarily to ignore the big ones. So I looked out the window, determined to enjoy that crisp spring morning if it killed me.
Hoonang Tea is made from the most deciduous leaves, and sparks an aroma more dazzling than the fabled Southern Lights. We offer this most delicate of delicacies with a freshness reserved for the finest palettes this side of Louisiana. On the other side you may consider wandering about without instructions. This will lead you nowhere, precisely the goal of the most unmindful. In other times, one may have considered possessing regrets, but not anymore. The frisbees of resentment have been flung, may they land where they will. Release yourself from the cares and worries of the here and now, and relax with a famous and tasteful cup of Hoonang Tea today.
Warning. Hoonang Tea may cause unspecified liver damage, loss of hormones, lack of appetite, increased attention span, really bad dreams and loss of pigmentation. In rare cases, connoisseurs of this finest of treats from the fabled Orient have been known to speak in tongues, fall out of windows, and perform dastardly deeds. Caution is recommended when approaching a bearer of Hoonang Tea. Some were spies in the colonies.
Muriel admired her appearance in the mirror. She was definitely looking good, no matter what Markur said. He was an ass. If I was a man, she said to herself, I’d do me. She laughed, and admired her laugh-face in the mirror. This was two days before the accident. She would never laugh again.
One fine spring morning, Ona’s maid Amalia decided they would go for a walk.
“I don’t want to go for a walk!” Ona declared.
“I promised your mama we would go outside,” Amalia said.
“I don’t care!” Ona put her hands on her hips, a sure sign she was not to be budged.
“It is a very fine spring morning,” Amalia said, gazing out the window at the estate’s lovely garden where the flowers were in bloom, the bumblebees were buzzing, and the bunnies were hopping happily hither and yon.
“I hate the spring,” Ona said. “And I hate the flowers. I hate everything.”
“I know,” Amalia sighed, and thought to herself “y el mundo entero te odia tambien”
Fourteen hours remained until the auction expired and still, no buyers. I had been waiting patiently, sitting by my laptop and chewing on my nails. The going price was all or nothing. I expected a last minute rush. I don’t know why. I had put the thing up for sale a week earlier and not even a single query came my way. Was it possible no one had noticed? I had also sent out a press release from FreePressRelease.com. I had blogged about it on my blog. I had told several other people in the office that I was putting up the world for sale.
“It’s not yours to sell,” Katrina told me, as if I didn’t know that.
“What’ll you do with all the money?” Victor asked. Victor was an idiot.
“I’ll go to Spain,” I told him. “I’ve always wanted to go to Spain.”
“If they let you,” Katrina said. “Maybe they won’t let you.”
“Maybe you could see everything except Spain,” Victor suggested.
“Victor is an idiot,” Shaya declared. “And so are you. You could go to Spain today if you really wanted to.”
“I don’t really want to go to Spain,” I muttered. “I was just being polite.”
Georgina Matterazzi didn’t feel sorry for anyone but herself. She was the one who bore the burden of memoria and disgrazia. Her father had died for nothing. Her mother was a Nazi. All of the supposed crimes of the peasants were nothing compared to the sins of the rich. If she could have carried out vengeance in the real world, she would have slaughtered all the pigs. Instead, she harvested her bitterness in the darkness of the prison asylum. They had put her away for her own transgressions, trivial activities that she could scarcely recall. Burning little bits of paper. Smashing some bits of glass here and there. Carrying signs that warned of just this kind of thing, the day that would come when all the people would rise up and make enormous mistakes in judgment. She was decades ahead of her time, calling for the abolition of reason, singing out the joys of pure free action. Her comrades – how she loved that ancient word – had been mostly ground down by the system and recycled as university professors or unemployment counselors. She was one of the few who held to the original faith. Or was it the death of faith? Never mind. It was one thing or the other. In the end all opposites are equal. The serpent first swallows its tail, eventually the head will follow, and then what the hell? Follow or don’t follow. Either way, you always end up right where you are.
“There was literally no way out,” Helena said.
“Literally, or figuratively?” asked Miriam, “Literally would imply”
“I know what literally means,” Helena frowned, “and I’m using it correctly if you don’t mind. I was trapped.”
“You could have left,” Miriam interrupted, “just got up and walked out.”
“That would have been rude,” Helena countered, and tried to continue but Miriam wouldn’t let her.
“So you weren’t trapped,” she said, “not literally, at least.”
“He had a really stupid beard,” Helena nearly shouted. “What was I supposed to do?”
“Mind your unconscious bias?” Miriam suggested.
“You and your fucking bias,” Helena muttered. “I’m fucking minding it right now. I mind it all right. I mind it a lot.”
“Literally?” Miriam smirked, “or figuratively?”