“The truth is I have never seen anything like it before,” Dr. Gubock stated. No one else said a word. They were all too stunned. The coffee continued to bubble and boil on the stove even though the burner had been turned off several minutes earlier. It was as if the beverage had a life of its own, some kind of inner heat source previously unimagined. Dr. Kooble looked especially confused. He had been making coffee in this same kitchen for decades and never once had the coffee continued to make itself long past all scientific certainty.
“Water does not boil itself,” he muttered, clinging to the side of his armchair for balance. Nurse Kenwit shook her head, and even Steven the Janitor couldn’t believe his eyes, and he had seen plenty of unlikely messes before. The coffee was now dripping onto the floor and percolating even down there. It was beginning to smell bad too, over-roasted and reeking of linoleum.
“What do we do?” asked Nurse Kenwit.
“I vote we forget the whole thing ever happened,” said Dr. Gubock.
Meanwhile I am thinking about all the stupid things we attach ourselves to in this life, or rather that we attach to ourselves, like barnacles accumulating on our personalities. Stupid things that could go on your tombstone if your tombstone was intended to make you look ridiculous. Things like which sports teams you rooted for. What your favorite flavor of ice cream was. Your most often traveled commute route. Favorite “lucky” number. Your go-to sexual fantasy. Favorite color. You could imagine this tombstone – maybe it’s one of those big statues in a cemetery – with a long list of this kind of thing. Here Lies John Doe. He was really into Super Mario Brothers. He once bowled 152. He favored Mocha Walnut Crunch. Could eat a Big Mac in a pinch. Lifelong Yankees fan. Once ate fourteen hot dogs in one sitting. Grew the most at age 13. Type O blood. Called in sick an average of 4.7 days a year while working at Muckbog Industries. Ass man. Only bet on horses with three-syllable names. Liked cats more than dogs. Hated parakeets. Enjoyed the humor of Gus Greenbag. Read everything ever written by Steven King. ‘Law and Order’ but not ‘Law and Order SVU’. Once wrote epic poem about girl named Stacy who never returned his calls.
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.
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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.”