Fragments from books that don’t exist


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.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


“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?”

Fragments from books that don’t exist


Carmela believed in fate, a destiny that arrived on golden wings at the very moment you least expect it. This brilliant goddess wore out-dated garments that were never in style, but she somehow managed to pull it off every time. She was not much of a talker, preferring to announce her presence with flashes of insight and remarkably good posture. She would pose as if for the cameras and make some sort of disruptive statement such as “I thought he would never die” or “you look terrible in black, did you know that?” She was never very popular. In Carmela’s explicit imagination, fate wore low-cut blouses and had modeled for numerous tawdry book covers. She sang romantic melodies, had a fetish for turquoise lip gloss and smoked Virginia Slims. Carmela’s husband was sick to death of this stupid creature. He believed in a fate that swept things under the rug and kept its filthy mouth shut.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


They stood there, staring at me. I had been perfectly happy with my biscuit and tea, but it was always a risk to go to the Coffee Place on a weekday afternoon, because you never knew when they might show up. They were ruthless and apparently never had anything better to do than track you down, walk right up to the table where you’re sitting (perfectly happy with your biscuit and tea) and just stand there, staring at you. They never had anything to say. You were supposed to fill in the blank, their blank, their utter and total blankness. Everything was always fine with them. Nothing was ever new. He was looking for a job again. She was looking forward to some gardening project, some shrub that needed digging up, again. They lived a tightly closed loop, but always wanted to know about you. Your life. Your job. Your shrub. And they would stand there for as long as it took. They would not leave. You would have to be the one to leave, no matter how perfectly happy you had been, no matter how much you’d been enjoying your biscuit and your tea. You would have to suddenly remember an appointment.

When you walked past their house, you hid in the shade on the other side of the street.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


“But then I’ll have to be who I am,” Deletria said.

“I’d feel sorry for you,” Crimea replied, “if I really did, but I don’t. And I never will,” she added.

“You haven’t been nice to me since Ajax,” Deleteria said, and Crimea nodded.

“It’s true,” she smiled. “It’s been fun. Being nice to you was a thing, but now not so much.”

“I didn’t really like him,” Deletria said, as much to herself as to the former friend with whom she was waiting in line at the donut shop. It had been at least four months since they’d seen each other. The last time had been ugly. Crimea had torn up some papers she’d been working on and blamed it on Deletria, who had only remarked that the drawings looked like the work of a six-year old.

“I didn’t really like you,” Crimea told her. “Remember when you thought we were friends? We weren’t. We never were. I only put up with you because you knew him. Then you had to go and fuck him.”

“I wish,” Deletria said. “Dude couldn’t even get it up. I guess he was thinking about you the whole time.”

“I can help whoever’s next,” the cashier’s voice rang out. Deletria was whoever was next. She was glad to get the last word. She didn’t even hear Crimea’s bitter reply.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


The last time Hicky visited this patch of dead-end-ville he’d told himself it was definitely the last time, yet here he was again, standing in the rubble and remembering why he’d detested his father so much. It wasn’t just the lying, even though that still burned and registered a high slot in his own big book of resentments. And the fact that she – that woman forever to be known only as ‘she’ – had sat idly by and pretended that nothing was happening, nothing was out of order, God was in his Heaven in this th ebets of all possible worlds. So they were idiots, and mean, practically the only qualifications for high office in these latter days. There was also the matter of the little sister who never was, wiped from the scrolls and eliminated from conversation, history and memory. How does a person disappear like that? And here he was, returned again, vowing once more to find the facts buried somewhere in this concrete heap of wasted life and wasted time. Hicky got down on his knees, rolled up his sleeves, and started digging.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


“Cry Wolf,” Wen Li calmly explained. “A not very good movie from quite some time ago. No idea what it’s even doing in the archives up there. I think maybe a certain someone had a weak spot for a certain female type, not sure if it’s Kristy Wu or Sandra McCoy, but I think I can guess.”

“And you are talking about what?” Kandhi demanded. “Do you have any idea how freaked out they are at CC right now?”

“I do,” Wen Li replied. “I have been on all the chat rooms.”

“And you are babbling about wolves?”

“One wolf, actually. Referred to in the film as “the wolf”.”

“Why are you talking about movies? What are you trying to say?”

“Sorry, boss,” Wen Li said. She was tired, and a little upset, and she knew how much Kandhi hated being called ‘boss’, but she couldn’t help herself.

“Here’s what it is. Somehow all eleven of those crew members are experiencing the same movie, a pretty terrible film called ‘Cry Wolf’, a sort of horror movie about some private school kids.”

“How are they watching movies?” Kandhi nearly shouted. “They are all still in their capsules, right? Please don’t tell me they are not all still in their capsules.”

“They are still in their capsules,” Wen Li reassured her, although she was not entirely certain of this. It was possible, though extremely unlikely, that the subjects were still hooked up to the sensors and yet not still in their capsules.