Somewhere Only We Know
And now, a short excerpt from Better Living Through Plastic Explosions by Zsuzsi Gartner.
In the distance, at the far end of the block, Lucy hears the car before she sees it. The tragically amplified bass, the pointless revving of the engine. She pictures the weasel-faced driver with his sparse chin hairs and Tasmanian Devil tattoo, a plump, scantily clad girl riding shotgun, egging him on. Lucy is all steady nerve and muscle, magma coursing through the chambers of her heart, churning through arterial walls.
But there's something else as well, something zooming by faster than it should. Faster than possible.
A cry of pure joy splits the air. A spinning wheel, spokes a whirl of silver glinting in the sun, fire tumbling, overhead in an arc. Typhlosion, the flame-throwing Pokemon, its collar of fire a terribly beauty. The most evolved Pokemon of a kind. Anything touching it while it's aroused goes up in flames instantly.
The explosion is more intense than she thought it would be. Long minutes pass. The boy and his dog soon to emerge from a cloud of drifting ash like the survivors of 9/11. Ghostly grey, but upright, moving slowly, as if reborn. Blood but unbowed. But no.
The boy a constellation. The Dog Star. The boy endless sky now.
And now, an excerpt from The Outside by Albert Camus, as translated by Joseph Laredo.
At that point I yawned and the old man said he'd be going. I told him that he could stay, and that I was upset about what happened to his dog: he thanked me. He told me that mother used to be very fond of his dog. He referred to her as 'your poor mother'. He seemed to assume that I'd been very unhappy ever since mother had died and I didn't say anything. Then, very quickly as if he was embarrassed, he told me that he realized that local people thought badly of me for sending my mother to a home, but that he knew me better and he knew I loved mother very much. I replied, I still don't know why, that I hadn't realized before that people thought badly of me for doing that, but that the home had seemed the natural thing since I didn't have enough money to have mother looked after. 'Anyway', I added, 'she'd run out of things to say to me a long time ago and she'd got bored of being alone.' 'Yes,' he said, 'and at least in a home you can make a few friends.' Then he said he must go. He wanted to get some sleep. His life had changed now and he didn't quite know what he was going to do. For the first time since I'd known him, and with a rather secretive gesture, he gave me his hand and I felt the scales on his skin. He smiled slightly and before he went, he said, 'I hope the dog don't bark tonight. I always think it's mine.'