Yslandia / 13 April 2001

It’s raining, and so I went downtown in my leaky shoes, and it’s hilly and the sidewalks are brick and the streets are cobbled and there’re seagulls and the brass, schooner-topped weathervanes are edging west and I naturally end up in the used bookstore, then the used record store. They’re both a little mossy inside. The clerks are only too happy to help, and to answer the phone — yeah but no but we could special-order — and so I know I’m no longer in CA, or the extended purgatory of PA. “I’m looking for this thing with like a, well frankly it sounds like electric eels swimming back and forth in a smallish tank.”“Maybe something like,” and the clerk makes a sort of kkkhhhhheeeeeee sound.I go across the street (absolutely no waiting for cars to pass, absolutely no one doubleparked) and look at antique maps and the clerk is again chatty and I fear it takes too long for the expression of horror on my face to shift into open pleasantness. “I’m thinking you don’t even want to know where that one came from,” he says and his hair is literally black and white, flat against his head.”On the contrary,” I say. I’m looking at a glacier-thrashed island that straddles Oceanus Tentrionalis and Oceanus Deucaledonius.“Get in close and take a whiff, I suggest.” And I do, and I look up, surprised, and he nods. “It’s like this perfume this girl I knew in high school wore,” I say after a moment. She wore so much it got in your throat — my throat, I should say — something in the rose family, though more synthetic. I didn’t like it at the time, and in fact had a particularly high horse about adornments, or even enhancements, of any kind, but now I can’t help but associate it with something good, because, you know, everything in the distant past is good because it’s been reduced to a warm light shining through a tiny pinhole.

Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

A novel called Chokeville and a beverage-review site called The Knowledge For Thirst.

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