The Dead Balustrades / 18 August 2002

I was grating a cylinder of colby when I remembered about half of what Trini said to me, something like “X is the balustrade of dead Y’s.” It seemed crucially important at the time, ten years ago, twenty years, whenever it was, the two of us in the lounge, his father’s term for the rec room, impenetrably dark, posters featuring unfamiliar sport stars, articulated input devices with only one button, carpet like a sea of styrofoam peanuts. “X is the Y of dead balustrades” or whatever. And I laughed, not like now, not out of scorn or embarrassment or sadness, but out of pure delight. I could physically feel something unlock inside me and back then that meant an outpouring of genuine laughter rather than speed-dialing the HMO.

Trini wasn’t fond of the laughter, however, and started punching me in the gut, and then knocked my head against the wood paneling. Is maybe why half of the pronouncement is now gone. But laughter was not what he wanted, even though it was my way of demonstrating exactly what he did want: astonishment, wonder, awe, &c.

I called him jerkface and sunk my nails deep into his forearms. He was the ugliest kid I’d ever had the misfortune. I kicked him in the side and excused myself, wishing I knew how to ride a bike so my exit could be a little swifter.

So this afternoon I’m torturing myself by wondering how things would be different today if I remembered the whole sentence. I know the Unlocking Thing rarely happens, and always results in a new trajectory, but my spreadsheet is choking on the numbers so I’m winging it. I’m standing ankle-deep in ancient waters, I’m burning a tick from my daughter’s neck, I’m creeping along the ledge of a crumbling skyscraper, I’m breaking off a shoelace, I’m repairing a vending machine, I’m tasting a canker sore inside the mouth of a television personality, I’m throwing a drumstick out into the crowd, I’m sleeping, I’m asleep, I’m just now dozing off.

Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

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The Sexiest Sentence Alive, Fireland Broke My Will To Live, The Black Pill Diaries, and a sampling of Old Fireland Designs.

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