Sunday, November 24, 2013

What is this world?

So I make one phone call, and just like that, we're eating pizza at 6:30. What is this world? You tap seven abstract figures onto a piece of plastic thin as a billfold, hold that plastic device to your head, use your lungs and vocal cords to indicate more abstractions, and in thirty minutes, a buy pulls up in a 2,000-pound machine made on an island on the other side of the world, fueled by viscous liquid made from the rotting corpses of dead organisms pulled from the desert on yet another side of the world and you give this man a few sheets of green paper representing the abstract wealth of your home nation, and he gives you a perfectly reasonable facsimile of one of the staples of the diet of a people from yet another faraway nation.

And the mushrooms are fresh.

— from The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter.

This is Matt. He's forty-six, sleep-deprived, and somewhat stoned, having recently made the sound life decision to — seeing as he was recently laid off, they're foreclosing on his house next week, and he suspects his wife is cheating — become a drug dealer. Only that's not really working out either. Matt's world is unravelling, and now his mind is too.

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