Do you know how I died? It’s possible that you do. Entirely possible. Quite possible, really. I’ll tell you anyway. I love talking about myself. Do you know how many people I am able to talk to here? Well. It doesn’t matter. You’re here now. I am so happy that you are here, and that I am able to host you, if you are comfortable with that. Ok. You are? Good. I always want to make sure. I believe in enthusiastic consent.
I was going to tell you a story. Spin you a yarn. Weave you a tale. Recount an event. Relate my experiences. Yes. Very good. I have it written down on a slip of paper somewhere around here. I wrote it down shortly before it all happened, the death, in prose and verse. I poured my heart and soul into the work. Not a comma out of place, and every word carefully weighed and accounted for. Indeed, it was a work of great and trembling beauty, and it was with no small pride that I submitted it for publication in a poorly funded but respectable literary magazine. With bated breath I awaited feedback, and three days afterward I received a brief note from the editor-in-chief. O! To think that to him I had entrusted my masterpiece, the hard-won fruits of the labor of my soul! To him, I gave an untrammeled look into the very depths of my very self, of my very pain, of my very soul…! And alas, what he saw with his monstrous, unfeeling gaze, his long and pointed gaze, a gaze that would have shocked any self-respecting, middle class Gorgon, was something that he did not like.
His vocabulary is chosen well, though I don’t know why he insists on capitalizing ‘Moon’. His experience, I grant, has been extraordinary, though his metaphors jejune. Though his grammar be faultless and the arrangement of semi-colons merits no censure, I feel that this work would have been vastly improved if there had been more discussion of his loves. Take the passage about his first kiss; surely it would be germane to insert a few lines of internal monologue outlining the fear of heteronormativity, or a sentence of terrified musings about what his partner must be thinking while kissing a trans…otherwise, a solid start, and one that shows some promise for the future. Should the author make a few critical emendations, then his story will be worth publishing, and perhaps even for consideration in our yearly Review.
O! It pains me to recall. And where is my paper? Dear friend, no! Can it be? It has to be in this pocket. No, maybe it’s under this….no. My story is not in these journals. Please, do stay, I promise that I shall find it soon—would you like another cup of tea as I tear through my bureau with increasing frenzy? No Twinings here, I’m afraid; I only drink loose leaf tea, and I can make you either some lovely green tea or continue with the Moroccan mint that you’ve been having. Biscuit? I can also make you a sandwich. You see, I have been able to import some real bagels. From New York City, you know; New York is the only place to get bagels. But here I am talking to you instead of looking for my, looking for my story. It’s written down somewhere, I can assure you. And I promise that it’s not quite as boring as Mr. – would argue. Can you believe what he wrote to me? The imperious tone! The lack of awareness, the refusal to acknowledge my great nuance! The gall! That’s when it all began, you see…
Nikolas Y. Oktaba (Get Real. contributor)
[The phoenix will be rising again in the Get Real. print zine, right here]