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stanley.lieber's picture

807 words by Stanley Lieber

Wearily, I thumb through the entries on my leaf and bring up a decades-old post:

    So, I'm laid out on the couch (free), face pressed against my camo pillow ($120.50), wondering if I should pick the dead pill bugs out of the fibers of my bath robe, when a garish advert for a new Pink Floyd greatest hits collection ($2999.99) runs across the display of my nearby telescreen:

    "Order Echoes now and we'll include blah sqwak blah niner foxtrot delta sqwak blah sqwak blah --"

    My attention span waned and I lost the rest of the advert to random static generated by a mild migraine headache (previously acquired), but the damage had already been done. What.

    Within a couple of hours, I had stumbled into the bedroom, and was fondling the jewel case of a 2-disk collection of my own original music -- desperately trying to figure out exactly how Pink Floyd's management had been bugging my home. And for how long.

    Those motherfuckers.

    I took a swig of apple juice from the glass tumbler on the dresser, and just as quickly spit it back out as I realized the surface of my drink had been covered with a layer of dust. I needed to stop leaving those things laying around where anyone could mistake them for a fresh glass.

    I resumed staring at my jewel case, the artwork garish, amateurish. Fucking Pink Floyd. What did I ever do to them? (Besides that girl with the Floyd shirt that I made fun of at Denny's.)

    There had to be a reason they had selected me.

    I glared at the tumbler for a couple of seconds, then back at the jewel case in my hands. I downed the entire glass without tasting the dust. Apple juice doesn't really ferment, but at that point the migraine had wedged itself between my frontal lobe and another slab of gray nerve tissue I don't really know the name of, resulting in an outsized effect on my decision making processes. Somehow I kept from vomiting.

    Before long I felt a handful of splinters and came to the slow realization that I'd squeezed the jewel case into several pieces. The dust flavor lingered in my mouth, creating the sensation of constantly pushing my tongue through tufts of fuzz. I threw the tumbler down and trudged back into the living room.

    The advert was on again. This time tracking a sequence I hadn't noticed the first time around. Apparently the thing ran at ten minute intervals. They'd sell a billion copies.

    I swallowed an OTC pharmaceutical designed to combat headaches and resumed my seat on the couch. Staring at a spot two feet above the telescreen, my mind began to quiet down, began to run to other concerns. I had to be at my corporate front job in just under five hours. Still tasting apple dust (maybe that wasn't just dust after all), I made a chewing sound with my mouth and dozed off, resigned to whatever dreams might come.

    Approximately two-hundred forty minutes elapsed. I woke up. Two more pill bug carcasses had embedded themselves into the folds of my robe. They no longer seemed such a certain vector of leaked intelligence. I was a bit more lucid as I painted shaving cream onto my chin and started to dread accidentally slicing the skin between my nostrils.

    It occurred to me then that Pink Floyd was not ripping me off. I was pretty sure they were capable of coming up with such an obvious title on their own. (Being that the fucking boxed sets were probably being manufactured just before I had decided on the title for my own collection.) Still, the coincidence rankled.

    I guess it was Steam Engine Time.

    For posterity's sake, I will enter here that my own Echoes collection may be sampled at the following URL:

And there I had inserted a multi-media pointer bearing a web address; a link to some old, half-considered project of mine. I wince at the memory and am irrationally certain that this will be what they find, once they dig my starved body out of this snow drift and begin to put together the narrative of my disappearance. Famed Agent Leaves Behind A Rough Draft Of An Early Green Posting. Family Denies Any Knowledge Of Agent's Artistic Endeavors.

I lay my head back against the exposed boards of the attic floor and watch as little flecks of snow float in-between the cracks in the roof. My fingers have become useless now, and I suspect I'm too weak to kick through the tile shingling. Troubling, to be sure. As if to drive the point home, one of my legs cracks and falls off.

I take this opportunity to reflect upon my past.

You have to admit. I've had a good run.

To be continued...