Monday, July 25, 2005


from the NATION SACK

What Happens When You Read "Return to the City of White Donkeys" While Terror Is in Your Face

For James Potato

"The time," the station speaker
was saying overhead, “is 6:18pm."
I opened the "Weekender" section to
check out movietimes. The guy
next to me on the platform,
covered in tiny checks and an
ID hanging around his neck on a chain,
was looking at movietimes too.
"Hey,” he said, motioning to his movietimes
and cocking an eyebrow. “Mine
are better, you should take a look
at these movietimes," though we were
holding the exact same copy.
"I'll trade you then," I said,
and snatched his copy from his hands
before he could agree. "You just fucked
yourself OVER" hissed through his teeth
as he snatched my copy of the Weekender,
just as I had done his.
"Wait,” I said. “Which copy did
you mean to take, mine or the one
I just took from you? Because I think
you just took my movietimes, which is strange,
since I thought you said your copy
is better?" Just then the kora player
began, plucking the instrument's
strings with both thumbs like weaving
two identical tiny quilts with the
joysticks of an arcade driving game,
using your thumbs to fire missiles and
clearing the cars from in front of you.
The man with my movietimes moved to give
the kora player some change.
"We can trade back, for real this time,"
I said to stop him. "I'll give you back your Weekender
movietimes if you promise to agree
that mine are as good as yours."
Silently agreeing, we slowly moved
the paper toward each other in a face-off,
my right hand moving toward his ribs and
his toward mine. Just before the moment of
hand-off we both froze, unconscious
as a Ouija board. He was looking at
me and spoke more steadily than before:
"I want to remember this moment." I said,
"The time is 6:20pm," and shrieking bells
tore through the tunnel.

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