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13:43 - Saturday, May. 14, 2005
little more satisfying
There is little more satisfying than sitting butt deep in an overgrown garden, wearing old jeans and ugly green gloves, whacking away at crab grass for an hour or two with a cat always following behind and peeking her eyes out through the violets.

13:59 - Monday, May. 09, 2005
circle story
We were all sitting on or under blankets in between the beeps of the oven timer; seven minutes, seven minutes. Aaron was making falafels in an aebleskiver pan; a beautiful and unexpected clash of Danish and Middle-Eastern cultures right there in our kitchen on our smeared greasy and dirty stovetop. In the living room, separated from the kitchen only by the carpet cutoff, we sat in the dark around Nick's homemade oil lamp that he made happen out of one of Ted's old wine bottles and some wire and construction paper. Earlier in the day, I had decorated it with tissue paper snowflakes. Now, they were just centimeters away from catching fire and burning the house down, the house and the table it was sitting on, also handpainted, a year ago - more than a year ago - in a different house, in a different season. Same town, though. Still together, in a way. Still surprised.
We told a circle story in between oven timer beeps, the three of us (the fourth not prone to circle stories or nighttime lit by homemade oil lamps, and therefore not present). It's hard to think really fast when you're in a separate world and the possibilities are endless, like you could make your character sprout tentacles, change sexes, or eat the planet Mars. If it were a story about reality I could have made it thicker. But it wasn't. It was a story
about a boy who lived on top of a mountain, and this mountain was higher than the clouds, and so all this boy could see was a sea of clouds, and for all he knew it could have been a sea.
One day the boy was experimenting with cardboard wings and other things he might be able to use to fly off his lonely mountaintop. But before he could, a skyscraper antenna was built next to his mountain, and by reaching out his arms and jumping only a little, he was able to grab the antenna and slide down to the top of the building.
The boy climbed through the door and found himself in a room
with 40,000 chefs, all wearing giant chef's hats and giant bowties, bustling around the room, but having no one to serve and not caring. The boy's name was Giorgio and he was extremely hungry, for all he had had to eat in his life was bat guano. When the chefs saw Giorgio, they
were thrilled! Finally they had someone to serve! They sat him down at a table with all sorts of fancy utensils: salad forks with dinner forks, steak knives with regular knives, dessert spoons with soup spoons with regular spoons with lobster picks with chopsticks. When he tried to eat the appetizer they set in front of him, watching eagerly, he used the dinner fork and they were so offended about his lack of manners that they took his appetizer away. Next, they tried the soup. When he brought the dessert spoon to his lips, they were furious, and they took away his soup, too. Giorgio was extremely confused.
The chefs decided then to make him a dish from his homeland: bat guano pie. He ate the bat guano pie perfectly, and it pleased the chefs. But then the head chef, in a hat bigger than the rest, stood up at the front of the room with a megaphone. "Murfle mega mim!" it sounded to Giorgio like they were saying, because he didn't speak their language. The chef with the megaphone then mooned the crowd of lesser chefs.
The chef with the megaphone then began marching down the fire stairs, with all the other chefs in single file behind him. Giorgio followed, all the way down to the street, where he saw
a parade! People were lining along all the sides of the roads with their naked asses mooning the procession. Since their asses were facing the parade, they threw popcorn away from the procession, towards their homes.
These people all had extra pairs of eyes in between their butt cheeks, which is why they mooned people so often. They couldn't see very well, but they could see. That was why a popular saying in the kingdom about a lady or gentleman one had loved very much was '[S]he was the apple of my ass.' While the people with the eyes in their asses were throwing popcorn, suddenly
the ground exploded! And out exploded a giant squirrel! The giant squirrel gnashed its teeth - gnah, gnah, gnah. Everyone was terrified and running! But the chefs, who still carried their carving knives in the aprons, formed a circle around the giant squirrel, preparing to butcher it. But the squirrel bit the head off the lead chef! Blood was everywhere! The chefs
were yelling something incomprehensible at Giorgio, but since he didn't speak their language, he couldn't understand what was going on and he didn't know what to do! He was so terrified and confused, but then his ear started to tingle, and when he reached up to rub it, a huge wad of cotton that he had forgotten was put in upon his entrance to the tall building fell out, and he heard the chefs screaming, 'RUN, GIORGIO!'
Giorgio ran, and behind him the chefs butchered the giant squirrel with a vengeance, remembering their fallen comrade. Giorgio ran and ran and he ran smack into a brick wall! It was a giant brick wall, made for people bigger than him, and there was a door in it with a huge knob, but his only other option was to go back to the parade, and he didn't want to do that. So he reached up and with some difficulty twisted the giant doorknob until the door creaked open, and he found
that his body had changed. His hair no longer blew in the wind; it was rigid and stuck to his head. His hands formed little U's, with his thumb at one end and his fingers at the others. The bricks no longer fit together like normal bricks; they had little attachments, little circles that snapped them together, and his shoes had these attachments too, that snapped his feet to the ground. A giant voice came out of the air, and it said: "JOHNNY! IT IS TIME FOR BED! TIME TO PUT YOUR LEGOS AWAY!" and another, smaller, but still booming voice said: "BUT MOMMY, I'M NOT FINISHED YET!" and the first voice said "NOW, JOHNNY, OR ELSE I WILL PUT THEM AWAY FOR YOU! AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!" and then only the sound of crying.
[At this point Aaron gets up and comes back with the last pages of The Velveteen Rabbit. "There is no better ending I can think of than this," he says. And there is no place online I can find a full-text Velveteen Rabbit, so hopefully you can. It's worth it.]


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