And the bane of my existence as a fiction writer has been suffering the jokes and japes of colleagues, friends and family who point out the obvious challenge confronting a writer with my background. Oh, your writing’s a cure for insomnia is it? 

   Needless to say I stopped bringing up the topic of my fiction a long time ago. I also stopped writing under my own name. This blog was originally intended as a place to find the perfect pseudonym to write under but I had so much fun assuming different identities that I started pretending I was well-established writers along with other people in the public eye. Now I’m being threatened with a number of lawsuits and so I have to officially announce the truth:

   My name is George Tannenbaum. 

   I hope you enjoy today’s story…



Arms Entangled in Glory


     The game of twister has gone too far. Tim pulls at his left arm which is trapped somewhere between Heather and Susan. His other limbs are no better off. Heather tugs at her right leg which is braced between Tom and Tammy. All the rest of her limbs are likewise preoccupied. Susan can’t move her arms which are plugged in between Tim and Tom. Oh, it’s a nightmare entanglement of everything. “ Does anyone have a free arm?” someone with a level head finally asks.  As there’s no eye-contact upon which to guide communication, there’s a jumble of responses which communicates nothing but confusion. Tom shouts above the noise to get silence. “Okay we’re not going to get anywhere with this noise. We’ve got to set up some rules. Otherwise we’ll never get out of this bind.” Someone starts to cry loudly and everyone feels the shudder of her weeping body. “I have a cheerleading practice at seven,” she blubbers.  “Crying’s not going help,” Tom shouts. “Let her get it out of her system,” Tim, deep beneath the pile of friends, shouts back. Tom and Tim exchange opinions which in the frustration of the situation turns heated. It’s a horrible first evening for everyone. They fall asleep one by one late in the night with promises of a better world tomorrow.

   The next morning Heather wakes up to the sunrise peering in through the living-room windows. With her cheek pressed against Susan’s back she is forced to see nothing but the sunset. There’s a kink in her neck and she rocks her head gently back and forth so as not to wake up Susan. She notices the rise and bloom of the sun. She’s never seen anything like this before. “Now I wake up in wonderment,” she thinks (she’s an English Lit major) “but over the next couple of days, as we will be forced to deal with hunger and other unpleasant bodily functions, what will I think of this sunset then? Will it become an emblem of oppression? Will I end up hating the sun and forever after seek refuge in a cave? Will we be found in time?” And so writes out her thoughts in a diary  that she shimmies out of her pocket. A pen is retrieved in the same way. 

    That’s how I came to know their story and the 32 days of horror that they suffered through bickering over Milton Bradley’s liability, (but they did break the rules of playing with more than four), the nature of the universe – a globe, a sphere, a cluttered mass, the nature of man – good, bad or indifferent and when their skeletons were found in a heap of bones by their concerned landlord, I was called in to investigate their situation. 

     And now months later I wander the streets telling strangers the tale of the entangled teens. Some days I’m optimistic: insofar as none of them lost that game, they all won. But what a horrible victory.


   And while I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the blogability of my name, I do want people to know I’m a persistent mo-fo of the literary variety. I’ve been writing  poetry and prose since the 70’s and with the advent of this interweb thingy a couple years back I got to thinking, why not expand my ambitions into the digital realms. Hence, this blog where I’ve been writing a story (almost) everyday for the past six months. To make things a little more interesting (and potentially litigatious and therefore fun) I’ve been writing under a different assumed name everyday. 

    Don’t believe everything that you read, might serve as the subheading to this blog. Or perhaps: Fiction is the only fact. Something along those lines.

   Enjoy today’s short-short story…


On this Tip of his Something


     At six o’clock on the nose, he wakes up with an enormous amount of pep, as if each limb and organ in his body came equipped with its own built in alarm clock. From head to toe, ringing with energy, he shuffles in his bare feet to his bathroom in the cold Montreal apartment. He is sixty-two years old but you wouldn’t know it from his heartbeat. He does, however, have a problem.

     It’s somebody’s birthday today.

     He inspects his face and neck in the mirror, searching for cancer spots, new wrinkles, the increased puffiness of morning-eyes. His face is a calendar for decades past. He turns the X-shaped faucet for cold and gives his face a splash. It is the 14th of October, he reminds himself, the 14th letter of the Phoenician alphabet stands for this day. Alphabet. He wonders why he thought “alphabet.” Technically, the Phoenician script was an abjad, the term to describe a system of consonants. Vowels were too slippery and protean to waste letters on three thousand years ago. He muses while he scrubs his face vigorously. The harder he thinks, the fiercer the scrubbing. In his previous life he was a professor of ancient languages. 

   Who’s birthday is it, he wonders as he looks at himself in the mirror. He’ll meet some colleagues for lunch. Is it one of theirs? If he can remember whose birthday it is he’ll be able to buy them something appropriate. Has he bought something already? He’ll check the living room but by the time he shuffles through the living room he’s forgotten that thought. He clings to this lapse in his memory the way an overboard sailor holds to a piece of wood in the wide ocean. 

    When he looks at the calendar in the kitchen, his wrinkles zig-zag with sudden tears. It’s his birthday. He can’t deny any longer the onslaught of the disease.

    This too he will forget.


   And just as man doesn’t live by bread alone, or wine alone, or cheeses or meats alone, so too do writer’s need variety in their diets. I’ve been penning novels and some short stories over the course of my – by some accounts – sixty-year career but of late I found that I wanted to taste something different. It is for this reason that I embarked upon a “blog” wherein I could write a fantastical little story everyday. I did however want to keep it at a distance from my other writings – as the stories were rough and unedited – therefore I’ve been writing under an assumed name with each and every story for the past six months.

   Today I felt it was time to reveal the truth.

   I hope you enjoy today’s short-short burst of fiction.



Forevermore at Most



    The father with a prosthetic arm is taking his five-year-old son out to the large green park five minutes from their doorstep. Their Siberian Husky, Bobo – named after the father’s favorite jazz pianist, Bobo Stensen, is on a leash and the boy holds onto the strap which is looped around his father’s hand. In this touch, the son feels like he’s responsible for taking the dog out for a walk but by the time they reach the park the son is tugging at the strap, hoping to take full possession of the dog. But they’re at the park and the son might as well be trying to leash the wind or sun because their dog knows that now’s his time to run up and down the green field. Bobo tugs at the leash and the man is pulled forward. Bobo, he says firmly and the dog’s ears move back but he still smiles. I want to hold him, the five-year-old boy cries and stamps his foot on the green grass but it’s too late because Bobo is running with his tongue hanging out of his mouth the way his head would be hanging out of a car window. The boy sniffles and shouts, bad dog but Bobo is already at a distance. The father notes this new insistence in the boy who’s just started school. Perhaps, he’s trying to regain control over a world that’s changing. The father is a psychologist and tinkers all day with people and theories about their actions. The father tells the boy not to cry but this only serves as a challenge and the boy cries louder. Bobo wags his tail in the distance and then starts to run back. He looks up waiting for the familiar orange of the plastic ball. The father throws the ball with his right arm which is his flesh and blood arm. Do you want to go home, he asks his son who then starts to wail like a siren. Other people in the once quiet park look over to the pair. Bobo is already back with the ball in his mouth. His tail wags like a metronome on its fastest setting. At the sight of Bobo, the boy cries all the harder, reaching his own loudest setting. The father can’t explain this dramatic display of grief in his son. Bobo drops the ball between the boy and his father. Do you want to throw the ball, the father asks but the boy doesn’t want to release anything, he wants to hold something in his hands but how can the father know this? After all he’s not a child psychologist. Distracted, the father puts the ball into his left arm which, when he goes to throw the ball, flies out into the air with the ball. The dog is impressed with the variety of choice and brings back the prosthetic forearm. The boy wipes his tears, takes the arm from the dog and gives it to his father. Here’s a simple solution to all their worries. All three are happy once again.

   Yes and I’ve been having no small measure of bullshit problems recently. I keep getting blocked from the Internet!! Can you believe that? Me! That’s why I haven’t been posting stories with any regularity over the past two weeks. Somebody’s out to get me and I suspect it’s that Berners-Lee. Yes, the dude who started the WWW back in 1989. Okay, I know this shop-talk bitch fest is a little insular. It’s like watching nerds throw their glasses at each other. All I’m saying is that I want to have access to the web like everyone else.

   Before the troubles began I was writing a short-short story everyday on this blog. Everyday I pretended to be somebody different as an experimental new FaceBook application. I’m working on code that will generate a story to your specifications. You can send a short-short story to a friend as a gift. Just put in the name you want the main character to have, some kind of object that will be the main character’s demise and finally a setting. But for some reason – which I won’t get into here – Berners-Lee claimed to have come up with the code for this and then I suddenly keep getting blocked from the web. Can you believe that? Me? Mr. Facebook himself!! (I have 31,356,549 friends)

   Anyway here’s a ridiculous story for the day…



The Difference is Spreading



    He opens his hand and reveals another hand which opens in turn to reveal another and so on and so forth until there is a tiny hand that opens up to nothing. This is the trick the twenty-armed man likes to play for his siblings. His arms are like tree branches that sprout at the top of his shoulders and then slide down to make room for more. On their way down his side they get larger and larger. Right now – at the age of 13 – his lowest arms come out from the sides of his knees.

     His 4 brothers and sisters – normal except for the youngest who’s cross-eyed – applaud their brother’s game of suspense. Sometimes there’s a candy or a uniquely patterned pebble at the end and sometimes – like a sad ending to a European movie – there’s nothing but emptiness but it’s worth the price of admission. It’s thrilling to see so many hands consecutively open up. So many identical palms revealed one after another. The children are poor and know no other form of entertainment. In the past they used to climb their brother’s arms like a tree but since he reached 13 he’s complained about aches and pains in his bones and he doesn’t want the little ones scrambling up his limbs. Soon, he tells them, soon.

    They are a happy family who live on a farm in the middle of Saskatchewan but their father is an alcoholic. He’s a happy alcoholic who smiles widest when he drinks deeply from his homemade moonshine. He wipes the remnants of liquor off his lips and sings some kind of song in a language no one in the family comprehends. In fact, in French he sings about the wonders of having a 20-armed son. He stole normality, my heavily armed son, is what one line translates to. He loves to spit when he’s in the mood.

    The matriarch of all this moves quickly from room to room to house to barn and back again and it’s almost impossible to keep up with her long enough to get any detail straight. She’s fast and productive and proud of her deformed son, proud that he’s productive. He does more in the kitchen in five minutest than ten women could do in an hour. He’s a time-saver but she still has many things to do. She needs to keep the children out of the living room when her husband is labouring under a hangover.  She needs to keep the taxman at bay with baked goods. She needs to collect the dappled eggs. She needs to do so much but she’s so disorganized that she runs around doing very little. But she’s happy. Proud.

     I’m the dog that sits by the fence in front of the house. I wait for a car to stop so that I can jump in and wag my tail while I stick my face out the window. That’s my basic dream. In other dreams we’re driving after cats in fast cars. We drive just as fast and when we hit the horn the car barks. The car in front of us is packed with hundreds of cats that sometimes fall out the windows. I reach out the window and grab them and throw them into our car. When I wake up from my dreams I look into my paws and I realize that I can’t grasp a thing.

   And this blog is the result of a plea bargain of sorts with the powers that be in the afterlife. You see I couldn’t stand it another minute in the beatific glow and hum of the Great Beyond. There were more spirits swirling around than you could shake a stick at. Believe me I tried. I tried to chase off the angelic revelers to find some solitude to contemplate just a little inner gloom but it was to no avail. Heaven knows how I made it to heaven but apparently they’re letting almost everyone in these days. It’s like Woodstock but instead of mud there are angel feathers littering up the joint and everyone takes the rainbow acid which you get by opening your mouth in the presence of God himself and it never produces a bad trip. La-de-duh.

  I hated it.

  So I found an escape route. Through a complicated corporate web which I can’t get into here there are deals that link heaven with certain corporate bodies on earth. (Yes, accountants have supplanted writers as the creative forces of the 21st century.)  Within this network of tax-sheltering schemes, there is a link between the Pearly Gates and Penguin Books. Basically, I get a couple hours of solitude everyday to write whatever I want. I can attempt to dig into the depths of the rock bottom of my soul and break shovel-blade after shovel-blade, day after day. For my part I also have to produce something everyday on this blog. Penguin gets exclusive rights to everything that I produce and this blog is intended to promote that first book which is coming out next spring. The book, a collection of fragments of stories that fail miserably, is entitled, “Burn this Book.”  Some of the stories on this blog are featured on it.

   It’s one way to make an afterlife living.




Setting the Record Straight: a Correspondence between an Uncle and a Nephew on the Topic of a Kafka Submission for Mcsweeney’s Internet Tendency


Email #1:  Rejection 


From: Web Submissions <>

Date: June 5, 2008 4:16:06 AM PDT (CA)

To: Kevin SPENST <>

Subject: Re: If Kafka Wrote Stock Market Reports


Hi, Kevin –


While I think this is how Kafka would indeed write stock reports, I’m going to pass. We ran a Kafka-themed piece a short while ago and are not ready to return to him just yet.







 Email #2: Uncle to Nephew 




  They are so coy in their rejection letters.


Uncle Kevin



Begin forwarded message:

From: Web Submissions <>

Date: June 5, 2008 4:16:06 AM PDT (CA)

To: Kevin SPENST <>

Subject: Re: If Kafka Wrote Stock Market Reports


Hi, Kevin –


While I think this is how Kafka would indeed write stock reports, I’m going to pass. We ran a Kafka-themed piece a short while ago and are not ready to return to him just yet.





Email #3: Nephew to Uncle



Well he does have a point.  It’s not called “McKafka’s”.





Email #3: Uncle to Nephew


kakfa suffered his entire 41 years of life on this miserable earth and mcsweeny’s can’t celebrate that by having two kafka pieces in one season?


Email #4: Nephew to Uncle


Kafka was a crybaby…


Email #5: Uncle to Nephew

correction, Kafka is a thinking man’s crybaby

   Pleased to meet you. I imagine shaking hands with an untold number of people, my arm stretched out through the looking glass of my computer screen and into your world and yours and even yours. It’s not that I’m running for office or trying to sell you a used lemon of a car, it’s just that I need to have a sense of my readership. I need to know that all my hours spent scribing away result in some kind of human touch. Or at least the idea of contact with another soul.

   I took almost two weeks off from my daily writing on this blog in order to reread Kafka on the Shore. I’ve published a number of books since then but it’s become one of my favorites (even though authors, like parents, aren’t really supposed to have favorites) and I wanted to return to this novel in English. Apart from this blog, all my writing is in Japanese and then translated into English by a number of superb translators that I’ve been lucky enough to work with. This blog, however, is my direct link to my English readers. Everyday for the past five months I’ve been writing a short-short story from a different point of view. An experiment in styles. A place for me to play with English. But today is Kafka’s birthday and it’s time to tell the truth. 

   Enjoy today’s whim of a short-short story…


Sounding the Curse


     It was a dangerous language to learn. That was the joke that Al kept making as his friend Abdi demonstrated the intricacies of a glottal stop. Abdi straightened his back, lifted his chin and made the sound, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. “Not alphabet, it’s a script. Alphabet comes from the Greek language. Arabic script,” Abdi said, remonstrating his friend once again. “Well, whatever you want to call it. It’s a deadly language to learn,” Al said and then tried to make the glottal stop but found himself choking on something in his throat. He coughed and coughed and took another sip of the bottled water he’d purchased for an arm and a leg at the coffee shop. 

     “It’s much simpler,” Abdi said, motioning a gentle wave with his hand, trying to tap into some hidden reserve of patience. “Think of the shortest sound that can be made and then locate it deep in your throat.” Abdi pointed at the middle of his throat and made the sound again. 

     Al tried but this time his coughing fit was worse. When he had first attempted the vowel he’d hammed it up a bit but now he found that he really couldn’t get past the sound without his throat going into convulsions. He took another sip from the expensive water. “This is a deadly language. Learn our language and die. It’s a terrorist language.”

    Abdi’s eyes widened. Al had crossed the line. In the five years that they’d known each other Abdi had put up with all sorts of blasphemy but this was going too far. Abdi slammed his “Teach Arabic Now” textbook firmly shut, stood up from the small table, and picked up his backpack.

   “I will not tolerate that sort of small-mindedness. Whatever you curse in life comes back as an enemy. You have made it so.” 

    And true enough the spirit in the sound behind Alif was offended (I mean wouldn’t you be?) and like a broken vial of gas something emerged slowly from the shattered sound that Al had made. You will never succeed in anything again, it whispered in his ear. You will be filled with optimism as you attempt the first step of the basics again and again. You will believe that you can do it but you will fail eternally. Your futile hope will live longer. 

    As far as curses go, Al didn’t mind. 

    It could’ve been much worse. 

    But he did lose a friend in Abdi who he tried to win back again and again for the rest of his life, never losing faith in his ability to fail and try again.

      And I’m told that they’re going to suspend my computer privileges so there’s no point in pretending to be someone else anymore. I’ve been working on a series of characters and accompanying stories for a book called “Prose and Cons.”  

     That is all. 

     Enjoy today’s short-short story…   



In the Mountains a Story


   A short man, pudgy around the waist, packed a lunch of 5 Polish crepes and cucumber to take on his journey to the mountains to consult the Scientist-Wizard. At the foot of the mountains the pudgy man shouted, “Scientist-Wizard, I come in search of a new self. I’m 42 years old and I need to become something new.” These words echoed up through the valley running between the mountains and the pudgy man wished that could be the end of his efforts. But after several minutes of silence, the pudgy man undertook the four hour hike up the side of the mountain  When he reached the mouth of the Scientist-Wizard’s cave he whined, “You should put in some steps.” “Enlightenment’s never at the top of an escalator my dear friend,” the Scientist-Wizard replied, holding out a green potion. The man grabbed the drink and gulped it back after which he fell to the ground and writhed about like a fish. His body changed into something marvelously powerful. His skull grew two sizes larger to make room for all the new brains inside. Hours later he lifted himself up from the dirt, brushed himself off and looked down at his body. With his powerful new voice he shouted into the valley. He counted the number of times he’d breathed in his life. But somehow he still felt empty. The Scientist-Wizard emerged from his cave and asked if everything was in order. The man sighed, “I’m still the same inside. Deep down I don’t feel anything different.” 

   “It’s not my fault you made the wrong choice. I offered you advice or a drink. You took the easier one and failed to consider my words of wisdom which will always be there for you to take but will always remain outside your grasp.”

   It’s embarrassing but true. I woke up this morning to a murder of crows cawing up a storm. I looked at my alarm and saw that it was five minutes to wake up time anyway so I rolled out of bed. There was a sudden silence and then the sound of a car taking off. I imagined the crows breaking into a neighbor’s car and taking it for a joy-ride. I chuckled to myself at this little cartoon in my head when I stood up and then fell over. I looked down and saw that my feet were missing. (I’ve been fighting a brutal cold and took three helpings of neo-citroen last night. I guess it had numbed my body completely.) 

   I knew I should have gone to bed with the lower half of my body safely stowed away in a safe. That’s the advice I would give to you. 

   But the show must go on in spite of the missing feet – as showbiz cripples often say – and so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here’s today’s short-short story…


In the Award Winning Hereafter


    John and Tina entered the Silver Stars Senior Citizens Talent Contest with some minor bickering. John had written on the entry forms that Tina was 65 when in fact she was 64. “I don’t qualify,” she insisted while John dug through her closet of shoes, looking for her Middle Eastern-looking slippers. “It’s a cute bit. The folks’ll love it, Tina.” He stepped out from her closet with her shoes and a large smile that lifted his aging face. Not since the birth of their grand-daughter had Tina seen him looking so spry.  

    “Okay but on one condition.”

    “You name it.”

    “If we win the prize money goes to Iraqi orphans.”

     John nodded vigorously and his glasses slid down his nose. 

    That night, John and Tina wowed the audience of 87 seniors with their homey yet eclectic rendition of Aladdin’s “Whole New World” but midway through a “world” they both toppled off the edge of the stage, landing on their heads. A chorus of worried gasps rushed through the crowd. Hands went to mouths. One senior pulled out his cell-phone to call his paramedic granddaughter. Three seniors- fearing that the grim reaper was in their midst – left the auditorium, grabbed some free quarter-sliced sandwiches and fled the building. 

     For their part, John and Tina continued dancing into the afterlife, assuming the fall was all part of the rush of the performance. They spun, waltzed and jitter-bugged into heaven assuming it was still just the backdrop to their song. God, for once in his life feeling bad about a mishap on earth, decided to pretend it was a Muslim heaven. His angels were dispatched with Muslim garb to give all the Christian residents in the event that John and Tina should dance through their quarter. “Otherwise, business as usual,” God announced.

   And so it went for John and Tina for eternity.

   A whole new world.

   I have one of the best jobs in the world. I step into a Flight Centre, sit down across from a smiling sales representative and ask how much it is to Tokyo, Korea or Brussels, France. Sometimes they think I’m joking and they laugh but I hold onto an earnest expression until they realize that I only have a grade one knowledge of geography. I ask a hundred other ridiculous questions, to test their patience with customers, and then I sometimes go over to the big map on the wall and ask how much that would cost. I’m a pain in the ass sure but through my dedication to my profession some of the weaker employees have been culled from the Flight Centre. 

    Each story that I’ve written on this blog is something that I’ve included in one of my tours of duty in a Flight Centre. After asking how much a Eurail pass is I’ll go into a rant about my idiot neighbour. Essentially, this blog is where I practice my ridiculous stories that I use in the line of duty.

   I’ve introduced myself as somebody different everyday in order to throw anyone off my trail. I didn’t want to reveal the tricks of my trade. Starting today, however, I’m training other secret shoppers and I’m using this blog as an educational tool. 

   Enjoy today’s story…



Snakes, Flowers, Gorillas and Mariachi Bands on Planes 


   I’d like our flight to take off in the evening, just at the tiniest hint of twilight if possible. I want to fly up as the sun is going down so that we can see the sun go back up again. It’ll be as if the sun is doing a double take on how romantic our evening is. Yes, it’s going to be a romantic vacation for us and I’d like to start it off right, you know, flowers, a mariachi band and a gorilla with flowers. It’s all in this poem which I’ve written for the occasion. Do you know who I’d call to get the green light for all that? I realize there’s not a lot of space on a plane but do you realize that Janice and I are both cancer survivors? Do you realize how important a ten-year anniversary is to one cancer survivor? Can you imagine two? Yes, it’s precious and there’s always room for compromise. Will it upset the other passengers? Well then I have a suggestion for the airline. No Snakes on Planes. I can’t believe they played that movie on the last flight I took to Europe. If the airlines want to reduce air-rage well why not show something a little more relaxing. They can stop their persecution of mariachi bands who want to make an honest living by playing for a cancer couple’s ten-year anniversary. What’s wrong with this country? Won’t all this simply add to everyone’s experience. The sun going down and up and music playing ay-ya-yayayyay. I’ll be getting into my gorilla costume – that’s how Janice and I met – and when I come out with the balloons the pilot will read out my poem. Do you know who our pilot will be? I’d like to ask him about reading this poem. If possible I’d like a pilot who’s survived cancer. Somebody that can relate. When was the last time you survived cancer? Well it’s important. 


   So the jig’s finally up and here I am coming out with my hands raised to the sky. Yes, I, David Eggers have been the merry prankster (sans LSD) behind the past five months of various claims to authorship on this here site. As of today you can put your address in the comments section below to receive a copy of all the contents on this site in a special 141-box edition of McSweeneys. Each story is written around a box which opens up to another box and down and down it goes until the smallest box, which is today’s story, will be in the palm of your hand for you to enjoy.

   I hope you’ve enjoyed all the playful fictions on this blog. 


Arms, Arms, Arms, the Arms of the Man


   Anderson was sorely disappointed in his newly acquired abundance of arms. He’d forgotten to pick up the six-sleeved t-shirt handmade by his mother in anticipation of the great change so for the first week he walked around with his extras bundled around his belly, stretching out his favorite t-shirts beyond belief. All he wanted was to put these extra appendages to good use. “It’s like carrying around a bunch of unopened Christmas gifts under your shirt,” he complained to his co-worker, Marc, in the mail sorting room. “Go shirtless,” Marc suggested. “In pubic?” Anderson hollered and he threw a letter bound for Bolivia into the domestic bin. 

   Anderson made mistakes. He was a busy man. While his supervisor, Bernard, berated him later that afternoon for having the highest rate of misdirected mail, Anderson counted – thumb to fingers- the reasons for his failings. When Bernard stopped shouting to take a sip from his tepid coffee, Anderson countered with 17 explanations which included: Marc makes innate suggestions regarding my personal life, I’m still waiting for the six-sleeved t-shirt which will help me be the best employee this place has ever seen and I have chronic itching which keeps my hands preoccupied. As Anderson explained this one of his new arms reached out from beneath his shirt to scratch at behind his knee.

    “And finally Marc keeps sexually harassing me. I got these extra arms to swat him back,” Anderson concluded, repeating a lunch-room joke that now come out in earnest. Why did he say that? 

     Bernard raised the thicker end of his monobrow.  “That’s a serious charge. We have to take that seriously, you know.” He walked behind his desk, opened a drawer and flipped through some files.

    Anderson nodded while his twenty fingers tapped out rolls beneath his shirt. It sounded as if his stomach were rumbling. His heart was beating furiously. Confess that it was just a joke. Yes, piss Bernard off even more.

    “Where did he touch you?” Bernard asked with his pen hovering over the official looking document. 

     “The buttocks,” Anderson said.

      “How many times?”

      “Three or four.”

      Anderson’s hands and arms became damp beneath his shirt. He felt like he was at the bottom of a pile of people. He wished he never gotten all these arms. Run, something inside him said. He wished he had ordered two new pairs of legs. But would his mother be able to find a pattern for pants that size? 



     “Sign here.”

     Beneath his shirt he crossed all his fingers and then signed the report.