I’ve spent my career as a poet striving to find new forms of expression. Recently, I’ve been putting my poems up on youtube but this site has also been a foray into something new. Over the past five months I’ve pretended to be over a hundred and forty different people. The point of all this mask-making has been to examine the notion of identity online and off. The multiple layers of the self made up of the world around us.  



  As a structural challenge I’ve also taken the comments made at the bottom of each day and allowed myself to use only those words for the next day or two or however long it takes to get another comment. Thereby playing out the permutations of another person’s message.

   And now for today’s short-short story…


Did he fit your handshake?


   One Wednesday evening, on the cusp of twilight, Derrick Garbert got the call about a Mini-Austin backed into a ditch at the corner of 168th and 80th. “Easy,” he said by way of good-bye and he flicked his cigarette out the window. He pressed his big hand down on the stick-shift which reached up with a customized hand of its own. His hairy fingers expertly slipped through the metal fingers and he put the truck in gear. After seventeen minutes of AC/DC’s High Voltage, he pulled up next to the front of the car. A seven foot man stood next to it. “You could carry that home, what did you call me for?” Derrick said, half-seriously. The man said something about his back but Derrick couldn’t understand his accent. Within minutes the car was hoisted up out of the ditch and Derrick was hauling it to the nearest mechanic. The man barely fit next to Derrick in his truck. The man seemed to be complaining about the size of his cab. “Don’t make them any bigger,” Derrick replied, squeezing the hand of the stick-shift. The man didn’t tip anything on top of the twenty dollar towing fee.

   “How did he fit into that car?” Derrick’s wife asked later that evening.

   “Don’t know. Didn’t ask. Don’t like talking to complainers. They make poor conversationalists.”

   “But you should ask about something like that.”

   “I don’t know. I’ve seen weirder things.” 

    But he couldn’t think of anything and that’s when he got the idea of taking pictures of everyone in their car after a successful tow. Just to be on the safe side as well as a nice touch.