by Geoff Schutt
eleanor says: i am in a lowercase mood again. but i am not sad. i am not depressed. i am sneaking underground, underneath the people. they are walking above me, right now. they are walking right over me. but they don’t know i’m here. they don’t even realize.
their shoes are very loud. and people walk funny. they make no good rhythm, not today at least. when i walk, i walk with substance. i walk one two three four, one two three four, but i am not marching. i am singing as i walk. with my shoes, i am singing to the ground below me, where i am now.
i will tell you about this place, underneath the people. i am not alone, ever. there are spirits here, but not ghost spirits like in a cemetery. there are spirit thoughts. but there are also people thoughts, from above the ground, and the people thoughts drown out the spirit thoughts. people think when they don’t even realize it, and the thoughts fall right here, just under the surface. a good thought will live for at least five minutes, and sometimes longer. the best thoughts last fifteen or twenty minutes at least. here is an example of thoughts that are happening right now. (two people’s thoughts. the people are thinking to one another in silence.)
— it’s going to rain.
— i want to fly to the moon just to touch it and then fly back again. would i have to fly to the moon to touch it? maybe if i dream it tonight, then i can touch the moon. the moon was so gorgeous last night.
— it’s going to rain. this humidity is awful.
— i want a baby. i’m sure this time. one hundred percent sure.
— i need to take a shower. i’m dripping wet.
— i can’t forget to get cheese. we’ll stop at the grocery store. goat cheese.
— isn’t it too early for indian summer?
— i should get some bread too. we need ham. i can’t forget ham.
— the mosquitoes are biting. i hate insects.
— if i had a baby, would it be the end of the world? what will happen to the moon?
sometimes when you are in lowercase mode, you can hear things that make no sense at all but you can hear things that do make a lot of sense as well. it’s such a weird, randomness.
— i don’t really want a baby.
— we need milk, and creamer. i should get turkey instead of ham.
i want to tell the person, yes, yes, it’s so random. one thought and then one thought and then something related to the first thought, but maybe not to the second, or fourth, or whatever. it blends together, like smashed up sentences.
like mashed potatoes.
that’s funny, isn’t it. i think it’s funny at least. smashed up sentence potatoes.
— well, for one thing, a baby would be so impractical. i really don’t like turkey. i’ll get the ham. and some mustard. goat cheese. i need to remember the goat cheese. * if i were uppercase, in an uppercase mood at least, i would say, yes, have the baby. if i were uppercase, i would make it rain away the humidity, and i would make rainbows too. i would make the moon seem so big and so close, you could reach right out and touch it. you could breathe it in. whatever you wanted.
these people, well they can walk all over me, all they want, and not even know the difference between lowercase and uppercase, and if they would know the difference, i would assure them that i am not sad. and i am not depressed.
and also, i am a very good listener (that’s for sure). and also, no one should worry about me.
an excerpt from The Girl Behind The Glass, a novel
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Geoff Schutt’s short fiction has appeared in Gordon Lish’s The Quarterly, The Best of Writers at Work, The Wastelands Review and The Laurel Review, among others. His novel-length work is represented by James McGinniss of McGinniss Associates Literary Agency, New York City. More about Geoff Schutt (and Eleanor) is available at his blog, “This Side of Paradise,” at http://geoffschutt.blogspot.com
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Photo by Geoff Schutt
Full Moon Through Misty Window