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Greg Farnum

Book Store Fathers
The gray haired man patiently explains things to his son: "If Microsoft had been given free rein we would still be using DOS." And the son’s quiet stare says "So?"
The oriental man, pencil in hand and hunched over a paper, impatiently explains some problem in mathematics to his teenage son who sits tight-faced and still. The man takes off his ball cap and thinning gray hair bushes out in a thoroughly asymetrical way.
"Do you see now?" he says to his son, "Do you see?"

I am a writer...scriptwriter and a tv producer. Aging fast. Sick maybe.
They have taken my creations away from me. "New," they say, the word "new."
They make me appear on celebrity game shows. I struggle to be funny, to stay awake, to hold back the terror.
"I haven’t seen you around here before. What happened to old Johnson?" "I’m the new night watchman, Mister --," he replies with a smile.
"Strange, nobody told me about this...and how did you know my name?"
"Oh everybody knows you, Mister --."
The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues. A continuum which lacks spatial dimensions and in which events succeed one another from past through present to future.

I look out at myself from the pages of an ad for the Famous Writers’ School...a black and white me looking, now in this light, out of place, ill at ease, sorry for all the people who bought the product. What? The question? I don’t know the answer to the fucking question. Quick, something... How many more shows are we going to tape today? Who are these celebrities anyway? The office is dark. Since when do they let it get so dark? That new watchman didn’t give his name.

Lunch Break: Illegal Utterance
One reader writes...
Dear Dave,
Wendy's always has the best hamburgers, how do you do it?
Glad you asked, Dave replies. First of all we use fresh beef. Most other places use frozen beef. (Don't ask me why.) We never make a hamburger up ahead of time. We wait until you order it. That way it's served hot off the grill. Plus, you get to pick your own toppings. And we make sure those are fresh, too. When it comes down to it, it doesn't take magic to make a better tasting hamburger. Maybe other places just don't think it's that important.
Sincerely, Dave

That's us asking. An unreal us, which we nevertheless except. A foil for the unreal Dave -- who was real, at one time. A real old fat guy, who has now become simply "Dave." We don't mind. We take solace in the fact that we are equal in our unreal us, an unreal Dave.
Unreal voices down the road as well. At Wal-Mart. People in blue are speaking with their backs. At WAL-MART, Our People Make The Difference say their smocks. Every moment of the work day their backs give voice to the words of others. Branded.

We take solace in the equality of our unreality...but some pay for the hamburgers, some speak with their backs; others profit. Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.1995 Wendy's.
All Rights Reserved.


Gregory Farnum
Bloomfield Twp., Michigan

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