13 February 2013 - Evan Karp

Casey Childers « Exhibitionist

As part of a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen writers for SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog, authors give exclusive readings from their work. To watch ...

down in the third it's pretty simple

what the hell three rounds of this dance and crap kids all feathers and springs like he's got no gravity and there's you nothing but feet and fists and a head made of bricks and maybe you just fight for real say screw it you don't need this not you just fight for real and maybe he knocks you out in the third anyway and you can go home know when you got knocked out in the third for real anyway and everybody's happy and crack okay kids gotta punch after all no hay maker but they're stars in your eyes all the same screw it take the dot now you don't need three rounds two is good go home have a beer have 17 call your cousin in the morning about that sales thing screw that too and swing because that's what this do and they'll pull er they'll see it and then it's the Commission all over again before long they're telling you who you can hit and who you can screw and screw that too and let the kid be a bird because birds have hollow bones and swing that fist because that's what you do and there you are camped out in the brush with your rifle and you squeeze the trigger like your father said you oughta ant bang and there's no room for nothing but a smile

when the shot connects clean long shot and all and the bird machinery goes all wonky and breaks and gravity pushes aerodynamics to the side with a confident i got this bra kind of look on its face and at this distance you can trace the freefall acceleration something like 10 meters per second per second of falling in a perfect world without wind or air or decimals but perspective makes 20 meters per second seem pretty slow by the second second and 30 by the third looks pretty much the same the kid catches his balance anyway and swings back and nobody's going to buy this pittypat nonsense but he follows with a strong left hook and there's the Epiphany ringing and true across your ears and eyes the hit sounding your depths like an elevator shaft and an elevator is just a box and a shaft of metal suspended by cords and engineering and faith and engineering in this box in this shaft a metal is just a box and shaft in metal unless we fill it with people and we fill it with people because we can and that's where you are just you just you and the elevator and some strangers and why not usual story the rise from the lobby to the tippy top

the awkward standing and breathing the careful planning of eyes anywhere that in eyes the problem how to stand patiently without looking like you're trying to stand patiently or like you're aware of how you're standing in the first place 200 internet friends and a complete inability to connect in any way meaningful or otherwise with any of these jerks or better the fear that any of these jerks might get it in his head that eye to eye contact is an invitation how do you end that conversation new friend and you standing next to each other in the new and pointed silence at the other side of some forced tooth pulling exchange bawling the display of ascending floors like it was the only painting ever painted ever I'm Snap is the sound that breaks the ice snap maybe there's the haymaker and the kid after all this smug face all blurry where your eye meets his fist and then we're glad we added all these people to keep the plummeting elevator company what a waste it would have been to do this with an empty can and a hollow shaft now everybody knows this part and the relief of proper disaster sinks in the screaming and the

mouth prayers which ever gods and all the business cards LinkedIn's and just wait baby you'll see it won't be like this forever Zin the world can save one of us from the math of 30 meters per second per second and scream and scream because this is it and why do they build these things so tall in the first place nobody lives here when the market closes and the rats know better than to fall and the bell rings before the eight count you're up and they're cutting you and why not you were never much to look at in the first place the bell rings again and if there's punches you don't know everything feels like everything else anyway there's a hushed silence as you test the board you and 200 your closest friends silent what will happen clear your mind wrap your toes around the edge and visualize the gun and never point a gun you don't intend to fire and breathe and snap feet together just over half a meter between you and the platform rise because points matter three somersault rotations before no time to count the body knows and the execution is flawless now it's between you and terminal velocity unreachable at this height and form is key and so what

if this is a hotel rooftop and there's never been a public pool in this city and it was bound to happen in the words left by you on the note they'll find in your room this is no time to neglect for more dignity because this is between you and gravity if the ground intervenes then it deserves what it gets and your mind is clear for the first time in years because there's no room for doubt anymore and you take a swing and you're a knife and clean and glinting in the moonlight like a cliche you plunge always the slave of the hand and if there's blood you were only ever a knife and who are you you knife keen on your task to ask why and if there's bone below soft skin let it say it's scrape and it's snapped because this is the path of knives and of doing and no court in the world can hold you in anything more than a plastic bag so dive and let the hands that push worry the foreheads of a nation gone red and plummeting stock values and poles of confidence and the kid swings back line from your hip but strong and maybe the fixers had the wrong idea about this guy as form is terrible but his hook is a broadsword and plunge little you in the fist

connects and be any instrument you please so long as it feels the pull of rock bottom and wants it then up and over because at least it's close and it's clear and at least there's no doubting where it will end and sync with the grace of the body that knows there's no escaping the dragon wait below give wide eyes the blooming darkness is friction defies acceleration and falling gives way to weightlessness in the connection to the infinite of lives passing one after another after another after another as lives do and Mark the new depths charted and surely there's some end all of this and down and down every last one of us but alone because that's how it ends and you first because we can all take comfort in that and better it's you to chart the course and be a master of the destination before fear leaps up to the high places you've left behind in high places are banned all together for fear of dramatic Falls and so what you took the by you were dead before he got in the ring and if there's no getting up from this so what and you're not done falling yet not nearly in the bottoms nowhere in sight and the ref counts eight and you're done

and that's that

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