Larry Page is stuffy. He stands, walks to the sliding glass door, flicks the lock and steps outside. There is a hot tub. There is all-weather furniture. There is a redwood cabana made by a Native American who carves imposing women from fallen redwoods, to Larry Page’s concern.
The patio is wood. They had considered faux for its weather resistance, shine, longevity. But his childhood patio had been real wood. He’d helped his father build it. The splinters in his feet had taught him something about suffering and responsibility. Larry removes his phone from his pajama pocket. He pans left, then right. The sun comes in bars of gold that split the trees and speckle the patio. He presses the phone’s screen where a button should be. The phone clicks where a lens should be. Larry Page has not made love to his wife in ninety-two days.
What world is there without art horses bellowing to the new stag?
Frayed man, empty your pockets. I loved you.
Saint my status in the blackest death calls you can give me
for the end pulls my hats off to your birthday suit.
Crumbling useless in mousy mouths, what purpose did we swerve?
Put out my light, snuff the whisper I place on your shoulders—
be the wind that blows out my candle right.
This was the year I lost my face. It was one of those gradual things. My features fell away from me in little flecks of flesh like lint, and each morning I woke to this strange light dusting on my pillow. Initially I invested in potions, plant aloes, all-natural oozes I could smear in radioactive hues across my cheeks, forehead, nose. When that didn’t work, I began to think, maybe, the problem was the drinking.
Under the fluorescent vapor of the ER, as I filled out a clipboard, I started to feel, for once, like I had a purpose – to be comparable, to be benchmarked. I blinked, and everything changed, like I had taken too much modafinil, but really I was waking up to the twin ataraxic suns coming through the window, and everything in the dead ages, 200 years or 2 minutes ago, was a flatline in my collapsed eardrum.
Since I commissioned myself to edit “The Reporter” and bring it up to the public standard, this project has been fraught with an irremediable knowledge of tragedy. Not simply for the obvious — for the purported author’s disappearance in the flower of youth — but also for the loss of the so-called Blackchapel manuscript and its replacement by what appears to be a corrupt and anonymous forgery uncovered in a Montreal bookshop. Devoid of literary and artistic merit and rife with postmodern ribaldry, low-life non-sequiturs, rascally red herrings, and Trotskyist leers, the story you hold in your hands, now in edited form, is the remnant of the semi-autobiographical tale of the reputed illegitimate grand-nephew of naturalized American polymath and superhuman John von Neumann.