Two by Scott Garson


Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty-nine years. The man was tired. There aren’t enough syllables in words for how tired he was. His eyes were stones. If he saw, then stones could see. His mind was a helpless book of leaden works in endless cycles, like mowing the lawn, then peeling off sweaty clothes, then placing them in the hamper, then washing his skin, then finding other clothes, then getting them onto his body. And next. And next. Each act an obeisance to what had been done before, and before, and before. He existed to zero out the vast weights of past and future. When he rebelled, by wearing his shoes on his head, or setting fire to his groceries, he could see, perhaps, finally, how an end might come to be. Others would move his limbs for him. Others would feed the mouth. Inside, he would wait like a flame in the dark to learn the final thing.


Because I seem to have come awake at a service for a person who’s died, I know that it’s me. It’s me in the coffin. That explains the gap in consciousness, which explains my baffled state. I’m a ghost, put simply. That’s what I’m going with. I take a look around. One issue: the mourners. I don’t know them. One person has a bow tie hanging loose around their collar; I note the shape of the silky cloth: bulbous, sensual. Another person wanders away from the grave to light a joint. She stands on the hill, looking over the valley, while someone beats drums, and someone plays saxophone, which sounds like flying geese. I think, Good party. Before I can stop myself, I’m saying those words, Good party—which might be offensive, but I’m the one dead. She hands me the joint. I have a strange feeling, for a dead man: I’d like to get to know this woman, possibly get her number. I’d also like to hear her thoughts on the man in the pricey dark box.


Scott Garson is the author of Is That You, John Wayne?—a collection of stories. He lives in central Missouri.