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When sardines fall from the skies, one hopes to have an umbrella handy. Eric Cantona noted that a seagull is fine, too, but then when does one have a seagull handy? And how, outside of a Murakami novel, can one be prepared for such happenings?

Planning ahead for metaphysical crises seems a low priority for managers of offices and sporting powerhouses alike. The reasons for this are obvious, but not as obvious as why magical realism occasionally intervenes in the realm of actuality. It’s “realism” for a reason, I suppose.

*eats sandwich, drinks coffee.  Cue “FEVER DREAM”*

You worry and worry and worry and there is no end, no chicken sandwich waiting like a supplicant in a king’s court for you to gorge upon at the finish. Maybe you die? Yes. That’s cool, right? It’s going to happen anyway, but there are means–means and ways, ways and means, bad theater lording over us all–of making it happen a little sooner. Not too soon, though, as there are things to do. Ambitions, one could say. Do you have an ambition. “Yes,” says a little voice creaking from your throat, inaudible to the surrounding cubicles. Hands covering your mouth, an indeterminate glare peering out from under genetically bushy eyebrows, you continue: “I want to rule the world. And I’d also like to write books.” 

There is a peel of laughter, audible from ear to ear. It sounds like it actually peels, but then does laughter have a skin? If so, then it’s probably pretty thin and turns red and shrivels in the sun. Huh, it does make sense. It’s a self-generated giggle, but you’re not LOL-ing or chortling or even suppressing a snicker. You are stone faced and afraid, not of the hallucinations brought on by bad American coffee chugged indiscriminately on a Tuesday afternoon, but of an empty white page. The unblinking shine of emptiness, of un-productivity, scares and then anger you.

The words won’t come in any of the three languages you know. Cuando te mires hacia al cielo, te sientes como si puedes fumar sus sueños, enrollado en un cigarillo, niveles de humos que se eleva eternamente.

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*phone rings, voices rise and fall in conversation. A pang, and a knock of oxygen–réveillez-vous!*

It feels good now, this feeling of fullness, dreams of smoking and smoking of dreams and why are you still hungry? Food. The numbness starts with the first pang, and you keep reminding him of your order, and nope, you don’t register this at all, because the hunger just won’t quit. But what are you hungry for? There are so many choices. What a privileged question. 

I sit back down, unsure if there will be sunshine tomorrow. I am not Al Roker or someone famous who knows things. There is a printer technician here, unsuccessfully attempting to fix the printer. He has a short-back-and-sides thing going on, with bleach blond tips on top. He is in his late thirties, and he has his sunglasses (Oakleys or derivatives thereof) on the back of his head, a utility belt with: a Blackberry holder; a small silver flashlight; and some other metal thing that is almost certainly not of utility to him at the moment. He has an enormous, round face, reddened by his exertions to get this damn thing to work and also because of atherosclerosis brought on by a decade and a half of cocaine use. You know, just a weekend thing. He opens his mouth, and it is evident that he is a dullard. But! he knows his printers, and knows the limits of his knowledge, and knows that thing is busted and ain’t printing right. He also knows that his hair looks good, bro

Surf’s up. 

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