Listen. Bad things are happening: accidents, enemy action. Dissociation, which leads to a loss of words…silence. My body shook today from the news. It knew more than I did, whoever I am. In Crystal From The Hills, my non-conformist fiction (No heroes, and no love. Sorry) that is destined to live on the outside of literary establishment, characters are at a loss for words and therefore some part of themselves. Perhaps it’s for the best, this mutedness. Memories are diffuse. Trauma has served to conflate past and present, and secrets keep both peace and status quo. Say anything about what’s really happening then you’ve broken the rules: expect to be fired, ostracized; transferred to that job you don’t want, that trivial life you never bargained for. Phones symbolize what’s happening in CFTH. They’ve stopped working or else they’ve disappeared–gone down with the ship, disappeared. In an emergency authorities can shut down the service apparently. That’s right. They can shut you up. But of course phones are just like people, really: easily replaced, I mean. Observe:
Jill was gone: gone from Chris’ presence, mothballed from his mind. Upon reading Sweet’s message, he immediately began texting his reply; his relaxed fingering suggested a fixated pleasure with such toys; a need that had been starved over the last several days. Yet Chris Leavitt thought of his phones as nemeses. They cut out, dropped calls; went silent for no reason, or else they exhibited letters or numbers he hadn’t pressed. This particular one, which he’d left behind at Jill’s place, was the worst offender. It defied him, gave him the silent treatment, and if he’d get his act together, he’d go down to his carrier’s office at some point and ask for a divorce. Negative thinking: he might actually qualify for an upgrade, he then reasoned. Minutes later he was done, having finished his reply to Sweet. He was done for the moment with his deputy phone’s aggravating, petty resistances, and looked up and about the neighborhood. It seemed for an instant that he was lost; that is, without something to do, without a plan, an identity: he was a cipher, he briefly feared: he still felt dead but for the fact that others spoke to him, which, he supposed, proved otherwise.