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August 24, 2018

34. Infinite Instance

I sat on a bench on a Thursday morningin a park. The bench was odd and faced a parking lot while the real beauty was behind, rolling hills, tall clouds, a gentle breeze. Nonetheless the bench was serene and a single gray car occupied the entire lot. I had seen a father and son pass with a kite, a woman and a dog, and an elderly couple. Each walked on as part of their own episode, none attached in proximity to the other. Each in their most peaceful state of self.


Now a boy and woman walked up the lot, approaching the threshold of green space. Their presence was curious. Moreso was their relationship: he seemed fifteen, perhaps, maybe older; she seemed nearly twice that. But looks can be so deceiving—were they romantic? Perhaps their age difference was more closely measured in months than years. Either way, they seemed oblivious to anything but each other. Both carried a sense of awkwardness and confidence that swayed back and forth out of control.

They paused and looked out for a moment, toward the serenity. I had not seen anyone in the gray car but the sound of the door closing caught my ear and he walked briskly toward the two. A long overcoat fluttered begind his powered steps. They turned quickly, caught off guard, and raised both of their hands at the elbows, out of instinct it seemed. Only then did he pull a small pistol from his coat and extend the full length of his arm in their direction. The woman looked around for any help, any last minute relief and our eyes met. That was the last I remember.

* * *

Both carried a sense of awkwardness and confidence that swayed back and forth out of control. The woman walked a pace forward and turned toward the boy. His shoulders slumped and his head dipped. She pulled out a pair of handcuffs and methodically arranged them around his wrists, behind his back. He made no objection and had become rubbery in motion and visibly weak. His eyes wandered in hopelessness and we made a strange eye contact. That was the last I remember.

* * *

Both carried a sense of awkwardness and confidence that swayed back and forth out of control. The boy stepped away from the woman and moved in the direction of the car. His stride intentional. She appeared to be unaware of his motive, her eyes inquisitive. The window of the door rolled down and the boy, without much communication, turned and pointed to the woman. She raised her chin in confusion and a man now stepped out of the car to stand beside the boy. As the two walked back to the woman they began to grow, their height jumped with every step, in perfect proportion they became twice their original size, still growing. The woman was frozen, fear no doubt. I could not move and hoped to end this nightmare. The boy and the man, enormous, each grabbed an arm of the woman and pulled. That was the last I remember.

* * *

Both carried a sense of awkwardness and confidence that swayed back and forth out of control. The woman knelt down now. On a single knee she leaned over and dig into the earth with both hands. The boy paid no attention and looked out across the rolling green.


A man exited the gray car and walked their direction. I did not know he was in the car but that he closed the door and walked to them. He carried a small half-length spade. Despite his overcoat and dress, he joined the woman to kneel and dig into the ground. The boy remained disinterested and even took a few steps away. He burst into a sprint and shrunk into the landscape. The man stood up and dropped the spade and the woman immediately picked it up, as if planned, and sunk it into the man’s belly. He lurched forward and fell back down. That was the last I remember.

* * *

Both carried a sense of awkwardness and confidence that swayed back and forth out of control. I saw a man on a park bench, oblivious. I opened the door of the gray car and stepped out into the lot. That was the last I remember.

This piece is heavily influenced by Julio Cortázar’s short story, “Blow-up” — but not at all influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni’s film based on Cortázar’s short story.

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