Title: The Bones of Nothing
Subtext: Alone time.
Date: 16 Sep 15 (Wednesday in the PM)
Time: 2 minutes
Replies: 8
Revisions: 19
Publicity: Workshop

What time was it?

Mandy awoke massively careening into the top sheet, which tugged at Bennet and pressed him into the still tucked other side. It reminded her of making sushi.


She’d gone to bed in just undies again. It felt good to crash out on her back that way, but inevitably awful to awaken in the middle of the night, exposed and under gravity’s spell.

Bennet, always in bed first, without comment or fail, folds the oversized Winger concert tee he’d purchased for his wife as an occasionless gift four years back, and faithfully places it under her pillow each night, one of his many kind, silent rituals.

On the best nights Mandy simply reaches back and tugs it out from under her head. The freshly safe covered feeling is enough to disrupt whatever feedback loop had amplified above her theta peaks. Other nights she can lay there in mundane misery, lacking the basic agency to put the damn shirt on and get back to sleep. On worse nights she’ll be semi-conscious, half naked for an hour or two, then get up for the dark stairwell and bring herself to standing orgasm with an evolved trick of a hardly moved hand, and if that doesn’t work, she’ll poop, then get back in bed to enjoy 45 minutes of the void before the kiddos come piling in.

On this night, even after letting her legs fall asleep on the throne, reading Facebook on her phone, she churned. It was 5:30, her regular run time, when she gave in, went down to the kitchen, lifted the kettle to check its wobbly weight, lit the burner under it with four clicks and a poof, and filled a Malita drip filter above a unicorn shaped ceramic mug with half a cup of Italian roast espresso grounds that her father-in-law picked up for her each week, at Monnetti’s, which was still, after all these years, in the Village.

She sat down at the jumbled kitchen table, cleared a spot, and took out her phone. She stared at it for a minute, opened Instagram, closed it without scrolling, and turned the device off, placing it face down, and setting it aside. Grabbing a sharpie and a bill from the centerpiece pile, she flipped the envelope over and without pause, wrote the following list:

Through the cheap weave
Chew a chafed wave
Walking a dog
Parking a car
Ordering a drink
Losing a game
Wining a game
Getting a ticket
Writing a song
Making breakfast
Cleaning a lens
Biting a toenail
Drawing a picture
Going for a run


Falcon » Authorship
Falcon » 8:53 AM 28 Nov 16
Falcon » 8:53 AM 17 Sep 15
Falcon » 8:50 AM 17 Sep 15
Falcon » 7:54 AM 17 Sep 15
Falcon » 7:43 AM 17 Sep 15
Falcon » 7:41 AM 17 Sep 15
Elk » 11:57 PM 16 Sep 15
Elk » 11:27 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:25 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:24 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:21 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:09 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:05 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:04 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:03 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 10:01 PM 16 Sep 15
Falcon » 9:59 PM 16 Sep 15

The Thread (8)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. What an excellent Mandy sequel. The Winger T, the husband’s gesture, the wobbly weight, the smartphone ambivalence, the list. Not to mention the masturbation v. defecation choice that’ll befuddle even the world’s most charismatic and powerful leaders.

  2. Fantastic – almost a new standard. There’s a compelling mélange of detail, intimacy and relatability. You’ve managed to make the mundane significant simply by curating and ordering a selection of focal points.

    I did some of what I always do – formatting changes, standardized the excerpt, added a few tags, adjusted some spelling, and moved a comma. Maybe another something else equally slight. Feel free to revert.

  3. My movement of the comma might get too close to altering the substance of the piece, which we try not to do at all. I don’t know – it does seem to change the way we think about the Village there, either as plain or exceptional.

  4. Reverted the Village comma – too close a call. Also removed comma after “without pause” because it felt oxymoronic and unnatural to have a comma there. Again, someone redraw the line if that’s going too far.

  5. Thanks yos. I prefer the pause after “without pause” myself. Better I think to keep the direct changes to actual corrections.

  6. But I could, as we have in the past, enjoy a granular discussion of whether or not to use a comma or move it.

  7. I gave us both our commas back.

  8. Good enough change to the inevitable, better change to excise so. What a world it’d be if retrospect weren’t sober — if every time we looked back, things got more exaggerated or extreme.

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