Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Friday, June 27, 2014

No News Today - Guest Post - Lauren Becker

Life People

Some of us were sitting around playing this game where you make up definitions of obscure words and the others vote on which definition is right, and this guy kept winning because his definitions always sounded like they might be true. He hated the game anyways. He wouldn’t say why.

I asked what game he wanted to play. He said Life. Did I remember Life? I did. I remembered those little cars with holes to plug in people as you moved around the board. I always had too many people in my car and ended up putting new ones in sideways or sitting up in uncomfortable positions.

I was there for trying to kill myself. He wouldn’t say, but his disappointment seemed familiar. We played; I abandoned my people in the car and his ran off the side of the long table where we ate. He left his people scattered on the floor. A nurse came in and asked who caused the mess. We told her this girl, Paula, who was way crazier than we were, did it while we were trying to play. We were doing origami by then. He presented the nurse with a tiny box. She traded him for a little plastic cup of pills and a paper one filled with water.

We turned to the page in the origami book that showed how to make cups. His was purple and mine was going to be yellow, but mine was purple, too. We put water in our cups, willing them to hold. For a few seconds, it looked like we were drinking grape juice from beautiful china. They crumpled under the weight of water. He collected mine and put both in the trash.

He asked me if I wanted to play another game. I picked up the deck of cards – the one with none missing – and dealt us hands of blackjack, kings showing for both. It was almost time for dinner. We would set aside the cards to eat overcooked meatloaf with french fries and wilted green salads with low-fat Ranch. The others started coming in with trays. I shuffled our cards back into the deck and knelt to pick up his Life people, putting them in the car, upright or sideways, facing in a direction we had forgotten.

Lauren Becker is editor of Corium Magazine. Her book of short fiction, If I Would Leave Myself Behind, was released by Curbside Splendor last week. This story is included in the book.She is a brand new resident of Austin, Texas and has the boots to prove it.