The thud on the porch means that the newspaperman is now awake as well. The boy retrieves it (i.e. the paper) and takes with him to the bathroom the most important section of the New York Times: the Arts. He finishes shitting in about 3.5 min. but is in the bathroom for at least 26. He has had one hemorrhage from these marathons.
The cover story is titled: “Sgt. Pepper’s New Look.” The boy reads that The Beatles have reunited for a world-tour “with a catch:” they have surgically removed their heads and replaced them with various members of the Rosaceae family.
Details of how this is done safely are enumerated by Dr. Kumari in the Science Section.
As he gets dressed, the boy cleans his circular glasses and checks his Facebook for notifications. Avery wants to see the Beatles live. Caleb wishes him a Happy Birthday.
The boy is convinced his computer is Canadian, because red DNA strips appear below the words “favorite” and “color” [sic]. Sierra, his cousin, was so “inspired” that she got the picture of the four of them inked on the nape of her neck. The girl who wished him a happy birthday was a day early.
It is now 0630h and the boy leaves his house and walks to the subway, which is three blocks away. He nods to the man who works the opening shift at A&M Deli. The 15th Street Subway stop is bizarrely multi-leveled for a station that only services two trains, both of which run on the same track.
A woman sells churros out of a cooler that probably held beer over the weekend, given the smell. The boy realizes he has never once actually looked at the ceiling of this station and subsequently realizes how often he misses anything that is above eye-level.
The G train pulls in and the boy gets in the middle cart, and goes to his favorite seat (which is totally, undeniably, everyone’s favorite seat: the one by the window on one of the old trains).
He overhears a girl say: ‘If I got that done to my head, I would have certainly gotten carnations.’
A smell hangs on the train. The boy cringes at the omitted ‘had,’ but agrees with her assessment. He grows uneasy.
A few stops later, as the train exits the Smith and 9th Street Station, he peers out of the window and looks east as the sun is still creeping over Brooklyn’s horizon. This is the only time of the day that Gowanus Canal could be called something other than repulsive. Kentile Floors in big letters w/ Seraphs looks as though it’s been tattooed on the sky right next to the Chrysler Building.
It was the boy who farted. He feels centered. And as he stirred from his dusk-dreams, he looked out at the city’s silhouette, and he committed himself to the idea that for his 17th birthday, tomorrow, he will turn his neck into a vase as well.
word by Jacob Goldberg
colour by Eugenia Loli
From the author: “People, myself included, are heavily influenced by pop-culture. The characters in this story surrender their identities to The Beatles. What happens here is tricky: one thing is that the protagonist loses his sense of identity (one may wonder whether he ever had one in the first place, given its (viz. his personality) malleability; another is that when people so quickly look to celebrities (or preferably artists) on what it means to be Hip, we so often forget what made them “cool” in the first place. It was certainly not their style, but their artistry, and their ability to uniquely express who they are. This overwhelming loss of identity leads to loneliness.”