* * *

a list of childhood memories that i might have never thought
about again, but in may 2020 i made a point of thinking
about them, listing them. there are sporadic clusters of
chronological order but overall it is sort of random

* * *


general content warning for some of it. unfortunately, haha


sometimes, in kindergarten, i get to leave & go sit in a fifth grade reading class for a little
while. once, we go to a computer lab. i play a game called "treasure Mountain." i got
really mad because an angry snowball keeps flying across the screen & hitting me

i introduce myself to every adult i meet with my full name, age, what grade i'm in, my
twelfth grade reading level, my math level ... it's a very rote thing that i have memorized

prior to my first day of kindergarten i go in with my mom & she chats with the teacher. i wander
to a board on the wall covered in text & start reading it effortlessly. the teacher is astonished

i find a crayon labeled "purple mountain's majesty." i don't know
the song, so i think it's the most absurd name for a color ever


one day, at home, my sister accidentally(?) shows me the "where's waldo" screamer.
this is a very significant event to me. i think it leaves me with debilitating
anxiety problems for a long time, any time i am alone. they are still slightly
present in may of 2020, when i need a nightlight to sleep or i feel like
something could manifest in the darkness & scream an inch from my face

i start crying hysterically. my brother picks me up & starts carrying me around? messing with me.
i remember him thrusting me into the bathroom & saying something to the effect of "oooh maybe he's
in here!" the next thing i remember is being sat down in my room, crying on the floor, imagining
all the walls of the room turning into the screamer face stretched to their aspect ratio


one cold night i tell donnie, my mom's boyfriend, that i need a new controller for my
nintendo 64. as he is leaving he says he will tell my mom, who works at wal-mart, &
hopefully she will know what controller i am talking about. after he leaves, i am
weirdly angry. i hiss "she knows which one to get!" donnie bursts back into the
living room & drags me to my room & yells something in my face then leaves

in that same bedroom, i play my first video game around some christmas.
my first playstation 2 one, at least. "war of the monsters"

around some christmas i read the book "crash"
by jerry spinelli in that house's living room


one day, in kindergarten, at recess, it's raining. we all sit inside in an open
space between the classrooms & watch the berenstain bears on a big television

once i see a wolf spider in a carpeted hallway. once a kid
gets in big trouble for having a sharp object, maybe a knife


at recess, i run on the blacktop running trail & imagine i am the character "unknown" from
tekken tag tournament, or that wings are extending from my back. i think it makes me run faster

once, at recess, a kid named alek sits against a wall with his arms around me & won't let
go. i am mostly apathetic about it, but i find it kind of frustrating & inconvenient. he
keeps saying something bad will happen if he lets go. i can't remember what it was


the metal fence borders some woods. a kid grabs a little rubbery toy that me & another
kid have. he throws it a short distance through the fence so we can't get it anymore


on the soccer field i approach a stuck-up girl who doesn't like me. i tell
her that her & her family were in a dream i had. she doesn't like that


i have a dream that i am running along the trail & my hand slams into a thorny branch sticking out
through the fence. my hand is filled with big inch-long thorns. for a long time i think it is a memory

once i have a dream that i nearly drown at a water park. i see the female
lifeguard lifting me out of the water. for a long time i think it is a memory


once i go to a water park with my dad. there are these buoyant ropes
sectioning off some areas. a plastic splinter of the rope gets in my
finger & i cry hysterically. an employee removes it with tweezers

i like the spouts that shoot water out of the ground. i like the complex &
visible plumbing behind a fence. i like the feeling of sitting at the snack bar


for much of my preteen life i decide to genuinely believe i am a vampire


my grandmother babysits me

i don't remember her very well. i have a vague memory
of pausing donkey kong 64 to greet her with a hug

i ask her to unwrap slices of cheese for me. she has a little velvet sack of rocks on a cabinet.
the plastic smell of her kitchen. white zip ties with yellow release buttons. sometimes i
fill a tall beaker with water & soak sweetarts in it until they're not sour anymore

she takes me to a laundromat. i have a little yellow toy car. i accidentally leave it there

i hit her poor cat sweetie pie with a plastic toy rake
once because i am still possessed by juvenile sadism

a girl lives next door. i visit her room once. i don't remember anything about her

i wake up in the large bed of my grandma's room. i stare at a portrait of my
mom & dad on the opposite wall. it feels like they are moving, just a
little, if i focus. everything feels so endless & quiet & still

one night in the living room my sister antagonizes me by telling me there's a wasp hovering
behind me & that it'll sting me if i turn around or don't keep walking in circles around
the coffee table. i completely believe her. i walk around the coffee table crying


on the day that we evaluate my primary childhood home & decide to buy it, i idly walk
from wall to wall in reflecting directions like a bouncing ball. my sister tells me to stop


before my mom had the white truck, she had a white sedan

once we were about to leave from the cul-de-sac house & she accidentally
shut the passenger door while i was idly grasping the top of the car.
it shut on my fingers. i think they were bloody. she felt so bad


in that old cul-de-sac house i would play flash games on the website Postopia. i would play Pokemon Stadium

i would watch the anime Case Closed & not understand anything that was happening but when they said
the clue for the next episode at the end i would fall flat on my back & pretend to laugh hysterically

i pick up a Grover plush by the leg & smash him into a big
rubber ball. he bounces back & hits me right in the eye

once there is a beehive under the shed in the backyard

our beagle Tucker gets a disease that makes his eyes all creepy & red. i
am terrified of him. i think my eyes will turn creepy if he touches me

my sister fixes me a bowl of cheerios. she eats a spoonful of them before she gives it
to me. it inexplicably enrages me. i grab the box & shake it really hard, scattering
cereal everywhere. she gets really mad. i eat some of it off the kitchen floor


in the next house, the primary child home, my grandpa tells my mom
over yahoo messenger that my grandma is dying of liver cancer

in that house, my mom spent hours doing freelance photo editing in a program
called corel. i never liked being booted off the computer so she could work

my mom is obsessed with Zuma Deluxe. it's really exciting when she
finally beats the game. later, she becomes obsessed with Candy Crush.
as i understand it, it is part of the life course for any southerner born
in the sixties to become obsessed with one Popcap game or another

i sprint around the house to Nightwish songs, pretending i am an adventurequest character.
i stand in the front yard in my underwear. my classmate Eric rides by on a bike. on the
porch in the early morning, my stepdad says that staying up all night will make me sick

in first grade, we have to have our parents sign our planner every night, & show it every day, or
we'll get in trouble. one day i don't have it signed. i panic. i say Eric did it, it was Eric's fault. it's
incredible how little sense this makes. i've never interacted with Eric outside of class. i've never
even spoken to him. & by what mechanism would he be responsible for my planner not being
signed? i have no elaboration to give to the teacher. the excuse falls flat on its face

my first memory of my stepdad: i got out of bed & walked into the living room &
he was just there, on the couch. he waved. "hey." i figured he was a burglar.
maybe he wanted to kill us. i didn't care. i went back to bed

my last memory of my stepdad: after my mom dies, he shows up at the apartment & sits down
on the curb. he says he's not leaving without her truck, which she left to me. my dad
says something to him, maybe threatens to call the police. he leaves without a fight

one of the first songs i can remember really liking is ... "Headstrong", by Trapt

i step on a bee. i cry

lawnmower outside

in my very first room at that house i play Destroy All Humans!. later it becomes my
mom's bedroom. sometimes i lie on the bed on my stomach & she scratches
my back. i remember being too short to get up on the bed easily

my mom & stepdad separate. my mom says not to let him in if he shows up while i am
home alone. he shows up. i let him in because i am weak willed. he takes a cowboy
hat & leaves a note on her bed. my mom is very upset at me for letting him in

i am always in an online chat called anime daycare. for some reason i don't want
my parents to see anime. one day the computer freezes with anime on the screen
as my stepdad is opening the door. i panic & unplug the computer

i also think rock music is evil & i don't want anyone to hear me listen to it

i think "sue" is a cuss word

i realize that, with how my stepdad is browsing in file explorer, he is probably about
to discover all the messed up pictures i downloaded from encyclopedia dramatica,
which include scat porn. i didn't ... find that, like ... appealing, or anything.
when you're a child, you just do stuff. i just endlessly downloaded things
meaninglessly, & i was being made acclimated to freakish & shocking things

i walk up & pretend to fall forward & hit alt-f4 by accident. it closes the program but
he knows i did it on purpose. i realize it's inevitable, what is going to happen. i go into
my room & lie down on my bed, paralyzed in shame. at some point he walks in & just
stares at me for a moment, then walks away & i never hear it spoken of again

i'm desperately trying to find the movie "cloverfield" for free online, & ending up in the sorts of
fruitless rabbit holes that will lead an unversed child into. a pornographic pop-up ad appears. i shield
my eyes. i run & get my mom to tell her something bad appeared & that she has to close it for me

salad fingers says touching rusty spoons is orgasmic. i ask my
mom what "orgasmic" means. she asks where i heard that word

my mom goes through the browser history & finds a bunch of
goatse parodies on ytmnd. i am completely absolutely mortified

i spend a lot of time on the cheat engine forums. this is a forum of people who make trainers for flash games. at one
point the site gets hacker, & when you try to log in the login page redirects to a page that plays 2girls1cup. i
don't want to see 2girls1cup, but i figure maybe it will let me log in after the video plays. so i turn off
the monitor. i tell my mom not to turn the monitor on for several minutes because it's playing a super
gross video for some reason & i don't want them to see it. my mom & sister investigate. i hear
them reacting to the grossness of the video, making comments. i don't get in trouble

various other shock sites

i read a bunch of grossout stories written by a newgrounds user called earfetish. the
characters in the stories do things like raping &/or killing animals, babies, adults

i feel like something hideous & completely different from the rest of my family

one day my mom leaves me at her friend's house to spend time there & play with her friend's daughter. at
one point i get on the computer & start reading the encyclopedia dramatic page on "leftards." i don't
comprehend what i'm reading at all. i don't have enough information about anything to form an opinion
about anything, but someone clearly thinks "leftards" are quite bad. i wonder if they're right or wrong

one day my stepdad & i are playfully throwing rubber balls at each other. he manages to get both of the largest ones.
i say "i guess you have the ... big ... balls," with a sort of performative hesitance. like, i planned the sentence
out then delivered it as if i was only realizing what i was saying partway through, to get a laugh. here's the thing:
i thought "balls" were ass cheeks. i didn't know how gross of a joke i was actually making. he made a weird, sort
of discomfited face & said "okay...?" this memory made me wince in embarrassment for a long time

our chihuahua tica survives parvo

i cover the floor of the hallway in pillows & revel in painlessly flopping around

my sister graduates in high school & gets a dvd with a video on it, full of digital memorabilia. she
briefly leaves her room. i grab it & scratch it up with my nails. i do this because i want to tell
her it wasn't me. i expect her to believe me. i want to see how everyone rationalizes an impossible
event. the disc being scratched up by a ghost or something. i don't expect them to go "alex must
be lying." but they do. this proclivity for gaslighting doesn't prove to be an enduring thing

one night i telephone messages back & forth between my mom & my sister. i think it's fun. i don't recall
anything i telephoned, except a message from my mom which used my brother as a negative comparison
in some way. i recited it even though he was obviously within earshot. he shouted something angrily

my brother has a tendency to just walk in circles around the house, i guess because he doesn't
know what else to do. one day i try this. my mom says not to start getting like "you-know-who"

i have another brother. he never has much of a presence in my life. i don't have any "full siblings" (?), just
half-siblings, only one of whom ever seemed to particularly care about me, or at least hang around. anyway,
this other brother. i hear him making out with his girlfriend in his room. i hide behind a dresser
adjacent to the door and listen to them for some reason. i'm amused, or curious. then i supposed
i must have made a noise, maybe a laugh. my brother gets up, screams "QUIT!" & slams the door

i add a password on bootup to my sister's laptop. it's "twotwo." i refuse
to tell her the password unless she lets me play games on the laptop

in the apartment before this one, i try to peel an orange with a spoon. the spoon
punctures through the peel & sort of hurts my thumb, & subsequently sprays orange
mist into my eye. i go into my sister's room & tell her & her boyfriend about
this. she laughs & makes fun of me for using the word "subsequently"

i record a video of me dancing goofily on my mom's bed then
pretending to notice the camera & get really embarrassed

i have a little grey digital recorder with songs that i record from our computer's speakers. there are crush 40 songs
from the sonic games, neopets concert songs, Songs To Wear Pants To, the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny ...

on the porch is a big green swinging set of two chairs with a canopy. it
was also once in the backyard at the previous house, the cul-de-sac one

i sit on the swinging chairs after my mom wrestles the computer mouse from my hand, "it's my computer," &
reviews a chatroom i spend lots of roleplaying time in. it's the "rock paper scissors" lobby on weebl's
stuff. my username is always "123" ... i feel like my life is over. from a young age i learn to have
a very very strong, strict division between "real life" & "online life." it takes a long time to unlearn

i sit on the swing, letting my toes softly graze the blue concrete, trying to
suppress the instinct to curl them, to let them scrape the ground, but i can't

i see a screamer while i'm home alone. it pretended to be a video of a ufo. i cry
hysterically, imagining a red demon in my house. i have to flee the house & sit
on the swing in my underwear for a long time until my stepdad gets home

i read a book about ghosts. it scares me so much that i have to flee the house & stand outside, because i think
i am the only one home. really my brother is in my room playing grand theft auto. but i stand outside shirtless
in the cold crying for a while. i am hugging myself to feel less cold. eventually i desperately knock on
our neighbor's door. i am about to ask if i can wait in their house. just then my mom pulls up. i run to her,
relieved & embarrassed at what i was doing. she berates my brother for not noticing the situation & handling it

once my stepdad stands in the doorway of my room, casually talking to me but pretending he's possessed by a
ghost, just 100% roleplaying this ghost character, & i 100% believe him, & talk to him as the ghost possessing
my stepdad. he says to look at his eyes & i refuse because obviously if i look at his eyes he'll possess me

thinking i saw a ghost of an "army guy" walk across the hallway, out of one wall & into another. maybe it was a dream

my brother lives in the basement. once my mom & sister are in the basement examining something with the
pipes & i start pouring water through a tiny hole in the kitchen floor. they're bewildered, then they realize,
then they yell at me to stop. i laugh ... dangling a string from the staircase so the kittens will bat at it

our neighbor, an older woman i'd never commit, commits suicide with car exhaust

a device remains in her house that periodically beeps & says something. my friend Wes & i convince
each other that it's a haunting. we show my mom, who is understandably dismissive of it. Wes & i
would play pretend like her ghost was going to throw stuff at us, like hammers from the garage
she died in. once he ran up & kicked the garage door very hard in an attempt to agitate her

i don't really like Wes. he annoys me. i only interact with him because i don't have the heart
to decline him or tell him he annoys me. i confide this to my parents. my stepdad helps out one
day when Wes comes by & asks me to play. he goes to the door & tells Wes i'm grounded & that
he is making me watch him delete all the save files for my playstation 2 games one by one

i read top 10 lists on gamefaqs a lot. one year i steal a list about the most difficult
video games from a now-defunct website called "gameist" & submit it. it gets posted

i randomly get banned from the online flash pictionary game "iSketch." i send
the iSketch people an e-mail with the subject "I am absolutely infuriated"

i find Flying Spaghetti Monster videos on youtube. as per the joke, they are obviously fake. i don't get the joke.
i am absolutely bewildered that people can believe in this religion based on what is obviously low-grade cgi.
it's insane. i start writing loud, angry youtube comments about how fake this all clearly is & how stupid these
people are. then i print out my comments & read them out loud to my mom in the basement while she does laundry

one day i show Wes roblox. he becomes a totally different person.
he only speaks in roblox terms like pickaxe, admin, noob, etc

once, while everyone is outside, Wes & i play an awkward & sort of one-sided pretend scenario
in my room, where i am made of magnets & he is a robot that eats magnets. or something like that.
when my mom walks back in, Wes, having eaten me as a robot, says i'm "yummy." this starts a
weird occasional joke from my mom about us having sex i guess

one night my mom & i are watching "two & a half men." one of the male characters is pretending
to be another male character's husband as part of some ... wacky thing. there is a joke where one
of them says the other is "yummy & delicious" & my mom loses it, she says Wes must be gay

once the power gets shut off all day. i walk around the house in circles, crying,
sometimes flipping lightswitches futilely. my mom yells at me for doing this

as the sun sets & the house gets dark & the cicadas scream, i read the children's
book that is like ominous things that start with each letter of the alphabet

i once get frustrated by something & sort of nudge one of the cats with my foot, pretending to kick it.
my mom acts like i did kick it & punishes me by locking me out of the house. i start kicking the front
door. she says she'll call the police on me, so i stop. eventually she lets me back in, laughs, &
explains that the phone is disconnected so how could she even do that? it was a trick

in the game MechQuest there is a woman you can talk to who says randomly generated types of pizzas that are gross &
absurd. i sit there reading them out loud to my dad & laughing at his exaggerated revulsion. i could do this forever

i send an angry email to Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. it is because i spent a long time
reading the online version of the book on Funbrain.com, which would eventually be split into the first
three physical books. then, when i go out with my mom & buy the sequel, Rodrick Rules, i expect
a bunch of new stuff. but it just seems to be full of stuff from the "first book"

i briefly have a girlfriend in Club Penguin. her name is Rozalinda. my name is "Ice Cube v2" because ice cube was
taken. i'm one of those kids who sits in the puffle shop, pretending it's an orphanage & hoping to be adopted

my sister invites a friend over. i want to impress older kids. i try to impress
her by walking in circles around the house in a rubber halloween mask

she invites a guy over & i try to impress him by listening to "favorite disease" by thousand foot krutch
because it sounds like teenager music. i do this while playing a game i made on the website Sploder

"favorite disease" is one of the songs i discovered from anime daycare. there is a playlist embedded on the page.
another one is "i don't wanna be in love" by good charlotte. on the last day of one year of elementary school,
some older girls do a dance to it. i think that's really special so i go home & tell everyone in anime daycare

another one is "new disease" by spineshank. another one is "lord of the
wasteland" by stratovarius. another one is "one (always hardcore) by scooter

all these people come over once. i sit with a guy while he shows me & some others the How To Kill
A Mockingbird animation. an older girl sees a can of Manwich in our cupboard. she keeps threateningly
saying "MANWICH" to me & i feign being scared. it's funny. i miss her when she leaves

my nephew wants on the computer but i am mean to him. my niece consoles him & says
"you're not in the club anymore, alex!" which i find confusing & silly. what club?

i make a girl cry because we are playing pretend & i make the story really dire & hopeless,
where her stuffed rabbit is doomed & definitely going to die or suffer some cruel fate

my sister freaks us all out with a website called "Peter Answers." the idea is that you ask questions to this "Peter"
entity, & it answers you. the trick is that you have to open each question with "Peter: Please answer," or some variant.
so what you do is, you type a period before you start typing, then you type whatever you want Peter to answer with. as
you type, it automatically fills in pre-determined text, like "Peter: Please answer," or "Peter: Please answer the
following question," if you need more space. & so she spooks us with knowledge that Peter couldn't
possibly have, or telling us to look out the window at an opportune time


the first bed i remember in my bedroom is a bunk bed. i was the only one who slept in it, but i
thought bunk beds were cool. it was red. but eventually we spraypainted it black. or maybe it
was black, but we spraypainted it red. i can't remember whether that was my decision

i remember the first time i ever stayed awake until sunrise, lying on the top bunk

i eat gobstoppers in my room. i play marvel: ultimate alliance on the little tv in the entertainment center
we inherited from my grandma. the circus area where you are antagonized by Arcade. a cabinet embedded in the
right side. you press in on the door & it clicks & opens. it's full of disney vhs tapes. it smells so good


once i fall asleep on the living room couch. i wake up in the middle of the night. it's dark. everyone is
asleep. the fishtank is gurgling. for some reason i get up, walk over to a lamp with no bulb in it & touch
my finger to the socket. it's on. it electrocutes me. i scream. no one wakes up. i go back to bed


once i lie on the living room couch. it's past my bedtime. i get back up & on the computer because i am obsessed with
a flash game that simulates being a flash artist on newgrounds. my mom walks in & tiredly says "You're grounded."

i pretend to be a vampire in a neon green & black chatroom late at night. my mom sneaks up behind me & asks what
i'm doing. it startles me so much i slam my legs into the bottom of the keyboard tray thing that slides out

i get frustrated by a roblox game. people are endlessly killing me with rocket launchers from atop a giant
wall as i run towards it to get atop it with them. i say something like "WHAT THE **** IS THE ****ING POINT
OF ****ING PLAYING THE ****ING GAME IF ALL YOU ****ING DO IS ***ING DIE" ... i get temporarily banned
from roblox. it emails the message to my mom because i used her e-mail address to make the account. she tells
my sister about it in the kitchen one morning while i sit on the counter. i am deeply deeply ashamed


i have a friend at school named Caleb. i'm annoyed by him too. i always try to avoid him at recess but he finds me.
we have a mutual friend named Levi. once Levi stops hanging out with us & plays soccer every day instead. Caleb
says "we're gonna GET Levi ...", trying to be ominous in a way that comes off very strange & unthreatening from him

once Caleb is talking to me & i agree with him by saying "Quite,"
but he hears it as "Quiet," stops talking, & looks uncomfortable

he doesn't know the word "teleport" or what the lottery is. he thinks touching an electrical socket makes
you jerk into the air, anchored by your hand, with your skeleton visible. i dislike him for being naive

one day in the lunch line at gifted i tell him that large hadron collider is going to create a black hole &
destroy the whole world, & we won't get to live to adulthood. he doesn't believe me. i sound insistent
yet nonchalant about it, as if all i care about is the sensational quality of this information


my dad's friend's house that he takes me to, where i play ATV Offroad Fury & Tekken Tag Tournament in the attic.
a girl around my age lives there. it smells like incense. i watch a guy play a PS2 game where he attacks someone
with a whip. there's a copy of the board game Mouse Trap in the living room. they have a bead curtain leading
into the kitchen. the girl asks me what the P in the Tekken character "P-Jack"'s name stands for. one of us
says "potty jack." we both think that's really funny. years later, when i read the book "Smiles to Go,"
i imagine the three main characters hanging out in a modified version of this attic


once my mom is driving me to school & the door is technically ajar so she asks me to
open it & slam it shut. i try to do this but the door swings all the way open. i have
to lean out of the truck & grab the handle. it's a super crazy experience for me


once she takes me to a bowling alley or a bar or something. maybe along on a date. interactive touchscreen menus. i go to
the jukebox & play The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars. i play Galaga(?) on an arcade machine. i think the building is gone now


right before we moved out of the childhood house, i remember watching Sid the Science Kid in my
mom's now-bare bedroom with the window open. it's overcast outside. the wind blowing. bedsheets


staying up on the computer until the sun comes up & shines through the thin transparent green curtains, a little tv
on the computer desk playing incredibly grainy disney shows. the thin green curtains are now in my current bedroom.
you can see them. go to my rym account. they're in the background of the photo for my "Music walks" list. they're
behind a cabinet which was also in the childhood house. i have a platform rocker from the childhood house too


for much of his life my dad has been a stand-up comedian & magician. for the first grade talent show,
i perform a stand-up routine that my dad wrote for me. it's a set of very corny jokes that are funny in
the context of a child saying them. from first grade to when i was about 13 he'd get me to occasionally
do this at bars & stuff. i have a framed blue flier in my bedroom closet that mentions seven year
old comedian alex. i had no creative input, nor did i desire any. i was very apathetic about it all. i
once got a brief segment on the local news where at the end of the teaser bump i said "exploding bears
in space" with no prompt or context. after the talent show, all these girls surrounded me & asked me to tell jokes


a guy in the elementary school gymnasium tries to hype us all up about the rewards for a
fundraiser. he keeps saying these crazy delightful events we can unlock, greater & greater
things, after each one having us say in unison with him, "but: IT. GETS. BETTER."


a very old guy speaks to us in the gym. it's just us all sat on the floor with this random standing a few feet in
front of us, talking. he was invited to speak, it's a sanctioned uhh, talk, but i don't remember at all what he
talked to us about. the only thing i remember is him telling us one of his eyes is fake, but not taking it out


at lunch a lady stands at the door telling us to dump our leftover food in a trash can before we walk out
to recess. she says "Dump & go out" over & over again, to every kid, with the same cadence, every day


in middle school a kid must have swore during gym class because the coach screams in his face, "WE DON'T
USE THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE ON MY FIELD," very excessively, then makes him do push-ups

in elementary school the coach tells us all to run across the blacktop. i run in big zig-
zags like gloria the hippo in the madascar ps2 game. he yells at me to run straight


my third grade teacher makes a blog for us to leave comments. she very very sternly tells us not to
leave any chain comments. i write a parody chain comment that says NOT to share it or terrible
things will happen. a kid tells the teacher. she doesn't get it. she yells at me. "Strike one!"


we're reading numbers aloud from the board & i accidentally misspeak
a number as "sex." the teacher glances at me. i am humiliated


one day in third grade a very ornery kid looks at me & tells me to look. he glances at a bubble wand he is
holding between his legs so that it looks like a big penis. i am perturbed & not sure what to make of it

at a park a young boy angrily says lots of swears to his older sister, shit fucking fuck fucking shit fuck.
except in impudent sentences, not an unbroken string. i can't believe what i'm hearing. he's a child like me


the first time i ever see phineas & ferb is in a magazine in the elementary
school library. it was like a "coming soon" promo, so the show wasn't airing yet


the librarian reads us a story about how you shouldn't feed a bear because it will come back & expect more food.
i find it fairly upsetting. i want to be kind to animals. i feel sort of intensely personally upset with the librarian


after my grandma dies very early on, we move into her house. i play "a bug's life" on the nintendo 64

a stranger girl behind the backyard, in the backyard of the opposite house, across a sort of empty alleyway of
mowed grass. she's my age. we've never interacted much. she yells that she is moving soon. she wants to give
me all her toys. she hurls toys all the way over, into my backyard. i run around picking them up before
Molly the dog gets them. Molly the dog is my dog. i go inside & show my mom a toy dinosaur

for christmas i want a transformers action figure of blurr. i love the animated transformers movie.
sometimes i'll spin around in front of my dad with my arms extended out at my sides, humming music.
i am pretending to be the text in the credits of a movie. i can perfectly imitate a mewing kitten
& make our cat follow me, concerned. i chase kittens, grab them, corral them all in a big plastic
tub for no reason. i stack couch cushions to get at a boyd's bear holding a lollipop, on a high
shelf. i know it's a fake lollipop that doesn't taste good, but i want to lick it. the purple
translucent nintendo controller breaks after a dog chews the wire. my dad is in the backyard
with his friend. i run out onto the back porch & yell something embarrassing. my dad
accidentally cooks my sister & brother undercooked burgers saturated with blood. i
remember this forever as the blood burgers incident. my brother lives in the attic. there is
a side part to the attic full of some soft material, possibly asbestos. g.i. joe on a little grainy tv


when i am maybe about five, my mom takes me along to a metal concert my brother wants to go
to. i have my hands over my ears the whole time. in elementary school, i talk to a girl on
the sidewalk while i wait for my brother to pick me up. he pulls up & metal blares out
as i open the door. i say bye to her & loudly apologize for his weird music


at a car repair shop with my mom out in the middle of nowhere. i have my nintendo dsi with me. i'm reading ... "copypasta."
i load long webpages then take them with me out of wifi range. i read lots of horrible things on my nintendo dsi


trying to blow out a candle in that old old apartment & burning my eyelid. the old lady next door whose house i went
into. she gives me a hard candy & lets me water the plants in the garden. a little plot of dirt under the window


i come home one day on my birthday & everyone chases me around the backyard with silly string
while i run away & flatly & unemotionally repeat that i don't like being chased with silly string


i play laser tag with other children in a house somewhere, out in the woods. i'm about seven? then we all watch
part of jurassic park. i don't know who that woman was. her house was in the woods next to my aunt's, & the
other extended family who lived with her. i had an old aunt Opal with dementia or a developmental disorder.
my dad said she was about four years old in her head. i didn't see it as a disorder, i felt more innocently
like people were very random constructions, & that being four inside forever was just an attribute

we go there for Christmas once. a tall cabinet full of cans
in aunt Opal's house. holding a tiny copy of The Jungle Book


we go to the isolated mobile home of an extended family member of my stepdad. i find a ukulele. i try to play calming
ukulele music while my mom & stepdad lie in a hammock. that night we watch Iron Man. once i am at a at a bonfire
there. two boys lead me off slightly into the woods with a girl, then run away & encourage me to run with them.
it's a mean prank on the girl. i stand there in a confused & naive deadlock between the boys' urging &
my empathy for the girl. she spitefully tells me to just go. i don't remember what i did


my step-grandmother Sue's mobile home has a strange smoky smell. it is at a trailer park out
in some woods. they are all arranged in a large circular formation. we are there & i sit
in the truck alone as the sun sets, listening to weird al's "the food album"

later she moves to a different mobile home, in a suburb. in the early 2010s i go there for christmas. one of them gifts
me my blue & white snow hat. years later, when i start always wearing beanies for three years, it is the first one


years later or prior i suggest that my mom & her boyfriend carl (she has left my stepdad
currently) rent Iron Man. we get back to carl's house & play it, but are disappointed
to discover that it is an animated Iron Man movie, not the live-action one


around 2009 i scream angry cuss words at the adult swim flash game "amateur surgeon" because it is too
difficult. i consider that if my neighbors hear me they could call DFS and get me taken away, but i
scream that i don't even care. then the background noise of my sister's hairdryer cuts out & i
realize she's home. i thought i was alone. i ashamedly hide behind the couch while she leaves


i discover cracked.com & open dozens upon dozens of tabs, reading the junk food voraciously. once i see
a scary picture on one & have to huddle in the corner of the couch for hours staring at the hallway
so i know it's not coming out of the hallway until someone gets home. hours crying


when i'm home alone, i am always so deeply powerfully intensely petrified by the idea of going
past the living room. there's too many doorways. i'm afraid of mirrors. i'm petrified by the
mental image of a ghoulish woman sprinting out of a doorway, towards me, screaming


one day i try to flop onto the computer chair while it's not there. i slam my tailbone & elbow into the big
entertainment center. it knocks a fairly dense stone bird off the top, which lands a couple of inches to
my right. i sit there crying for a while. to this day i am convinced that if that bird had landed on my
head, it could have very well killed me or at least done serious damage & maybe affected my cognition


i walk across the apartment complex parking lot then find that there is a tri-pronged fishhook in my sock


i go on omegle when i'm about thirteen & use manycam to show people a picture of a mutilated penis. i'm sorry


i also show the filthy frank video "dancing to skrillex" & laugh to the point
of incapacitation at the idea of people thinking it's an actual live feed


i go on omegle when i'm about thirteen & meet someone who claims to be a girl named jade. to make a long story short, it turns
into this weird knifeplay, rape, forced sex change, roleplay, thing. where if you read the chatlog i am very obviously using
the mannerisms & emoticons of a thirteen year old & "jade" seems unconcerned by this. i saw, said, & did a lot of gross
things on the internet but this seems to come back to my memory the most often, like it's emblematic of the rest

i save the chatlog. some time later, days? weeks? months? years? i don't know. i walk into the living
room & glance at the monitor. my mom has somehow discovered the chatlog & is reading through it.
i don't react or say anything. i don't know how much she reads. she never says or does anything


at my dad's house i play a flash game on a big tv. my dad is present. the game was made by tom fulp.
it is a dumb edgy beat-em-up game where you play as an orderly at a nursing home, running around
beating up old people. there is a minigame between two levels where at the end an attractive
nurse starts audibly fellating the protagonist off-screen. my dad laughs this off but
it makes me very uncomfortable. i hide under a blanket & cry quietly

my dad is living in a big house with a married couple he's friends with. one day i ask the husband if he wants to
see something frickin' messed up!!! i play Happy Wheels on the big tv for a while. he just keeps going "... hhhhuh."


in the early 2010s i try to go camping with my dad a creekside campground for three days, but after a wasp lands
on my stomach i feel like it is getting to be too much. i get home & watch a new marble hornets video where
jay & tim explore a house. then i read the marble hornets wiki & the this is my milwaukee wiki for a while


in first grade, the teacher sits us all down in the reading area & explains that two
sisters at the school had arrived home a day or two ago & found both of their parents
murdered. we are not to bother them or ask them about it on the playground


on the 100th day of first grade, we throw a party! each student gets
three doughnuts. two are circular. one is long. they spell "100"


one day in gifted class i tell Caleb that the fourth dimension is time. he gets an index card & draws three
adjacent right-facing arrows, which are increasingly faded, to represent motion. he says it is a fourth-
dimensional drawing. i know his drawing is just a two-dimensional graphical representation of time
with no relation to the actual phenomenon, but i don't have the vocabulary to explain that


i'm lying in bed around 2009 or 2010. my brother is pacing in circles around the house. he abruptly punches
the washing machine & screams at the top of his lungs. my heart races! i keep lying still & trying to be
quiet. i'm pretty sure it was in response to something he was perceiving or thinking about as a result
of paranoid schizophrenia. once i saw him point at the tv with total fury in his eyes


in fifth grade, a girl named Clarissa has a crush on me. i'm walking to the buses at the end of the day. she
grabs my planner from my hands & won't give it back unless i definitively answer a question. she is too
sheepish to say the whole question, which is asking me out on a date, so she keeps awkwardly saying
"Will you go!" ... i keep refusing to answer, & she keeps repeating it, & it's this endless loop


in fifth grade, on april fool's day, a bunch of kids get the idea to have the teacher falsely fill out referral
forms, describing outlandish things they did but writing "April Fools!" on the back, so they can take them
home & prank their parents. a lot of them want to do this. she is frantically filling them out a good
while after the bell rings. i get mine last. my bus leaves without me. the school cop has to drive
me home. my prank is the most effective because i get to show up in a police car!


in fifth grade, we have a day near the end of the year where we could set up little shops & exchange things
for a fake currency our teacher had been rewarding us with throughout the year ... i think that's how it
went? my thing was comics. i sat there redrawing Gunshow comics from memory & trying to sell them.
i spent a lot of time in elementary school drawing comics that were just jokes from Cyanide &
Happiness or Gunshow. i did a lot of my own too, though. lots & lots of comics


in second grade ... i'm out at recess one day! a kid in my class suddenly calls my name. he runs up to me & says
that our class lined up & went inside a while ago. i realize i'm outside with the next class, of fifth graders.
i panic & run to the building, windmilling my arms. as i walk into the classroom everything feels solemn &
deathly silent. the teacher is answering someone's question about me, explaining how my name was called
but i didn't respond, or something ... she has this almost sincerely morose tone in her voice like
i've committed some tragic blasphemy. i feel deeply ashamed. it's all very weird. in retrospect
this sure does seem indicative of us having a psychotic Prussian-influenced educational system!


my mom has made the announcement that, on her wanton impulse, we're moving to a city two hours away, with Carl, who she recently
met. on her wanton impulse, we have to give away my dog Molly. i remember her getting out of the car, the last day i ever saw
her. one day my dad is very very obviously crying hysterically about this in the basement, while on the phone with someone.
he comes upstairs & says that his face is all red from allergies. this fits into a very longstanding pattern of him doing
very very obvious things & making very very poor attempts to obscure them as though i am incredibly stupid

i have three cats: Wolverine, Tiger, & poor old rake-battered Sweetie Pie, who we inherited from grandma. we
only take Sweetie Pie with us to the new house. & she goes missing there. after things fall apart, my mom
theorizes endlessly that Carl quietly god rid of her. poor old Sweetie Pie had to live in the garage
because Carl had an adopted daughter with a cat allergy. Carl once wound a piece of around the arm
of the platform rocker which is still in my apartment today & made it rock on its own, to scare me

after our first night in the new house, i still have a day of school
in my hometown, so we get up early & drive two hours to it

Carl plays a horror movie. when it starts, i'm only sitting on the couch by coincidence. but there i stay,
hands over my eyes & ears, petrified, for the entire duration. by the end i am thoroughly drained. Carl
goes over to the dvd player. i get the frenzied, irrational idea in my head that he's going to play a
different horror movie, or replay the same one. i run up & hold my fist in front of his face, teeth
bared, hissing through them. irked, he tells me to stop worrying, he's not doing anything

after several months my mom's relationship with Carl falls apart, & so does this living situation, with us having
sacrificed three cats & a dog for it. we move out & into a little cottage out in the middle of nowhere, owned
by my mom's friend. we live with a dog or two of his. one of the dogs has three legs. the cottage smells
delightfully musty, old, almost sour. there is a shelf of vhs tapes, a spare room packed floor-to-
ceiling with things i read 8-Bit Theater & Wikipedia movie synopses on dial-up internet

i accidentally spill kool-aid all over the computer keyboard. the force with which my mom screams at me
for this is fueled by her fear that the owner of our little cottage will find out about this & evict us for it


it's in my little cottage that i get strep throat for a week, one of the worst experiences of my life, quite
possibly. several times a minute, despite my best efforts not to swallow, it's like razor blades dragged
down my throat, inciting me to scream in pain. i don't want to swallow my saliva. i spit it into a pot
next to the bed. i stop eating or drinking. i try extremely chilled drinks, but i throw them back up.
i get so dehydrated that my hands start peeling. my mom finally decides i need to go the hospital.
they give me a pill that i take with Sierra Mist, & it destroys the infection instantly. for a week
or two after, i have to take a spoonful of a pink, cloying, bubblegum sort of medication
each day. i remembered it like this: it was so the pill i took before wouldn't destroy my
kidneys, or maybe my liver. upon further research, i believe it was just amoxicillin

prior to being kept home, i try to ride the school bus home without swallowing any of my saliva. i ... this is gross.
predictably, my cheeks fill with saliva. i can't speak. a boy sitting next to me is trying to communicate with me
& figure out what's up. i can only try to communicate through gestures. at one point he pokes me cheek &
i spit on the back of the seat in front of us ... eventually this becomes too much to bear & i spit in
an empty cereal tin on the floor. at some point it spills without me noticing. the spit runs down
the whole length of the bus. kids start yelling about it, thinking it's soap you'd blow
bubbles with. the kid next to me asks if i did it. i shake my head


driving on the highway through a terrible storm at night, my mom telling me to
keep watch for a funnel cloud in case we have to pull over & hide in a ditch


my mom works for a greeting card company. this means she has to go to different stores' greeting card aisles & spent hours
tediously sorting & arranging the cards. she takes me along, & doesn't restrict me to the aisle or supervise me. this means
i have the fantastic opportunity to run around a Wal-Mart, a Dollar General, & my god, a Toys-R-Us, for hours on end,
unrestrained. i spend a lot of time in the video game section at Wal-Mart. i love playing Mario Tennis on the Wii
display. i have a cunning trick where when i'm not using it, i pull up a note & write something like "The Wii
is currently down for maintenance. Please come back later." & so i have exclusive access to it. once i start
talking with an employee & spend a while parroting 9/11 conspiracy theories from my dad. my mom comes over
eventually & he tells her i'm one of the most articulate & perceptive children he's ever met. it's absurd

once, on a Dollar General day, an older girl, maybe around 17, comes in for a while. whenever she sees me,
she starts emotionlessly walking towards me, provoking me to run away until i'm out of sight. i keep seeking
her out to provoke her into doing it. it's fun. i'll often flee into the back area, which i'm permitted to
run around in. at some point a very similar-looking girl comes in & says, "that's my sister, don't
let her catch you." i never learn what that was all about. i guess it was just a game


we get kicked out of my little cottage. we're briefly homeless for the first time in my life. i remember us
finding a cheap hotel. i sit on the bed & watch the george of the jungle cartoon. i feel really comfortable

we're homeless until we find an apartment. it's 2009. i still live in that apartment complex today

for years we were in that first, upstairs apartment. now i'm in a downstairs apartment. i remember
the first night up there. the apartment is empty. we quickly got the lease & lugged in only
a mattress & an LED lantern, so we could sleep & get things sorted out the next day


curled up on the computer chair in the glow of a lamp, dunking nilla wafers in milk, roleplaying a homestuck
character on IRC, & listening to a song called Maahi Ve from a 2000 Hindi film called Mission Kashmir

on my thirteenth birthday i cry because i got griefed in minecraft

in 2013, nilla wafers become an in-joke with an internet friend of mine. we do these sporadic & absurd roleplays
a lot. nilla wafers are assigned this quality of being an incredibly prized possession. oh those roleplays...

some malignant juvenile impulse leads me to send that friend a bunch of grossout
stories by a reddit user called Sermocination, being sort of "hehe you gotta read
em!" & i become a link in the chain of exposure to those stories. i am sorry


one night my mom decides to play a prank on me. her absurd prank is this: i am standing
in the kitchen. i turn around. she is at the other end of the kitchen. she instantly
lunges toward me & shrieks like a screamer prank. i start crying. she feels bad

i quiz my mom on why the sun doesn't fall out of the sky & she says there's just
no gravity up there. she thinks it's floating over us, not us over it...


for a time my dad works as one of several caretakers at a suburban house where some people live who have mental disabilities
that prevent them from living on their own. he also lives in the basement under this building. it feels like a fairly nice
apartment. several times he sets up scavenger hunts where he writes a chain of clues on slips of paper & hides them in
various places. there's a spare room where we pretend to have karate fights. i remember watching suite life of zack
& cody late at night. i remember eating a strawberry strudel & a jello cup, & falling asleep in the same bad as
my friend Shane, & my dad telling us we woke up in the shape of an L, with my feet to his face

one day in the office a guy shows me Charlie The Unicorn for the first time, & the "Xiao Xiao" series of stick figure fight
animations. i like to talk with him about stuff like Transformers & maybe 2000s internet memes & flash games. i spend a
lot of time doing this. one day my dad, pretending to have exaggerated sadness in his voice, makes a joke about
going back upstairs & continuing to hang out with my "new dad!" this joke really weirds me out

i try to spook my dad & a lady he works with, using Peter Answers. but, she asks Peter things like what her
birthday is, & instead of thinking on my toes, i quickly make it very apparent that something is up when i
start sheepishly asking things like, "what is your birthday? i'm just curious! i just want to know!!"

one night i point a little digital camera at a light on the side of a building & move
it around so that it looks like the light is moving erratically in the sky. my dad
i & go inside & show it to a lady. we tell her it's a ufo. she believes us

one day i bring my playstation over & play grand theft auto: vice city. i sporadically shut off the tv
during the part in the opening scenes where a guy says: "I poke my head out of the gutter for one freakin'
second, & fate shovels shit in my face!" because i don't want that vulgarity to be audible. my dad asks
me if there's something i'm hiding. i try to cover it but just saying i wanted to revel in the godlike
power of randomly shutting off the grand theft auto characters' whole universe

across the street is a thicket of thorns. one day my dad wades through these thorns while
lecturing about mind over matter. when he steps out of them his legs are bleeding all over

as it rains i stand under the awning & raise my hand, pretending to try to make the rain intensify. coincidentally, it
does. in the future i do this over & over, trying to score another coincidence so satisfying, but it never happens


i like to go to Shane's house. he shows me Insaniquarium

one day i spot a hidden cd in his room with "naked ladies" written on it in sharpie. i pretend not to see it

we play lots of fighting games. marvel vs capcom. on the character select there is a blank square that doesn't show a
character. i ask Shane why. he says it's just for if you want to look at the background. i stare for five seconds.
i press A. i've selected a very overpowered hidden character called Onslaught. Shane confesses that he didn't
want me to know about Onslaught because obviously the game is not very fun if i play as him

we jump on the trampoline. i spend the night. i'm really tired & ready to fall asleep but he tortuously
keeps me awake by telling me endless knock knock jokes, expecting me to say "who's there?" & "x who?"

i stay the night. i lie down on the couch to sleep. i start quietly crying because i decided for my weekend with
my dad i wanted to spend the night at Shane's instead. i feel bad because he was probably excited to see me

Shane shows me the "Spank the Monkey" flash game


fifth grade, on the school bus to my gifted class, the snowflakes coming down are big & fat

i think it was around Christmas that in gifted we drank wassail. i
think we were learning about other cultures' Christmas traditions

special children were permitted to know what life is like in Africa, for some reason

every year we played see-run-do. once in fifth grade we put
together simple electric circuits. i burned my finger on a wire

past elementary it was just a glamorized social studies class


one recess period in fifth grade a girl named Alejandra is arguing about fifth grader interpersonal quarrels.
i keep mockingly saying "drama drama drama!" with the cadence of a "dun dun dun!!!" sound effect.
she puts on an angry face & starts walking toward me while i walk backward

one recess period in fifth grade i realize the shadow of a slide looks like a penis. i tell my
friend Wyatt it looks "wrong." he has to stare at it for a very long time before he figures it out

one recess period in fifth grade i find a caterpillar hanging from a tree. i show my math teacher. she
calls some other kids over to stare at it. a boy swipes its string & it falls to the ground. she tells
him to go sit in time-out. other boys kick & stomp it to death. i tell the teacher it was destined
not to make it anyway, once it'd set up shop on an elementary school playground

one recess period in fifth grade i'm talking to my friend Tabyn. Tabyn punches me a lot. he likes Machinima,
& Sanity Not Included, & Minecraft, & BioShock, & Gamergate, & discovering /pol/, & being very racist.
we're mutual friends with Jack & Bon. we're joking about how we live in a redneck-y area. we say one
of the things in a gift shop at a nearby theme park is probably, like, "tick on a stick." i improvise
a funny commercial for tick on a stick, but on the last utterance of the phrase, i accidentally say
"tick on a dick." then a guy in the distance yells "CORN!" him & his friend start chasing us

very early in fifth grade, a kid asked me my favorite food during recess. or maybe i just told him my favorite food.
either way, i said corn. he screamed "CORN!" & started chasing me with his friend, screaming "CORN" over
& over. from then on, for the rest of the year, this would happen any time he saw me at recess

if they happen to catch me, they simply interrogate me about what different kinds of corn i like, then let me go


i win the fifth grade spelling bee! i win by spelling "unconstitutionally." i show no emotion. i raise my hands
& wave them a little because i feel like i'm supposed to at least move around celebratorily a little bit. my
hands are retracted into my coat sleeves. i'm later given a printed photograph of me in that moment. someone
took the liberty of editing motion- blurred balled fists into the spots where my hands should have been

i fail the regional spelling bee by spelling "desicrate" instead of "desecrate." i cry a lot.
i have a plastic consolation trophy in the shape of an anthropomorphized bumble bee


once, in fifth grade, our teacher has us write all sorts of verbs on the whiteboard, trying
to guess what a character in a story is about to do. someone intends to write "wrapped,"
but writes "raped." i watch the teacher notice this & quietly fix it. i saw, i knew


shortly before Halloween we play dodgeball in the gym. i get hit. i loudly say
"I'm gonna be a battlefield casualty for Halloween!" & my teacher laughs loudly


in sixth grade literature class me & the girl i sit by use Photo Booth to make a
little two-frame flipbook of us headbanging. the teacher sees it & laughs loudly


in sixth grade literature class we have to make choose-your-own adventures in Powerpoint. i make a weird Problem Sleuth
ripoff. one of my death slides has a picture of a toucan pasted in a ton of times, rotated & stretched, & it says that a
ravenous toucan horde abruptly crashes through the window & devours you. the teacher sees it & laughs loudly


in sixth grade literature class we have to write several short stories, each depicting the same scene from the
perspective of a different character. my last story is much longer than the others. it is from the perspective
of the third-person omniscient narrator, who monologues about how they are very bored because they already
have omniscient knowledge of what is going to happen, & there is no tension in anything. it ends
with the narrator abstractly departing from the story in search of something else


in sixth grade literature class my classmates make cynical jokes about a video of Helen
Keller blindly knocking things over, possibly yelling. i want to scream & attack them


in fourth grade, at dusk, my mom is driving me back to school on the highway for a "program," aka one of the
plays they force children to put on with most of them being relegated to singing in a choir. we come across
a car that is upside down in the shoulder. there are tufts of hair blowing down the concrete. we get out.
my mom goes to investigate. she stops me from coming too close, from seeing the situation. a girl was
texting. she slammed into the highway divider so hard her car flipped upside down. her head was
probably skidded along the concrete, which is why her hair is gone. my mom goes to the hospital
later because she wants to know how it turned out. the girl's name was Amy. she had a long last
name that my mom couldn't remember. they told my mom that Amy was probably dead at the
scene. after the scene, we drove to my school & i sang songs in the choir, wearing a cowboy hat


a girl named Ivy always pulls my hair on the bus ride home. she says i need to
stand up for myself. she lives about half a mile up the road. she's my only
neighbor. i borrow "The Hostile Hospital" from them & never give it back

as a joke, whenever a kid shows me a coin i'll smile real big & go "shiny! shiny!"


in kindgarten, we have one of those book events. you know. if the kids read enough books in total within this
time frame, something special will happen. our progress is represented by a big cardboard thermomete in the
main hall. we reach the top prize. what is that? a special assembly where some lucky kids get to tar &
feather the principal with chocolate sauce &, well, feathers, while the rest watches, chanting "TAR &
FEATHER! TAR & FEATHER!" & i was up there. ineptly tossing feathers in his general direction

donnie gives me a turtle shell. i bring it in for sh(ow-&-t)ell. the teacher has us stand in two
lines facing each other, & slowly walks down the middle of us, with the shell, letting us see.
a boy slaps the shell out of her hands & it shatters on the floor. he gets in trouble


in fourth grade i spend a week or two keeping an egg in vinegar so that it becomes transparent. i want to bring it
for show-&-tell. the day i plan to do this, i bring it to school in a ziploc bag. during breakfast, a girl i'm
friends with asks if she can see it. i tell her to be super super careful. she promises to be super super
careful. she squeezes it too hard & it pops. someone sees the bag full of yolk & asks if it's pee


in second grade i find a very amusing comic book about a sheep. i seem to remember it having lots of jokes which
were kind of meta & abstract. i show it to the teacher. the book has a sappy ending, & she goes "ohhh awww!" &
hugs me. i'm very embarrassed because by this point i am already made deeply uncomfortable by sentiment

at the end of the year a girl named Allie, i believe, cries because she'll miss the class

in fifth grade i think a teacher accidentally runs her foot over with her wheelchair. poor Allie


at the end of some elementary school year, we have a fun day in the gym. part of the festivities
are a tv set up with a playstation & guitar hero 3. i mischievously play "through the fire & the
flames," occupying the tv for seven minutes. a guy says no one else can play that song after me


the lobby of the multi-story apartment complex by dad lived in, which i would do anything to smell again

staring at little red mites on the concrete banister of his balcony


when i'm very young, my dad lives in the basement of an old man named Bob. Bob later dies

once in Bob's basement my dad showed me a trick he worked
out where he levitated a ball of tin foil between his hands


in my bedroom one night i realize a bunch of existential dread stuff for the first time & cry hysterically


early in sixth grade, i miss my bus stop. i tell the driver i missed my stop & that we turned around.
an older girl comes up from the back of the bus & starts heavily involving herself in the situation
really unnecessarily. then she takes a brief look at me & concludes that i'm autistic. she says her
brother is autistic, so she can recognize it. she talks to me like a dumb puppy dog. i get home &
tell my mom about this, then go "i'm not autistic!" while going into my room & crying

using my nintendo dsi to read what autism is on urban dictionary & crying for some reason


at the park i scare other children by making scary growling noises into my dsi,
slowing them down, cranking up the echo & playing them back down a tornado slide


in middle school a girl always asks me her birthday, & i tell her. we're not friends. we never talk.
i'm just the kid with whom she must have a little private joke of maintaining knowledge of her
birthday in me. today, it took me a while to even remember what piece of information she
even wanted me to remember. i think i do remember that her birthday was in march

i think she's one of the girls who decides as a joke that me & some other random girl
are dating. one day in the atrium they force us to hold hands. we are both humiliated


in middle school a girl named Clary has a running joke that i'm a Russian spy

at the end of each year, the reading teacher writes a poem about that class, rhyming
silly qualities of each student. my line: "Alex is our Russian spy, watching from above"


in middle school wood shop class a kid named Justin cuts his thumb open on the band saw. he waves it in people's faces,
"help me help me help me." he runs down the hall to the nurse, leaving a trail of droplets of blood. he gets stitches.
he later moves to California, gets addicted to heroin, & ends up in jail. he has been obsessed for his whole life
with the works of Jhonen Vasquez, particularly Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. he comes back to this city. i run
into him at a coffee shop & buy him a peanut butter shake & an Uber, because even though he is sort of
obnoxious, i want to be nice. i later see a facebook post about him threatening to cut a girl's head off


ninth grade. one day i'm lying in my seat on the school bus. the driver calls my name to check if
i'm on the bus. i jerk my hand up & grab the top of the seat in front of me really hard like a
horror movie. the girls looking towards the back of the bus laugh a lot. i like this memory

what sorts of things do i listen to on my laptop during my bus rides home? Vaervaf.
Floral Shoppe. Poe. Pet Sounds. Sealab 2021. The Flaming Lips. songs from Donnie Darko

one morning i get to school early, my mom gives me money for breakfast, i drink a bottle
of orange juice in a warmly sunlit hallway while listening to lofticries by purity ring


one day in ninth grade i get a soda out of a vending machine. it is completely impossible to open it. i
spend all day trying desperately to open it. i try so hard that i do some kind of long-lasting damage
to the inner layers of skin on my hand. it might still be there. for a long time trying to open a
stubborn cap gives me a peculiar burning inside my hand. in computer class i see that the
stress caused part of the skin on my hand to separate. i peel it off. but it's not like dead
skin, it's a chunk of alive skin, & for some reason i peel it all the way off. it burns so badly
that i barely process the sensation. later i get home & open the bottle, with a monkey wrench


at the creek i catch some tiny fish in a net & put them in a tupperware container full of
water. they die. when all the fish except one have died, i decide the last one can go
free. i scoop it back into the water. a bigger fish instantly comes by & eats it