Some Walls and a Roof

By , Normal, CA
When he entered the room, there was no one there except for Uncle Sam. Which is to say, there was no actual physical body there, but a sort of patriotic aftertaste of gunpowder and processed cheese. Jack had grown up believing in the omniscient, ever- present force of America. Not the nation, with its gorging rivers and friendly farms and steely cities of suits, but it's Spirit. To refer to the physical nation Jack's father used "US." America meant something else entirely. To capture its full meaning Jack's father would stare approximately 4 centimeters above Jack's head, raise his fist to his chin, lower his voice, and pause on the m : "Am- erica." His fist would remain, punctuating the word, while his eyelids would lower, freezing his face in a nationalistic half- sneeze. "Am- erica." There was never any impetus for this display. It came on randomly, while Jack's father was eating meatloaf on a Tuesday night, or throwing a ball to Jack on a Saturday afternoon, or while he was brushing his teeth on a Friday morning. "Am-erica."

"Hey, Uncle Sam."

"Hello, Jack." Today Uncle Sam sounded like Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was big on impersonation.

According to Jack's father, Uncle Sam had done Great Things. Uncle Sam was an ambiguous character.

Jack's sister Ruthie May didn't believe in Uncle Sam. She belonged to the ?. They used to be referred to as the American Association of Cynics, until one member pointed out that the members didn't believe in the existence of America, associations, capitalization as a proper punctuation technique, or the letter C. They therefore renamed their society ? because after years of drawing logical, concrete conclusions, they determined the question mark could not be rejected. It was integral in determining if someone was asking a question or was simply Welsh. The ? also did not believe in the usage of names in distinguishing individuals, rejecting the practice as a piece of the self- serving system. No one really knew what the system was, but they were sure it was inhumanely corrupt and evil, something that must be destroyed with metaphorical pickaxes and machetes and scythes smeared with poison from the skin of the Dendrobates. They called everyone george.

Therefore, when she entered the room, she did not see or comprehend a room.

To be continued.





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