by Lauren Shufran
Debris or a Boat in the Distance Causes Fevers, Cataracts (Basis for all Specters, Anoxia, and Guns)
Fret: i had been sitting peacefully at home considering tax plans. because the nature of man is distrust, and iím man, i always begin with alibis. this has nothing to do with my guilt, since i have none, only with my moral campaigning and commitment. you cannot cite Jericho as precedent for all stories of walls. Jericho was a mere formality. to say that because one wall fell every other wall could also fall is to overlook something obvious. let me tell you my favorite story, even though it is not a story about a wall:
once a man was told by god not only to hate his neighbors, who were evil, because they were evil, but to invade their land and hang them all by their elbows from tall trees until a lack of circulation made their hands fall off. in this way, god was sure, the newly-handless men would repent of their evil ways and turn what was left of themselves to him, who was god, and by their turning restore the balance of the world, or good.
the man's neighbors, having learned of this plan, or having read the man's diary, said let us approach our neighbor and tell him we are not his neighbors and ask him to make a treaty with us, which he might do, believing we are not his neighbors. this way he will not be able to hang us by our elbows from tall trees, having signed a treaty promising not to.
so they painted their faces and they gathered their things into bags, and they ran up and down their staircases and on their treadmills until they broke a sweat, so it appeared they had come from afar, or at least from very long distances, and they went out of their houses and next door, to the house of the man, and rang his doorbell.
when he answered they stood on his porch, because he would not let them in, and they said they came from afar, or at least from very long distances, and they did not want to battle, and would he sign this treaty with them, to prove to them he believed they were not his neighbors. because the man never left his house, because he worked from home, and also because he already knew himself to be better than his neighbors because god had told him so, he didn't know who his neighbors were, and so he did not know that these men were really his neighbors.
but the man suspected most people who were not him. and he said i cannot sign a treaty of peace with you, but i can sign a treaty saying i will never hang you by your elbows from tall trees, because you are not my neighbors, and god told me it is only my neighbors who i must hang by their elbows, after i invade their land, which is next door.
days after the treaty was signed the man received a phonecall from his daughter, who called to tell him she had joined the green party, which threw the man into a rage. and so the man decided he would leave his house, in order to be driven to his daughter's house, which was very far away, or in the city, and talk some sense into her.
as he was leaving his house, the man stopped on his front porch, blinded by a bright light outside, which was the sun. when he recovered his sight, he looked to his left and his right, and noticed some of the men he had signed a treaty with just days before. these men were walking in and out of their houses, which were next door to him, tending their gardens and drawing chalk figures on the sidewalks, do-si-do-ing and performing other partner dances and barbequing tofu burgers.
the man was outraged. gathering the people who were his neighbors together, he said, you live among me, you are my neighbors. how could i then have made a treaty with you? why did you deceive me, saying you lived very far from me, when instead you live next door?
and knowing the man could not make a treaty with those who lived among him, because his god had said so, and furthermore that they were evil and thus to be hung by their elbows from tall trees, because his god had said so, the people ran. and as they were running down to the shore to get back onto their boats, which was how they arrived in this man's town to begin with, the man's god hurled giant salt and pepper shakers on them, which not only killed them, but flavored them well for the man, who was secretly or openly a cannibal.
in the end the man who had just done god's will even though he made a mistake spread all of his belongings to the various houses of his former neighbors. this was the reward for his devotion.
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