When it was found that ejecta blankets not only occur on the moon, but also in some humans, it was a new day for science. Convinced that this phenomena was confined to meteor impacts and other astronomical anomalies it was of vast import when scientists found a young man who, among other things, had experienced a “covering-up” effect after a traumatic moment in early childhood. Although he would not specify what exactly had happened, he described the aftereffects in this way: “Fogginess. A not so clear thought process. The misinterpretation of happiness.” After countless therapists and self-medication, it was out of desperation that he enrolled at the local Community College. There, classes were cheaper than at the State University and less crowded. Astronomy 119 was offered on Tuesday and Thursday just after his meetings with Dr. M—. And it was at these classes that he first saw through a telescope the pocked surface of the moon. As he passed over the impact craters and their surrounding debris, he forgot about his bedtime for the first time in years, and made eye contact with a girl who, only inches from his face, had made progress earlier in the semester, there was first a slight numbness and then his tightened fist uncurled and lay motionless on his bare knee.






Like most Deloreses, Delores was a bartender. Her apartment on 32nd Street—west of Charlie’s Bagels—had a cupboard full of eggs and a husband named Jasper who made her days away from the East Sixty more than alive. “Have you had many breakfasts, honey?” Jasper sometimes joked with her before going to the Chairman’s meetings. They had a dog, Innisfree. He could eat sixteen mice per year. But last March Trombone the cat outdid the dog—seventeen round ones. “I haven’t forgotten the last time you swept the porch, dear,” Delores occasionally said to her husband on her way to the bar. She sported a fine camelhair jacket every Wednesday. On the back of the jacket, a yellow Post-it dated February 16th, read: “Don’t forget the peas.” She always forgot the peas. She hadn’t turned around in weeks.






He received his honorary juror badge in the mail the other day, along with some incorrectly addressed envelopes that should’ve been delivered, as usual, to the local record store. Somehow, though, it seemed pertinent to immediately pin the badge onto his sleeveless shirt, strap his gun over his shoulder, and make a beeline for the mall. He proudly wore the small square piece of official paper, brandishing it to most passersby. It read: “You are juror # [and then a bar code]” He liked that. He needed to be scanned and identified every now and again because he often confused his nom de plumes for his Christian name, making it almost impossible to be notified of pending catastrophes or—as was the most recent mix up—class reunions. Luckily though, he knew the mall had such devices, scanning ones, and it was all he could do to contain himself—the clothes and other products that filled the mall also excited him. And as he did every time he found out who he was or had been, he would treat himself to some sweet smelling cologne and a pair of leather pants. Unless, of course, it turned out his name was Ivan or Moloch, then he would buy earmuffs or something.






Alexander the Great always took his pens and pencils wherever he traveled, mostly because he wanted people to think he was writing things down, but in reality he just liked the way they looked behind his ears. Different from the yellow pencils we now know, his were black like thick lead rods, and his pens, although very similar to 20th century pens, were never used for writing. Even though some speculate that Alexander enjoyed his pencils in his right ear and his pens on his left because of an early reading disability, no one knows why the boy never quite felt comfortable fashioning both at the same time. Specialists have even falsely compared Emily Dickinson to Alexander because of her pens and pencils. Emily did in fact wear pencils—the number depending on her mood—twisted into her wiry hair as she wrote. But not Alexander. It may have seemed to his soldiers, countrymen, and sometimes even his lovers that, like Emily Dickinson, he had been writing when he showed up in a foul mood wearing either instrument, but in actuality it was in different cities that he would decide between pencil and pen. If Alexander were feeling down for example—usually after a battle that took longer than it should or if a friend was killed—he would wear seized gold or foreign perfumes and never write a thing about it. And alternately, when he was in Asia Minor ruining entire populations, Alexander felt wonderful—he wore pens the color of the Mediterranean protruding from his brown curls, and unlike the pencils, they reminded him of beaches, running naked, and always neglecting to write home.





  While half the group tried to recall the importance of history, and the other half just tried to memorize their lines, Albert—the instructor—remembered being a child and all the other children he knew who grew up to be alcoholics. One specific memory from a night of partying in a Super 8 motel was like a poorly illustrated comic strip. All the principle cartoons—Albert’s friends—laughed at nothing in particular as Albert himself—the protagonist—was drawn savagely into the motel room’s double bed. He had several inches of the chartreuse comforter tucked beneath his hollow chin with a blurb bubbling up from his head—the broken-off kind indicating a thought. The other illustrations sitting around the table (cell #19) turned toward Albert after hearing a small metallic sound coming from his brain. Even Camile, who rarely read Albert’s mind, made to indulge whatever it was Albert was thinking. The group paused as the thought, which was filled with scribbles, a few words, and a blurred silhouette, slowly stopped its vibrating. Camile and the others found this less than entertaining and returned to their intrepid game of cribbage, leaving Albert’s memory to remain not what it used to be.