On the Fragmentary Arts


A man enters the supermarket. Only the tired clerk stands at the register. The man begins to lazily browse through aisles, picking up several packages of processed foods, all of which contain Red 40 and a sodium content above 280mg per serving. A woman walks in with her young daughter, a toddler old enough to walk and talk in blunt observations but not yet old enough to attend institutional learning of trickle-down curricula. The woman and her daughter stalk slowly down the same aisle as the man, the woman pushing a cart with one hand, holding her daughter's tiny submissive hand with the other.

WOMAN (quietly to herself, without looking at the man)
Single, thirty-three. Lives in the city, just a block away from here. Separated 16 months ago from long-distance phone relationship overseas to South Asia that lasted 19 months and cost 75% of monthly income. Has not been with a woman in ages.

The woman stops pushing her cart. Both she and her daughter look at the man, who has turned towards them now.

MAN (dumbstruck)
Yes. No. I was actually just promoted.

WOMAN (raising her eyebrows)


Two twin girls, Sally and Stacy, age eight, come skipping into the living room, arm in arm. They wear the same dress, a muted green color closer to grey, with white socks folded once at the ankles. Their dark brown hair splits each of their heads into perfect halves, pigtails bouncing sausage curls with each skip and hop. They come to an abrupt stop in the center of the room.

TWINS (in deep men’s voices)


A square table set for two, clichéd as both pathetic and romantic. A single white candle is lit in the center, the rest of the room in black shadow. A man sits at one setting, a single rose on the opposite plate. He looks nervous and wipes his hands slowly on his khaki pants, pushing the sweat in a downwards motion from his groin to his knees. A woman storms in, a coiffed blonde nest of hairspray on her head, a bold red dress conforming to the apple of her body, a Barbie shade of lipstick in heavy coating, and she points straight at the man.

You can die alone now.