In response to a piece of writing found by one of my classmates in Middlebury, VT. The writing was on a normal sheet of loose-leaf paper and neatly folded into fourths. A list, sans title, including: an athlete from another school, a sober guest, and under 5′, over 6′.

One to 14, and some of these might take a while — like “get a girl to break up with boyfriend” or “ruin two girls friendship.” Is he serious? This kid’s really into sex. Someone’s sister? He better hope that someone isn’t around. You aren’t around. What if someone’s sister is a virgin? Isn’t a virgin? Like putting people into boxes.

You’re in the F.Y.C. box. Only 5’11”? Mislabeled, back for further processing. Maybe this is the “prospy,” instead. Not mislabeled. Mismeasured. Out of your box then, and go about your business. Lucky for you, narrowly escaped becoming a vessel of meaninglessness. And a check mark.

~

One to 14, neat black handwriting. This is a To-do list. Laundry. Grocery Shopping. Clean the catboxes. Have sex with someone’s sister. Put her in a box. You know. What can you expect from college students with nothing else to do? They’re really quite creative, of course. Maybe he’s a math major. No other outlet. A “cougar (30+).” He even takes the time to put little needed explanations in parentheses. How thoughtful. A true scientist. Neat handwriting.

~

One to 14, who cares? I have sex, you have sex, we don’t tell anybody about it and that’s just the way it is. He has a list, you have handcuffs. Whatever. How much do you wanna bet he didn’t mean for his list to be a prompt for narrative exercises? I care, but I should be careful. He makes my guts writhe. How can you put people in boxes like that?

Maybe she’s an artist, she loves cats. She only wears purple underwear, she’s self-conscious about her backne. She’s so much more than any of that, but she’s over 6 feet tall, and that’s all that matters.

Maybe he’s a writer, he loves politics. Maybe he knits when no one’s looking, and he doesn’t believe in God. Maybe he’s so much more than any of that, but he’s made a list, and that’s all I’ve let matter. Writhing guts, here we go again.

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