22 Mar

mojave flowers

They made him stand on a box. They made the other people stand in a hole. He had to look tall in pictures. Before he said anything he had to practice it with lawyers. I don’t want to be president—I just want people to fucking like me for once. Sheryl. Sheryl’s idea, Sheryl’s hustling and planning and the phone ringing with her Facebook® Messenger® video calls nine times a day with some big new idea meant to peel him off his job so she could take it. Rehabilitate your image.

Lean in to this, you bitch: they hate me. They fucking hate me. CNBC was a disaster. Even with the reporter the team liked. Even though the team made calls to Comcast about the NBC family of networks’ place in the algorithm. The team gave him his answers and he’d worked until it was natural and then Sheryl had called in the car to the studio. She changed one word. I really think this is an important nuance, Mark. Somehow her new adverb dismantled the logic of the paragraphs in his head. He half forgot it all. On TV with a chasm of not words underneath screaming for a split second and he knew he looked like an alien pulling levers to drive a weird wax robot dwarf. Suckup reporter leering back, eyes like a waterhead Weimaraner. She looked not entirely relieved to no longer have to fuck Matt Lauer. He blew it. The PR team was here now. In the conference room. View of the open workspace he sat in for pictures and the news was a disaster. This was with them sugarcoating it. Jesus Christ, I built something that lets you talk to everyone you love. Anywhere, anytime, for free and they fucking hate me. People give you the data, and you use it for something they might like. They hate me for it.

She sent him to every state in the country. Sheryl. Big bristly truck drivers with stubble that rasped you when you hugged them for the camera. Women’s fat baby arms straining at old bra straps the color of cigarette smoke on a ceiling. The people were prepped by the team. Told to not talk to the press by the team. Signed papers. When he walked in smiling saying folks he could see they were shocked by his smallness. Looking into the top of his scalp for bald spots to tell their friends about. A year shaking church potluck hands swollen up like they’d been stuck in a beehive. Junkies and ex convicts and churches. He loved it. Hadn’t expected to. He could never get away from the team. Except once. One twilight on the Wisconsin dairy farm. She was maybe eighteen, seeing to the calves, and he cleared his throat and she said how big are you. When he told her she said: I do gymnastics and the little guys are stronger. Her hair was like corn silk. Her skin made his arm hairs stand up. They had fifteen minutes together. The others talked like he was money. She talked like he was a person. She was a Future Farmer of America.

The stock was tanking. The phone was ringing. The New York Times said it was his fault Trump was president. I need some air, he said. He walked out breathing loud and waving them all away, to the kiosk out front where a stunned attendant gave him his mountain bike.

The Harley salesman was shocked he was real. I’m five foot seven, he said. Do you have one good for guys my size. They did, they made one just for him. He had one credit card. Some special kind you could buy a battleship with. Can you throw a couple grand cash in there for me. The bank called when the salesman rang it up. It was the first time the card had been used.

He cried a little kissing the babies goodbye. Trying to explain to the nanny who spoke only Cantonese that this was important. That he could interrupt language immersion. The nursemaid looked on, uncomprehending. A face like a mealworm. Priscilla hired the background cast of The Dark Crystal for the house. I love you, he told them. I love you more than anything. I promise I’ll come back for you.

Mark climbed through the Mojave where the rain brought tiny white flowers like stars. When he crossed the state line he stopped to take off his helmet. Nothing ever felt as good as that wind. Wisconsin was 1800 miles.

14 Responses to “Mark”

  1. Anonymous March 23, 2018 at 2:12 am #

    Fucking savage. I wish I could write like that, truly.

  2. dickycone March 23, 2018 at 5:57 am #

    Brilliant. The main reason I suck at writing is that I can’t get into other people’s heads like this.

    • Anonymous March 31, 2018 at 11:14 am #

      I agree that you suck at writing.

      • dickycone March 31, 2018 at 7:27 pm #

        Well, most people do. So it goes.

  3. Anonymous March 27, 2018 at 1:37 am #

    Don’t understand this one. Love the writing style but just feel like I’m missing context. Who’s Mark?

  4. J.A.F.O. March 27, 2018 at 11:40 pm #

    Shit, I was hoping this was a chapter for the novel.
    Zuckerberg causing the apocalypse would make fine sense.

  5. Bright Star March 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    Maybe captures part of his personality. But completely ignores the consequential part. His (((satanic))) nation-wrecking identity. Don’t make excuses for his actions; don’t perpetrate the personification of demons.

    • K-hole April 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm #

      Hahahahaha. This piece was amazing but I’m also still not convinced Zuck has a soul. Those eyes, man.

  6. Anonymous April 19, 2020 at 5:09 pm #

    Mark the Zucc probably has a coronavirus bunker somewhere out there

  7. Anonymous August 4, 2021 at 8:47 pm #



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