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SL/fiction 03.10.07 | TAB2, 1960 - I'm not really Stanley Lieber. — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stanley Lieber

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SL/fiction 03.10.07 | TAB2, 1960 [Mar. 10th, 2007|03:50 am]
Stanley Lieber
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TAB2, 1960
452 words by Stanley Lieber

The testing was rigorous but fair. I don't know if the equipment had any real effect, but he started talking just the same.

bump bump bump clickity clickity click bump bump bump

Little Tommy.

"Semen the color of old comic book pages, aged plastic, tape residue, dipping sauce for crayons that were flattened for a specific age group. You know, so they wouldn't roll away -- the crayons, not the age group. Dog piss on the carpet, striped wallpaper, a tray of stale flat bread, a portfolio of chalk drawings."

"What else do you remember?"

"The weather. Nothing."

"Let's start over from the beginning."

Aptitude tests. Memory. So far, things were progressing smoothly. I actually choked back a tear. I admit it: I was proud of him.

"Son, have you figured out what's going on yet?"

"A severed, pierced penis. In a can of Prince Albert pipe tobacco. Title: Not Funny."

I wrote TAB2 on the inside of his hat and placed it on his head.

"Let's get the hell out of here."

Tommy hated the matching outfits. Orange toboggan hat, bomber jacket, military galoshes. I had told him to think of it as his uniform. He scratched at his buzzcut, dumbly.

I hoisted him into his car seat.

Winter had struck while the other boys were studying. Permafrost, monochrome landscape. I had Tommy out and about in the elements every day; we covered four miles, on average, pacing the farmer's market near headquarters. He was already beating up on the older boys in the class ahead of him.

Or so I had forecast, when I set him on this routine.

Reality didn't quite track. Tommy wasn't meeting his PT requirements. I began scrubbing his face with an abrasive washcloth and doubled his training hours.

"Father, who do I have to blow around here to get a time sheet?"

"You'll be done when I say you're done."

The kid's mother.

I cleared my cache and ducked into a flower shop, dragging Tommy behind me. He planted himself on the floor and booted up a comic book. I should never have bought him that thing.

"The usual?"

We came in here at least twice a week.

"Affirmative. Red."

I jammed the bundle of roses under my arm and yanked Tommy along to the truck. I thought he might have voiced a slight whimper, but I couldn't be sure so I ignored it.

The mesh was offline in the truck. I punched the dashboard and Tommy let out a laugh. Finally, the HUD activated and we peeled out of the parking lot.

I was thirty-three years old.

So far, 1960 was diminishing returns.

To be continued...


1OCT1993 | INDEX


[User Picture]From: cap_scaleman
2007-03-10 11:48 am (UTC)
It's not a short fiction, it is Devo! ;)
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-10 12:12 pm (UTC)
dot dot dot
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[User Picture]From: cap_scaleman
2007-03-10 01:19 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of the red hat the man in the picture is wearing.
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[User Picture]From: bopscotch
2007-03-10 10:44 pm (UTC)
Not Devo. Close though!

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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-10 11:28 pm (UTC)
It's kind of shocking how much this aesthetic matches my father's in the late '70s and early '80s.
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From: iampixiedust
2007-03-10 03:03 pm (UTC)
Good reading for a Satruday morning. Nice style you're developing. I'd favor to sprinkle it with a bit more philosophy, but I guess that's your choice.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-10 11:06 pm (UTC)
'Nothing works.'

-- Eddie Campbell
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From: iampixiedust
2007-03-11 12:02 am (UTC)
Indeed it does. And I hope it will tonight.
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From: blndsnnts
2007-03-10 08:28 pm (UTC)
I enjoy your solid terse style--a way of packing the story down to its most important bits without taking away. I like when young bucks show up in your fiction too.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-10 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I was told recently 'I believe you could make a good living writing trash.'
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[User Picture]From: bopscotch
2007-03-10 10:51 pm (UTC)
That kid's got quite the mouth on him.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-10 11:30 pm (UTC)
Didn't you?
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[User Picture]From: silenceinspades
2007-03-11 02:47 am (UTC)
i like the 'futuristic' 1960s setting and i like when you write about kids. though i'm shedding metaphorical tears for the lack of plinth mold, this is good stuff.
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2007-03-11 04:30 am (UTC)
Oh, he was alive in 1960...
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[User Picture]From: milky_eyes
2010-02-26 06:24 am (UTC)
yes. Quite amazing actually. Every bit, sentence, phrase, ... word, ...

makes me think, packs a punch. Floats in a odd world.

jagged rhythm pieced together elements remind me of Burroughs, or philip K dick... er or... William gibson.... sort of...

Although out of all those name I'd say burroughs the most due to his quite odd focus on humor (which no one ever really mentions...)
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[User Picture]From: stanleylieber
2010-02-27 01:02 am (UTC)
thanks! hopefully burroughs never had a visor welded to his face at a young age.
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