For once in my life I’m actually a part of something. I get to wear a uniform that doesn’t have ‘security’ on it. Kids buy it and they wear it and it’s got our name on it. I have fist smarts. Now I can fight. I’m strong. I can protect people. This is who I am, this is what I do. And you should be proud of me.
Warning for NSFW and offensive language. Feel free to change pronouns, tenses and punctuation however you want!
“I think that we both have a light in our stomachs, a special light, like ET. My stomach light needs your stomach light. We can all phone home together.”
“Two rules, man: Stay away from my fucking percocets and do you have any fucking percocets, man?”
“He’s probably giving some single mother herpes in a parking lot.”
“You like hot dogs ‘cause you like cocks in your mouth, son!”
"Look, no disrespect intended, but honestly fuck your parents if they don’t fucking appreciate you, man.”
“I’m stupid, he’s gay. We’re stupidgay.”
“He drinks a lot of hand sanitizer.”
“For the record, they’re both adopted.”
“Last week, he called in pretending he was from some fucking sweepstakes and told me that I had won the grand prize of 50 cocks in my mouth. He says I have the option of sucking all 50 at once or one a month for 50 fucking months.”
“Fuck this fucking sad shit.”
“I am pretty sure my fucking eyeballs just ejaculated.”
“I’ve had enough of you and your fucking sweater vest police state censorship, okay?”
“69! Take the number 69, it’s hilarious!”
“Spit it out. You’re a big boy, use your big boy words.”
“It’s okay, you gotta be shitty to get better.”
“You’ve been touched by the fist of God, for Christ’s sakes!”
“I remember when his dick was a tiny little fucking Christmas light!”
“What’s so fucking funny, giggly bits?”
“You fucking Chernobyl motherfuckers.”
“Well, that was borderline treasonous.”
“You know that cats only meow when there’s people around?”
“We should sign his dick, everyone sign his dick.”
“Why don’t you give me your number and I promise that I’ll never call you?”
“Okay, Siegfriend, let’s go, Roy. Eye of the fucking tiger.”
“I mean, Jesus, all we did was make out.”
“I have a boyfriend, which is awesome. Fuck.”
“It’s not the first time wind blew garbage in my face.”
“Look at your fucking fist, it’s the size of my Uncle Murphy’s prostate.”
“Whatever it is that’s making you fucking ovulate, you better figure it out and get your fucking shit together.”
“Everyone loves the soldiers until they come home and stop fighting.”
“I will lay you the fuck out.”
“Hey, if I wanted any lip from you, I’ll rattle my zipper.”
“I’m high on painkillers.”
“Pass the duchy, man.”
“I am so fucking proud. You are un-fucking-real. The stuff…that you are…that is…is fucking great.”
“When you deserve a beating you take it.”
“You make me want to stop sleeping with a bunch of guys.”
“Look at you. Did you fall off a toilet paper roll? Do you pee rainbows? Do you fart cinnamon? Does a rainbow come out of your nipples?”
“No glory holes here tonight.”
“I’m gonna go crack some champagne and make love to my old lady. It’ll be the first time, the best time, in a long time.”
“You can do anything except punch people, okay?”
“You’re so pretty. You’re so beautiful. I’m sorry, I keep saying that. I’m sorry.”
“I think it’s a pretty name. Like your face. You got a pretty name and a pretty face.”
Kid, you got this thing. The stuff. The shit. The fuckin’ grit, you got it, like me. But like me, that’s all you fuckin’ got. And like me, you’re no good to anyone doing anything else. All I’m saying is don’t go trying to be a hockey player. You’ll get your fuckin’ heart ripped out.
I’ll confess that when my friend James Hannaham first mentioned that he was writing fiction in the form of art gallery plaques, my reaction was selfish: I wished I’d thought of it. The idea is so clearly excellent, involving the use of a non-literary genre that is textual, but also rich with its own conventions and dramatic possibilities. What more could a fiction writer possibly want?
But a manifestly great idea can be dangerous—as likely to smother as to sustain the fiction we beckon into its midst…
James Hannaham, author of the novel God Says No (McSweeney’s), has published stories in One Story, Fence, Open City,The Literary Review,Story Quarterly, and BOMB. For a long time he has contributed to the Village Voice and other publications. He was a co-founder of the performance group Elevator Repair Service and worked with them from 1992–2002. More recently he has exhibited text-based visual art at Samsøn Projects, Rosalux Gallery, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and 490 Atlantic. His second novel, Delicious Foods, will appear from Little, Brown in 2015. He teaches creative writing at The Pratt Institute and Columbia University.
About the Guest Editor
Jennifer Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. She is the author of The Invisible Circus, a novel which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz in 2001, Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories and the bestselling The Keep. Her most recent novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s and other magazines. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her non-fiction articles appear frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and “The Bipolar Kid” received a 2009 NAMI Outstanding Media Award for Science and Health Reporting from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
About Electric Literature
Electric Literature is an independent publisher working to ensure that literature remains a vibrant presence in popular culture. Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, invites established authors, indie presses, and literary magazines to recommended great fiction. Once a month we feature our own recommendation of original, previously unpublished fiction, accompanied by a Single Sentence Animation. Single Sentence Animations are creative collaborations: the author chooses a favorite sentence and we commission an artist to interpret it. Stay connected with us through our eNewsletter (where you can win weekly prizes), Facebook, and Twitter, and find previous Electric Literature picks in the Recommended Reading archives.