February 27, 2012


One in a series of extemporaneous bedtime stories told to K.

There was a once a man who lost his favorite pen. He looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Desperate, he convinced himself that his cat had probably taken the pen into the space behind the pipes in the bathroom, which was accessible through a panel that would sometimes fall open. So he crawled into the space to find it. Soon it became too dark to see, and so he ran his hands along the cement floor in search of the pen. Strangely the space seemed much larger than it should have been — larger even than his apartment. This made no sense, and so he told himself that he must have been crawling in circles. It didn’t seem that he had been, and yet what else explained the size of the space?

As he continued on, thinking about this, he suddenly found himself out in the open, on his hands and knees, in what seemed to be a different world.

He jumped to his feet and looked around. There was no sun and yet there was light. There were no clouds or trees or wind, and the ground was made of something like rubber. Strangest of all, there was no sound. He shouted as loud as he could but couldn’t hear his own voice.

In the distance he saw a mountain and decided to walk toward it. When he arrived he discovered that it wasn’t really a mountain but rather a pile, a pile the size of a mountain. And this pile consisted entirely of pens like the pen he had lost.

He walked on and came to other mountains made of other things: keys, wallets, socks.

He walked on and on, for what would have been many days, were there days in this place. He never tired, nor did he need to eat or sleep.

And then, out of the blue, though there was no blue anywhere to be seen, he spotted something in the distance moving toward him. At first it was a just speck, but the speck grew larger as it approached, until at last he saw that it was an animal of some kind. A dog! It was a dog!

This came as a shock, but there were a bigger shock still to come.

He knew this dog. It was the dog he had as a child. It had run away and had never returned; it had been lost, and now here it was, coming toward him.