Walter Campbell is from LA, which you shouldn’t hold against him. He went to college in New England, which you should judge him for. He currently lives in Philadelphia, and if you can figure out a reaction to that, please let him know, because he’s failed to for the last three years.
The Book on the Right
I should move the book back.
The book on the right end of the coffee table. It’s sitting next to a laptop, which is next to an empty cup that once contained lime-flavored seltzer, which is next to a magazine detailing how to stay cool during summer runs, which is next to two remote controls (one black, one gray) which are on top of a blank piece of printer paper that was going to be used for directions to RadioShack. That book. Someone moved it. And I should move it back.
It was probably just an accident. Someone set something down, or picked something up, or bumped it while walking by, and it shifted.
But I don’t care why it moved; I care that it moved.
It was perfectly aligned with the top corner and far right edge of the table. It fit smoothly, outlining exactly the shape of that end of the coffee table, showing all the contours, in case anyone was interested. Now, it outlines nothing and shows no contours.
I won’t move it back, though. I promised I’d ignore these sorts of things, so I won’t move it back.
It means nothing. It’s just a book. I don’t even know what book. Cookbook, sci-fi, classic: who knows? Could be any book. Really it’s just the book that outlines the far right and top edge of the coffee table.
That is, until someone bumped into it, sliding it a few inches to the right. Inches! Not millimeters, but full inches! They might as well have chucked it across the damn room.
But it’s not their fault. I promised I’d remember that it’s not their fault. They don’t care about this as much as I do, and that’s normal.
I won’t move it.
But they shouldn’t have moved it either. Bumped a book and didn’t fix it? What’s wrong with them?
I won’t, though. It’s fine right there. That’s a great place for a book. I’ll leave it there, and that’ll be its new perfect spot.
But what if someone moves it from there?
Maybe I should just move it back.
But I said that I wouldn’t. I promised. And it’s not like my balls are going to fall off if I don’t.
But what if they did? Then I’d know I could have stopped it just by moving this one book.
Now I’m just making a mockery of myself. That’s ludicrous. My balls aren’t going to fall off because of a book. This book isn’t a machete, or a samurai sword, or a butcher’s knife, or a veterinarian’s scalpel. Nothing this book does can affect my balls.
But still, I could just move it.
I won’t. I won’t move it.
It was so perfect, though. The absolute pinnacle of books on coffee tables; a piece of modern art sculpted solely from household objects.
I won’t move it, I think, but my hand’s already reaching.