January 23, 2011

Dirty Projectors — Two Brown Finches (The Glad Fact)

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UPDATE: I found the story. It’s The Ceiling by Kevin Brockmeier.

I read a short story once in college. I suppose it could have been considered science fiction writing. In the story, which takes place in a suburban or midsize town, residents notice a tiny black square far up in the sky, teeny tiny. They go on with their everyday lives, the ennui and malaise and rickety relationships. And every day this giant black square inches closer and closer. Of course, the impending doom of the black square doesn’t stop anyone from taking cheap shots at one another, or generally wasting each and every day. Eventually, this massive Death Star-sized black object is just over their houses. Then, one day, it’s so close the people have to lay on their backs in their lawns. The black rectangle is so close they can see their breath on it. It’s barely reflective. And all this one couple, who throughout the story have been at the precipice of their own collapse, can do is reach out for the other’s hand and wait on this object to probably crush them. I’m fairly certain this nameless short story was post-9/11 commentary, and I guess this is magical-realism — left field, but matter-of-fact in its telling. “Two Brown Finches” is the song we sing the day before we see that far off black square. It’s so small out their out in space, the size of a bean. Then, the size of a raspberry. Then, it’s as big as us. Then, it’s bigger than us. Then, it’s as big as our house. Dave Longstreth’s voice does all its faux-jazz dips and doodles. It’s breezy, but it’s an ominous breeze. And when he says “And we drank a two-liter of Orange Crush,” it crushes in the most literal sense — your big fat far-off plans, your hard little chestnut heart, your old bullshit habits. 

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