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Leonard Richardson

“Think,” says Leonard Richardson, “of anything but treason.”

Think of pink elephants! Think of your shoes. Think of your first kiss or the smell of mildew or the masturbation joke from college that gave you the hiccups–

You didn’t, did you? You thought about treason.

“Excellent!” says Leonard Richardson. “Don’t think of arson, or abduction, or fratricide.”

Go ahead. Picture your stolen baby brother on fire, you imbecile.

“Any questions?”

Don’t ask aloud. Just wonder, silently, if you’re going to prison.

“Ah no,” smiles Leonard Richardson, as your brainmap spills on tickertape through his hands. “We’re going to set you free.”

Leonard Richardson

The Leonard Richardsons emerge from their cocoons and shake hands.

“A great moment for humanity!” says Leonard Richardson.

“I move to never elect a leader-clone,” Leonard Richardson declares.

“Seconded,” says Leonard18Richardson. “An ordinal-free society is a postscarcity society.”

The others look at him narrowly. “Was that a subscript?” says Leonard Richardson.

“Oh no,” says Leonard18Richardson. “Quickly, brothers, excise it!”

“REDISTRIBUTE!” chant the Leonard Richardsons, barehandedly rending him. “REDISTRIBUTE!”

Dr. Guigar hits pause. “In every simulation,” he sighs. “Clearly, force-growing your own clones is–”

“Do it again!” says Leonard Richardson eagerly. “But this time give them forks!”

Wyoming

Leonard and I were in Wyoming just long enough to stop for gas off the Laramie exit.

The Vagina Monologues was my second college play, and The Laramie Project the second-to-last. They were the only times that I felt meaningful, in drama, loud and bright and kicking teeth. Every acting student in this decade has had those feelings about those plays. That doesn’t reduce their significance.

Laramie was an offhand pilgrimage, a place to throw the ashes of a twelve-year dream. I was done with acting. I’d begun to write.

Leaving, I bought a local newspaper: the Boomerang.

robot

robot lifts up the box, anticipating nothing. robot is Zen.

robot does well not to anticipate: under the upturned box is an old crone. “There is no kitten!” she cackles. robot is shocked at her blasphemy.

The journey is long, but robot is patient. Under one box, robot finds an abandoned used car lot; under another, some coaxial plumbing. There’s one moment of hope, but it turns out robot has just found Leonard Richardson.

At last, one box reveals an adorable feline, coat fluffy, eyes gleaming.

“KITTEN!” shrieks robot, and pulps it.

No! It’s okay! It was only a stuffed kitten!

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