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Marcel first encounters Security Theater in school, when it is proclaimed throughout his county that henceforth only backpacks of transparent mesh will be permitted; this despite the fact that the kid who got caught with the airsoft pistol had it tucked into his pants.

Purses are exempt. Marcel and Theo immediately buy purses.

Twelve years later, this genre of performance art is the world’s most well-funded, “which is why,” says Marcel, “I’m concerned about the low production values.”

“Please step out of line, sir,” says the lady with the beeping wand.

“One second,” says Marcel, “let me grab my clutch.”


Fifteen months and, somewhere, Theo’s still logged on to iChat. At first it was creepy and Annabelle thought about calling tech support, or something, and asking them to disconnect him. She’s not even sure how that would work. Would she have to produce the death certificate? Can you prove an email address is dead?

But she takes comfort in it now. A little weird and, yeah, probably unhealthy. But she’s not his only buddy, and the others don’t talk about it either.

“you around?” she types, every couple weeks, and waits. Nothing yet. He doesn’t even have an away message up.


Maddy stretches a recipe. Kent fiddles with his father’s old turntable while Destiny sells her aunt’s LPs.

H.G. talks to his cat a lot; Eola writes stories on paper airplanes. Adamkin collects playing cards from the gutter. Landrey does her homework in Sharpie and it bleeds through six looseleaf pages. Annabelle loans her a Bic #2.

Theo died, two years ago, of “complications.” Tally sits in his old desk.

What if there’s exactly one person in the world for you?

What if you’re not the one for them?

Jeremiah scuffs his soles in time to the beat of his iPod heart.


She had no pants clean so she wore the damn overalls, damn it, and everyone will think she actually wore a costume to school. A Farmer Tally costume.

“You need a straw hat,” chuckles Theo, behind her.

“Hrk,” says Tally.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you!” He pounds on her back. He’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

“Not dressed up,” Tally manages, “only losers dress up.” She couldn’t look stupider in front of him.

“You don’t like my costume?” he says soberly. An endless pause.

And he winks and it kills her, just kills her, the way Halloween kills October.

The Explicit

Jane shares a coffee with Lucien. Lucien taught the best English class Jake ever took, and Jake used to draw with colored pencils with his father. Jake’s father works in purchasing at the prison where Schultz is serving six years.

Schultz sexually abused Rhiannon when she was eight. Rhiannon shares a cheap basement apartment with Ruth. Ruth sometimes sleeps with Topaz. Topaz never got back the ten dollars she lent Theo, who picked a fight after school one day with Corey, and as we speak Corey is standing alone on a stage, telling a story to

(Okay. Ready?)

(Tag. You’re in.)


The room has a pulse and Theo doesn’t. Speakers everywhere, but what’s really making things jump are the subs up front: matte black, ominous, omnidirectional. My grandmother, she thinks, would say it’s loud enough to wake…

Annabelle can’t not dance, too grieved to cry, too exhausted to be still. Arms above her head and she’s arched, suddenly, between a big bald man and a small girl with dreadlocks. They move together, sweat light red heat, kick drum thunder, and none of them has to think: this is the right kind of funeral. Fuck off, death, we’re slick on each other’s skin.