Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: based on a true story

Opening Sentence

I’m opening all my books to read the opening sentence out loud, then closing them again. It’s becoming a disjointed story that doesn’t care about characters or theme or even language, having switched tongues three or four times already. Some of its sentences are very short, trying to make an impact, and others are several lines long, desperately trying to get me to stay for as long as possible. But it is very concerned with introductions, like someone who obviously has something important to say, who keeps stretching their hand out to shake yours, but doesn’t get further than that.

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Pain and Chemicals

“Will you teach me how to cry?” asks the boy with the broken nose. He is crying now because he just slammed his face into the wall, but that’s not what he is talking about. “I want to be able to cry from emotions, not just pain and chemicals.” He hates cutting onions. “Will you teach me how to cry?”

I tell him, “I can’t teach you that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s just a thing that happens. You don’t think about it.”

“Can you teach me not to think about it?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Then I’d have to think about it.”

What Happened to Me

When I was small, I used to turn anything with eyes away from me, convinced that there were little spy cameras inside them. It looked like all my stuffed toys were ashamed of me. I kept a record of who had given me what items so that I could know who was watching. I would stare agog at them when they were in the room with me, wondering how they could pretend that they did not know that I knew.

I still haven’t figured out what actually happened to me, but I have figured out that it was something bad.

Enabling Nostalgia

You took a photograph of her when she was weak. You said that photographs enable nostalgia too much if we exclude moments like these. There was a kind of glee to your voice, a cheesy, plastic grin on your face as if you were the one in front of the camera. She, in turn, wore no expression, just a hospital blanket spattered with irregular polkadots, like someone had meticulously painted each one. The camera spat out the photograph like a bitter pill, but I looked in your albums today and there are only pictures of white teeth and deep dimples.