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The Short Form

“The New Year”

Michael Jeffrey Lee

Excerpt

“What made you think I was frolicking?” I said.

“You were waving your hands around.”

“I was cleaning myself,” I said, suddenly feeling my muscles beginning to spasm. “It's too cold to be frolicking.”

I then told him then that I would talk a lot more candidly if he would give me a moment to get out of the river and put on my outfit: my jeans and my jacket. Moany was silent, though he seemed to understand my needs, politely turning away as I emerged from the river. After I was dressed, I invited him to join me on my couch. When I'd first moved under the bridge, there was plenty of unoccupied space for the taking, but at the same time, there wasn't any real cozy spot I could all my own—a place where I could sleep, eat, and get some thinking done, while not constantly having to readjust my position due to the sharp stones on the riverbank. So I was really overjoyed, and at the same time, very humbled, when, one day, on the bridge above me, a head-on collision occurred between a furniture truck and a truck carrying combustibles, and as a result of the tragic accident, a smoky but brand new leather couch tumbled down the embankment, end over end, until it came to rest, right side up, at my feet.

“Say you were frolicking,” said Moany, “What would you have been frolicking for?”

We read it in Something in My Eye.

Originally published in Conjunctions:54.