A short short in the Tibetan sense.

Can you cover my shift?

No.  I got my grandfather’s funeral.  He’s died and been reborn so many times he’s just about Hindu.  I love him.  He’s magic.  He’s died seven times this semester alone and might go ten if I need an extension from Dr. Iltis on my Media and Society paper.   

He keeps on giving.

Yeah, but I’m in class with some of the guys here.  I can’t be coming to work if I’m saying I need to be at the crematorium in Lemoore.  The illusion must be preserved.

You mean the lie.

I’m an illusionist.  Lying takes no skill.  Any idiot can lie.

But it takes a special kind of idiot to do what you do.

Exactly.

My girlfriend, Francine, she’s gorgeous.  She took Media and Soceity three years ago.  So I might use her paper.  She’s really smart.  She had a Cowgirl Up! sticker on the back of her F150 until Iltis.  Then she got into State and got that internship at KFSR.  Now she knows everything.  It’s amazing.

No more Cowgirl Up?

Well, she got a hybrid.  She doesn’t know EVERYTHING, but she can explain anything.  Like, she knows why class polarization has created a false consciousness in the economically intersectioned urban underclass.

Damn, dude.

Right?  I don’t even know what the fuck that means.

She still bartending at the club?

Yeah.  I go out there on Friday afternoon and I drink for free.

The world is a wondrous place, my son.

Actually, grampa’s still alive.  But, you know, any day now . . .

And you won’t have to lie about it.

I’m not lying, actually.  Francine says we’re already dead in the Tibetan sense.  The minute we’re born, we’re dying.  And if we’re dying, we’re dead.  Think about it.

That’s pretty fucked up.

That’s the Tibetan sense.

Don’t send me to Tibet.  Where did she learn all that?  Media and Society?

I don’t know.  Maybe.  I haven’t learned anything in that class.  Then again, I haven’t bought the textbook, done any reading, or gone to it after the first meeting.

[laughter]

Man, I needed the credits.  Had to pull a jack move.

That’s all you do.  Pulling jack moves.  You’re a jack puller from way back.

You don’t even know.

I don’t.  And I don’t want to.

Ask Francine.  You know what she did?  We were in bed and—

Is this something I need to hear?

Just relax.  So we’re in bed and she rolls over and says, “Tell me about me.”

Tell you what?

That’s what I said.  But she’s like, “Tell me all about me.”  I mean, what’s there to say that we don’t already know?

About Francine?

Yeah.  I’ve been thinking about this.  If I told her something she knew I knew, it would have been pointless.  And if I told her something she didn’t know I knew, I’d be saying I was some creepy stalking motherfucker.  You know?  You can’t win.

So what’d you do?

I said it would be unromantic.  It would ruin the mystery.

Damn.  You’re good.

That, grasshopper, is a jack move.

So what’d she say?

She said she knew I’d say that.

She probably did.  In the Tibetan sense.

Doesn’t matter.  The situation was circumvented.  With a girl like Francine, with a mind like she’s got, you’ve got to stay awake.  You’ve got to keep her entertained.  She gets bored and it’s all over.  You wouldn’t believe the shit I have to come up with.

One slip and it’s back to Bob’s on Friday night.

I’ve got nothing against Bob.  Or the fact that I know you sad fuckers get shitfaced there three times a week.

We talked about you the other night.

Yeah?

Bob came out at bar time and we sat up maybe ’till five.  And somebody was like “Where’s Les?”  And then Bob goes, “I bet he’s with that college cutie works out at the radio station.”

That all?

We were pretty drunk by then.  It’s kind of a haze.

I go to college, too, you know.

No, you don’t.  City college doesn’t count.  And you have to attend your classes and actually learn things.

I’ve learned plenty.

You ain’t learned your ass from a hole in the ground.

[laughter]

Well, I know one thing.  This dock won’t sweep itself.

See, that’s your problem.  You think small.  I bet Francine would come up with a bunch of drones with little brushes on the bottoms and they’d sweep the dock in like 30 seconds.

You think you know what she’d do.  But you don’t know shit.  Sweep, my young apprentice, sweep—if we want payroll to work this month. 

Exactly.  Only then.  Only then can we get paid. 

[laughter]