Writer in Residence · 12/11/2010

Nicky Boy and Baby Girl Are Illustrated

MATTHEW SALESSESORIGINAL:

Matthew Salesses’ “Nicky Boy and Baby Girl Are Illustrated” is found at American Short Fiction here.

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THE REMIX:

THE TOP HALVES OF MOUTHS

Nicky boy:
Saw the police car first.
His real name _________.
His visions after he caught malaria in India of women shrunk to frogs, floors steeped a 60ft drop.
His religion ______________.
Wasn’t a real adopted kid because he was Indian and his parents were Indian.
Thought the police car was empty.
Said, “_____________, don’t look.”
Squeezed his fingernails into his thumb, one after another.
A penis as big as his head.
His renunciation of religion after ___________.
His guilt.

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Baby girl:
Came and stood next to the window.
Said, “You did not have malaria.”
Knocked on the glass.
Her real name _____________.
Put a hand on the window.
Her birth control.
Squeezed _________’s fingers.
Who could stop looking? She didn’t look away.
Her secret man on the side.
Just a head and breasts.
Her birth marks.
___________ smiled at her.
What she looked like naked.
Grabbed _________’s hand.

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The man:
Something no one would ever believe.
The bare skin.
Smiled at ___________.
Blood getting on the window.
A piece of knife.
Little marks like the top halves of mouths.
He pointed at them.
He pointed at them with the knife.
Unzipped his pants.
Blood trickling down his skin.
He stirred into life.

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Remixer’s process: Some people will tell you that a project like this is a form of literary criticism. I’m somewhat skeptical, considering how little I try to think about what these stories are “about”. However. With this particular story I believe the form of my remix incorporates a play on certain thematic elements in the original piece (I’m going to clam up on what I think those elements are, because this isn’t the place for that kind of chatter). The idea for the form of this mix came very quickly; however, I initially wanted the “The man” section to be composed entirely of my own text. In my mind the prose would have described a “Bob” from Twin Peaks/ alligator hybrid, but when I started working more closely with Matthew’s writing I realized how much I preferred his words to mine.

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posted by Robert Kloss