THE JUMP OFF: The Sam Lipsyte Players

By

Finalists

UNTITLED, mark edmund doten

“The prisoner sits at a cute little table set up in no, not his cell…”

1.

Prisoner at table in no not his cell. Cell never shown. Folding table, folding chair. Two two-socket outlets in white wall. AC unit plugged in, lights on, room vacant, we are watching. Hours just like that. Then prisoner. Then table and what happens there. Table insufficient to what happens there. And yet and yet. This room and similar rooms. Cameras mounted. Cameras switched on.

This is what they wanted us to see.

2.

These adversaries half a world away, these adversaries are to be despised, that is today’s lesson.

For the Jew, against all, and because of all, we still have pity.

But them, no. They are the despicable ones – not pitiful; not for some time, and never again, we say.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, the senators and congressmen, journalists, clergymen, generals, as well as the cowed and thronging civilians, slack-jawed, filled with wonder at these grand personages – they have left it to history: said goodbye, evils; goodbye wickedness and wretchedness; thus do they evade the pity that would be their due, did they still trade in those heavy coins, were any such coins still in their possession – for all such currency is stamped “pity” on the reverse, if at times in the finest possible type. Their treasury, however, has been emptied, the bursaries and strongboxes laid bare. Somewhere down the line, thieves came. From inside, from outside – who can say? –  thieves assembled, then struck without mercy. Treason did his worst, and now all the lovely treasure is gone. What is left to these smug, abortive people, but to mark our children as wicked ones, evildoers? A vanity among vanities: evil and wickedness now and forevermore beyond their ken.

3.

Time on our side.

___


Rozalia Jovanovic is a founding editor of Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art. She is the Deputy Editor of Flavorpill and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Unsaid, The Believer, Everyday Genius, Guernica, elimae, and Esquire.com. She blogs at The Astonishing Egg and is The Rumpus New York Editor. More from this author →