ELECTRA

Hell is a waste of time.

CARTER

Not if you want people to like you. Took me a long time to figure that out. They like you when you’re weak and always on time. But make them look bad and they’ll hate ya ‘til you’re dead. It’s back to what they mean when you say do it for yourself. If you want to excel at anything you better be doing it for yourself. If you’re seeking admirers best be playing Candyland. That’s a game where no strategy is involved. Players are never required to make choices. You just follow directions. The winner predetermined by the cards… so children can play… But out there in Babylon you work out to be skinny they gonna hate you for bringing in brownies. Blast the bell curve and you won’t be toted as a genius you’ll be sitting with the retards in the school cafeteria. Believe me—nobody wants you to be perfect.

And now you have the best point of view. Like you know what came before how it hints to you what comes after like you can see what’s around every corner you’re above their heads Electra and Carter and you know this room like you built it yourself you know who made it its history through revisions you can see it from Carter’s perspective you can see it from Electra’s from the people mentioned but not quite named and so the camera spans the perimeter like a cat or dog sniffing out its territory you focus on the barometric pressure again the thermometer on the wall between windows and you circle the room the patio Carter’s father enclosed back when he was in high school maybe some dialogue between them between mother and son that shared that information how else would you know for the words are here but there you see an old Woolworth’s fan and an ancient TV back when they were heavy and took up a lot of space not to be hung up on walls you see the upholstery on the furniture as sign of a past generation even the carpet spells age only the wood furnace opposite of the TV looks modern with its black iron chute to the roof the ceramic tile around it and of course on one wall you see pictures like a meridional manuscript his and his sister’s graduation photos encircled by all the years from kindergarten leading up to it and pictures of other places of Europe and Greece the Badlands Yellowstone each place like you’ve been there too you step into every picture and look around smell the flowers and then you look back at them the back of their heads on each side of the room perched above the headrests of gliders bought in Germany their feet up on ottomans you look back at them to see the back of their heads staring at the moving pictures of the television.

ELECTRA

Do you ever get lonely?

CARTER

When I’m at enmity with myself. What you’re really asking is do I feel isolation. You can be surrounded by people you know and still feel alone, or you can be in a room full of strangers and be moved to tears or laughter because you feel like you shared something with them. That’s the trick I guess. If you’re ready to share you never really lonely. Even when it feels like nobody knows you shared. People don’t like you for sharing. But it gives you time to give thanks in case you don’t make it to heaven.

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