And what really is live television if not but a look into the past it’s a question in Carter’s head almost like you see a balloon above his head text for a cartoon a comic strip and that’s what they become Carter and Electra they become like stick figures the furniture the enclosed patio turn into pencil drawings only the TV remains real made of glass and plastic the inside projecting to the outside but there’s always a slight delay even for light even for edited recordings reruns so this could have happened today just now but it’s never quite just now it’s always a little later if not yesterday last weekend and you already got the feel that this is Mother’s Day by the white rose he brought her sitting on the patio table and if you look ahead without repeating yourself the cat was dead but now it’s come back a memory just before looking and that’s what you see first in the only thing that’s still real you see the cat on the TV screen and it’s alive but you really don’t know if it’s alive now and how quickly can you look away and then look again and you see the cat but you hear a dog howling like it’s trying to bay something up a tree and then the screen turns into the DMV the date on the roll-top calendar at the end of each line where civil servants stand behind computers is a little different it’s ahead of Mother’s Day but still a little behind from now and you see her standing in line with her number you see Carter’s ex-wife Mary Jane Smiley and she’s screaming at her smartphone. You hear the tinny sound of a female voice in a recorded message because Mary Jane’s on speaker phone: … if this is about an auto policy please say auto… for customer service please say customer service…

MARY JANE

(the face of her phone an inch from her nose)

CUSTOMER SERVICE!

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