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December 2, 2022


Jake McAuliffe

do you remember we once made a pact: to watch one episode of your show followed by one episode of mine, back and forth like that until sleep or sex took us, but your show was forty minutes long and mine only thirty; it felt unfair, that deficit, those ten minute debts you accrued with each go, so I made another pact: I measured your debt in a black ledger meant for bankfolk, I scribbled the digits before you woke (this record-keeping, by the way, occupied non-insignificant lumps of time, time which could have been spent writing a dream diary, for instance, or any other regretful practice) with no actual plan for these numbers or where they would go, if they went anywhere at all, I was utterly committed to the serendipity of it, but I figured they would find their place eventually, weave themselves within a story or contort to a private joke—these are just examples, I didn’t know what I was doing, really, tracking transactions on our time, tracing our curved minutes in straight lines—but after all of it, after all of this would you believe the ink in the dollar store pen outlasted us? and would you believe I found that ledger under some supermarket tennis set, the pages well-held by good glue, the debts, your debts, still scratched vein-blue? and would you believe I think about it, still, and did think about it, even before, and will go on to think about it, most likely? and so, getting to the point, I’m on your stoop, buzzing your doorbell like a blue arsed fly, equipped with the ledger, the proof, asking for that time back, requesting collection on those ten minute debts because I need to talk to someone, to you, even if it’s out of debt, even if it’s owed, I know you’re not a therapist, but you have breakfast bowl ears that catch every word, if that’s okay to say, and I’m not a re-po man, but I want certain things back, and I know you’re not a therapist, but if we talked, I’d owe you