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June 3, 2024

Weasel Words

Austin Ross

He laughs again and suddenly nods and crosses the room and sits down and then stands up again at last and smiles and shakes his head sadly and shrugs and looks and grins as he watches the screen and thinks that perhaps now, surely, something—everything, maybe, although was there such a thing, after all?—can finally be understood, this great mystery that is himself, though upon thinking such a thing he worries about his own hubris, his pride, his arrogance, and he leans back and frowns, the edges of his mouth turning slightly downward, and then smirks, the edges of his lips turning slightly upward once more in the shape of an almost-smile, a remnant of some long-forgotten emotion, a way of life, a connection to himself as a child, a young boy, someone alive and in love with life and words and sound, who would read 800 page books about French history for fun, someone who could remember things and recall them clearly and without struggle when asked at a party, but he is now someone who is no longer that someone, just a someone, a someone who is many years older now and whose bones creak when he sits and when he stands, a someone who can't remember the last time he read a book for fun, any book at all regardless of genre, whose whole life has been overtaken by a constant shifting stream of trash—from work, from home, from his phone—flowing directly into his heart, hadn't his father warned him about this, about such an endless supply of constant amusement that has now left him with no facility for language anymore, no facility for enjoyment or an ability to appreciate the beautiful for its own sake, denigrating everything to just filler, only filler, an endless stream of nothing words and thoughts from a nothing person, and he decides then and there to cut all this excess from his life, to prune away that which is unnecessary and distracting, and he laughs again at the thought, its freeing quality, and suddenly nods and crosses the room and sits down once more. All is quiet. He sits for a time and listens for the words, but there is nothing, not yet. He waits.