First, Alix Hawley’s “My Pleasure” (The Walrus, May 2017)
“Jasper’s memory of certain ads from his childhood would remain slick as wet paint in his mind until he died.” It begins with a striking sentence which heralds the news that we are entering the land of memory, unreliability and changeability, and we are not to get too comfortable because Jasper’s death is a known factor.
But we can’t help but relate to the strangeness of the details which have lodged in his mind. And many of us will understand that spending any length of time in the service industry, let alone the fast-food arm of it, can lodge the unexpected in the recesses of any worker’s mind. “He had started out well enough: a fast runner, a quick reader, a member of the Student Justice Team throughout elementary school. But so much was lost. He’d been on the wrong path. Wrong, wrong, wrong all his life.”
Nonetheless, here we are, with Jasper, working the night-shift at McDonalds, when a car approaches to make an order and, then, everything gets weird.
“Time wasn’t a line and it wasn’t elastic , stretching out infinitely ahead of you. It was a curled-up thing.”